Artisans Make Fall Pilgrimmage Here

** Update:  The Festival runs again during 2010, on October 2nd and 3rd. **

We welcomed the arrival of artisans back to Montclair Village today, as they made their fall pilgrimmage to our sidewalks.  Montclair’s Fine Arts and Crafts Sidewalk Festival has returned in full force, and continues from 10am through 5pm tomorrow.

After spending a few hours walking around today, we can report there’s a nice mix of paintings, prints, pottery, glass, jewelry, metal sculptures, clothing and other unique items.  Here are a few things that caught my attention.

Pottery Art

While there are several pottery exhibitors, Mark Untener’s plate and bowl stood out from the crowd.  You can see some of the arts and crafts influence in them, but with a twist.  Mark has been making ceramics for 35 years, ever since he realized that pottery mattered more than his college biology major (email:

Fruit Portrait

Karen LeGault creates paintings and prints that seemed a little different too, and I asked her what influenced this fruit-on-vine print.  She explained her affinity for more intense, Western colors within a Chinese aesthetic.  Anyway, Karen’s art fits the bill for anyone who wants something calming (email:

Redwoods Zen

There are several escapist, acrylic paintings by Jane Kiskaddon, who uses an Airstream to travel.  So this meditator also uses a trailer to spend time in the local Redwoods, isn’t it great?  When Jane and I spoke, she explained that her art is mystical and uses this color palate pretty consistently (email:

Birdhouse in Garden

You’ll find “art-house” birdhouses on display in the village, courtesy of  re-use artist Ken Rhoads.  He salvages items and creates one-of-a-kind birdhouses that provide stylish shelter for your local avians.  Full disclosure is that I walked away with a rustic domicile, temporarily displayed in my garden (email:

Vibrant Quilt

Plus there are lovely quilts with unexpected colors and vibrancy!  Quilter Catherine Douat uses unique fabrics that make a difference, and can spend up to 50 hours on her fine hand-stitching per piece.  She also creates customized wedding and baby quilts, which are truly meant to be used (email:

Other interesting items?  Metal artist Christina de Lopez offers great rusted dogs and cats as well as brightly-colored insects (email:  Returnee Laura Blacona offers whimsical salt and pepper shakers (email:  Kristi Flynn has a huge display of pillar candles, and she’ll mix scents and colors just for you (email:

Anyway, make a little time to hit Montclair Village on Sunday and meet some of the juried artisans along Mountain, La Salle and Antioch.  With this fall mix of art and crafts, you don’t have to give up your first born to afford everything.  We think many items would be perfect for holiday gifts, if it’s possible to think that far ahead.

Montclair Art Picks, From The Streets

The 12th Annual Montclair Village Fine Arts and Crafts Sidewalk Festival took place this weekend, and once again the streets were filled with artists and artisans.

Twice annually, Montclair hosts art festivals on several village streets.  The June show features more fine art, while this past weekend’s event includes a mix of arts and crafts.

Although the Festival is history, you don’t have to miss out.  Here are some of my favorites, as well as links to many artist web sites which you can visit at your leisure.

The Artist Hines works with various pastes and paints so his abstract works have nice, rich depth.  On his web site, he shows you how it’s done.  Hines, who hails from Sausalito, is an art booster and serves as president of the Artists Guild of San Francisco.

Sculptor Phillip Glashoff makes whimsical sculptures, using old junk that’s soldered together.  Everything he displayed on our streets made me smile, similar to what’s shown in this gallery.  Many of the Glashoff works were over seven feet tall, and perfect for a large space.

Today I spent time chatting with Neal Geisler, who finds wood pieces and transforms them into sculptures.  You have to visit this online gallery, filled with interesting results.  I really want the piece called “life,” which was also at the show.

While this just looks like an nice wood rocker, what’s special is that Jim Simons handcrafts them from old winery vats.  He brought a full display of fine-looking redwood tables and chairs to the show, that were comfortable to boot.

Well, there are too many festival artists to showcase here! Please link to these other artists, who caught my eye and seemed pretty special as well:

  • Laura Blacona makes clay pieces that are actually affordable, in the form of shakers and light switches.  These Miro-like designs are great, and I bought a few today.
  • Kelly Morgen creates one-of-a-kind medallions inspired by fairy tales and myths.  These are miniature artworks, like the Greek Goddess Daphne.

What’s most heartening about the Montclair festival?  Just hanging out with the artists and listening to them share their creative muses and stories.  It’s a very relaxed way to appreciate who’s out there.

I asked some of the exhibitors about booth traffic, and they reported things were quieter than in the past due to the rainy weather early yesterday.  A few also felt our current economic times impacted their sales.

Of course, more than a few artists were happy the art show season’s wrapping up – and they can get back to their real work.