d-DUN-craftfestival062421-6-Shari Gaines - Dunedin - painter

Dunedin’s own Shari Gaines brings her beautiful, plein air paintings of Florida nature to the Downtown Dunedin Craft Festival.

DUNEDIN — Finally: The long-awaited return of the fine craft artisanship will bring more than 100 crafters to Dunedin for the 18th annual Downtown Dunedin Craft Festival.

The event will be presented Saturday and Sunday, June 26 and 27, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., on Main Street in downtown Dunedin. This local tradition includes summer green market wares, thousands of handmade selections. Items are all crafted in the United States and include artisan-created pottery, jewelry, paintings and more. The event supports the arts as well as the local economy. The two-day event is free and open to the public.

A number of safety protocols will be implemented, including:

• All attendees are asked to follow current CDC guidelines on mask-wearing if unvaccinated.

• Social-distancing is required between artists and patrons, and patron groups.

• Patrons are asked to stay home if they have been diagnosed with COVID-19, awaiting test results for COVID-19, or show any symptoms of the virus.

• Guests are also asked to utilize hand-washing and sanitizing stations on a regular basis and to avoid casual touching.

For information, visit www.artfestival.com.

Presented by American Craft Endeavors, the popular outdoor craft festival offers a chance for residents to browse and shop for practical and whimsical works of quality handmade art while enjoying the charm and beauty of a town known for its village-like atmosphere and relaxed lifestyle. Pets on leashes are always welcome to join their human companions as they stroll through the festival, which includes a full green market of live plants, handmade soaps, delicious edibles and more. Adding to the pleasure of the outing, patrons can meet the artisans behind the works and discover the techniques and inspirations behind each creation.

Festivals produced by American Craft Endeavors bring together a wide-ranging selection of the nation’s most talented crafters. These two-day art events have become annual traditions and are highly anticipated in their respective cities. Each venue is transformed into a first-class outdoor craft gallery. The crafters are juried by independent panels of expert judges and handpicked from hundreds of applicants based on quality and diversity. All of their work is original and handmade in America.

All crafters will be on-site for the duration of the shows, allowing the public to meet and talk with them personally, asking questions about their art and inspirations. The craft shows feature a full spectrum of craft art media including folk art, pottery, personalized gifts, handmade clothing, basket weaving, beaded utensils, candles, cork assemblage, fabric design, fiber quilts, fused wax and glass, hair accessories, handbags and accessories, handmade cards, leather, mosaic, wood, painted wood, plaster craft and stained glass.

Craft enthusiasts also have an opportunity to experience some of the popular retail and dining destinations in downtown Dunedin. A portion of the proceeds benefits the Downtown Dunedin Main Street local economy.

Among the Pinellas County crafters taking part in this year’s event is Palm Harbor jewelry artisan Amy Johns. She is an enamel artist and metalsmith. She uses metal clay, fine silver, sterling silver, and copper with gemstones.

“The metal clay and enamels are kiln-fired,” Johns explained in an email. “I produce pieces from my own drawings to design and/or sculpt the metal clay. I love adding texture, either to the surface of the fine and sterling silver pieces, or beneath the surface of the transparent glass of the enamels using various tools and techniques. I often enamel onto the fired fine silver metal clay pieces, creating champlevé cloisonné.”

Dunedin’s own Shari Gaines brings her beautiful, plein air paintings of Florida nature landscapes to the Downtown Dunedin Craft Festival.

Gaines didn't begin painting until later in life, after serving eight years active duty in the Air Force and after raising her family. After her children moved out on their own, she invested in a few years of private art instruction. Learning about art history as well as drawing and painting techniques, Gaines found painting from direct observation best suited her style. According to her website, she is influenced by the great Impressionists and she works quickly to capture the essence and feeling of being in the moment.

"I've been told that my paintings have an authentic feel to them; a real sense of place,” Gaines states on her website. She is particularly enamored with painting outdoors, en plein air. She has recently been exploring the effects of sunlight on water and the shoreline along the area beaches.

"I like the way the light bounces above and below the water or the way the water changes colors as the sun rises or sets,” she says. “I spend as much time as I can painting on location where all of my senses become fully engaged. Even the smells and sounds play a role in the creation of a work done on location."

Gulfport’s Robin Short returns to the Downtown Dunedin Craft Festival. She 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. A lot of her ideas come from customers who can’t find exactly what they are looking for. She then goes home and develops a pattern that will be useful and fun. She has been working with American Craft Endeavors for just over four years and truly enjoys working with the organization and the customers it brings out to the craft fairs.

St. Petersburg’s Don and Cristina Williams are also scheduled to take part in this year’s festival. These two pottery artists create beautiful raku ceramic pieces. Each one is thrown by hand and totally unique. The Williams frequent many pottery shows, arts and crafts shows and galleries around Florida.

“I was born to do art,” Don said in an email. “I love it, live it and love to share with others. I have been doing pottery almost 30 years now. My wife Cristina is very talented as well and we do a lot of collaborative pieces like our penguins and cats. People can see us and our work at the many shows we do around Florida with Howard Alan Events and American Craft Endeavors.”

The Williamses collaborate on each piece they create, perfecting their skills in the ancient Japanese art of shino glaze, a process that has not changed in centuries, yet yields a different effect with each finished piece. They welcome the opportunity to meet and speak with art enthusiasts and potential investors.

About American Craft Endeavors

American Craft Endeavors produces some of the nation’s most exciting high-end juried craft shows in many of Florida’s vibrant downtown areas and popular tourist destinations such as the Downtown Dunedin Art and Craft Festival, the St. Pete Beach Corey Area Craft Festival and the Downtown Sarasota Art and Craft Festival, among others. The group’s founders personally select unique, culture-rich cities for their show locations, providing a complete outdoor experience unmatched by other festivals. All crafters are hand-selected from hundreds of applicants in order to ensure a superior event featuring diverse art media and the highest quality of original handmade crafts.

For information, visit www.artfestival.com.