BRAWLEY – Brawley held its monthly Farmer’s Market on Saturday, hosting booths from locals and featuring community events, bands, and businesses. The Brawley Farmer’s Market is known for attracting a variety of people, and the booths serve to showcase the vast talent and interests of this small town.
This week, two booths stood side-by-side. Although the groups were diverse in both their displays and products they were offering, they were brought together by proximity at the Farmer’s Market.
Shannon Orcutt and Jessica Hanson set up a booth displaying their homemade artifacts, featuring their personally carved rocks. Orcutt is a veteran artist, and Handson a novice, but together they work to create unique art, specifically their individually crafted, decorative pumice rock pieces.
Hanson’s father originated the idea for the unique art, whittling figures and faces into pumice rocks during his down time at his job as a crane operator, she said. He worked for Central Pipe as a crane operator out near the Salton Sea, and during his time waiting for a pick machine or some other tool, he began carving into the rocks for fun. It became a hobby for him, and eventually he gathered the pumice rocks right out of the Salton Sea to save for carving later.
After his death three years ago, Hanson passed the rocks onto her friend Shannon Orcutt, already a gifted artist and creator. After trying her hand at carving into the rocks, Orcutt developed a passion for crafting images into the pumice. Speaking like a true artist, she stated that she does not develop the rocks herself, rather, “the rocks are going to turn into what they’re going to turn into; it’s a matter of discovering what the rock would like to be.”
For Orcutt, her artistic work is an outlet for her creativity and, as she describes, “the only thing she’s got.” For Hanson, this artisan rock collection is her way of honoring her father and keeping his memory alive. She still has a collection of her father’s original pieces at her home, none of which are for sale. They are kept close to her heart, for her memory only, she said.
Valley Baptist Church also sponsored a booth, offering free water bottles, pamphlets, and face painting for the children. The church set the booth up entirely out of good will. Laura Hula, the church’s secretary, explained that their goal is “to expand God’s kingdom and tell about Christ.” Opening up a booth at the Farmer’s Market seemed like a good way for them to do that, she said.
This was the church’s fifth time at the Farmer’s Market, where their hope was to provide a non-invasive way to share their faith.
Nitzia Kellerman, of Brawley, and her daughter Genesis, enjoyed the free face painting and have come back to have it done more than once. Kellerman, a home-based business owner of Nitzia’s Heavenly Cakes, said she enjoys coming to support the community and other local business. Her daughter Genesis’ favorite part of the Farmer’s Market are all the performances, and of course, the famous tacos.