RochesterSeptember 10, 2012
Crowds fill Rochester for 47th annual Art & Apples Festival
By Mary Beth Almond
C & G Staff Writer
The Paint Creek Center for the Arts’ 47th annual Art & Apples Festival went off without a hitch, according to PCCA Executive Director Suzanne Wiggins.
“We had an awesome event,” she said. “We’re very proud that we made it through our 47th annual event with great weather, great artists and great visitors.”
Many came to Rochester Municipal Park for the festival opening at 4 p.m. Sept. 7 — and many came back Saturday and Sunday — to hunt for fine art, enjoy some dinner and be entertained by a variety of performers.
Jamie Beatty of Shelby Township and Patty Backos of Warren said this was their first time coming to the festival during its opening, although they noted they have been coming to the festival for years.
“Patty’s going out of town and we both have a party or two tonight, so the rest of the weekend is kind of booked, and we wanted to make sure we made it here,” Beatty said.
“It’s actually nice because there’s not as many people out yet,” Backos added.
The duo said they love to come to the festival because it’s close, it’s large and it has high-end artists. Both previously have purchased rings from Minnesota jewelry exhibitor Robert Triskos and were excited to see his booth again this year.
“We always stop by and see what’s new and exciting and see what kind of trouble we can get into,” Beatty said of the Minnesota jewelry exhibitor.
“And sometimes we do shop for gifts and we do some Christmas shopping,” Backos noted.
More than 290 artists from across the nation tempted art enthusiasts with unique artworks in a variety of mediums, including textiles, painting, glass, wood, pottery, jewelry, photography, sculpture and more throughout the three-day festival.
Rochester Hills photographer Dave Dinsdale of Pristine Images has been exhibiting his colorful nature images at the festival for more than seven years now.
“I love that it’s local and in the park. Being a nature photographer, there’s nothing better than to be sitting by the creek here and watch it flowing by all day. It just gives me something to think about and something to work with. Wherever I go, I carry my camera, so I always wander down there,” he said on Friday.
By far his biggest seller is “Dewy Dragonfly,” an image of just that, which he shot with his Nikon camera.
“That was shot in Northern Michigan in the Pictured Rocks park area on an August morning. They crawl up under the evergreens at night and then they get dew all over them and they can’t fly until first light,” he said.
Happily situated in her booth — which was filled with a variety of recycled art — first-time festival exhibitor Carrie Gerdeman of Lake Orion was thankful for the nice weather and the crowds.
“I love the fact that it’s local and it’s the second largest art festival in Michigan. This was the only festival I even applied to. I wanted to go big,” she said.
Gerdeman’s business, Gerdy Gal Art, offers recycled milk jugs and game pieces — including Scrabble tiles, Dominos and poker chips — turned into jewelry.
“I’ve always liked junk and I’ve always like art, and now it’s cool to combine them because up-cycling is the new thing, so I sort of found my niche finally,” she said. “I cut out — with an X-acto knife — images from magazines, so everything is one of a kind. I glue them on recycled game pieces and then I put epoxy resin on top of that. I also started doing milk jugs that I stamp out into shapes and then I dye them with ink and turn into jewelry.”
Sisters Meg Fleck of Oakland Township, and twins Kathryn Barber of Florida and Karen Riley of South Carolin were impressed with the artwork on display as they hunted for gifts Friday.
The women, who have two other sisters and were enjoying a sisters weekend, said they love art.
“We grew up in a very artistic family. Meg does beautiful knitting and needlepoint, Katy is an art major and paints fashion illustration and furniture, and I do pottery and have woven baskets. Our mom was a painter,” said Riley.
Just an hour into the first day of festival, the women had already purchased jewelry, a wooden cheeseboard and some Christmas ornaments, and they were excited to see what else the festival had to offer.
“I’ve been to a lot of art festivals, and there are some very unique things that are buyable here,” Barber said.
Those who visited the festival stayed for quite a while, Wiggins noted, and enjoyed the artists, food vendors, free kids activities, music and performances.
“I would say that Saturday’s crowd was definitely at capacity. You could barely cross the footbridges without being elbow to elbow with the many, many people who were here enjoying the festival,” she said.
Six artists showing at the 2012 Art and Apples won awards for their work, which were presented on Sunday: 2D mixed-media artist Marie Helene Grabman — who used to live in Beverly Hills but now lives out of state — snapped up the $1,500 cash prize for the Best in Show award.
“Marie Helene Grabman has been our Best of Show for a number of years, so people have taken note of that. I do want to say that she is internationally renowned and actually has a piece of her work at the White House — it’s an ornament that they hang on the Christmas tree every year in the Blue Room — and she’s the only American that was invited to have work at the paper cutting museum in China,” Wiggins said.
Others — like photographer James Parker, 2D mixed media artist Pui Lan Cockman, non-functional clay artist Gretchen Kramp, functional clay artist Paul Hofrenning and wood artist Keith Kinney — each took home $500 for an Award of Excellence.
“All of the artists were very happy as we talked with them on their way out on Sunday afternoon,” Wiggins said.
Wiggins thanked the city of Rochester, all of the residents that live near the park, the more than 200 volunteers from the community, and the festival’s many corporate sponsors for their help and support for the event.
“Once we get to the weekend of the festival, it takes so many people and we’re so appreciative to the community. We’re so lucky to have such generous people that volunteer their time to support the arts and to support Paint Creek Center for the Arts,” she said.
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