The Boise Art Museums 58th annual Art in the Park will take over Julia Davis Park this weekend, filling it with everything from jewelry to paintings, furniture to ceramics, created by more than 240 artists from around the region.
It is the museums largest fundraiser, with 20 percent of all art and food sales going to support educational programs and exhibition costs.
The event brings together a mix of old and new. Regulars, such as SpoonMan Creations and Hatterdashery, return year after year. But there are always new artists to discover.
GOURD GARDEN CREATIONS
When is a gourd not a vegetable? When its a Cindy Barrie work of art. She fell in love with gourds 10 years ago at an art show in Boise. She knew she had discovered a new art medium and began to travel to study with some of the best in the country and develop her style.
Working with ornamental gourds is like working with wood. Folk and Americana artists have been turning them into functional and decorative pieces for centuries. Barrie likes to push her work to the limits of what you think of as gourd art.
You can use endless techniques on them. And she does carving, painting in oils and acrylics, using inlay, burning and her latest technique of three-dimensional power carving to turn a garden vegetable into art.
Prices: $10 to $450
CREATIVE WITH CLAY
Charan Sachar spent most of his life studying computers and fulfilling his parents dreams to earn a masters degree. Yet, growing up in India, his own dreams were filled with clay.
Ive dreamt about working with clay all my life, Sachar says.
It wasnt until he earned that masters degree and took his first job in the Seattle area that Sachar sat behind a potters wheel and found out he was a natural.
Within six weeks, Sachar was teaching his new skill. Now, hes left computing behind and is a full-time potter. He creates colorful functional and decorative pieces inspired by Indian fabrics and embroidery.
And all that education?
Im very glad I did it, he says from his studio in Federal Way, Wash. The designs are not easy to reproduce and to translate them to a different medium takes a lot of engineering.
Three years ago, the recession hit Boise massage therapist Stacey Whitcomb pretty hard. It was clearly time to regroup and diversify. Grad school? Great idea. It just didnt turn out the way she planned.
Whitcomb went to Austin, Texas, to check out a graduate acupuncture program and happened into a bicycle shop. There, she saw some accessories made from bicycle tires and parts but, they were uninspired, Whitcomb says.
So, she came home to Boise and started working to develop her Upcycle Attire, a line of belts, buckles, dog collars and bracelets made from recycled bicycle parts.
Considering the industrial quality of the materials, Whitcomb focuses on the aesthetics of fashion, adding sparkly elements to soften the look.
Check her out on Facebook.
Price: $38 to $65. Buckles will be on sale.
SUSIE FRANCES AOKI
When research librarian Susie Frances Aoki and her husband, Yoshi, were laid off from their corporate jobs in 2008, she had no idea what a blessing it would be.
I spent a while looking for a regular job; then we decided to do something different, she says.
Yoshi is from Japan. The couple and Yoshis mother decided to reinvent themselves as Japanese lamp makers, selling their wares at the Portland Farmers Market. That didnt stick, but the experience of working with ceramics to build the lamp bases sparked something inside Aoki.
I rolled my first bead, and I was hooked, she says.
That took her into jewelry where she began to combine ceramics with metal work. Her current work is mostly silver and other metals but she still rolls beads with her torch. Oh, and Yoshi is now a metal sculptor.
A full-time jewelry maker for the past four years, her business has really taken off. Aoki does 10 to 15 art shows each year.
Prices: $45 and up
Art runs in Salt Lake City painter Cassandra Barneys family. Her father is fantasy painter and Brigham Young University art professor James Christensen. Growing up as an artists daughter, Barney avoided taking art classes until college. Ironically, her dad was her professor for all four years of her undergrad.
He never gave me an A and was harder on me than anyone else, she says, laughing.
She went on to earn a masters degree and in 2000 started showing her work in galleries.
Her style starts with magical realism, she says. Its really a combination of all the artists Ive studied, but I love magical realism because there are fewer boundaries, and I love working through ideas that way, she says.
Barney has been showing at Boises Gallery 601 for a few years, and Art in the Park will be her first art festival. She will have a mix of prints for sale in the park. Originals will be available at Gallery 601.