Pottery, paintings, and photographs galore

Vistors glance at the artists’ work avidly, some just browsing while others shopping for pictures. (credit: Jesse Kummer | Photo Staff) Vistors glance at the artists’ work avidly, some just browsing while others shopping for pictures. (credit: Jesse Kummer | Photo Staff) An artist displays his or her work in the middle of the street. (credit: Jesse Kummer | Photo Staff) An artist displays his or her work in the middle of the street. (credit: Jesse Kummer | Photo Staff)

It was an absolutely picturesque afternoon as couples and families strolled up and down Walnut Street admiring all the work at the art festival this past weekend.

Booths lined the center of the street, and food vendors selling sausages and freshly squeezed lemonade punctuated each block. Musicians also performed, playing pianos and steel pans, singing and selling CDs of their songs.

The booths were situated in the center of the street so that visitors could walk all the way up Walnut Street to South Neville Street and circle round and walk down to Centre Avenue.

Some booths were complete with a generator and sophisticated track lighting to highlight their pottery, paintings, or jewelry. There were mixed media pieces, wall hangings, lamps, hand-dyed scarves, purses, wallets, handmade clothing, leather goods, black-and-white photographs, landscapes, ironworks, giclee reproductions, acid etched metal... the list goes on.

Some artists took a relaxed approach, sitting in directors’ chairs on the sidewalk and letting people browse through their collections, while others were in their booths with their customers.

There were fused glass light switch plates, ornaments, vases, earrings, tableware, rugs, lamps, fine furniture and house accessories, ornate outdoor fountains, and even botanical collages on display.

Many artists’ work was eye-catching, with unique items on display. Janet Johnson painted poignant red poppies in acrylic onto large canvases. Lisa Aronzon displayed glass ornaments, bowls, and hand-blown flowers.

Jimmy Langford came from Cumming, Ga. to show his copper, bronze, and brass sculptures. Leslie Reich had an interesting selection of wheel-thrown pottery, and her two sets of green and red bowls really stood out.

Rita Troller, an artist from Orland Park, Ill., displayed a series of zinc and copper etchings. She had created an exquisite piece titled “A Pair,” an etching of two bright pears hanging from a tree, one colored chartreuse and the other lime. Jennifer Ardolino brought her watercolors from Crystal River, Fla. Keith Ernest, an elderly jeweler, showed rosebud rings and necklaces attracted lots of attention.

Obayana B. Ajanaku constructed a booth of sterling silver, 14- and 18-carat gold, and mokume gane, that was simply astounding. He was one of the few artists actually making pieces on site, sitting quietly behind his work with his head down, but ready to answer any questions about his pieces.

Kimberly C. Anderson of Milkweed Ceramics made beautiful functional, figurative, and sculptural ceramic pieces. She highlighted her “Goddess Cups”: glasses, jars, pitchers, and even soap dispensers that mirrored the features of a female from the navel up.

Charles D’Onofrio brought handmade leather bags from Danbury, Conn. It was interesting to compare his leather designs to those of the only other vendors with leather goods, and he clearly had the upper hand because of his superior hides, textures, and custom pulls that trumped the other artists’ formulaic totes and wallets. His wife told me that she picks the fabrics and that each piece is one of a kind, that she never has and never will make the same bag twice.
Some very interesting furniture was also on display. John Damratoski featured some amazing mixed media metal and wood chairs. A woodworker from Millmont, Pa., J.C. Sterling exhibited custom-designed hand-built furniture with traditional joinery and unique figures that he claimed would last for generations.

Jeff Laibson’s art was an abstract and impressionist interpretation of music featuring mangled music notes, crayola colors, and a jumble of jazz instruments. Scribbled in the corner of one of his pieces was “Play, rest, repeat.” This was a wonderfully fitting phrase for the day, good advice for the future, and a pretty mature mantra to have.