The PSECU Artfest, presented annually by The Greater Harrisburg Arts Council, takes place over the 3-day Labor Day weekend as part of the City of Harrisburg’s Kipona Celebration. This year, over 150 juried artists and craftspeople from across the United States participated in this fantastic event in Riverfront Park along the banks of the Susquehanna River.
I can honestly say this was the highest quality craft show I have seen in several years! There was absolutely NO buy/sell merchandise. Now that was refreshing! Every booth display was well planned and interestingly arranged. Most featured customized shelving or framing. I found something new and different in just about every booth. This is one show where the jurors have done a superb job of selecting a varied group of truly, unique, professional exhibitors who offer a wide range of styles and prices to appeal to a large portion of the buying public.
Trends I noticed at this show included COLOR in a big, bright and bold way! More than one person was pushing larger than life close-up impressions of flowers and extremely vibrant depictions at that, definitely giving new meaning to adding a “splash of color” to a room. Unusual to see flower themes surfacing in the Fall but it seems to work (and sell).
FUNCTION was also big. While presenting true beauty and detailed art techniques, almost all 3-D items there had a functional purpose, not just a life of shelf-sitting. The 2-dimensional art seemed to feature much more DETAIL, regardless of technique. I, for one, appreciate realism and was quite impressed with the variety available.
In addition to flowers, there was a tremendous amount of sea and ocean influences (even a lot for those of us here on the Coast) and a surprising selection of celestial designs.
A large percentage of the merchandise offered leaned toward the higher end (but very reasonable for the type if work), there were many lower priced pieces available for the average shopper. Small prints, soaps, note cards, magnets, mugs, etc. were in abundance as were earrings, pins and even some pendants and hair accessories for under $20. I saw quite a few sales happening and even witnessed a number of 2-D works being sold.
I don’t like to take pics without the artist’s permission and I usually conduct an interview when doing so. The show was busy when I was there and I did not have lots of time for interviewing so I didn’t photograph any individual booths. Instead, I’ll mention just a few here and lead you to their websites.
When it comes to 2-dimensional art, I’ve always been attracted to sketches. I was impressed with these pen and ink designs by Michael Smith. He uses technical pens with very fine points to create super detailed sketches that can take up to 45 hours to draw. He then reproduces them as offset lithographic prints, signs and numbers these Limited Editions and sells them framed, matted or loose. Loose prints can be had for as little as $15. He has a huge line of Western New York landmarks and recognizable buildings from most New York colleges and universities. What a great gift for an alum! Check out his fire, police, train and fighter plane pics as well as his baseball stadium selection at http://www.mssgraphics.com/. I fell in love with his “Motorcycle Grannys.”
Then there were the cool art magnet boards by Diane Kaylor. Her cozy paintings of rooms, pastures, fields, oceans and even a quilt have been made into framed magnetic boards. She’s designed a collection of magnets appropriate for each like cats, dogs, farm animals and fish. You can hang the boards and use them for messages or even let your child’s imagination run wild as with the traditional flannel boards. ( I like the latter use.) Individual magnets are available, too. See Diane’s work at http://www.dianekaylordesigns.com/.
Finally, I fell in love with this blue fused glass bamboo design by Deb Becker. I just need to convince The Big Guy that I NEED it. (We define “need” differently. Must be one of those male/female issues.) Deb also does wooden tree carvings using her scroll saw, stained glass mosaics and fused glass ornaments. Please take a look at her work at http://www.woodnglass2.com/.
I could share so many more faves but then you’d never have time to look these over for yourself! Maybe another day.