Saturday, June 20, 2009

Art IS Alive...& Well

Every year I try to plan a trip to the beach around the Arts Alive Festival in Northside Park, Ocean City. It is by far one of my very favorite outdoor summer arts markets in the Mid-Atlantic area and the setting/location is perfect!

The weather forecast didn’t look good for this entire weekend, so I was keeping my fingers crossed. I woke up early Saturday morning and spoke with family members back home and they said it was raining heavily at 8am…and I knew it was heading east. I didn’t bother to wake anyone or even eat breakfast – I simply gulped down a cup of coffee and by 9am I was on my way….

There were so many great artists this year – old & new, and a few friendly faces I knew from ARTSCAPE, Bel Air’s Festival of Arts and/or the Havre de Grace show. Here are a few samples:

Robert Wieand from Sarasota, Florida’s Fantasy Forest ( ) metal and glass creatures w/ twinkle lights in their body cavities (below)was a very popular booth and I must admit, pretty cool. Finland born Nina Mickelsen’s Clarissa Studio decorative wall art designs/silk screening uses both traditional and technologically advanced methods ( ) . Silver Moon Studio's Ruth & Keith Krause from Walnutport, PA, use 100% pure silver in their metal and fused glass jewelry (I wish they had a website). Kenyan born Owino Martin’s K’Owino Batiks fabrics & prints were some of the finest I’ve seen ( ).

My ‘Best in Show’ would go to a Michigan couple, Ruth & David Jellema, with Fabrications ( ). Their original fabric mâché sculpture made from cheesecloth is like nothing I have ever seen before. Their ‘Bathing Beauties’ (above) were a big hit at this beach-town show. The pieces range from $70 for a small single bathing beauty to $1450 for a life-sized mermaid (below). You have to see this stuff up close to appreciate it.

According to the artists I spoke with, there were a lot of people looking – but not a lot of people buying (damned economy!). I wasn’t one of those non-buys…I rarely leave an art show empty handed. Even if I didn’t find anything for me or to give as a gift, I would donate to the show itself or an involved organization as a way of showing my support.

No worries today - I bought a tiny brown painted potters pitcher/gravy boat from a half- priced table for $5, a pair of hammered silver drop earrings from MiCielo ( ) that the owner tucked in a cute little re-usable tulle and ribbon gift bag, and a fired-glass pendant from fellow Marylander Matt Mathers of Dragonfired Glass Creations, who’s been coming to the local Harford County art shows for quite some time.

All together it was a great morning and as I made it completely around the entire lagoon…the rain came.

(these litle guys were just added entertainment for the crowd today)

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