The Marion Arts Festival


The Marion Arts Festival

How it went: 

Very well.

We learned a lot.

Things went pretty smoothly.

We were pretty lucky with the weather.



Friday morning I picked up the cargo van- which, by the way, was more space and vehicle than we needed- and  it stopped raining long enough for us to load it up.the-packed-van

Traffic was miserable and it rained most of the way but when we arrived, the rain stopped again and we unloaded our shelves, assembled them and then stored them under a park building’s broad overhang.

The next morning was quite cold but sunny, we set up in about an hour and 20 minutes with enough time to change clothes before the fair started. At 9 we were open for business!


Our set up: everything is from IKEA. booth-shotclose-up-a-display


People seemed to ebb and flow into the booth all day. I would say my mugs and picture vases were the most popular.lots-of-customers

Here’s a small sampling of the latest.row-of-mugsmr-harebarn-swallowperched-on-the-frameseen-from-my-car





At 5 pm. we began to pack up and due to good planning, that went pretty smoothly too. We were ready to leave in an hour and a half. 

We stayed with friends in Iowa City and they have a lovely house and  took good care of us.

On our way out, we visited AKAR-

what a great store! I had, of course seen the web site and had no idea it was in Iowa City!


Marion is lovely, Iowa is lovely and we had a lovely time.

The Old Town Art Fair

I always try to go to the Old Town Art Fair.

Actually, this year I tried to get into it. Apparently, it’s one of the hardest to get into. I’m not surprised, as the work I see in there is excellent. 

Of course I have a few favorites and I collected their cards and will post their links here:

First I came upon Chris Dahlquist who does these exquisite, spare landscapes with luxurious clouds. Her website photos really cannot convey the depth of her pictures because she paints gold tones on paper and digitally prints her photos over them. This gives the photos great depth and light that changes depending on the angle. 

Even though another artist at the fair said “I hate when they come in and say ‘If I only had enough money…’” that’s exactly how I felt about Chris’s work.  I absolutely would have bought a piece I saw with a reflected stream. It was lovely.

Another artist whose work I have actually purchased in the past is Gary Stretar, an Ohio painter who stands out from the crowd of landscape painters. He says he is a colorist if I remember rightly. His work has a wonderful stillness about it like those long hot days in the summer when you are too tired to do much of anything and all you can hear is a cicada droning on. Or in the spring right after it rains and living things haven’t yet resumed scurrying about. He doesn’t seem to have a web site but you can google him.

Winner of “Seriously, just give me 700$ so I can buy this” award goes to Jenny Pope whose work, besides having wild colors and incredible compositions, is also trying to say and do something about the environment. I really love her work and subject matter.

I’ve never quite seen space used the way she uses it and yet it is really balanced. 

I saw her pieces and met her last year and have been following her work since. It seems incredible that these are woodcuts! She has a great website   Even more incredible was the fact that she remembered me  from last year and is a delightful young woman!

On to 3-D.  I was totally blown away by Jennifer McCurdy’s porcelain.

Now I have often called porcelain harsh cruel mistress but of course it wouldn’t have any power over me if it weren’t so seductive. And forgiving in odd ways.

Ms. McCurdy was very gracious and explained some of her techniques.  Most amazing is that these pieces move quite a bit in the high fire- porcelain gets a bit “soft” when it goes vitreous. Take a look at her site.

Then a really nice display caught my eye and immediately after that, the pots!  OMG they are gorgeous. The artist wasn’t around to ask so it was only after I visited his site that i realized these gems are terra cotta! Each one has wonderful  flashing and is unique. I am guessing he saggar fires them first and uses the results to inspire his surface decoration but that is a wild stab in the dark and really just a projection of what I would do.

I do know that sometimes you can add Terra Sig. to a bisqued piece. 

Anyhow check out his gallery. Also, I love his “bowl from earth” statement. 

There were many other great artists there but the 3 additional ones I’m thinking of, don’t have web sites.