I stopped by Arts In The Park today, an annual event held in town, one that I had never been to. Some art shows can be hit or miss, with mass-produced goods or "hand assembled" items being prevalent. The few I've been to in our area seem to be mostly of that type. I find those shows really disappointing and honestly, this is what I expected today. There were a couple of those booths in this show but largely it was a show full of talent and with 140 or so booths in the show, that's pretty impressive.
There was a lot to look at, but for me there were a few stand-outs that really made a big impression. These are people I would watch for at the next show and make a bee-line for their booths. I screwed up my courage enough to ask for a quick photo while admiring their work (sorry if I freaked anybody out, and thanks for being such good sports) and wanted to share them with you.
Naturally Unique had a collection of smooth beach stones worked into stacked lamp bases, little bud vases (loved these!), cabinet pulls, and much more. They even had felted wool bags that closed with little stone buttons. Perfect! They were such nice people that they offered the kidlets a couple of stone magnets, which they thought were the greatest things ever. I'll be watching for their work again next year, but they have a website too with photos of their work and their show schedule, and an Etsy shop too, so go have a peek.
When we first moved to Minnesota I stopped by a craft show in town, and though it was a large show, it was short on the type of work I was hoping to find. About halfway through the show I spotted Adama Sow's pottery and it was like a bright light in an otherwise dull room. I walked away then with a small egg cooker that I still use. I was really excited to spot his work at this show. Check out the colors he's working with, aren't they fantastic? Happiness captured in clay.
A quick look in this booth and I immediately recognized William Lange's work from Etsy. He coaxes magic out of copper. Check out that amazing pogoda fountain (that my boy couldn't get enough of), isn't it something? I loved the little details on his pieces that you really have to see to believe. (little spiders in copper webs...beautiful) His bird houses that I had fallen in love with on Etsy were even more beautiful in person. The craftsmanship and patina were really outstanding. Check out William's Etsy shop here.
There were a number of potters at the event but the work of Phillip Schmidt really pulled me in. His pieces were perfectly worked, not too fussy, not too plain. It didn't feel as though he was making work with the intent of making things that people would buy, rather his work felt sincere (does that make sense?) and beautifully executed. I loved that many of his pieces were taken out of round and given edges and a sort of perfect imperfection. His glaze colors are simply stunning too. I chatted with him for a few minutes and he was as delightful as his work. If I had more money I would have cleaned him out.
Instead I left with just one gorgeous vessel for my freshly-picked chamomile. Isn't it awesome? Fits my hand (and aesthetic) perfectly.
Phillip has a website here, which you should definitely check out, and he also has a blog where you can read about his work and philosophy...and beer bread. (come on, how cool is that?!) I'm a fan.
I also got to chat with a really engaging woman from Busby Bee Salve but walked away without snapping her photo, darn. She makes a healing salve with ingredients right from the hive. This is a woman who believes in her product and it shows. She convinced me and I came home with a tube of salve in my pocket to replace the Burt's lip balm I had been using. She also has a website and an online store here where you can get some too.
Though I didn't get to talk with him, Greg Rosenberg from Shining Light Studio was also exhibiting. His work is beyond stunning. I really can't describe it without gushing. Seriously. When I first saw his work a few years ago he was in the middle of making a lamp using petrified wood in lieu of traditional stained glass as the shade; an approach that is both unexpected and really successful. He sculpts the bases for his lamps himself and the details, oh my goodness the details. Tiny brass acorns, crystals tucked into the roots of the tree bases, leaves and flowers, and ohhh...I'm gushing. In addition to lamps he also makes furniture, doors, custom lights...amazing stuff all of it.
He has a site here where you can gush too.
I am so glad I finally stopped by this show and I'm already looking forward to next year.
You've got to love a day that just totally exceeds your expectations.
Beautiful art, nice people, buying handmade.