Several artists debut at Arts Festival

Published 1:06 pm Monday, July 30, 2018

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

Many artists were publicly displaying their work for the first time at the Chilton County Arts Festival on July 28, sponsored by the Chilton County Arts Council.

Such was the case for brother and sister Joshua and Rachel Palmer of Jemison.

Photographer Joshua Palmer said he has enjoyed taking photos ever since he was a child.

“The summer before my second year of college, I started trying to really refine my abilities as a photographer,” Palmer said.

While he enjoys photographing a variety of subjects, his work is mostly landscapes at this point.

“I’ve drawn ever since I was little,” Rachel Palmer said. “I have worked as an illustrator for several years.”

At the festival, she had a number of greeting cards and illustrations on display for sale.

Joshua Palmer said he enjoyed seeing what the other artists and vendors had to offer.

“It’s really cool to see all the different things people have made, but it is also really cool to hear their stories, hear their experiences,” Rachel Palmer said. “I think a lot of art in about mentorship, and I think that is being lost.”

Across the room at the booth of another local artist, the results of such a mentorship were on display as Arts Council member Diana Hiott shared a space with her intern Ivey Vinson. Vinson attends Troy University, but returned to Chilton County for the summer.

“I was so honored she agreed to let me intern with her,” Vinson said.

Hiott said she was impressed by Vinson’s work and how she built on the style Hiott was teaching her. Hiott specializes in cloth figures with detailed painted faces.

Madelyn Blakley of Tuscaloosa, who is 16 years old, had a variety of paintings on display, trying to raise money for a missions trip she will go on in 2019.

While she has always done some form of art, she became interested in painting nature and landscapes in middle school.

“I had always wanted to be a part of an art festival or craft show … so it’s a good opportunity,” Blakley said.

She said she also enjoyed meeting the other artists.

For Maurice Cook of Birmingham, painting is a way to chronicle what life was like growing up in Carbon Hill, Alabama.

“For me, it’s all about family,” Maurice Cook said.

His paintings depict ordinary life with bright and vibrant colors.

Cook was also painting scenes during the festival, so those walking by could see a piece in progress.

Pottery, lawn art and pieces made from recycled materials were also on display.

“We like it because it is all hand-crafted items,” Griffin, a returning artist, said.

She started in pottery after a friend gave her and her husband Mike a kiln in exchange for some work he had done for her, “and it became an addiction.”

Her pieces incorporate her love for fantasy fiction as well as her life and heritage.

Maria Hosmer had a variety handbags and clothing made from old clothes, fabric and jeans.

“I like to recycle; that’s my thing,” Hosmer said.

There were 52 vendors “from all over the state and one from Mississippi and one from Georgia,” according to Mack Gothard.

“There are people in Chilton County and surrounding areas that have talent and nowhere to display or sell it, so the Chilton County Arts Council is giving the local artists the opportunity to sell, and it’s needed,” Gothard said.

Each year, Gothard enjoys reconnecting with artists that have participated in previous years.