PROVINCETOWN — Celeste Hanlon’s Barbie-head ornaments are hard to miss at Canteen’s annual holiday market. She started making them before Barbie became a movie star. Years ago, Hanlon started buying old dolls from estate sales to resell online only to discover that collectors wouldn’t buy Barbies that weren’t in mint condition.
“I had all these dolls I didn’t know what to do with,” she says. “Then, one day, I just put one on the top of an ornament.”
The Eastham artist started crafting the kitschy Christmas decorations four years ago and sells them on Etsy, but she looks forward to real-life exchanges at the holiday market.
This year’s installation is Canteen’s ninth. Loic Rossignon, who cofounded the restaurant with Rob Anderson, can be found setting things up beginning in November. “I know I’m going to go nuts for about a month, but we love it,” says Rossignon.
“It’s about accepting the cold and the fact that it gets dark early,” he says. “And choosing to be outside, choosing to be social when it would be easier to be home watching Netflix.”
Every year, Rossignon and members of the Canteen staff who are looking for extra shifts build wooden vendor booths behind the restaurant and dress them up with wreaths, ribbons, and string lights. “We build a little village and wait for people to populate it,” Rossignon says.
The booths, which host Cape Cod artists on weekends from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Eve, are rented for just $12 per day, which covers the cost of hiring Maria Morelli as the market’s spirited jingle-bell-ringing barker.
First-time vendor Peter Chao is showing his textile artworks at his booth alongside a few minimalist ceramic wares found on his travels, including in Taiwan, where he grew up. His stall offers a visual respite from other more ornate ones. Chao’s art is inspired by Provincetown’s waves and dunes. The woven pieces are made using a “traditional rug-making technique applied to canvas,” he says. He layers the yarns to create a thick ripple effect. Chao, who lives in New York and Provincetown, says he hopes he’ll soon be selling his art and curations in his own store in town.
Tucked away at the end of the market, Benwa Kramer is selling prints of his hand-drawn tarot cards. Kramer’s illustrations tie tarot themes to Provincetown’s history, culture, and day-to-day sights.
“Each tarot card refers to a different archetype, a different idea about the human experience,” Kramer says. “And I wanted to represent these ideas with Provincetown imagery.” The Lovers card, for example, depicts two bald men with bellies, kissing at the A-House.
The project has required research, Kramer says. And not just on tarot, but on local history. Reading Mary Heaton Vorse’s Time and the Town has been an inspiration. He draws the cards digitally, using Procreate on an iPad. So far, he has illustrated 22 of the 78 cards that make up a tarot deck. “Essentially, I’m creating this 78-sided idea of what Provincetown is,” he says. He plans to finish a full deck by the summer of 2025.
Next to the winter dinner-and-drinks “shack” that pops up alongside the market, friends Margy Mahrdt and Denise Perrault are perusing Hanlon’s Barbie ornaments.
“I knew there would be great ornaments, but I didn’t know there would be this,” says Mahrdt. The two friends drove up from Dennis for a drag brunch and shopping.
“It’s adorable,” says Mahrdt. “It’s exciting to see so many original things.”