Chilton County Arts Festival enjoys summer success

Published 11:15 am Monday, July 31, 2017

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

Colorful Creations lined booth after booth at the Seventh Annual Chilton County Arts Festival on July 29.

The festival was moved to July for this year to keep it from competing with other art events in the state, and the result was record participation.

“We changed the date and it filled up in attendance,” organizer Mack Gothard said.

There were 50 artists’ work featured. Gothard said he enjoyed the variety of the artists participating this year.

“In Central Alabama, we have a lot of talent and there is no place to expose people to it,” Gothard said.

Those looking to buy something unique had plenty to choose from.

Diana Hiott was displaying her painted face cloth dolls.

“I’ve always done things with a needle and thread,” Hiott said. “I started making traditional dolls, and I found that what I really enjoy doing is the faces and the characters. I like doing things that are unusual, faces that are unusual.”

Each doll is made from cloth, then a portion of the fabric is treated to create a canvas-like surface. The details of the face are then painted on.

Several local artists had gourd art for sale.

Tim Tingle of Montevallo had a large collection of his hand-carved golf balls and wood carvings for sale.

“I was cutting grass and hit a golf ball. It split open, and I said, ‘Wow, that looks like it would carve,” Tingle said.

As he began cutting open different golf balls he noticed each one had a different color of rubber on the inside. This color gives Tingle inspiration for what the piece will become.

Tingle said he has been creating carvings from golf balls for 15 years, but has been carving wood “since I was old enough to have a knife.” He said he “gravitates toward bearded faces” in his wood carvings. Other times, the tree already looks like something to him, so he will use that as inspiration.

Wood was a popular medium for artists at the festival. Ben Smith featured smaller wood pieces, both functional and decorative. Danny Wright was selling his wooden candle sticks and miniature birdhouses.

While Eulata Guy of Jemison had jewelry artwork displayed at the festival, she said she especially enjoys making commissioned pieces.

“Just about every lady has jewelry that her grandmother or a deceased something gave to her hat they will never wear again, they just don’t have the heart to give it away,” Guy said. “So, we repurpose it into whatever they would like.”

Jewelry was also the focus for Carol and Jim Waldrop’s art. The couple creates bracelets from silverware and charms. Colorful fused glass jewelry was on display by Wendy Speed and Terri Johnson of Selma. Different layers and shapes of colored glass are fused in a kiln to create the designs. Speed and Johnson said they have branched out to include wind chimes and window art among their projects.

Clay designs by Jesse Cunningham were also featured.

“I like doing hand built as well as wheel work,” Cunningham said.

Cunningham said he likes his larger pieces best.

Landscapes, including photography by Ashlyn Postell and paintings by Alan Massey of Columbiana, were a popular subject matter.

Massey said painting has been a hobby all of his life. He finds inspiration in places he enjoys, whether his favorite fishing spot or an old farmhouse.

The Arts Festival was held in the Clanton Performing Arts Center.