Monday, April 13, 2015

Spring search for inspiration

This year in New Hampshire, winter threatened to never leave.
So last month (March), after discovering optimistic bargain bouquets of daffodils at Trader Joe's, and  while the snow was still two feet deep on the ground, we took a drive out to Marlborough, MA to browse the Paradise City arts and crafts show.  I've been getting their catalogs since our arrival in New England and wanted to see for myself.  The $13 admission price got you relatively accomodating parking, live music, a pleasant indoor climate (compared to the arctic temperatures of the Big E in Springfield last winter!), and 175 juried artists.

I knew from the brochure that these were professional artists and craftspeople.  I also expected the work and the prices to be relatively "high end."  I was not disappointed.  (I didn't even look at the multitude of artisan jewelers! This wasn't your homegrown church bazaar (with no offense intended to "church lady crafters.)

The first booth that caught my eye was Dale Rogers .  He is known locally for his dog sculptures, so the cardinals were new to me. I'm glad I looked at his website because he's done more than just dogs and cardinals.  But since his works are welded Cor-Ten steel, he doesn't schlep them around that much. His studio is just down the road from us in Haverhill.
 These turned wood pieces are by Warren Vienneau. I hadn't seen ikebana style vases of wood before.  I liked the vases AND the arrangements.
 Another creation and idea that was un-thought of before was making books into purses.  As a former librarian, I have somewhat mixed feelings about this... but I also know how many books are sitting in dusty corners getting moldy for no good reason.  Whose to say that handles, clasps and braids aren't a good trade off for pages what aren't going to be read anyway?  These are by Kathleen Scranton.  She even provides a "paper cover" version of the book that the cover came from!
 Barbara Lee Seligman produced arresting mixed media pieces that included crochet work added to layers of fabric and painting.  She is an artist member of the Attleboro Art Museum and has exhibited at Wellesley.  Otherwise she seems to have a remarkably small web presence!
 Juliana Boyd's work blew me away.  I can hardly wait to get (more) needlefelting needles and start stabbing!  Her company is  Growler and Renard, named after fictitious characters from stories her father told when she was a child. The animals are bas-relief, but made of wool roving affixed to tapestry material by poking it with a fish-hooked needle.
 Wouldn't you love having this little fox keep you company?
 The woman painting dots (and her husband) was friendly and easy going.  Regrettably, I can't find her card, nor can I figure from the PC brochure, which was her booth.  If you are the artist or know her name, please let me know so I can give her credit.
 I had never seen a chess set made from spools.  I thought it was just a LOT of painting and daubing.  The artist was totally un-phased.
 And then there were goats.  And kids. By Roger Ditarando. "Weatherproof, non ferrous scrap metals."  Definitely out of my price range.  But I would love to have them frolicking on my front lawn! He does herons, bird baths and gates, too.
So the season of art fairs is coming up.  I hope to get to lots of them... and that they don't ALL have admission fees.

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