The annual Artisans Fair will return to Lord Baltimore Elementary School in Ocean View on Saturday, bringing along with it some of the area’s top artisans, as 49 exhibitors from the local area and beyond will put their work on display from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., showing off and selling their hand-crafted paintings, sculptures, pottery, ceramics, jewelry, textiles and other unique creations.
With the fair in its eighth year, some of them will be returning as seasoned veterans, and others will be making their first appearance, but when they doors open for the free event on Saturday, they’ll all be ready.
Suzanne Morrow (Ocean View) — Pottery
New to this year’s show but not new to the craft will be retired Lord Baltimore Elementary and Indian River High School art teacher Suzanne Morrow, who brings her unique whimsical style of pottery — featuring beach- and ocean-themed vases, mugs, bowls and plates.
“It’s very different,” Morrow said of her work. “I feel like it has a lot more variety, definitely in color, in what I’m making — I’m still very much experimenting with it.”
Morrow’s work has been put on display at several other local festivals and shows, but she’s looking forward to her debut at LB on Saturday.
“I’m very excited,” said Morrow. “There’s a lot of high-quality work in this show.”
While Morrow’s work will, of course, be up for sale at the show, her main reason for getting into pottery wasn’t monetary.
“It’s very centering. It’s rewarding,” she explained. “There’s always an element of surprise to it for me still. You’re not 100 percent sure what the final product is gonna look like. I say that this is my own art therapy in retirement.”
Trudy Fox (Ocean View) — Silver and glass jewelry
Silver and glass may not be the first materials people think of when it comes to art, but they certainly are to Ocean View’s Trudy Fox, who creates hand-crafted jewelry and pendants, and is returning to the festival for the second year.
“With the glass, I usually just make pendants and glass bracelets,” said Fox of her work, making sure to note that it wouldn’t be possible without the help of her husband. “This year, I’m gonna do a lot more silver than glass.”
For the past eight years, Fox has been entering a variety of shows in the area, showing off and selling her silver and glass pendants, earrings and necklaces. But for the show at LB, she’s got something different in mind.
“Every year I try and do a different theme with my stuff,” she explained. “My things are going to be more organic-looking this year.”
Pam Browne and Renee Valeski (Dagsboro) — Hand-made decorative wreaths
On a trip down to the Carolinas, Dagsboro’s Pam Browne noticed something that she didn’t typically see in Delaware — or anywhere else for that matter. Many of the front doors that she was passing displayed elaborate hand-crafted wreaths.
She decided to try the craft herself last December when she made her return home.
“I saw a lot in North Carolina and South Carolina, but no one up here was doing anything like it yet,” Browne explained. “We started back in December, making wreathes for gifts, and it kind of snowballed from there.”
Since she has teamed up with Rene Valeski, their work has become known in the area, as they began to figure out what worked and what didn’t with their custom, deco-mesh wreathes.
And they aren’t just for Christmas.
“It’s for everything, for every holiday — summer, spring, fall, patriotic: Fourth of July, Memorial Day — a little bit of everything,” she explained. “We’re seeing what people like. We’ve done sports: Eagles, Ravens, Steelers, Orioles. We have a pretty good selection.”
This will be the first year that Browne and Valeski appear at the LB Artisans Fair, for which they’ve crafted some appropriately themed wreathes to display.
“We’re keeping with the beach theme,” said Browne. “We’re doing a lot of patriotic this year, beachy ones, nautical — things like that.”
Mike and Sue Veasey (Seaford) — Hand-carved waterfowl
One of the most experienced teams appearing at this year’s festival will be Seaford’s Mike and Sue Veasey, who may only be entering their second year at the show but have been honing their craft professionally for more than 35 years.
“Last year, we finally had an opening, so we said, ‘Let’s try it,’” Mike Veasey said. “We had a very successful show, so we’re back again this year.”
After getting his start in the trade while working in his father’s shop in the early 1980s, Veasey and his wife set out on their own in 1995, creating hand-carved and painted hunting decoys, eventually moving into all kinds of waterfowl, seabirds and other animal carvings, all made out of reclaimed wood.
“It’s completely unique, because each piece of wood has its own unique characteristics,” Veasey explained. “The owls are new this year. We’ll be bringing back one of the real popular items we did last year for the first time: a wall-hanging of a blue whale.”
The Veaseys will also be adding to the list a collection of shorebirds, which they say have become increasingly popular as of late.
But no matter what the bird, or whale, or even Santa Claus statue, that they’re carving and painting, they maintain that the main difference is in the material.
“Every piece we make, no two of them will ever look the same,” Veasey explained. “Each one is hand-carved and hand-painted, and some of the wood we use is 100 to 150 years old. We don’t use any new wood — that adds a uniqueness to each carving. We’ve been doing that our whole carving career.”
The Veaseys’ work can be seen not only at Saturday’s show, but also on their website at www.northernwingsdecoys.com.
Entry to the show is free, and free parking will be available on-site.