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Madeira Beach welcomes craft festival
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Annette Kapfer, a St. Pete Beach resident, makes stunning jewelry using kiln-fused dichroic glass. Kapfer will participate in the second annual Madeira Beach Craft Festival July 5-6.
MADEIRA BEACH – Following last year’s success, Maderia Beach will welcome back its summer craft show, a two-day festival that showcases a wide variety of original craft media.

The second annual Madeira Beach Craft Festival will run Saturday and Sunday, July 5-6, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., on Madeira Way between Gulf Boulevard and 150th Avenue.

The juried outdoor festival will feature original and affordable crafts as well as unique gift items and functional art. Prices are set to suit all budgets and range from $3 to $3,000. The eclectic mix of original handcrafted art, crafts and functional art will appeal to craft enthusiasts as well as serious shoppers looking for unique gifts. A Green Market will offer a wide array of exotic plants, as well as dips and other gourmet items. Admission is free and open to the public.

In order to ensure a superior event with quality affordable original crafts, all of the local and national crafters have been hand-selected from hundreds of applicants by American Craft Endeavors, the largest producer of craft fairs throughout the country.

The festival will feature a wide variety of craft media including folk art, pottery, personalized gifts, handmade clothing, basket weaving, beaded utensils, candles, cork assemblage, fabric design, fiber quilts, fused wax & glass, hair accessories, handbags & accessories, handmade cards, leather, mosaic, wood, painted wood, plaster craft and stained glass.

Annette and Gerry Kapfer of St. Pete Beach have become regular exhibitors at American Craft Endeavors shows.

According to her website, Annette spent most of her childhood and early teenage years just outside of Oslo, Norway, where she fell in love with nature and the ever-changing oceans.

“Long summer days on the water were spent digging by the shore and exploring sea life,” Annette said in her artist biography. “After college and marriage, my husband and I decided city life was no longer on top of our list. I missed the sounds and smell of salt water and could not really get used to New York City. We packed up and left New York for Florida and St. Pete Beach.”

Already a long time collector of glass objects, it was a natural transition for Annette to create her own aquariums in her studio using dichroic glass.

Each piece is signed, individually handmade and completely unique. Using only the highest quality art glass, Annette creates each piece using a technique similar to that of a mosaic artist. “Each piece is fired and carefully annealed to eliminate stress in the glass and to ensure strength and durability so your customers can consider them heirloom quality,” she explained. “While my technique is time consuming, the results are appreciated as stunning earrings and pendants are admired by jewelry collectors and nature lovers alike.”

Annette resides in St. Pete Beach with her husband Gerry, their daughter Karianne and their dachshund Bubba.

Another Pinellas crafter participating in this year’s festival is Robin Short of Gulfport.

Short has been quilting and sewing for most of her life and has been inspired by her mother, Ellen Plankey, who is a well-known award winning artist. Short loves putting together great fabrics, colors and high quality products to create usable, and unique items for her customers.

Short has been exhibiting her work with American Craft Endeavors for more than five years.

Artist Rasa Saldaitis of Pinellas Park was born in 1965 in Vilnius, Lithuania.

“Since the seventh grade, art was one of my specialties and I have loved art ever since,” Saldaitis said in a biography that appears on her website. “By the eighth grade, I was attending art school and graduated top of my class.”

She went on to attend the V. Muchina Academy of Applied Arts University in St. Petersburg, Russia, studying realistic drawing and painting. From 1984 to 1989, she was being trained to be an instructor at Siauliai Pedagogical University in Siauliai, Lithuania.

“During that time, I competed in many art competitions and student art shows,” Saldaitis said. “With my high grades I was very successful in my shows and competitions. I received my master’s degree from Siauliai Pedagogical University in 1989.

She and her husband began exhibiting and selling their artwork in eastern and western Europe, eventually opening their own art studio in 1991 – becoming one of the first private business owners to establish a business after the Soviet Union collapsed.

In 1994, the couple and their two children moved to the United States, first settling in Chicago, Illinois and later relocating to Pinellas.

For information, visit www.artfestival.com.

Following is a partial list of exhibitors scheduled to participate in this year’s craft festival:

• Steve and Judy Archbold of Ossian, Indiana – Wood

• Gissell and William Barbour of Sebring – Jewelry

• Mickey D. and Mike Bradham of Homosassa – Ceramics

• Randy Brooks of Fort White – Sculpture

• Kaysea and Matthew Bruce of Gainesville – Pet accessories

• Janet Campagna of South Orleans, Massachusetts – Clothing

• Walter Catts of Palmetto – Furniture

• Melanie Cech of Spring Hill – Glass

• Dennis Collins of Naples – Jewelry

• Lucie Davis of Oakland Park – Fiber

• Jessica Elwood of Bradenton – Painting

• Carol Generoso of Osprey – Jewelry

• Randy Giamporcaro of Tampa – Jewelry

• Segundo (Luis) Gomez of Miami – Jewelry

• Annette and Gerry Kapfer of St. Pete Beach – Jewelry

• Sindi Karman of Melbourne – Home goods

• Peter Lakiotis of Clearwater – Pet accessories

• Cynthia Linden of Gulfport – Mixed media

• Lorrie Mason of Tampa – Jewlery

• Andres Medina of St. Petersburg – Fiber

• Malinda Ratliff of West Palm Beach – Home goods

• John Roessler of Brooksville – Jewelry

• Rasa Saldaitis of Gulfport – Painting

• Robin Short of Gulfport – Fiber

• Denise Smith of Weirsdale – Jewlery

• Trae Stokes – of Pinellas Park – Food

• Lora and Bob Thomas of Sarasota – Pottery

• Miriam Valido of Lutz – Miscellaneous

• Marina Vega of Kissimmee – Jewelry

• Joe Weinstein of Clearwater – Stone

• Richard Wise of Lady Lake – Photography

• Barrie Wolfson of Seminole – Home goods
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