Scott Sutton

An annual fixture in Austin is Armadillo Christmas, currently on show at the Palmer Center. More of an upscale arts and crafts fair than the sort of Christmas bazaar where you might get some last-minute inexpensive Christmas items, Armadillo features a wide range of items. I am offering a sample of just four here.

The featured photo shows Scott E. Sutton, an artist and creator of books for young people. He lived in Georgetown for several years, but now resides in Surprise, Arizona. Armadillo is a sufficiently big draw to lure him back here for a while.

Darlene Dawald

With the experience of being a gallery artist from 1978 to 1992, Sutton has now produced 17 books. Five of these are in a series entitled Adventures of Dinosaur Dog, with six more books now done in a magical world . “I made up my own planet of Ree,” he said. From acorns that drop from trees, little beebees hatch. They grow up to be apprentices to Wizards, and then Wizards themselves. Eventually the Wizards become trees that then drop more acorns to begin the process again. Sutton is selling his books here, as well as limited edition prints from his whimsical paintings that served as progenitors for the books.

There is lots of jewelry on display at Armadillo, but I found the most inventive to be by Jeff and Darlene Dawald. They were a fixture in Austin in the 70s, displaying their creations at a daily event called The Drag at 23rd and Guadalupe. These days they divide their time between Minnesota and Florida, with a December stop in Austin for Armadillo. The photo of Darlene shows her wearing a Swiss blue topaz necklace, priced at $4300.

Spaceman by Ross High

Those looking for a small and quirky gift can do no better than a tiny spaceman by Ross Grady High, an Austin resident. The one pictured here shows an astronaut in his spacesuit ready to take off with a colourful skateboard. Prices in his spaceman collection are in the $200 range.

Chess set by Laura Sturtz

Finally for the intellectual are a selection of chess sets by Laura Sturtz, originally from The Bronx. The one pictured here is made of recycled shell casings, but a catalogue shows others made in the shape of sea creatures, air security items, dinner utensils: the teaspoons are pawns! Prices start at about $800 for a set.

The shows runs from December 13-24, 11am to 10pm daily at the Palmer Events Center, 900 Barton Springs Road, Austin. A suite of live entertainment is on hand throughout the bazaar. Visit the website for details:


By Dr. Cliff Cunningham

Dr. Cliff Cunningham is a planetary scientist, the acknowledged expert on the 19th century study of asteroids. He is a Research Fellow at the University of Southern Queensland in Australia. He serves as Editor of the History & Cultural Astronomy book series published by Springer; and Associate Editor of the Journal of Astronomical History & Heritage. Asteroid 4276 in space was named in his honour by the International Astronomical Union based in the recommendation of the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Dr. Cunningham has written or edited 15 books. His PhD is in the History of Astronomy, and he also holds a BA in Classical Studies.

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