Sunday marketplace lively with new vendors, shoppers on Cabrillo
Foot traffic moved slowly south of Stearns Wharf Sunday, as shoppers browsed the weekly Santa Barbara Arts and Crafts Show along Cabrillo Boulevard.
Shoppers lined up around popular booths, and the block between the wharf and the Cabrillo parking lot was congested.
When the show reopened post-pandemic, some vendors decided to wait before joining. It was easy to walk from end to end of the market.
Now, artists have returned, covering a longer distance of the beachside street.
“Santa Barbara must have quite an arts scene,” one tourist said to another. The other visitor agreed.
The show has many painters with diverse styles, but the ocean tends to appear in many of the artists’ creations.
Jake Reimer, or “Chef Jake,” channels the waves and the creatures that reside beneath in vibrant acrylic paintings.
Sunday was his third showing at the market, and he has already sold and commissioned many paintings in under a month.
Mr. Reimer is a private chef who recently began painting with his cooking utensils. He wasn’t filling his calendar with catering gigs during lockdowns, so he used his rolling pin for paint instead.
His unconventional approach leads to smooth, vibrant paintings inspired by the Channel Islands.
Tristin Mentry is another new artist to the show. Her business is named Isoldes Jewelry after the opera and romantic legend “Tristan and Isolde.”
She crafts polymer-clay earrings with mod shapes and nature-inspired patterns she displays on her Instagram, @isoldesjewelry.
“I got into it during COVID just because I needed something to pass the time and saw a new hobby I wanted to try out. And then it just kind of exploded from there,” she told the News-Press.
She has set up shop for eight weeks at the Santa Barbara Arts and Crafts Show and is enjoying the experience.
At first, she sold earrings to her family and friends before signing up for the show.
Mr. Reimer took a similar path. He has lived locally for 20 years and always enjoyed the market, so he signed up to expand his art’s reach.
“The veteran artists here are not only lovely, but super talented. And they’ve not only welcomed me with open arms, but they’ve given me tips,” he said. “They really wanted the new artist to succeed.”
Ms. Mentry’s favorite part of her Sundays on Cabrillo is meeting other artists and makers.
“Everyone I’ve met here is so welcoming and supportive. Everyone’s so down to help each other out and give tips on their own business,” she said.
Some of Sunday’s artists have been selling at the show for years.
Lucinda Bergey, a potter, started selling her work at the Santa Barbara Arts and Crafts Show in 1979. She’s taken breaks of a few years before signing up again.
She rejoined the show in April after the pandemic and was disappointed that the market’s reemergence wasn’t an instant success.
“That was really sparse when I returned in April, and I’m glad I’m back. It’s enjoyable,” she said.
She loves meeting new people, relaxing outdoors and using her sales to buy more clay (although materials have been harder to find over the past year and a half).
Since the pandemic, she has noticed a shift in the demographics of her shoppers. She hasn’t seen many foreign tourists, but the local support made up for the lack of far travelers.
In the past, she didn’t see many locals browsing the market. Now, she sees repeat customers.
Two women bought mugs from Ms. Bergey, walking quickly to her booth as if on a mission for her handmade pottery.
“She has the best prices,” one said.
“I love it,” said the other.
Ms. Mentry also has regular customers, just after two months of selling at the show.
She likes chatting with customers but also loves the calmness behind the scenes when she is creating the earrings.
“It gave me an outlet, and it puts you in a focused, flowing state,” she said. “I like playing with clay, designing new shapes.”
Mr. Reimer also mentioned the meditative qualities of creativity.
“It’s not only been a good thing. In many ways, it’s helped me find a creative soul and helped me really kind of rethink about not only what’s possible when it comes to a vision, but also an endless spectrum of creativity — which is also helping in the food world as well,” he said.
He sees similarities in his role as a chef and an artist, and he is growing in both fields. He shares both his culinary and acrylic masterpieces on Instagram, @chefjakereimer.
“When you have somebody taste a dish for the first time or they see a dish for the first time, you see that reaction,” he said. “And that’s like the ultimate of satisfaction, like my creativity is being noticed.
“It’s the same here when people go by and they’re like, ‘Oh, wow, look at those colors. Look at those textures.’”
Drawing from his experience as a chef, he paints marine life, like shrimp.
All the artists up and down Cabrillo have their own flavor as well. Shoppers can buy chocolate, abstract art, visors for dogs, ornaments and more.
Perhaps the variety is what brought pedestrians away from the wharf and down the sidewalk Sunday, weaving through other passersby to get to booths that catch their eye.