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As holidays approach, Shirt Factory comes alive

As holidays approach, Shirt Factory comes alive

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GLENS FALLS — Jacquiline Touba took a break Friday from her gallery at The Shirt Factory to venture down the hall to watch David Britton decorate a gingerbread creation.

“He’s building it on site,” she said.

The gingerbread house, which takes the form of a historic church and is on the first floor across from The Shirt Factory Gallery, is among the myriad things to see at The Shirt Factory holiday open house this weekend.

The open house continues Saturday, Sunday and Dec. 10-11, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.

More than 100 artists and crafters are participating in the show and sale on four floors of the former garment factory at the corner of Lawrence and Cooper streets.

Technically, it’s a “dark cherry chocolate bread house,” said Britton, who was still decorating and finishing the creation on Friday.

Britton said he found a recipe for “construction grade gingerbread” on the internet and substituted molasses for honey, brown sugar for white sugar and added cocoa and cherry balsamic vinegar as ingredients.

Britton, owner of Pies on Wheels, a mobile pizza shop, has his prep kitchen in The Shirt Factory basement.

Britton said he already had spent about 15 hours building the creation, not counting the time it took him to research the process and imagine the design, which incorporates elements of St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church on Warren Street and Church of the Messiah on Glen Street.

“The design that’s in your head, that’s unlimited hours,” he said.

The creation is made entirely of food elements, but it’s not likely to ever be broken apart to eat, said Britton, who is thinking about putting it on display at various locations after mid-December.

“It could sustain you for a while. It’s totally edible,” he said.

The open house, an annual shopping attraction, features about 80 year-round studios, galleries and shops at The Shirt Factory, as well as 22 outside vendors who rent space in hallways for the two weekends.

Artist Dave Francis, a longtime studio owner, said he has participated in quite a few December and spring open houses over the years.

“If you count them all, I would guess probably 35 or 40 of them,” he said.

“We come every year and we tell our friends,” said Martha DeGrazia of Slingerlands, who was trying on a pair of knit mittens at the Cinzia Knits table.

DeGrazia said she and her husband started coming to Glens Falls to run in distance races and discovered The Shirt Factory.

The setting in a historic factory is unique from the typical craft show held in an arena or banquet hall, she said.

“It’s a more relaxed environment than craft fairs, so we appreciate it,” she said.

Many of the artists and crafters demonstrate their skills.

Debbie Davidson, at Pottery by Debbie D on the third floor, is offering free mini-pottery lessons both weekends.

“If they want to keep the piece, I do charge $10 to finish it off,” she said, referring to the firing process. “If not, I can reuse the clay.”

Volunteers with the Marine Corps League are gift wrapping purchases for a contribution to Tri-County Marines Toys for Boys and Girls.

Follow staff writer Maury Thompson at All Politics is Local blog, at PS_Politics on Twitter and at Maury Thompson Post-Star on Facebook.

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