Alec LaCasse, of Oakland Township, will bring pieces he has carved from found wood to the Lac Ste. Claire Fine Art Fair Sept. 14 and 15.

Alec LaCasse, of Oakland Township, will bring pieces he has carved from found wood to the Lac Ste. Claire Fine Art Fair Sept. 14 and 15.

Photo provided by Alec LaCasse


Fine art fair returns Sept. 14-15

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published August 29, 2019

 Sue Bertolini-Fox will bring pottery to the fair at Veterans Memorial Park, 32400 Jefferson Ave.

Sue Bertolini-Fox will bring pottery to the fair at Veterans Memorial Park, 32400 Jefferson Ave.

Photo provided by Sue Bertolini-Fox

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ST. CLAIR SHORES — If it’s pleasing to the senses, it can be found at the Lac Ste. Claire Fine Art Fair.

Every kind of artist — including those who work with glass, wood, clay or paint — musicians and food will fill Veterans Memorial Park, 32400 Jefferson Ave., from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 14 and 15 for the fair, which raises money for the Miss St. Clair Shores Scholarship Program.

There’s no admission fee and parking is free for the event, which will feature about 100 artists.

Artist entrance chairperson Sara-rose Melby said there will be plenty of food available, and the Detroit Institute of Arts is returning for the fifth year with activities for children.

“It’s been a great partnership with them,” she said.

Roy O’Brien Ford will be at the fair to announce the winners of the downtown St. Clair Shores sign contest Sept. 14.

“It was a great number of entries from all ages,” said Melby, who was a judge of the contest. “Senior citizens who participated, as well as fourth graders. It was really, really a good mixture of individuals.”

The fair is full of artists with different talents and skills.

Alec LaCasse, of Oakland Township, carves faces and wildlife in “found wood.”

“The wood is left in its natural state,” he said. “I like using found wood because you get to work with the natural, existing shapes. I usually leave some part of the existing material. That’s just the way I’ve been doing it the past 12 to 15 years.”

LaCasse loves creating Native American portraiture, bringing the faces to life out of the piece of wood. The Lac Ste. Claire Fine Art Fair, he said, has a great “vibe.”

“Being next to the water, it’s genuinely one of the two shows that I do in the season that I find myself enjoying being there,” he said. “It’s super relaxed.

“To me, the setting is really sweet. Going for a walk at the end of the show each night, weather permitting, is awesome.”

LaCasse is working on an instructional series on his website, aleclacasse.com, where he hopes to teach others to carve.

“That will be a service I will offer to people if they’re interested,” he said. “If they have kids who are interested in learning to carve.”

This is the fair’s 32nd year in St. Clair Shores, and potter Sue Bertolini-Fox, of Fraser, has been participating for about 20 of those years.

The retired elementary school teacher has been creating pottery for 38 years. She began by creating historical pottery called slipware, “which was something done in England when people couldn’t afford really expensive fine porcelain.”

“It became a really sturdy ware that was brought to America, the colonies.”

Slipware was red clay covered with layers of “slip” to make it look like porcelain. In actuality, it was much sturdier and inexpensive. Bertolini-Fox has since branched out and now creates mugs, birdhouses, butterfly feeders and toad houses.

“We’re raising monarch butterflies to save the world,” she said. “I’ve become an all-purpose potter.”

She called Veterans Memorial Park “the most beautiful park in the world” and said that the art fair is a great way for others to experience the park.

“The organization of the group makes me want to come back; they run it so efficiently (and are) so friendly and helpful. The customers coming back year after year saying, ‘Oh, I have this piece!’ It’s like old friends are coming when returning people come back to the fair,” she said.

Dogs are prohibited from the park and so are not allowed at the fair. For more information, call the artist hotline at (586) 298-2788 or find the Lac Ste. Claire Fine Art Fair on Facebook.

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