DUNEDIN – Some of the finest crafters in the country will display their handmade art and affordable gift items in a summertime showcase that wraps up the Florida festival season in Pinellas.
The 17th annual Downtown Dunedin Craft Festival runs Saturday and Sunday, June 22-23, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., on Main Street in downtown Dunedin. The event is free and open to the public. For information, visit www.artfestival.com.
This local tradition includes summer green market wares as well as artisan-created pottery, jewelry, paintings, and more. The work of more than 100 craft artisans from around the country will be featured.
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.”
Belleair baker and full-time licensed counselor and therapist Shannon Raday will bring her beautiful baked goods to the Downtown Dunedin Craft Festival's green market. Aptly titled "Sweet Therapy," Raday creates scrumptious cinnamon rolls, chocolate babka and scones as well as gluten-free and vegan treats.
Ashley Brown has been showcasing her work with American Craft Endeavors since she was 18 years old.
The St. Petersburg College graduate is a highly skilled metal artist who creates ocean-inspired works using materials from wrecked cars. Each piece is hand-cut then painted with reflective auto paint for a durable, long-lasting and striking work of art. Recently, Brown met Guy Harvey, one of her inspirations, and created a series for him. For more about her work, visit www.ashleycbrown.com.
Based in Clearwater, Gayle Foshee is an artisan handbag designer.
Each of her handbags is a uniquely designed piece of wearable art. She uses leather, hand-dyed ribbon, nuno felting and found objects to create stunning bags. Her latest inspiration comes from Frida Kahlo, a famous Mexican self-portrait artist.
Known for her colorful clothing and art, Foshee has used interesting colorful fibers in her collection. She attributes her creative energy and playful designs to her muse Tango, the mischievous and wickedly funny cockatoo.
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.
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 Lauderdale-by-the-Sea Craft Festival; the Holiday Craft Festival on the Ocean in Jupiter; the Downtown Stuart Craft Fairs; the Siesta Fiesta Craft Festival in Sarasota and the Downtown Sarasota Craft Festival. 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 or call 561-746-6615.