Backyard Art Fair returns for spring edition in Oakland County

By: Mike Koury | Metro | Published May 17, 2021

 The Backyard Art Fair will return to homes in Ferndale, Hazel Park, Oak Park and Pleasant Ridge Saturday, May 22. Seen here is glasswork constructed by Michigan Hot Glass, whose owner, Albert Young, will be participating in the event for the first time.

The Backyard Art Fair will return to homes in Ferndale, Hazel Park, Oak Park and Pleasant Ridge Saturday, May 22. Seen here is glasswork constructed by Michigan Hot Glass, whose owner, Albert Young, will be participating in the event for the first time.

Photo by Leslie Patron, provided by Michigan Hot Glass

OAKLAND COUNTY — A local art fair that made its debut last year during the COVID-19 pandemic will make its return this month.

The Backyard Art Fair was an event that took place last September that allowed artists who weren’t able to sell goods such as ceramics, jewelry and stained glass at shows because of the coronavirus to invite patrons to their homes to shop in-person.

The show is scheduled to take place from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, May 22, in four Oakland County cities.

Last September, the show featured 13 artists across the cities of Ferndale, Hazel Park, Oak Park and Pleasant Ridge. Co-producer Kelly Kaatz said the event was successful and the sales were decent.

“Everyone that came to shop was wearing a mask, everyone sanitized their hands, so it felt very safe and, overall, it was just such a fun experience,” she said. “People — like shoppers that came — were excited to shop. Everybody had their maps and they’re riding bikes and walking and driving from house to house. It was just a really positive experience for everyone.”

After the event, Kaatz and the other event organizers, Carey Gustafson and Yvonne Spampinato, got together to discuss holding another. As the pandemic continued on and the holiday art shows were canceled, the talks of bringing back the fair continued.

Because of the success last year, the Backyard Art Fair has grown to include more than 65 artists located at more than 30 homes.

“Last year, it was just a group of friends. There (were) 13 of us. We all knew each other. We had a lot of people that we didn’t know contact us, and they wanted to be a part of it or wanted to be notified of the next one, and we just weren’t prepared to do anything like that last year. So this year, we decided to open it up to anyone in the four cities who made handmade goods,” Kaatz said. “It should be pretty exciting.”

Albert Young, the owner of Michigan Hot Glass, will be participating in the fair for the first time. A graduate of the College for Creative Studies, Young uses glass blowing to create objects such as bowls, cups, goblets, vases and even sculptures to sell to customers.

Young started out as a ceramics major at CCS but got hooked on glass blowing immediately because of the unique process it takes to create his goods.

“It’s a pretty exciting process,” he said. “It was like a dance almost. … I mean, think about it. You have the lens in your camera, you got your eyeglasses, you got your windows, and here in its very basic form in a 3,500-year-old craft process, you got this liquid material that’s just extremely exciting.”

Young will be selling his art out of his Ferndale backyard at 871 W. Lewiston Ave. While he hasn’t participated in art fairs in recent years, Young said he’s excited to join in this year.

“I think it’s a great idea,” he said. “With this past year with the pandemic, I think there’s going to be a parade of people driving and walking around the city participating in this and enjoying this.”

For more information on the Backyard Art Fair and to find out the locations of the homes involved, visit the event’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Back yard-Art-Fair-108229597701954.