Designs on this Month: April Affairs to Remember

4 Apr

On the heels of last week’s surprise storm that opened the new season, we are still feeling timid about saying seemingly taboo words like ‘spring’ and ‘mild’ too soon. But we do prefer to stay positive here at Festival Fete so, with that, let us exclaim with some confidence, ‘Happy Spring!’ If not as lamb-like as we would, well, like, we are still that much closer to the opening of our season. In the meantime, check out some upcoming events we can all sink our artsy, craftsy teeth into until then. And, remember, we love to know what you, our loyal artists and followers, are up to – where you’re showing, going and what you’re making…so stay in touch and stay tuned.

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  • Friday, April 4-6: For nothing less than haute handmade, make your way to CraftBoston Spring, a discriminatingly juried exhibition of ‘fine craft.’ Beginning today through Sunday at The Cyclorama at the Boston Center for the Arts.
  • Throughout April: Locally, our favorite so-much-more-than a garden store, The Farmer’s Daughter, is positively blooming with beautiful things to do and learn throughout the month. Go to the the website to plan your day in their gardens.
  • Image Sunday, April 6th: Who is better than the tireless foragers at Whole Foods to find original, locally inspired ideas for your upcoming event? Joining forces with Craftland of Providence, who brings an array of ‘locally made wedding wares,’ this talented team  promises novel wedding offerings from the flowers to the catering, the cakes and pastries as well as gifts of beauty and body care, too!
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A teapot by Adero Willard, one of 22 exclusive potters showing at the Worcester Pottery Invitational.

 

  • Friday, April 11-14: Nationally recognized potters will exhibit at the finely curated Worcester Pottery Invitational next week. Go to the Worcester Center for Crafts’ site to learn about their tradition of and commitment to community-based art and for a full list this show’s superb artists and their work.

Stay near to us as we continue to add to this list as we find more events of interest in our area. And feel free to contact us with any local happenings that you find worthy. Thanks for reading!

Festival Focus: Meet Lianna

16 Mar Liannaprofilepic
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Pictured here in her own designs, Lianna’s natural warmth of personality is reflected in each piece.

I’ve fallen in love with new artists at each and every Festival Fete show over the past year but I have a particular thing for jewelers. New to us is Lianna Slater of Lianna Michelle Designs. She’s one of those artists whose work, both artistically and professionally, is the essence of what Festival Fete strives to deliver to it’s guests. Culled mainly from Rhode Island shores but also collected from Utah and Florida as well as Mexico, Brazil and Russia, the stones she uses in her necklaces, bracelets and earrings remain unadulterated. Whether semi-precious or simply a unique pick from a beach walk, Lianna wraps them in various treatments of copper wire, with a subtle hand, letting the natural curves and original shape of her finds stand out and define the overall piece. The results remain earthen and chunky but still so delicate and fluid. 

Both in and out of her studio, Lianna is busy. She divides her tireless commitment to her own creativity with a demanding job at Looking Upwards, a Middletown, RI-based non profit which provides a wide array of services to adults and children with developmental challenges striving to live to their fullest potential. Through their vocational day program, Lianna supports four young artisans in their aspiring business, Downtown Designs, a gallery in Newport where their work is proudly displayed. There she teaches and together they “sell and share art, share space, and share community.” She was so gracious to take time to answer my questions. Her work is best spoken through her own words:

Festival Fete: What have you been up to over this particularly long winter?

Lianna Slater: Cold winter days made it easy for me to stay cozied up in my studio, enhancing my brand and business and keeping my creations flowing. It was the perfect time for me to be highly productive. As an artist, it’s easy to get lost in the creative process and lose sight of the branding, so it was especially important to me to set the intention of, and to put attention into, revamping my website, which will relaunch this Spring.  I’ve also been building my inventory for the 9+ shows I have lined up for 2014.

FF: What has inspired your most recent work?

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Slightly smaller in scale, Lianna’s most recent work is at once graceful and striking.

LS: Scale. My designs have tended to be larger, and I will always carry these signature pieces; however it’s important to me to be more accessible to my customers. Over the years, I’ve paid closer attention to what the majority are looking for. More often, it’s ornate, smaller scale pieces. I’m a self-taught jewelry artist with a B.A. in Fine Art. Painting, actually. Some customers have compared my pieces to wearable works of art, which is the ultimate compliment. In playing with the scale of my most recent collection, I have realized I’m still able to create aesthetic statements that are now even more affordable! So, this year it’s all about dialing down the scale and proportions of my work. It’s been a challenge, but the end results surpassed even my own expectations.

FF: Your beautiful stones and gemstones are set in copper, mostly?

Lianna: Yes, that’s right! They all start off in copper foil. The process I’ve implemented is similar to that of stained-glass making. I begin by wrapping each stone in copper foil and solder each piece individually. Laying the stones into artful, organic, and balanced composition is my forté. Once I fabricate an assortment of pieces, I send them out to be plated in .925% sterling silver or copper. At this point, it becomes a fairly repetitive, but quite therapeutic, process. This year I’ve been experimenting and created a new, diamond-like texture that I’m really excited about.

FF: Have you collected stones on your travels outside of Rhode Island?

LS: Oh, of course! Just like a photographer doesn’t go anywhere without their camera, I don’t go anywhere without my eyes wide open for inspiration for a new piece or collection. I’ve traveled to bead expos and antique shows over the years for supplies. My favorite is the International Bead Expo in Tucson, Arizona. It’s exciting to meet the rock hounders and miners themselves – the folks that really unleash these historic gems. It’s a dream of mine to travel to Russia or Brazil to discover their natural origins for myself.

“Just like a photographer doesn’t go anywhere without their camera, I don’t go anywhere without my eyes wide open for inspiration for a new piece or collection.”

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Give meaning to an ordinary outfit with these bold, yet somehow understated, pieces. I plan to wear mine with a t-shirt and jeans or simple dress. Lianna’s prolific use of various crystals, agate, freshwater pearls, jade, carnelian and ‘ordinary’ beach stones made choosing just a few examples here difficult. Visit her site to view more of her natural creations for sale and some past commissions, too.

FF: Where do you find the most inspiration?

LS: Nature has always been my blank canvas and such a source of inspiration. I’m often left in awe and wonderment at the science and origin behind each selection I make — whether it be from geodes and crystals from ancient volcanoes dating back millions of years, or to local rocks and shells found combing the shorelines of New England and Florida. I feel honored to bring these selections to life, as though I’m a conduit merging unique and vast materials of yesteryear together.  Europe meets Newport, or East meets West — not sure the best way to describe it — but it all works for me, and my customers seem to agree.

Yes, Lianna, we do!

You’ll find Lianna at every Festival Fete show this upcoming season as well as a few other great events. Find her schedule on her website, liannamichelledesigns.com or follow her on Facebook for regular updates.

 

Off the Beaten ‘Parade’ Path

15 Mar
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Tree-to-Table: Register at asri.org now for Coventry’s Maple Sugaring Tours, one of a few alternatives this weekend.

It’s not all about St. Patrick today in little Rhody! If you’re looking for something less crowded and more ahem sober, check out quahog.org, our new favorite guide online to the best of the”Ocean State’s history, culture, and quirks.” Some highlights we found for today are the Prudence Island Tour and Seal Watch out of Bristol or the Maple Sugaring Tours in Coventry, both great options for the milder weather we’re expecting. Back in Bristol tonight at Coggeshall Farm Museum, enjoy a historic cooking workshop, where participants will work from the first published American cookbook to enjoy a truly colonial, farm-to-table dinner by candlelight, of course. And the Kitchen to Table Exhibit, tomorrow, at Warwick’s Clouds Hill Victorian Museum showcases food prep and presentation over the years with myriad tablescapes from casual to formal. Just a few suggestions for the more laid back of our Festival goers this weekend. Of course if you decide to enjoy one of the major parades, either in Newport or Providence, or even Boston, have a lucky libation or two for us – that sounds pretty good, too! Cheers, stay well and stay tuned…

Designs on This Weekend: March 6-9

6 Mar

Weekends start on Thursdays as far as we’re concerned and if they don’t, then they should. In that spirit, we’re happy to scour the scores of websites and highlight here a smattering of arty things to do and some to simply not miss whether you’re alone, with the family, skipping around town with friends or venturing across the border. As we await warmer weather and the beginning of our season, we’ll delight in all that is flickering around us right now. We even found a festival - in Western Mass - for the off season. Who knew? And if we’re missing something spectacular, please do tell us and we’ll add it on. We hope to grow this piece of our budding blog into a community calendar and will do it that much better with your help! For now, add one or two of these events to your weekend agenda…

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Audiences at Manhattan Short 2013

  • Thursday, March 6th, 7 pm: Exclusively in RI at the Jamestown Arts Center – Manhattan Short’s 2nd Annual Feature Film Project screens the year’s selected film: ‘Everyone’s Going to Die.’ Chosen by moviegoers across the county, Manhattan Short discovers and launches one film each year with the opinions and input from viewers like you. Get in on this only in Jamestown. http://www.jamestownartcenter.org/film1.html#manhattanfeature

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Taproot Threads organic printed clothing; Andrew Jack’s handmade Windsor chairs; Tracey Lizotte’s watercolor and pencil originals – exhibitors at Old Deerfield Craft Fairs.

  • March 8-9th: The Deerfield Spring Sampler Fair in West Springfield, MA – Now is a great time to travel the region as lowered room rates and downright good deals can easily be found during the low season. This fair features 135 juried exhibitions, craft demonstrations and classes with a focus on “the gift-giving needs of spring and garden outdoor living interests.” What a great way to jump start getting back outside and getting creative.  http://festivalnet.com/13139/West-Springfield-Massachusetts/Art-and-Craft-Shows/Deerfield-Spring-Sampler-Fair

Enjoy the weekend, keep warm and keep in touch.

Share your comments below and do add your name to our monthly newsletter on the website at festivalfete.com

Still Walking in a Winter Wonderland

28 Feb

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Doug Hockman’s print entitled ‘Alone,’ given away to a lucky Festival Fete follower last year, inspired this week’s post.
hockmanphotography.com

There’s nothing quite like a lone walk in the woods this time of year. There’s no better way to tune into the crunching sound of leftover snow under your (overly) worn boots. Nothing prettier than a monochrome backdrop for a family portrait of cardinals. And the ocean against all the gray, if you’re near enough, is that pale turquoise in the shoals – almost caribbean like if you face the sun and just imagine….

But then you realize you’re still here in New England and so is winter. Lingering. And while all may seem a bit bleak, there is a silver lining. Because this season, however long and drawn out, affords Festival Fete artists the time they need to create. Without the solitude, there wouldn’t be the space needed to produce the bounty we find at our shows. Those seemingly effortless displays at our artists’ booths come from the thoughts, the inspiration and the toil that happens now.

So while I wait to see a single snowdrop peek through the ground, I can’t wait to see what all our thoroughly inspired creatives unveil at the very first show in Garden City this June. Stay tuned and stay warm!

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Embracing the palette of the season while adorning yourself and your home in their understated hues can manifest a certain tranquility. Past Festival Fete artists easily find inspiration in the wintry landscape. From upper left, clockwise: Nancy Van Tassel’s ‘big little ring’ in hammered sterling silver; A continuous piece of birch makes this simple necklace by Joyo; Howland Studio’s pin out of finds from a beach walk; Ombre infinity scarf by Nicole Lebreux; Erica Cioe’s simple ceramic plates. 

 

The ring: http://www.drapedinjewelry.com/index.html

The necklace: http://www.shopjoyo.us/collections/necklaces/products/loop-and-chain

That pin: http://www.etsy.com/shop/howlandstudio

The scarf: http://www.etsy.com/people/nicolelebreux

And those plates: http://ericacioe.weebly.com/index.html

Links to the online shops and websites of festival artists past and present can be found in every blogpost. Check them out!

Thanks for reading!

Please share your inspirations and creations

with us in a comment below or on Facebook. 

Places to Go, People to See

20 Feb
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The Illuminated Garden at Ballard Park, Newport

Since I first heard about, then started to feel, the forecasted reprieve from freezing temps, I’ve decided to unwind the scarf I’ve been wearing since November – if only for a few days. And though the rain may come and go, I’m relieved it’ll be a good, mild time to get out there and see what’s happening – because there are actually things going on this week!

Thanks to the public school winter break, both Newport and Providence are ripe with activity, geared toward young and old alike. I’ve never missed the annual Illuminated Garden at Ballard Park in Newport which coincides nicely this year with the city’s 10-day long Winter Festival. Along with events around town, the quarry meadow is set aglow by spectacular twinkling displays. Wear your muck boots, though, you’ll need ‘em.

Back up in Providence…the city’s Children’s Film Festival continues packing the week and weekend full of films screened at RISD and the Cable Car Cinema. With events and films geared for both the younger set as well as all ages crowds, PCFF joins Gallery Night Providence tonight offering free admission to the museum and a movie. Then keep your energy up for Friday night as PPAC welcomes Alton Jones, of Food Network fame, downtown with his Edible Inevitable Tour -  tickets are somehow still available?!

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Alton Jone’s ‘Edible Inevitable’ Tour at PPAC

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The first female Saudi Arabian director of ‘Wadjda,’ screening at PCFF

Doors are open for ongoing installations in galleries at URI, Brown and RISD (Andy Warhol’s photos!), while the lesser known Clouds Hill Victorian House in Warwick finishes ’100 years of Romance,’ a display of a century’s worth of wedding gowns. You may also want to visit The Hera Gallery in Wakefield which highlights the area’s younger artists with it’s 26th Annual Children’s Exhibition, also ending in the next few days.

So chart your course and set your sights around the state this weekend. Because winter isn’t over – it’s just taking a break. And stay with us, we’ll keep you posted on all the local art, food and merriment we can take until Festival time!

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‘Hunderthasser City,’ by Fishing Cove Elementary’s Luzuli Cole, hangs at the Hera Gallery in Wakefield

Soak up the ‘Snow’ Shine

14 Feb

Image    One cool thing about Valentine’s Day falling on a Friday is that you’ve got the whole weekend. A long weekend. And while it does seem silly to suggest heading out at all – ever – as this never ending storm endlessly drops either snow, ice or rain, we must hold out hope….I’ll admit I kind of like/slash/love walking to the neighborhood pub that stays open – even in this. Romantic is certainly not expensive.

And Valentine’s Day is not always ‘romantic.’ It’s finding yourself outside, during that eventual break in the clouds, on your favorite snowy trail with your favorite people. Or holding your kid’s hand really tight as you make your way up over the rocks along your special piece of our perfect coastline. It’s sledding and it’s ice skating.

Back at home later, it’s the do-it-yourself-and-make-the-most-of-it holiday that fires up sweet romance. So get the groceries and make that meaningful meal for one or make it for many. Then light the candles, cue the music and enjoy it. Because soon, yes soon, the weather will be too good.

And while we steep in the kind of warmth that only this season brings, we are still looking ahead to milder days. In that anticipation, we wrongly announced the start of our 2014 Festival schedule. We correct that Garden City will host our first festival of 2014 on June 7-8 and Newport will follow soon after. We sorta skipped right over it in our last post! So keep it simple this weekend, stay warm and stay with us as we update Festival Fete news and scheduling regularly.

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