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Line and Color: Arts Festival features variety of styles

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

The Chilton County Arts Council hosted another successful Arts Festival at the Clanton Conference and Performing Arts Center on July 27.

This annual marketplace of handcrafted items features artists from throughout the region.

“It’s been exciting,” organizer Mack Gothard said.

Gothard said there had been a steady stream of visitors, a mix of local residents and those from other parts of the state.

“Every year, we get different vendors, so it’s a great variety,” Gothard said.

Many are also vendors returning from previous years, such as Eulata Guy of Jemison with her art pieces that preserve old jewelry.

“I meet so many different people, and it’s just a social time to see old friends and make new friends,” Guy said.

She said it also gives her a chance to see “the incredible talent that some of these people have.”

While she likes to do custom work to preserve specific people’s collection of heirloom jewelry, Guy said she tried to choose pieces that would appeal to a variety of people for the festival.

Much of her work is with pieces that “they are sentimental about, but they don’t want to wear them.”

She said creating a piece is “like putting a puzzle together, I just don’t know what the picture is going to look like until I finish it.”

The festival serves as a way to promote local art and artists and give people an opportunity to purchase art.

Gothard said only those who sold work they created were accepted as vendors. Gothard said he turned down some who simply wanted to resell items they had purchased.

Another thing that Gothard said sets the festival apart is that it is indoors.

Art featured ranged from decorated hats to paintings to gourd art.

Returning artist Teresa Wamble of Calera said she looks for as many faces she can find to paint on a gourd.

“I buy these gourds just to see how many faces I can find in them, because the faces are already there I just have to find them,” Wamble said.

Wamble said she enjoys “talking to the people and seeing their reaction to my gourds” during the festival.

“We are all different how we do it,” Wamble said.

She said the event is very organized each year, and it is a good opportunity to be at an art show in July and out of the heat.

Robin Johnston of Jemison had her copper and brass jewelry from unique items.

“I use reclaimed items,” Johnston said. “To me, it’s all about taking something old and making it new again … I take things that maybe shouldn’t be jewelry and make them into jewelry.”

Things like insect wing, antlers, keys and vertebrae are a part of her designs. She said her work is all about new ways to look at things.

Johnston has been doing this kind of art for about 12 years and started attending art shows eight years ago. She enjoys the Chilton County Arts Festival because it is an opportunity close to home.

Peggy Burns of Deatsville said she enjoyed the event because it was an opportunity to tell people the story of how she makes her brooms.

“I get to hear everybody else’s history and stories, that is interesting,” Burns said. “… You can find out so much.”

Mosaics by Kenneth Smith of Columbus, Mississippi, were also on display. Smith said he found out about the opportunity on the internet.

He said he has been doing mosaics with old window and picture frames for 12 years.

“Usually when I get out in my shop, I don’t know what type design I am going to make for the frame,” Smith said. “Some frames I will do a chisel design according to the color of the frame.”

His work features a variety of scenes with each of his abstract pieces having a biblical meaning, “about Joseph and the coat of many colors.”

Smith also said he enjoyed meeting different people at the event.

This was the ninth year for the event.