When the Driftless Area Art Festival opens for its tenth year on September 20, eighty-five visual artists will offer a wide range of work, including painting, drawing, multi-media, sculpture, pottery, jewelry and fabric art. With 19 artists new to the festival, let’s meet a few of those whose work will be on display.
Madden and Farra
One team, Maya Madden and Wayne Farra, from Lone Rock, have a total of over 60 years of jewelry-making experience, and they believe in creative rule breaking. In fact, they called a shop they owned for ten years No Rules Jewelry because, as Madden puts it, they believe that there are no rules in art. “You can be as creative as you want. Don’t listen to the design mavens,” she says, although she admits that artists starting out sometimes hesitate to break rules.
At the same time, Madden and Farra respect their materials and observe strongly suggested guidelines, even as they experiment and push the limits. They try to make jewelry that’s fun, affordable and includes a lot of color and movement. The two artists use enamel, ground glass heated in a kiln, fused to fine metal.
Another team, Helen’s Daughters, will be represented by Mariella TerBeest-Schladweiler of Preston, Minnesota, who will bring her handbag art to the Festival. The artistic partnership involves Mariella and her sister Char TerBeest Kudla. They started their business in 1989 to honor their mother, Helen, who taught them to sew at a very young age.
Each sister has her own individual handbag style and her own creative designs. The bags are plain to fancy, pretty to bold, and everyday to occasional—but always useful, and they have been carried by hundreds, all over the world, including one made for a bride from her mother’s wedding dress.
One of the painters new to this year’s festival likes to paint ‘plein air,’ out of doors. Hannah Heyer says that helps her take a closer look at the natural beauty that she might otherwise miss.
She paints quickly, usually completing a small painting in two to three hours, trying to “capture the fleeting and changing view of a particular place and time.”
Sometimes, these smaller plein air sketches become the inspiration for larger canvases that she paints in her studio in Dakota, Minnesota.
Another artist paints with light. In addition to more traditional outdoor photographs, Jordan Kjome creates many of his photographs in the dark of night, painting his subject matter using a spotlight and colored gels, illuminating specific parts of the scene, so, for example, one pine tree appears purple and another blue. Dressed in black, he can work invisibly, because his black clothing absorbs light instead of reflecting it back into the camera’s lens.
Jordan’s father, John Steven Kjome, who sometimes helps his son with setup, will have an adjoining tent. At Clearfork Stoneworks, his home studio in Decorah, Iowa, he creates rustic furnishings made from clay, stone, glass, metal, and reclaimed wood, as well hand-crafted jewelry. He uses found materials that have had a former life and brings them together to create unique story pieces.
For the past 10 years, he has been creating tables in a variety of shapes and sizes, including dining tables, end tables, coffee tables and console tables. Each design is unique, responding to the texture and look of the materials. The table bases are made from reclaimed lumber from mid-19th century homes and farm buildings, with tops inlaid with mosaic stone.
Art with everyday uses is one of the inspirations behind Kate Chandler’s work. She makes modern, beautiful and utilitarian pots, pitchers, mugs and bowls for everyday use, putting her art into people’s hands and everyday lives. A native of Elkader, Iowa, she owns the Common Clay Studio, a shop where she can share her creations and even invite visitors into her basement studio to watch her work.
To learn more about these and all the visual, culinary and performing artists at the festival visit driftlessareaartfestival.com or the festival’s facebook page. The festival, which offers free admission and ample free and convenient parking, is open on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Beauford T. Anderson Park in Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin.