Friday, August 11, 2006

Arts & Crafts Festival opens with bonus group

Sam?s Picks will showcase valley artists


By DANA DUGAN
Express Staff Writer

Karen McCall uses the river as inspiration for her floor canvases.

For 38 years the Sun Valley Center Arts & Crafts Festival has taken place, often with the artwork of those who live and work in the Wood River Valley. Over time and as a juried system was implemented, more national artists began to overwhelm the numbers.

But things have begun to change just a tad. This year 21 working artists from the valley went through the jury process, five were chosen and another six picked to participate by Sun Valley Center Executive Director Sam Gappmayer.

"I asked my staff if they would be gracious enough to allow me to identify a theme and hand-pick individuals for inclusion in the festival," Gappmayer said. "The first year was on local artists as it is this year. In subsequent years it might be something like traditional Basque crafters or Hispanic artists."

Juried local artists who were chosen through the regular process are Deb Gelet, Vickey Hanson-Williams, Esoterica team of Terrance Deemer & Michele Black, Kim Howard and Colten Tippets.

Textile artist Gelet is self-taught, albeit with homegrown training at her grandmother's knee. This marks the fifth year she was tapped to exhibit her wall hangings, shawls and other textiles.

Esoterica's unusual, refined jewelry mixes Deemer's technical precision with co-creator Black's artistic vision.

Hanson-Williams, who has long been working with vintage photographs, has taken her digital camera to nature. Her photographs of interesting plants, shapes, rocks and wood are then tweaked on her computer into exquisite, though still organic, patterns. She then prints her designs onto silk chiffon in her Ketchum studio, Mountain Dreamworks. Her new pieces are unique, stunning and sophisticated.

Kim Howard is the illustrator of seven children's books. Her illustrations are varied in technique and style and depict celebration, village life, travel, adventure, and animal and plant life. Seasoned festival artist metalsmith Colten Tippets was also chosen.

Karen McCall said the theme is the river in this long time local's painted floor canvases. She uses acrylic paint and durable finishes to create long-lasting, sturdy, fade-resistant floor cloths that can serve as area rugs. From fish and nature to spiritual symbols, McCall's canvases have evolved over the past 25 years.

Kary Kjesbo makes what she calls "big girl jewelry." This is her fourth time in the Arts & Crafts Festival. Last year she noted that "people commented on how fun it was to have more locals in the show. It made it more community-minded." This year she will showcase some new work that includes antique pieces such as red china trade beads, Nepalese coins, Ethiopian crosses and Chanel chains. "I love the feel and spirit that old artifacts embody," she said.

Debbie Edgers Sturges has a passion for the Western wildlife, landscapes and animals that are the subjects of her paintings. As a participant of the Arts & Crafts Festival for "between 20 and 25 years, on and off, since the mid 1970s," she said her work has some different elements this year including some rodeo paintings.

Meanwhile, she was named one of the top 100 finalists for the Arts of the Parks competition. One of her paintings will tour the country next year with that program. She is also a member of the National Society of Animal Artists, of which she is a signature member. Another of her paintings is in their national touring show, also slated for 2007.

Other local artists Gappmayer chose include ceramic artist Elmer Taylor, of Taylormade Pottery in Ketchum, and glass artist Paul Downey. They will join 2004 Best of Photography winner, Ketchum-based Barbara Kline.

Festival Awards:

As well as the Best of Category Awards, this year the Arts & Crafts Festival will have an Audience Award, which everyone except the artists can vote on. The winner will automatically be entered into the festival in 2007.




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