One of the things I like about this time of year, after the skiers leave and before the summer crowd arrives, is that I have the time to sit in the Northern Michigan Artists Market and talk with artists who are interested in showing their work here. We do that all year round, but it seems to be a lot more fun in this season when we can have a more leisurely chat.
The best part is when one of those chats results in a new member of the Artists Market family. That happened three times in the last month so I have three new Artists Market artists to tell you about.
The first one is David Johns of Kalkaska, Michigan. David makes beautiful Nantucket baskets. Obviously, Nantucket is not in Northern Michigan but Kalkaska is and Nantucket and Northern Michigan have a lot in common. For one thing, we both have a lot of shipwrecks. And in both places, that lead to a lot of lighthouses and lightships. In Nantucket, the lightship keepers spent months at a time in small, uncomfortable quarters. As there were no video games in the late 1800's, they filled their days making baskets and they filled their baskets with all kinds of things. David's baskets are the classic Nantucket style with woven cane, wooden bottoms and swinging bale handles. They are extremely well made and very stylish. They come in several sizes and are definitely worth stopping by the Market to look at.
While you are here, be sure to check out the turned wood bowls by new Artist Market artist Dan Kuhn. Dan lives in Boyne City and has worked with wood for most of his life. His bowls show that long time appreciation for the living medium of wood and its many personalities. Each of his creations takes advantage of the various colors and grains of different types of wood and combines them into a highly functional and decorative piece of art.
Our third new artist is a master with wood as well. Vicki Carpenter of Gaylord, Michigan, takes wooden plates, lazy Susans, candle holders, bread boards, animals and other items and transforms them into stunning heirlooms by painting them in a traditional Scandinavian style. Her designs include flowers, horses, hearts and other traditional images. She has also painted her traditional designs on Christmas tree ornaments.
Spring is the time for new things. New grass and flowers, newborn creatures and new Northern Michigan Artists Market artists. So shake off the winter blahs and enjoy spring with a trip to the Market to see the works by our new artists -- and some of the new work of our existing artists as well.