Five Unique Artisan Products From Three Springs Market

Break out those credit cards. Shawnee Indian Mission National Historic Site has created a virtual platform for selling unique artisan wares. It was a creative way to stir up interest—and revenue—at the venue. “The market was the brainchild of a small committee of volunteers, plus one part-time staff person and is connected to the Shawnee Indian Mission Foundation website,” says volunteer Jane Hess. “The unique products, separated into regional, Native American, and international, represent artists who are supporting their communities and the Shawnee Indian Mission with their talents.”

History runs deep at the site. “If they could talk, those old buildings could speak of the 1918 pandemic. The buildings have also housed troops during the Civil War,” says Hess. The creation of the online store—Three Springs Market at the Mission—was “a modern tool utilized to sustain a very old setting. The name Three Springs comes from an 1838 account that describes the site as a beautiful, elevated, rich prairie with three sustaining springs at the edge.”

Here’s just a small sampling of goods you’ll find inside the online shop:

5) Maya Ortiz Butterfly Olla
Mata Ortiz is a small, three-street town in northern Mexico. At the turn of the century, the Mexican revolution halted a timber business and the residents were facing poverty. As the story goes, a young boy revived ancient pottery techniques and saved his village. Artist Ricardo Delgado has emerged as one of the finest Mata Ortiz potters, and is known for his exceptional sgraffito work. His beautiful vase is dominated by hand-painted butterflies. ($345)

4) Caracoli Placemats
Women in this small Columbian town are taught from an early age to expertly produce handwoven products of the highest quality using traditional techniques. The tropical Iraca palm is the source for the strong and sustainable fibers used to make a wide variety of products—including the creation of these beautiful placemats. ($19.50)

3) Kansas Scene Oil Painting on Masonite
Kansas City artist Pam Peffer’s oil paintings capture—as she calls it—”drive-by views of scenery that remind us of the beauty of our surroundings.” Her paintings serve as a special reminder as we all pass through on the way to somewhere else. ($125)

2) Zuni Triangle Pendant
The Zunis learned to silversmith from a traveling Navajo, then they put their own spin on Native American jewelry with exquisite inlay and petit point. Artist Duran Gasper is a master of the technique. The pendant includes Kingman turquoise, mother of pearl, sugilite, and phosphosiderite. ($210)

1) Glazing Grace Large Mixing Bowls
A mixing bowl from Glazing Graces looks like it could easily be a thousand years old. It is one of many pieces from husband/wife pottery artists Shirley and Jaxon Keimig. The southern Kansas artists create each handmade piece with raw clay that culmanates as wonderfully finished stoneware. It’s a rare combination of function and beauty. (Starting at $79.)