Monday, November 06, 2006

Local Holiday Art Market

Yesterday was a gift weather-wise - a sunny, relatively warm day wedged between two wet ones. I spent part of the afternoon outside filling three more bags with leaves, then walking about the property taking advantage of the air washed clear of the usual smoky haze to capture interesting light patterns, views and textures on camera. Will share some of those later.

But first I headed over to the Pend Oreille Arts Council Holiday Art Market (note no mention of craft here). I've been wanting to add some serving bowls to my everyday dishes for a long time, and I had no problem finding something that I liked. On the left are two bowls bought long ago with my plates behind, and on the left are my two new bowls, made by Diane Simons of Sunnyside Pottery here in Sandpoint.

Diane and several others at the market also exhibit their wares at Pottery Place Plus in Spokane, WA. This cooperative gallery of "fine craft artisans" was founded by a group of potters, but now includes other media such as wood, metal and fiber. It's a place I definitely want to check out - perhaps a place where I can display my own wares some day? You never know.

The market included 65 artists, some coming from several hours away. In addition to ceramics, the usual offerings of paintings, photography and jewelry were well represented, and a bit of wood carving, basket weaving, candles and food items were also in evidence. Two booths had quilty items, which surprised me. I'm talking log cabin wall hangings, potholders and placemats with a calico feel - more craft than art. At least three booths had fiber - silk scarves that had been painted, dyed or batiked, scarves woven from alpaca, artistic and tasteful garments and handspun yarns - all out of my price range but tempting all the same. I had to keep reminding myself that, with the exception of the yarns and weaving, it was stuff I could (or should) be able to create myself. Still, the level of artistry was very high - beautiful pieces. What I did not see was any fiberart or textile art for the wall.

I had another motive for attending this market besides shopping and checking out the local art scene. I was curious to see if this was a selling venue I should consider for my own work. I've done the arts & crafts fairs before with hand-dyed fabric and found them not the best place for that sort of thing. Now I want to sell individual pieces of art so suspected this type of venue would not suit me or my current interests. As I cruised the aisles, noting how much stock was still in each booth just hours from closing and imagining how I would have to work to make participating worth my while, my suspicions were confirmed. This sort of thing just isn't a good fit for how I want to work right now.

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