DUNEDIN – Just as fall ushers in crisp weather and colorful foliage to many parts of the country, in Florida the season brings clusters of white canopy tents to various towns on select weekends as festivals start to appear on the calendar.
American Craft Endeavors will host one of the season’s first juried fine craft festivals in the Tampa Bay area. The 27th annual Downtown Dunedin Craft Festival will take place Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 16-17, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., on Main Street in downtown Dunedin. For information, visit www.artfestival.com.
The event is free and open to the public.
A vast selection of handmade crafts, affordable and functional art as well as unique items suitable for holiday gifts will be on display and for sale at the festival. Festival patrons will be able to stroll down Main Street and explore the diverse eclectic artwork in a variety of styles and artistic media by the top artists and crafters in the country. According to a press release from the event organizer, prices will be set to suit all budgets and range from as little as $3 to $3,000.
The festival comes just in time to kick off the holiday shopping season.
This festival will provide shoppers with an alternative to crowded malls in an ideal outdoor setting. As a bonus, a Green Market will offer a selection of exotic plants, dips, other gourmet items and much more.
Festivals produced by Howard Alan Events and American Craft Endeavors bring together an eclectic mix of the nation’s most talented artists and crafters, as well as leading local and regional artists. It’s a boon to the local economy, too: The artists, crafters, local merchants, restaurants and hotels all benefit from the festivals, which drive additional guests and dollars to each town.
All artists and crafters will be on-site for the entire duration of the shows allowing the public to meet and talk with them personally, asking questions about their art and inspirations. The artistic media represented in the art festivals include paintings, sculptures, photos, glass, wood, jewelry, collage and ceramics. The craft shows feature a full spectrum of craft art mediums including folk art, pottery, handmade jewelry and paintings, to personalized gifts, handmade clothing, scented soaps and body products.
Among this year’s participants at the festival are Gissell and William Barbour.
According to their website, their company, Ear Art Inc., uses only the finest materials, including Austrian and Swarovski crystals, semi-precious stones, with .925 sterling silver or 14 karat gold-filled beads and 14 karat gold-filled jewelry wire.
“We put a great deal of pride in every item that we create,” the Barbours say on the website. “Our family is the original inventor of wire-crafted earpins and earcuffs and has been making jewelry for the past 25 years.”
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.
Pinellas residents Don and Cristina Williams of St. Petersburg will be on hand.
Don and Cristina collaborate on each piece 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.
The couple welcomes the opportunity to meet and speak with art enthusiasts and potential investors at ACE events such as the Palm Harbor Craft Festival.
“I was born to do art,” Don said. “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 our work and us at the many shows we do around Florida with Howard Alan Events & American Craft Endeavors.”
To learn more about the Williams and explore their online gallery, visit www.dmwpottery.com.
The talented crafter Walter Catts will be displaying his creations at the festival. Catts hails from Palmetto where he has his own carpentry shop, Catts Carpentry Inc. There, he creates beautiful furniture utilizing old shutters.
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.”
Also taking part in the festival will be Gulfport’s Robin Short, who 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 they bring out to the craft fairs.
From St. Petersburg, Kevin Ritter and John Rymer are known for their bold colors celebrating sea life and nature through the use of creative mixed media.
The longtime collaborative artists produce large works on various metals as well as their signature works available for purchase on coasters, cutting boards, note cards and more.
Like many of Florida’s seasonal residents, Chris Adamo splits his time between his home in Cape Cod and his winter escape in Sarasota. Together with his wife Nancy, Chris creates and sells unique handcrafted jewelry. But the Adamos’ idea of running a business didn’t include the “brick and mortar” model. Instead, they opted to sell their creations online and at local craft and artisan fairs.
The result is inspired, distinctive jewelry crafted from the finest gemstones, crystals and silver.
“We take our inspiration from the beautiful coastal areas where we live,” Chris says on his website, “but also in the beauty and spirituality of the natural world around us.”