Tonawanda News


May 28, 2009

ART: 100 American Craftsmen descend on Lockport

There will be art you can wear, art you can clean with and art you can drink from. That’s the whole point behind the upcoming 100 American Craftsmen show being held Friday through Sunday at the Kenan Center in Lockport. It’s beautiful, functional art with a purpose.

“People get it in their head that crafts art is crafty, like two popsicle sticks glued together,” said Elaine Harrigan of the Kenan Center.

Actually, crafts are often beautiful products that go one step beyond art because they also serve a purpose, she said.

“What distinguishes craft art is its functionality,” she added.

That means show attendees will find art they can wear. Several new clothing designers will be in attendance at the show this year along with the jewelry designers typically showing their work. There will also be some new clay artists making dishes and cups “in exciting new shapes and colors,” Harrigan said.

This year’s show, which — as always — involves a jury that selects participants, features 113 artists including “some fantastic people who are taking traditional forms in brand new contemporary directions,” according to Harrigan. Some of the crafts are so beautiful that purchasers simply won’t want to use them, she said.

One artist, Dennis MacDonald of Lafayette, N.Y., is a broom maker who takes branches and other high quality wood, and makes brooms by adding twigs, straw, feathers and other unusual sweeping implements.

“He’s done our show before and he’s very popular because his pieces are so unique, they’re works of art in themselves,” Harrigan said. “You just want to hang them on the wall.”

Several new artists are creating works in metal for gardens and outdoor sculpture. “I think those pieces are really going to stand out because they’re larger and so unique,” Harrigan added. There will also be a new wine tent with three area wineries including Niagara Landing Wine Cellar, Arrowhead Spring Vineyards and Schulze Vineyards and Winery.

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