This weekend, Maude Kerns Art Center held its 28th year of the and the Vineyard crafts and festival.
A cloudy morning on Sunday broke apart in the afternoon for the Arts and the Vineyard visitors and doused Alton Baker Park, the bustling craft show and wine-tasting festival in sunshine for the remainder of the day.
Festival-goers were out in great numbers, milling slowly between the individual artist tents inhabited by some manner of decorative crafts, paintings, jewelry or photography.
One artist’s passion is revealed as her driving factor, “I’ve always picked up rocks as a little kid,” said artist Amy Wilson, who goes into great detail about the history of the stones that she has turned into polished, silver-strewn pendants. She described the variety of types of rocks in her collection of handmade jewelry as having been pushed southward from Canada by a glacier that “scrubbed a lot of ,” and left rock deposits in areas, specifically the Puget Sound. The sound is where she has always traveled to collect the rocks, only now it is for a living. “I love that they’re just little pieces of our geologic history.”
Ed Coffman, artist of Hudson River Inlay journeyed across the country from Windsor, New York to be in this year’s festival. The intricate landscape designs are first sketched out in a process that takes months to determine how the wooden pieces will be cut and fitted together. Coffman explained that the sketches are “the guide for the jigsaw puzzle artwork that it is.”
One of the particularly brilliantly colored booths lit by the afternoon sunlight was Noelle Dass’Artimal designs. Dass claims her whimsical paintings are her way to uplift the spirit, both her own as well those who enjoy and “respond well” to her lighthearted and fun style. “It keeps me going,” she said. This Eugene-based artist said that while some vendors don’t enjoy solicitors coming to their booths, “I like [giving] donations.” The artist mentions on her website that a portion of her sales go towards animal and non-profit organizations.
Near the artists’ market was the Youth Art Arena, that attracted children with live, captive-bred and rescue animals at the Zany Petting Zoo. Children were also given an opportunity to create clay figures at the ClaySpace tables. Sue Davis, who volunteers for Clay Space, stood next to a tabletop that displayed the children’s sculptures which sat out to dry before the kids returned to collect them, “We just give them a wad of clay and they go at it!” she said.
On the eastern end of the fence-enclosed festival grounds, smells wafted from a
wide variety of local vendors selling international foods. The crowds of wine tasters mingled between nearly two dozen booths from which employees continually filled glasses. Some of the wineries represented are also established vineyards which grow their grapes in and around the Willamette Valley and greater Oregon.
A wide swath of grass was kept open, one side dotted with tables and chairs where the festival goers sat down to eat and drink. Many people sat out on blankets in front of a large stage with a tie-dye background where the folk duo, Heartroot, was playing. From song to song, the male and female pair strummed a variety of stringed instruments while they sang in harmony.
The music played on as children ran through the grass below the stage as the second day of the 2011 Art and the Vineyard carried on into the evening.
Contributing Editor: Chris M. Scotti