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Mother’s Day is Every Day. Especially Tomorrow.

10 May

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The first cool thing about our mother’s and grandmother’s generations – well, my mom’s and hers, at least – is that they still do the same things they always did: They shop daily on their local main street, they talk everyday (on a real telephone) and they eat – well. They don’t diet. So if you listen to yours, she has probably already told you what she’d love to have (or do) for Mother’s Day. She won’t deliberately drop a hint because she doesn’t expect anything. That’s the other cool part. But if you’ve made time to talk to her recently, you will know all about that little lamp she saw at the corner antique store that’s too much for her to spend on herself. Or you’ll remember those fancy pastries she gets every now and again from her favorite baker. A simple surprise is all it will take to make your mom smile. Which is all I ever really want from mine.

She won’t deliberately drop a hint

because she doesn’t expect anything.

So do consider the local shops in your mom’s neighborhood when buying today and tomorrow, if you haven’t already. If you’re near, make a reservation somewhere she wouldn’t splurge on herself. And if you can’t do either – which is fine, by the way – just give her a call. She would love to chat.

Ideas and more Ideas:

  • Because we avoid pounding the pavement and prefer to shop online, it’s often easy enough to find mom’s favorite shop there, too. We love Etsy for this. And, remember she may have seen something at one of our shows. Almost all of our artists, craftsmen and vendors alike offer online retail, too.
  • Get the good stuff delivered. Check out one of our favorite vendors, Delectable Edibles by Renee for not just amazing edible and artful fruit arrangements, but sweet tooth satisfying goodies, too. Lots of bakers offer local, same day delivery but still order even if it can’t be delivered right away. Mother’s Day is every day and mom won’t mind whenever their treat arrives.

  • Take Mom (Grandma and Great Grandma, too) out. Just about everywhere is offering a Mother’s Day Prix Fixe option. The ProJo has begun a weekly list of restaurant openings. It includes links to current menus, as well as reopening info for those seasonal spots that closed over the winter. It’s helpful to know your favorite is back open and always fun to be turned on to new endeavors, too. Eat Drink, RI has a comprehensive list of statewide offerings, as well.

Thanks for reading, as always, and for giving thanks, however you choose, to the motherly figures in your life. And remember to share this post via Facebook. Festival Fete will be offering giveaways to regulars on our countdown to the start of the 2014 season in beautiful Newport, RI. Stay tuned!

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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
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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 historical 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…

Love is in the Air

13 Feb

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As I sit by the wood stove crafting valentines under deadline with my kids, I can’t help but feel the warmth and joy this whole month brings still in the midst of frost and snowstorms. It is a time to share our feelings and to show them off, really. And in that spirit of giving (and receiving!) I’m reminded of the endless beauty in the handmade, one-of-a-kind pieces I’ve found at the artisans’ booths at our shows. Crafted with care, gifts like the kind you happen upon at Festival Fete are a unique way to express your love, gratitude, admiration or desire. 

So while we patiently await our first event of 2014 at the end of June in downtown Newport, RI on scenic, historic Bowen’s Wharf, remember that many of our vendors can be found in the off-season at their online storefronts. And quite a few can be conveniently perused at once on Etsy.com, our favorite one-stop shop online for handmade, vintage and authentic finds.

We are still talking about the last show at Rhodes and how we ogled the uber earthy creations of Sasha Walsh, how we just lingered at Maji Jewelry and stood amazed by the delicate beauty of Mermaid’s Baubles newest pieces. I’m sure I added something to my wish list with every pass by!

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Cherry Valley Herb Farm Assorted Teas

Wishing something sweet for my mother, I called Dina just today at To The Queen’s Taste. Her whoopee pies at the last show were outrageously good. She is happily still taking orders and recommends shipping her coconut macaroons or her classic Eccles cakes, made so decadent with cinnamon, raisins, brown sugar and a honey glaze. Any of her creations would be a welcome treat to come home to. Pair with a loose tea from Cherry Valley Herb Farm and you’ve just warmed the heart, home (and belly!) of a loved one even if you can’t be near.

The list of awesome festival followers goes on… and on….Any ideas handmade from your heart this year? Let us know, we’d love to hear back. For now, stay tuned and stay warm!

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Maji Jewelry’s Fossilized Gold Dipped Shark Tooth

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Sasha Walsh

It’s beginning to feel like HOLIDAY MARKET TIME!

5 Dec

We know that there are lots of things to do this weekend…but we also know that you do not want to miss Festival Fete’s Holiday Market at Rhodes on the Pawtuxet this Sunday! We have a fantastic group of artisans and craftspeople, entertainers and food vendors, arts and crafts for the kids, and more… so come check it out from 10am to 6pm this Sunday, 12/8 and the following two Sundays, 12/15 and 12/22.

Maji jewelry

Gorgeous jewelry by Maji Jewelry will be there! http://www.etsy.com/shop/MajiJewelry

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Laurie-Annya Linfoot http://www.forthebirdsct.com

…and Mantra!

Jennifer Neuguth http://www.mymantramylife.com will be in the house! Woot woot!

Jennifer Neuguth http://www.mymantramylife.com will be in the house! Woot woot!

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Many thanks to our sponsor:

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Festival Fete News!

2 Dec

Are you on Festival Fete’s mailing list to receive our newsletter? Learn all about the upcoming Festival Fete Holiday Markets starting this weekend!

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Here: http://eepurl.com/JWDxX