Sunday, May 17, 2009

Broadripple Art Fair

We made our fourth annual trip to the the Broadripple Art Fair yesterday, and I think it was the best one we've been to yet.

As you may know, it is hard to trust the Indianapolis area weather forecasters in May (Cory's convinced that they're encouraged by Speedway officials to be incredibly optimistic in order to keep people coming out to the track), so it was no surprise that the predicted "clearing skies" were still ominously grey in the morning. We set out for Broadripple anyway, not afraid of a little rain. The deluge from the night before left its mark in mud on the Art Center's grounds, and as a result my tennies are no longer white. Oh, well. It was so worth it.

Last year I loved Lisa Vetter's work, but didn't buy anything (I must've been on a tight budget at that time). Passing up a purchase in her booth haunted me for the rest of the year, so I crossed my fingers that she would return in '09. And she did, with even more delightful things. Her booth was one of the first we came across. Lisa calls her work "functional mixed media" created at her studio in Spencerville, IN, "The Art Farm". She had an assortment of clocks, tables, lamps, and jewelry artistically crafted out of such items as bottlecaps, vintage tins, bowling trophies, vinyl records, and more. Love her stuff! Here is a sampling of her things. Even her business card was cool - an old 8 of hearts with a sticker on it. I couldn't decide what to get on our first pass through, so we returned later to her booth to see what really spoke to us. I decided on a clock made out of a vintage hammered aluminum tray. Lisa filled me in on it as I wrote my check, saying it was fresh out of the studio. The blue disk is half of an old film cannister, the "Virginia" component is a souvenir coaster, and the tips of the clock hands were snipped out of an old tin. I LOVE IT.

Near Lisa Vetter's booth was another one that really caught my eye, Dolan Geiman. He also does mixed media, although mostly in 2-D. His stuff was amazing, but a tad out of my price range. Geiman uses found objects and reclaimed materials, making compositions that remind me a little of my scrapbooking process. He has a nice website here, and sells his stuff on Etsy. I must have something of his one day.

We also discovered Xavier Nuez's photography. The series that caught our eye (and my checkbook) was "Alleys and Fire Escapes". We picked up a trio of small 4 x 6's (all highlighting Chicago streets, of course). He probably explains his subject matter best on the back of the prints that we purchased:

Long after dark, I venture into bleak urban settings, seeking out dramatic stories and elusive splendor. With the city humming in the background, I find inspiration where there should not be any. Alleys for me are an inverted reality and I have developed a need to create monuments out of these irrelevant places.

We listened to the artist explain how he used colored lighting to bring his subject matter to life. Who would ever think that urban decay could be beautiful? When we got home last night, I checked out his blog on his website, which had some pretty interesting stories behind some of the shots. His site also showcased another series, "Glam Bugs", where he photographs dead bugs in theatrical settings. OK, that's just a little too weird for me. Still love his work, though.

Another booth we discovered was "The New Homestead", a couple from Illinois that creates pieces from antique silverware. They had bracelets, rings, windchimes, vases, bookmarks, you-name-it crafted from cutlery. Loved this place too. I settled on a ring, although I wish I would've gotten one of the windchimes. Here is their website.

My final purchase was two pairs of earrings by enamelist Laura Chaiken. I love wearing handcrafted jewelry, and these were so unique. I just loved the white doves, and the blue in the ovals was so striking that I couldn't pass them up, too.

We didn't just shop. At one point the rain was coming in sideways, so we sought shelter in the Art Center, watching people demonstrate their arts. The glass-blowing was particularly fascinating. I have long been eager to try my hand at that. However, a closer look at the multitude of burn scars on the artists' arms may have convinced me otherwise. We also ate: rib tips from Uncle Artie's, beers from Broadripple Brew Pub, and some kind of sirloin tip, potato, onion, and mushroom conconction from an anonymous vendor that was DELISH. Oh, and who could forget the requisite roasted almonds and kettlecorn to take home. That goes without saying.

Since Cory has been so busy with work lately, it has been a while since we have been able to spend the day doing something so leisurely. It was so relaxing and enjoyable that we had a hard time tearing ourselves away. We're already looking forward to next year.

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