Sunday, July 10, 2016

Grand Marais Art Festival

I knew the Arts Festival was underway when I walked downtown yesterday and caught a whiff of Patchouli oil in the air. Nothing says "art" like the scent of Patchouli. There were about 80 exhibitionists, or exhibitors as they often call themselves. Since I actually know about a handful of the folks showing their various items I thought it would be fun to look over the whole thing. There was a good crowd and a lot of actual talent among the participants. At least a whole lot more talent than I can muster up on an inspirational day. Click the pics to embiggen.

 I think the fire hydrant is not a sculpture, but an actual hydrant!
 The woman in the light blue dress should probably take a break from her beer guzzling. Unless that is not a beer belly and she is pregnant in which case she should also not be drinking beer.

The harbor was also a nice place to be and adjacent to the festival for that cooling off effect that one needs on a warm day. No one threw any art into the lake (but what a great concept!) out of frustration or disgust. There was music, and sailing, and even rock skipping by someone wearing a coon skin hat.

There was a lot of really cool stuff people have made and the atmosphere was festive without being nutso like a state fair.

Our local Art Colony has presented this show for 26 years now and have a pretty good idea how to do it. There are lots of special and hands-on exhibits and demonstrations for all ages.

One of my favorite artists is my friend Elise. She is at this show as a fiber artist specializing in wool felting. Everything from wearables (slippers, hats, mittens, vests, scarves, etc,) to woolly scrubs, finger puppets, hand puppets, cat beds, potholders, and more. She also teaches some of these things, along with wool sock repairs by felting, at North House Folk School. She is a pretty handy friend in a climate as cold as this.

I also get to run into friends I don't get to see very often and do a little catching up. People watching is always fun, as well. I am not much of a portrait photographer, but once in a while I get a nice shot of some friend, acquaintance, or total stranger. In this case the latter, but her face says a lot. I think she is inspired and will grow up to make a successful and well known artist. I can see it in her eyes.


  1. I would have purchased something from the wood vendor and the lamp vendor.

    as you may know, I knit BUT I cannot work with 100% wool yarn since I have a lanolin allergy. wool felting requires the 100% real thing. :(

    looks like a perfect day in MN!

  2. Looks like fun. Even I (hibernatin' jenny) would enjoy it!

    Your friend's felted wool items are unlike any I've ever seen - very nice indeed.

  3. I know someone who does work with wool felt, too. She actually makes little "pockets" out of the wool felt and puts a small bar of soap in them. Then, people can use them to wash their hands in the bathroom... and the wool felt contains the suds.

    Lovely pictures, as usual.

  4. Ooooh.
    I would have loved to have been there. Thank you for taking us along for a cyber look.
    I so admire creativity. And the dedication to bring those creation ideas into fruition.

  5. I think 'exhibitors' is safer.
    If it was 'exhibitionists,' that may not have been Patchouli oil you smelled.

  6. We had a very similar event here in Edmonton this weekend called "Art Walk." Alas, it was a bit of a rainy weekend so perhaps not the best weather for it, but it is still a popular event.

  7. Very nice! Looks like you guys had a beautiful day!

  8. What a fun afternoon! Thanks for sharing.

  9. Ugh. Patchouli. I hate the smell of that stuff! All of my high school stoner friends used to burn it..=..personally, I'd rather just smell the marijuana! :)

    It looks like you had a fun afternoon. I like the felted items a lot.

  10. I could do without the patchouli, but it looks like it was a great show and you got some great photos. I particularly love the glassblowers - I could watch them all day long!

  11. anne marie, Lanolin allergy? Never heard of that one, but it is good you can find other things to knit with (with which to knit).

    jenny_o, Apparently felting is only limited by the imagination. She even had pads for sitting on. Soft and warm. I can see it as a winter pad between the butt and the saddle.

    Sioux, Yes, those we call woolly scrubs or something like that. They are enjoyable to use for that Saturday night bath.

    Elephant's Child, I wish I could have shown more as there was a wide variety of art. Some more in the crafty vein and some more in the fine art end, but all very fun to check out.

    Al Penwasser, Oh, my! Maybe it WAS something else.

    Debra, The relative success of these types of events is somewhat weather dependent. We got lucky this year.

    Gia, Most definitely a great day.

    Just Keepin it Real, It would certainly be easy to find in a parking lot. Of course, it would make a lousy get away car.

    Donna, After all you've shared how could I not?

    Jennifer, Patchouli does come with a lot of baggage. Did you know it is related to the mint family (as opposed to the Manson family)? Elise does bring out the best in felted wool. I intend to take a class from her this fall.

    Diane, I remember smelling it in the old head shops back in the 60's. Seems it still has some popularity.

  12. We have a number of art festivals here in Maine; but my favorite is the melding of artisans and organic farming called The Common Ground Fair held every year in Freedom, Maine. If you have a chance Google it.
    the Ol'Buzzard

  13. Your final picture is an inspiration, makes me wish I was 20 again.

  14. Ol'Buzzard, That sounds like a very extensive, inclusive, and eclectic get together. I'll bet it is a lot of fun.

    Professor, I'm afraid all we can do is remember what it was like. Fortunately, there are still a bunch of pretty young things we can look at and sigh. And sometimes their mothers and grandmothers, too.

  15. I love art festivals. Artists are some of the nicest people around!

  16. Awesome pictures! We have a few art festivals like this one. Makes me really want to get up and go. Now where did I put that patchouli...

    Also, I had to look up wool felting. That's a new one to me. But if I ever need my wool felted, I know the first person I'll call to felt it.

  17. I love street fairs. It's one of the only things I miss about living in NYC.

  18. Pixel Peeper, Art festivals are great fun. I like(d) a lot of artists, so much so that I even tried to be one a couple of times. If only I had just a smidge more talent.

    ABFTS, I think getting one's wool felted may be an experience worth remembering. Depending on the felter, of course.

    Riot Kitty, I would bet those would be amazing, but the crush of humanity may be a bit too uncomfortable for me. I can only imagine the talent at one of those.