Sunday, June 30, 2013

Sundays In My City...Summer Arts Festival

It's been awhile since I've done a Sundays In My City post.  It's a perfect time to do one today since I went to the Summer Arts Festival this morning.

I got up very early and took the boys down the mountain to the VA complex for a nice long walk.  It was already heading into the 80s at 9:00am, though there are many trees shading the sidewalks which helped the dogs stay a bit cooler.  Marginally.

After I brought them home, I went back down to the Festival.  I was there early--right at 10:00 when they opened--so I got a nice parking spot that wasn't too far from the entrance, a good thing as the temperature signage across the street from the park said it was already 87*.

There were over 100 vendor tents and several food booths, so there was much to see.  Unfortunately, most of the booths were alarmingly too hot--like an oven actually--so spending any length of time browsing was killer.  I felt sorry for the folks down this avenue: no shade at all.

This booth had their three outer tent walls covered in their oil paintings.  It was very colorful, and really caught your attention.  This is the back wall which you could see clear across the park...

I loved this.  The guy uses all these rusty old parts from things he finds in junkyards and discarded farm equipment, and welds the bits into these very cool art forms.  This piece bounced on the big bottom spring while the "hair" bobbed on smaller springs.  I might have been tempted to use it as a deercrow, but it was already sold.

Another metalworking booth, though this guy did more fantastical stuff.  He had monsters and dragons and elves and bugs.  This dragon was easily 8 feet tall and shimmered in the intense heat.

I spent several minutes at this tent talking to the woman who makes pine needle baskets and gourd bowls and vases.  Her work was astounding. 

She gets her needles from Arizona and when I was admiring this piece, she told me to smell it.  I've spent some time in the deserts of Arizona and New Mexico.  I was transported.  There's a dry wildness to the desert, a sharp pungency in the air of dust and sand and lizards and cacti...and every bit of that was in this basket.

I've always wanted to take a class in pine needle basketry--and one of these days I will--though this was beyond the simple basket and into fine art. 

There's a guy named Peter Alsen, who is a local potter.  Several of his pieces have been in the Art Center gallery shows.  He makes whimsical and wonderful ceramic creatures.  In Week 6 of the 52s, I went to my first exhibit and fell in love with his work.  I  was getting very overheated at this point and went under the trees to get out of the blistering sun.  As I was walking between two tents, I glanced into one and immediately recognized the pottery.  And I got to meet the man behind the whimsy.

We had a long chat about his work, how it's changed, evolved, from his crazy, crackled early work to these incredible raku bowls and vases.  Because his tent was under the trees, it was a bit dark for my photos, but you can see the designs and intricacies...and his skill.  It was very cool to talk to him.

Along with his venture into raku, he's also making these perfect little oriental figures.  The hat comes off like a lid, so the piece can become a vase, or a container, or just sit on my kitchen counter next to my bonsai plant.  It's about 6-1/2" tall and has such character.  At some point his name will come to me...

I would have liked to take more photos, but the sun was too bright and in the wrong part of the sky, and the rest of the time I was endlessly wiping sweat off my brow.  By 11:30 or so I had reached maximum overdrive and had to call it a day, though by then I'd pretty much seen everything.  It would have been fun to sample some of the local food and drink, but frankly, the humidity was so annihilating, eating was the last thing I felt like doing.

So, regardless of the sun's attempts to fry the little ant people, the Arts Festival was a truly great way to spend a few hours on a Sunday morning...


  1. I love these kind of arts festivals. Such great places to wander...

    1. It was really fun...though it was truly too hot.