Tag Archives: art festivals

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.

New Year, New Festivals!

12 Jan

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They say it’s the Year of the Horse, but we’re calling it the Year of the Festival…

We’ve got exciting news: Festival Fete has added TWO NEW SHOWS to the festival lineup for 2014!

Our first new show will kick off the season right in the heart of beautiful, downtown Newport, RI on Bowen’s Wharf, just outside The Landing Restaurant. A historic seaport overlooking Newport Harbor, Bowen’s Wharf is home to some of Newport’s finest boutiques and eateries, as well as 18th century commercial wharf buildings. Stroll along the water, check out the architecture, eat, shop, and be merry at the 1st annual Newport Art Festival, June 28th and 29th from 10am – 5pm daily.

Next up is the 1st annual Festival Fete Emerald Square Art Show, in North Attleboro, MA. This event marks Festival Fete’s first venture out of Rhode Island, and we are so excited to have the opportunity to connect local artists and artisans with the wider New England community! Held outside the Emerald Square Mall, and conveniently located right off the interstate, this show will be a crowd-pleaser. Join us on July 26th from 10am – 5pm for some locally grown art, food, and merriment in The Bay State!

Here’s where else we’ll be in 2014:

The 2nd annual Wakefield Art Festival will be held  along Main Street and the Saugatuck River in historic, downtown Wakefield, Rhode Island on October 4th from 10am – 5pm.

The 4th annual East Greenwich show will be back at New England Tech. Dates and times TBA shortly.

The 4th annual Garden City Center Art Festival in Cranston, RI. Dates and times TBA shortly.

Check out our website or the FAQ page for more detail on show locations.  We can’t wait to see you there!

Festival Fete Artist: Viv Eisner and DIY Stenciling on Fabric

7 Jun

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For Viv Eisner, the business of art is a little bit of everything.  She does everything but knit, which she says is a curse and a blessing (I think it’s awesome) She designs prints, fabrics, jewelry, sculpture, and more. Her booth at the Garden City Art Festival this weekend will include sculpture, mixed media robots and prints, and images framed and sealed in 1/8″ thick industrial resin.

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She is one of those artists sees possibility in just about everything and enjoys transforming objects into truly unique, one of a kind works of art. You can see more of her work on her Etsy site.

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Viv has been working on stenciling fabric to use for her booth display at the Garden City Art Festival and she has posted a great tutorial for you on how to stencil on fabric on her blog: Stenciling on Fabric | it’s me viv.

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Please stop by to see Viv’s booth at the show and take a look at her stenciled muslin tablecloths.

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Many thanks to our sponsor:

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Festival Fete Presents…The 2013 Garden City Art Festival!!

6 Jun

The big day is almost here…Festival Fete’s Garden City Art Festival is this weekend (rain or shine) Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 5pm daily. There is so much to see and do that you could spend both days there! Here is a little sampling of what you will see…

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We are proud to have SO many high quality vendors at the show: Accessories, Baby, Bath, Candles, Ceramics, Children’s items, Clothing, Dog accessories, Fiber, Food, Furniture, Garden, Glass, Henna Body Art, Housewares, Jewelry, Mixed Media, Painting, Photography, Wood, and several Non-Profits as well as 10 booths donated to children for the Young Artists section.

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One of the most unique features of a Festival Fete production is the strolling entertainment throughout the entire show. It’s an exciting, dynamic event that you don’t want to miss!

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Circus Smirkus

We are delighted to include Circus Smirkus in the festivities this weekend! They will be in the Creation Station area doing “Circus Crafts” with the kids. Circus Smirkus is a non-profit, award-winning international youth circus founded with a mission: to promote the skills, culture and traditions of the traveling circus and to inspire youth to engage in life-changing adventures in the circus arts. click here To learn more about Circus Smirkus and be sure to stop by and see them at the festival this weekend!

And here’s a video with a snappy little tune that shows how a festival comes to life!

See you at the festival!!

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A HUGE thank you to our sponsor:

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Meet Joel Peterson: The Toy Maker at the Garden City Art Festival this weekend

5 Jun

Joel Peterson is the Toy Maker and he is a 3rd generation woodworker.  His grandfather was a cabinet-maker in Sweden and America, and his father love to make things in wood as a hobby.  Joel began making furniture for his home and toys for his own boys when they were little until eventually his craft became his business.

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He participates in craft shows throughout new England, but like his simple wooden cars, tractors, trucks and trains made for little hands, his business is done traditionally (in person) and not over the internet.  He will be at Festival Fete’s Garden City Art Festival this weekend and you definitely want to stop by his booth to  see his unique variety of entertaining games and hand-made wooden toys.

Visitors to my booth at the Garden City Art Festival will see wooden swords and shields colorfully decorated with griffins, lions and dragons or perhaps a magic wand guaranteed to turn any big brother into a toad! They can see a catapult fire a deadly ping-pong ball 12-15 feet or simple games of strategy that parents will enjoy playing with their kids and hard to find ancient games with unique game pieces such as a 2000 year old Viking game called “Hnefatafl” and its Scottish variation, “Ard Ri”. Both thought to be precursors to chess. You can view an even an older game (going back 3400 years) to the Egyptians (great for playing in the car).

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He also makes several distinctive items, like the vintage trucks that can be personalized to suit the customer’s specific requests and a tabletop Christmas Advent Tree with colorful hand turned ornaments, handmade stand and a crafted box to store it all – perfect for holiday gift giving.

I have not met The Toymaker yet, but I am looking forward to seeing him this weekend at the festival with my little boy who will love checking out the wooden swords and that catapult!

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Many thanks to our sponsor:

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It’s almost time to open the Art Festival Box!

1 Jun

In one week from today, Jennifer Neuguth, Festival Fete founder, and her “dream team” as she affectionately calls them will open the “Art Festival in a Box” and produce an amazing, one of a kind outdoor art festival. I’m proud to be part of her dream team of professionals, business partners, friends and family and am SO excited to get on with the show! Here’s a behind the scenes look at what it takes to put together an art festival production (with style). – Danielle Salisbury

So help us generate positive sunny weather energy and spread the word…next weekend….June 8th and 9th from 10am – 5pm daily…Festival Fete’s Garden City Art Festival!!

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Meet more Garden City Art Festival Artists!

31 May

Here is a sneak peek at four artists that will be at Festival Fete’s Garden City Art Festival on June 8th and 9th (next weekend!) from 10am – 5pm daily. The festival is free and so is parking so come out to support your local artists and pick up some unique gifts!

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1.) Mike Fagella, Uncorked. After 30 years in the flooring business, a few years ago Mike was able to sell his store and pursue his hobby full-time! He creates household accessories out of old wood and corks that he collects. Mike says, “Someone told me about Etsy and the rest is history! Recently I have acquired some French oak from a local whisky distiller and the fact that it is infused with spirits gives the wood a beautiful patina and makes these items very unique. Looking forward to the show!”

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2.) Megan Labrecque, Apiary Designs. Apiary Designs is the creative partnership of Megan and her mother Nancy White. They create practical and attractive accessories and household items using a variety of materials including both new and vintage fabrics. They make cute and whimsical aprons for adults and children, totes, yoga mat bags, accessory pouches and more.

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3.) Shannon Caldwell, Lotus Life. “Lotus Life was inspired by my personal belief that we all have the power to create the life we want for ourselves, beginning with what we choose to focus on, and the words we choose to use, not only with ourselves, but with others as well.
My intention for Lotus Life is to contribute something to the world that would help replace negative obstacles that separate us from connecting through the heart, even with ourselves. I thought the power of words would be a great place to start. The quotes/words I’ve chosen will hopefully inspire you to see all the positives in your own life, as well as all the possibilities that lie within you!”

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4.) Kyle Kochiss, Heart to Heart Design

“I have always found the beach to be a place of inspiration and peace.  While walking the beach one summer I picked up a stone in the perfect shape of a heart and was intrigued… I was amazed at the abundance of these gems of nature tumbled by the sea.  I do not shape these stones into hearts, I use them as I find them and I wire wrap the stones keeping the design simple to expose their natural beauty.”

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Garden City Art Festival 2013

Garden City Art Festival 2013

Many thanks to our sponsor:

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