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Art Happenings

8 Aug

It’s finally, suddenly summer. Hot and humid, crowded, and undeniably, August. The upside to cluttered roads and beaches? There’s just SO much to do! Indoors and out. Here are a few spots we’re headed to this month…

South County

Saturday, August 9th:  The Greater Westerly-Pawcatuck Area Chamber of Commerce present Riverglow, Westerly’s take on waterfire. A community event  with music, food, family activities and more, centered around a beautiful, watery spectacle starting at 7 pm.

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Sunday, August 10th:  The 3rd annual Green Market Festival in South Kingstown. We’ll find any excuse to head to The Farmer’s Daughter, so an outdoor festival at the acclaimed nursery and garden center makes this one a no-brainer. And Big Nazo will be there, even better!

Newport

Saturday, Aug. 16th – Sunday Aug. 17th:  Wet Paint 2014 at the Newport Art Museum. Participate as an artist, or watch as artists ply their craft at locations around Newport on Saturday and then bid on works you love in silent and live auctions on Sunday.

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Cape Cod

Thursday, August 14  (And every remaining Thursday this month): Wellfleet Artisan Market. Local artists from the Cape and surrounding areas show off and sell their various crafts. We love every vendor there!

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Providence

August 5th-10th: Catch the last half of FLICKERS: Rhode Island International Film Festival 2014 screening of more than 200 films this year at various venues including PPAC and (our favorite!) the Jamestown Arts Center.

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Boston

Saturday, August 16th: The Greenway Open Market, part of Sowa, Boston’s string of outdoor markets. This one sets up on the new Rose Kennedy Greenway and features a weekly crop of the city’s arts and crafts vendors.

And finally, back in East Greenwich, RI!

Saturday, Aug. 23rd – Sunday, Aug. 24th: Festival Fete’s 4th annual East Greenwich Art Festival. We’re excited to welcome a whole lot of vendors past as well as a string of newcomers to this stop on our circuit. Live music, activities for the family, food trucks galore and more. This will be THE festival to close the month. See you there!

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Thanks for reading and get out there this month! Stay tuned and see you soon…

 

 

 

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Art Happenings

11 Jul

With a firm focus on the kickoff of Festival Fete’s 2014 summer season, we haven’t had much time to check out all of the exciting, inspiring stuff going on all around us. Read on for some highlights we stumbled upon for the weekend, whether you’re sticking close by or traveling around greater New England…

Providence

Saturday, July 12th: From noon -10 pm, the public is invited to the Providence Rink in Kennedy Plaza to paint their piece of the 10,000 square foot vinyl mural, entitled “Within Providence.” Paint your piece of a map of the city’s transit system created by artists from all over Rhode Island. Live entertainment, food trucks and more.

Admission is free to Waterfire, the spectacular evening event starting at sunset this Saturday, 7/12 featuring artful bonfires along downtown Providence’s waterways.  Followed every Sunday by The Providence Flea, a thrift shoppers delight, the Providence River greenway is alive all summer.

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Wickford

Saturday, 7/12 & Sunday, 7/13: Enjoy free admission and tax free shopping at the 52nd annual Wickford Art Festival. Located in pretty Wickford Village, peruse the work of over 200 fine artists from all over New England and beyond.

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South Shore

Saturday, July 12: Check out the 2014 Etsy Arts Market at the Pinehills Village Green in Plymouth, Mass. Festival Fete favorite, Jen Black of Islandesign, will be there! Featuring local Etsy Shop owners and their handmade goods including jewelry, apparel, home decor, children and pet accessories and more.

Greater Boston

Friday July 18th – Sunday, July 20th: On Revere Beach outside Boston, you’ll find the National Sand Sculpting Festival. Over 350,000 will attend the annual event, now in it’s 11th year, to enjoy the sand maneuvering talents of master sculptors, fireworks, gourmet food trucks, live music and more.

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Springfield, Mass

July 8th – July 13th: The Brimfield Antique Show and Flea Market runs it’s second show of the year with seemingly unending tented fields as more than 5,000 antiques dealers sell their goods along a one-mile stretch of Route 20 in rural New England at the largest outdoor antique flea market of it’s kind. Find anything and everything here.

Portsmouth, New Hampshire

An alternative to outdoor film screenings, the Prescott Park Arts Festival offers open air theater productions of Shrek every Thursday through Sunday through August 24th. For kids of all ages, reserve a blanket or table and be inspired by the dazzling sets and scenery provided by this live performance along the Piscataqua River in Portsmouth New Hampshire. The Sheafe Warehouse Gallery, also located in the Park, is open simultaneously and shows the work of various New Hampshire artists.

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Vermont

Saturday, July 12th & Sunday, July 13th: If you’re planning to be near Burlington, then please head to the The Vermont Farms Tour, where over 40 artists, small farms and artisans open their doors and invite the public to discover the heart of the islands of Lake Champlain. Gorgeous scenery, art and adventure.

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And Finally, Closer to Home

Saturday, July 26th: Our newest addition to the 2014 lineup will take Festival Fete just over the Rhode Island border and into the Bay State for the first time! The Emerald Square Mall will provide ample space for a show grand both in scale and delivery. We’re sure this fresh audience will welcome Festival Fete’s diverse semblance of jewelers, painters, sculptures, artists and crafters. Juxtaposed outside over 140 traditional retail stores, the unique wares found only at our festivals will compliment the mall’s offerings in a truly original and, as always, creative way. This latest and largest venue is conveniently located at the intersections of Routes 1 and 295, so save the date and plan to spend the day. We’re pulling out all the stops here!

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Festival Focus: Meet Natalie

23 Jun
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The artist, Natalie Squillante, with her usual smile and some pieces from a recent Anagama firing.

Last Spring, I dropped my then 7-year-old and rather timid daughter off at the Jamestown Arts Center to begin a series of after school pottery classes. By the time the first class was over and I returned, she was hugging her instructor, Natalie, goodbye and smiling widely. With a very real warmth and overall positivity, Natalie, a highly practiced ceramicist, encouraged my daughter — and countless others before and since —  to feel completely at home in her classroom. Though she is dedicated to teaching, lately Natalie has been turning a lot of energy, time and focus towards her own art. She finds the time to paint, draw and make pots at any opportunity of each day. Under a new brand she has created called Nautaleye, her pottery is as distinct and genuine as the artist herself.

Festival Fete: What were you up to this past winter/off-season?

Natalie: I’ve made all sorts of funky connections through the Jamestown Arts Center. And I’ve had the opportunity to work with one of my favorite ceramicists, Chris Gustin, using his amazing hand-built kiln, in South Dartmouth, MA. One of the three chambers is Anagama, a Japanese-style kiln, and is fueled by hand with firewood. I prepare and create work for the kiln throughout the year. Along with a group of talented, dedicated ceramicists, we fired one back in October/November and we’re currently firing another. It’s one of the experiences in my life that I look forward to, build up work for, and put a lot of energy into. Loading the large kiln is truly a communal effort and the firing is about a seven-day process. We continually stoke the fire in eight-hour shifts each. It has really grabbed me by the heart. What happens inside can reflect what’s going on in the atmosphere outside. We fired during Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and the ash blew just beautifully. I may initially throw the pieces on the wheel — the pots, the cups, the bowls — but I think the true beauty really comes from the kiln itself and in the natural ash glaze that forms on each unique piece.

FF: What’s inspired your most recent work?

N: My inspirations have never really changed; they’ve been staples throughout my life. The things that shine in my mind are nature, plants, the ocean and elephants. I have a deep respect and admiration for elephants: their wisdom, their memory and their spirituality. Love, wonder, beauty, joy and meditation inspire me, too.  Each finds a way onto a canvas, a piece of ceramics, on a piece of paper or a wall on a very regular and daily basis. I’ll be donating a percentage of my sales to Hope Elephants, a small organization in Maine dedicated to the preservation and protection of elephants. It’s a lofty goal but I would love to have an elephant of my own in the future. Since I was a child, I’ve been sort of obsessed with them, but learning of a vet who was able to rescue elephants from harmful environments makes me want to have the space and resources to care for one myself someday.

FF: Does your work with children influence your creations? 

N: Working with kids will always be a part of my life and work because I’m not sure I’ll ever not be a kid myself! It’s a part of who I am. I love every moment of learning, growing, sharing, and creating with them. I share a similar joy, willingness, and enthusiasm to create and learn, with students and children, and that is something that I savor and find inspiring in itself. That energy and process is most influential.

FF: Can you share a bit about your process?

N: One of my favorite and frequently used surface treatments is called Sgraffito. After using this process while I attended Maine College of Art, I found out that it’s Italian for graffiti.  Basically, once I’ve thrown a set  of whatever it is I’m making (a few bowls, planters, cups, serving bowls) I let them dry to a very specific dryness in order to foot them. The foot is at the bottom of a pot and is a sweet, pedestal like feature at the base. Some are ornate and complex, while others are simple or without.  I then apply a stain or underglaze. Here’s where the Sgraffito comes into play.  Using carving tools, I then begin to draw onto the surface carving away the stain or underglaze and some of the clay underneath it. I find Sgraffito creates a playful yet informative and beautiful use of positive/negative, foreground/background, history, and expression. It’s the way I enjoy getting information, a story or image that I may be painting or drawing, onto a ceramic piece.

FF: Have you got a favorite piece?

N: I love each piece for one reason or another. Even if it’s just for whatever phrase or word I’ve written on the bottom, the happy mistake or magic that occurred in the kiln or the memory attached to the carving.  They’re all my favorites; they’re like people to me. Maybe I’ll have a favorite come out of the Anagama soon!

FF: What are your aspirations?

N: I’m attracted to clay, partly, because everything I make is functional. The Anagama kiln was used in the Japanese culture to make pieces to be used by the whole community, since it allows for large amounts of pottery to be loaded and stacked inside. I would love to get people to the point that they can throw their own pottery, so they can start to replace a lot of the junk — for lack of a better word — that we consume and accumulate. I’d like to sort of ‘mass produce’ in a handmade way, making pieces quickly and simply, yet beautifully so that they can be accessible and affordable.

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FF: What do you look forward to most about participating in the Newport Art Festival? 

N: This is my first Festival Fete selling work.  I was working with Art Is Smart creating and working with kids at the Creation Stations for past Festivals and I’ll be facilitating crafts at the next Festival Fete (at Emerald Square), which I’m totally looking forward to! I’m stoked to see how my work is received by the public. I love the energy of Festival Fete so I’m also looking forward to the overall feeling that it brings and seeing all the beautiful work that will be there. I hope it’s a huge success for everyone and for Newport.

With artists like this one, how can it not be? Natalie can be contacted through the Jamestown Arts Center for group and private lessons and for arts and crafts based birthday parties. She can be found at the Newport Art Festival this weekend as well as future Festival Fete shows. She can be reached on Facebook, as well. Natalie’s work is displayed at the Art Market at the JAC and she currently has beautiful soap dishes and mixing bowls for sale at Farmaesthetics flagship apothecary on Bellevue Ave. in Newport.

Festival Focus: Meet Jen Black

29 Apr

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Connected by bridges yet somehow quite wonderfully disconnected sits Conanicut Island and the town of Jamestown, Rhode Island. Perfectly pastoral and coastal at the same time, Jamestown manages to miss the throngs of summer traffic some of it’s neighbors contend with and so remains a peaceful community of folks dedicated to their myriad crafts. Jennifer Weeden-Black is one such islander. Anchored in her family’s rich history here, the artist has grown Islandesign for over ten years bringing the strong simplicity of the island to life in her bold, original stained glass canvases. Browsing her pieces feels like flipping through an old photo album of our beloved, local landscapes and seascapes we here at Festival Fete covet. We can’t wait to see what she brings to Newport.

Festival Fete: What were you up to this past winter?

Jen Black: Farming is a perpetual part of my life and inspiration. Though I don’t live on a farm, I worked at Simmons Farm in Middletown, RI to fill the need.

FF: What has inspired your most recent work?

JB: My latest projects have been a series of goats as panels of glass or paintings, inspired by the goats on the farm. Islandesign and stained glass as an art form to me is a large part of an ideal lifestyle.

“My family and I live a pretty simple life in Jamestown.

Family, art, and a love of farming inspire me every day.”

FF: Tell us about your process.

JB: My mother Donna is my partner in a lot of the stained glass preparation process. What people may not realize is how very time consuming the whole task is. Each piece, no matter how large or small, has at least a 13-step process. From picking out the perfect colors to polishing the finished product, it is a lot of work. I design my own templates and never copy from books. Stained Glass is a medium that you really have to love the whole process of.  Most people who take classes, don’t continue. They don’t realize how much time is put into each piece until they make their own.

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Local goats as recent inspiration: From painting to stained glass.

FF: Does any piece stand out as your favorite? 

JB: My favorite pieces are often the most challenging.  My mother and I made a very large Beavertail Lighthouse panel as a commission last year. It was a tedious process because it had to fit in a very specific space exactly.

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Clockwise: Conanicut Island, The Pell Bridge, Beavertail Lighthouse

FF: Which are you most proud of?

JB:  I am most proud of a piece we made for a couple in Connecticut. It was a large Poppy Garden. It was very time consuming, but satisfying to see it hung in it’s space. The look on the customer’s face said it all.

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Sea glass “Web,” repurposes sea glass from local shores.

FF: Where do you source your glass?

JB:  The glass that I use for the work mostly comes from a supplier in Old Saybrook, CT. It’s always a pleasant trip to go and visit with Vinny and Carol. I also love to repurpose glass like old bottles or sea glass from our beautiful beaches here.

And beautiful they certainly are, as interpreted by Jen. You’ll find the artist in person at our first show in Newport on June 28th and 29th. Browse her pieces at her online shop on Etsy and like Islandesign on Facebook.

Thanks for reading our latest in artist interviews on the road to Newport. Stay tuned!

 

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!

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

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