Makers Create Paradise City
This article was written by CustomMade team member Tammy Kingan. Tammy is part of our Maker Success Team and wants to introduce all makers to the wonderful possibilities available to them on CustomMade.com.
I literally could not have asked for a more perfect weekend to be at the appropriately named Paradise City Arts Festival in Northampton, MA. The bright blue sky was an excellent backdrop for the unbelievable sculptures that greeted me right at the entrance, such as this 30 foot tall bird made by blacksmith James Kitchen.
Highlighting more than 250 artisans from all over the country, Paradise City separated them into 2 barns and 7 outdoor exhibits. This made for a nice little walking tour of the grounds with some food stands and Bart’s Homemade ice cream sprinkled around (in case you needed a break and could tear yourself away from the amazing booths).
The first thing I did was stop by one of my favorite CustomMade maker’s booth in the back of the barn on the left. Lauren Blais has a very antique and Victorian feel to her jewelry and her display featuring her new insect jewelry line is just amazing!
Right next to Lauren was the creative Dawn Wain with chunky organic jewelry and cool business cards with shells attached. In reference to her brilliant marketing idea, Dawn said, “that people just don’t throw her cards away because they have a small present attached to each one”.
Glass artists Peter Muller and custom lamp worker Joe Peters actually met at an art show and decided to collaborate to create Furnace and Flame. Together, they’ve created these wonderfully fragile animal scenes enveloped by smooth colorful glass, protecting the delicate glasswork inside.
A major stand-out for me was Kamil Peters, an unbelievably talented blacksmith who creates animals and masks from reclaimed metal. In all honesty, his portfolio was filled with much more elaborate work than what was on display, such as a huge metal Viking ship with beer taps shaped like paddles, and an enormous metal pig made out of Porche engine parts.
Wonderfully soft yarn punctuated the lovely work of Elena Rosenberg. As a talented knitter, she is able to create versatile shawls and knitted jewelry for any occasion. She often incorporates bamboo into some of her yarn to make it extra strong and supple.
It was amazing to see how these very talented artisans created such individual and unique works from the same substance. A great example is metalworker Erik Newquist’s fun “Marimba” Bench being so different from the intricate metal designs of Robert Alan Hyde.
One of the things I love about going to these shows is that I grew up around artists and I feel like I am among my people. The musky smell of leather, the cool smooth surface of pottery, the mesmerizing sparkle of jewelry, the powerful heat of blacksmithing, and the intricate curvature of carved wood blend together into this hazy, but wonderful memory soup, if you will. Paradise City is definitely an event to pencil into your calendar as it happens four times a year! You can read more information and see more amazing artisans at http://www.paradisecityarts.com/index.html
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