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Draper Journal

What You Might Have Missed In May: Arts And Crafts Festival

Jun 19, 2015 07:35AM ● By Erin Dixon
Draper - On May 9 Draper Park was inundated by rain. Unfortunately, so were the artists who were prepared to spend the day at the annual Arts and Crafts Festival. The rain probably kept you within the walls of your own warm home. If so, you missed a wonderful collection, from soft baby booties to realistic pet rocks, colorful pillows and quilts to intricate handmade jewelry. The artists not only had marvelous creations to show and sell, but had touching stories behind their art as well. Some were inspired through financial difficulty, others by health problems. Still others created to inspire. 

Here are just a few of those stories, and some of what you might have missed, to urge you out the door next year, rain or shine.

Jeanne Lint paints pet rocks. From cocker spaniels, to calico cats, to elephants, Lint typically paints on canvas, but earlier this year she spent several weeks in the hospital: a bed she never thought she’d leave. Miraculously her health improved and she couldn’t keep her hands still. She didn’t have the strength to stand at an easel, so she turned to rocks. She said, “I just had to keep the artist thing going: my hands, my head and my brain.” She was on her feet and looking well at the festival, with a large collection of pet rocks, as well as some of her canvas paintings.  If you are looking for a pet that won’t make a mess, look for her next year. Each pet was as realistic as you could wish for, without the hair or the slobber.

Mary Peterson takes “A Moment to Stitch” beautiful baby crafts. She also suffered from a disease that kept her in a chair. She said, “A couple years ago I started having some health problems, so I taught myself how to crochet so I could do something while I was sitting there. It saved my sanity.”  Looking for a handmade baby gift? How about one that looks like Elsa and Anna, or a Thor hammer? Her beautiful creations illustrate how beauty can bloom from heavy burdens.

One tent was filled with traditional pottery, but James Larkin, the creator, is not a traditional artist.  Larkin spent his life in a classroom, teaching art in many forms to high school students. He said, “There’s something to be said for those artists that do a few things and they become extremely good at them ... I don’t.” His tent was full of small, large, short and tall pottery.  He added that, “an art teacher also needs to be a practicing artist to really be effective at teaching the students. And so it was helpful not only for me to do the work but the students to see that I didn’t just make demands of them. I was working right alongside them ... giving each other a lot of ideas and inspiration.” Larkin’s pottery was a vivid display of years of love and dedication. 

Looking for peace of mind and a piece of earth? Bill Jun, owner of Lotus in Draper, wraps gemstone pendants with delicate wire and hangs them on necklaces. He said, “‘Earth Beat.’ I felt that was an appropriate name because when I wrap the jewelry I feel it has a part of me as well as a part of mother earth because it’s got the crystals and gems and that holds that earth energy, loving energy. I feel like it has a heartbeat ... of the earth.”  Several years ago when the economy slumped, so did Jun’s business. He started crafting the pendant necklaces as a way to support Lotus through the economic hardship. But now that his business has recovered, he just finds joy in crafting. He said, “For now I just do this as kind of like a hobby. I love it when people buy a piece of jewelry and wear it.”

Other artists simply have a love for their medium. Pride and talent were clearly abundant in all of the tents, but here are a few more to whet your palate for next year. 

Do you want a beanie but don’t want to pay the department store prices? Rosalyn Moreno and her son operate “Graffiti Beanies.” They handmake and treat beanie hats made from all natural wool, cotton, merino and sometimes bamboo. Moreno started crocheting as a teenager, and only did so for herself. In later years, her husband wanted a beanie but they were both unwilling to pay outrageous popular store prices. That first beanie took her six weeks, but now she can make one in fewer than three hours.

Are you looking for something to improve your allergy symptoms? Becky Thompson and her son Blake hand pour 100% beeswax candles. Burning a beeswax candle in your home can alleviate seasonal allergies and stuffy noses. The candles also burn clean, unlike paraffin wax candles, which means they don’t leave any residue. The “indoor sunshine” glow will clean the air and fill the room with a sweet honey scent. 

Eating healthier means more fruits and vegetables in the house. Most fruits aren’t meant to be refrigerated, so you need a pretty bowl to display them on your kitchen counter. Steve creates beautiful bowls perfect for that very purpose. Steve created “Pebble Pottery” after his crafting evolved from small garden ornaments to large bowls. Many of the bowls were made of smooth pebbles, others of broken glass. All of his materials are local. Steve said, “We use a mixture of other things, sometimes roofing stones to be a little creative ... I did some with the green army guys, a big bowl outta that. So we just take a lot of things that we think would look nice and meld them together and hopefully people will enjoy what the result is.” There were large bowls for food or small bowls for keys, and all sizes in between. And yes, the bowls are FDA approved for food contact.

When you think of craft fair jewelry, do images of elementary strung beads and poor taste come to mind? Think again. One artist spent 17 years in New York City as a fine jewelry designer. Connie Fong said, “ I know how to do it, I know what the trend is, what people like.” Her pendant jewelry is cast from stainless steel, then assembled by hand with glass and other elements. Some pendants are intricate filigree, while others are hand painted to mimic fine jewels.  She now lives in Salt Lake City and owns her own jewelry business. 

The arts and craft displays were complemented by bluegrass music under the pavilion and food trucks, making the festival fun for kids and adults alike. This is definitely an event you will want to look out for next year. But bring an umbrella, just in case.