This past weekend, I attended the annual Fall Foliage Festival art show in Waynesboro. The Fall Foliage Festival is a staple in our small town each year, and many artists in our area and from all over the country set up their tents, displaying their beautiful and interesting art pieces. It’s a wonderful event and I have met so many artists over the years who bring a variety of art for us to enjoy and purchase. Several pieces purchased at the Fall Foliage Festival have graced the homes of three generations in my family, and you can always find the perfect gift just before the holidays!
The Fall Foliage Festival has always felt like the official beginning of fall for me, and I’m sure many others in our community feel the same way. There have only been a few years out of my entire life that I have missed the art show. It has taken place every year as long as I can remember, and the drizzling rain and cool weather wasn’t about to keep me away this year. Thankfully, it wasn’t pouring rain….for the sake of the artists!
There’s usually a much larger crowd at the art show than we had on Saturday, but I have an appreciation for the dedicated artists sticking it out through the not-so-favorable weather conditions. They put a lot of work into this show and some have traveled a long way to be here. I watched some artists carefully wiping away the moisture from their canvases and kindly inviting us inside their tents to come in from the rain- allowing for long conversations about the detail in their artwork.
I could have taken many more photos than I did on Saturday! It was so much fun, but also hard to narrow it down to the pieces I wanted to feature here on the blog. I appreciate that the artists were so friendly (they always are!) and allowed me to take over their tent displays for a few minutes while I photographed their pieces.
My first feature is local artist, Ashley Sauder Miller. I really enjoyed the detail and texture in her pieces. This set on canvas, with the split appearance, caught my eye right away. This set was already sold when I walked in- no surprise there!
What I found most interesting about the detail is that Ashley used pieces of old chairs…including vinyl and caned pieces. I also enjoyed the fabrics she included. If you look closely at her paintings, you can see the detail.
Ashley had both framed and canvas pieces displayed. I always enjoy a good framed piece, but I also love artwork with texture. I would never touch an art piece without first asking the artist, but she was so laid back about it and allowed me to feel the detail added to the canvas paintings. She even mentioned that as a mom, she has her kids in the studio sometimes and that she allows them to add some of their own creativity to her pieces. How fun is that?! She said that some things that have happened by accident, turned out to be the perfect detail.
As someone who has spent time restoring wood furniture pieces, it’s no wonder this next display caught my attention. These beautiful wood pieces from artist Mike Sorge were stunning! I can’t imagine the work involved in these wood-turned pieces that show the natural beauty of the trees.
Mike rescues fallen trees to create his bowls, platters, and boxes. I especially appreciated the natural edge bowls, leaving the detail and texture of the bark. The natural edge bowls definitely stand out on their own and would make a great conversation piece to display. I just had to get a close-up shot of the bowls so you could see the detail.
The large serving bowls below have detail and quality you won’t find in the big box stores. These bowls are created using various styles of wood and finished with a food safe oil. According to Mike’s website, once the bowls are shaped, they are dried anywhere from 6-18 months. While the trees do provide natural beauty, the time and care that goes into crafting these pieces must add so much to the quality and detail.
My husband and I really enjoyed Mike’s geometric boxes and platters….especially the various wood tones throughout. Such eye-catching, detailed pieces!
I am always excited to visit the next featured artist. Lynn Hilton Conyers is not only a very talented and skilled artist, she was also my art teacher in high school. Although I have always loved art, I have to give her credit for teaching me to push further in my creativity, yet paying attention to detail. She was a wonderful teacher and I would describe her clay pieces as striking.
I enjoy the detail, texture, and the variation of color she includes in her wall plaques and bowls. I remember the time and attention it took to complete a clay piece when I was in high school, so I can imagine the work she puts into her creations must require a lot of time. She has quite a passion for what she does though, and it shows.
She spent time explaining the technique of firing these bowls using hay, and how that technique brings out the color throughout. Listening to her explain this process was like being in art class with her again. I really enjoyed hearing her explain the process and what she has studied since I was her art student many years ago.
I also learned that Lynn hosts an art camp for kids in the summer. She still continues teaching! As a former student of hers, I am sure the kids learn so many techniques in her class all while having fun!
Listening to Lynn explain this display of wall plaques actually brought tears to my eyes. Another teacher at the high school, Duane Hahn, was also a very talented local artist. People here in the Shenandoah Valley were usually familiar with Duane’s ceramic masks, and often recognized his work immediately. Sadly, Duane Hahn passed away a few years ago, shocking our entire community…especially local artists, educators, and students. Lynn told me that he left her his studio and she created these pieces with the masks in honor of him.
I always remember Duane and Lynn’s displays, side-by-side, every year at the art show. Having him included in this way still gives me a feeling of them coming together in some way. Both brilliant educators and artists. Certainly a reminder of the time and love they gave to their students and to the arts in our community.
How would I describe this next feature? FUN! I first noticed these unique creations when I recently visited the Shenandoah Valley Art Center. Pop’s Bots, by artist Bruce Fortier, are a fun mix of old and new, creating these fun characters. I would say these are definitely another perfect conversation piece to have on display!
I always enjoy displaying vintage pieces throughout my house. They certainly bring back memories for so many people and Bruce has certainly used them in a very interesting way. Pop’s Bots definitely brought a smile to my face, as I’m sure they have so many others.
They seem to have left quite an impression on a young artist in our community. A boy named Kaleb was so inspired by Bruce’s bots, that he created his own using pieces from a Wendy’s kid’s meal! How cool is that?! I love that Bruce proudly displayed Kaleb’s piece right along with his, and showed the art award that Kaleb received at his school. I hope to see Kaleb’s tent at the art show some day.
That’s another thing about our local artists…they inspire our kids to be so creative and encourage them to be a part of our local art scene!
Bruce’s bots are just perfect for any age! One more fun piece to show you…
It’s not a wonder why the next display drew us in. My husband grew up in the 70’s, and I was an 80’s kid, so naturally the painting of Captain Kangaroo was one of our favorites! This awesome painting was created by David Norcoss, originally from our area and now living in North Carolina.
This is such a fun and colorful piece, and brings back so many memories of our childhood….Captain Kangaroo on an old dial TV with the test pattern colors bars. What an awesome painting, David!
I really enjoyed his art work and talking with him during the show. I mentioned that I come from a family of tobacco farmers in Apex, North Carolina and surprisingly, that’s where he lives! I usually hear people say they’ve never heard of Apex, so I thought it was cool to talk to someone who lives there, and grew up in this area. We had a nice conversation about both places and his paintings.
I also enjoyed his colorful, geometric pattern paintings. I did get a close-up shot of those pieces, but the photo turned out blurry (insert sad face emoji).
This display of knitted and hand-sewn pieces is very familiar here in our area. Artist and entreprenuer, Mariah Clark, is the owner of Stitch Amour in downtown Waynesboro. Mariah offers hand-painted yarns and supplies. What I love about the Stitch Amour display is that it’s a mix of Mariah’s work and many ideas of hand-made pieces you can do yourself. Mariah encourages that by offering knitting and sewing classes at her shop. What a great way to bring friends and the community together! I took one of her sewing classes a few years back with a friend of mine. Mariah is a great instructor and it was the perfect balance of learning and socializing.
Not only am I impressed with her skill and all that she offers in her shop, but I love how she opened the shop in the historic downtown district and fixed it up, keeping the character of the building with some modern touches. You know I am a big fan of restoring old buildings and homes.
Here is a sneak-peek of Mariah’s latest line…these colorful bags. They serve a purpose and I will be featuring them soon in another post, so stay tuned!
Last, but certainly not least, are these gorgeous Raku Orb lamps by artist Andrew Wender. I literally gasped when I saw these lamps. You will never find anything like them in a department store…so unique and such lovely color and detail!
Described on his website- “One of a kind, Raku fired pottery designed to create an optimal lighting experience in your home…” No doubt they would! These lamps would make the perfect accent in any room.
I really wish this had not been the last display we came to minutes before the show was closing down. I would have enjoyed spending more time talking to Andrew about these wonderful lamps. I did get a closer shot so you could see the detail of the design…spectacular!
Thanks again to the Shenandoah Valley Art Center, the City of Waynesboro, local sponsors and vendors, and all the artists for another successful Fall Foliage Art Show! Although the following day was sunnier, I appreciated that everyone dedicates themselves to this event each year, rain or shine! At least it wasn’t pouring, but the fabulous art displays and the time spent with each artist gave us some sunshine on a dreary day!
For more information about the Fall Foliage Festival artist directories, and local exhibits, visit the Shenandoah Valley Art center’s website at: http://www.svacart.com/.