On Saturday morning, two dozen artists from across the Bluegrass State set up booths to display glazed ombré bowls, miniature handwoven baskets, jewel-colored knits and Kentucky-centric paintings at Sloan Convention Center for the Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen’s annual Spring Fair.
In fact, you could assume everything was homemade, everything took a lot of time and careful consideration and everything was one of a kind.
Jeanette Rowlett, the guild’s director for over a decade, was hoping to connect with the Bowling Green artistic community – as well as younger folks – this weekend.
“After 58 years, things change,” Rowlett said. “The new generations don’t know about the Kentucky Guild,” which offers opportunities for new, young and experienced artists alike to join an art community and share their talent with a wider audience.
Balbina Meyer, a jewelry designer in Lexington, joined the guild in January after relocating from Maryland. This was her first time participating in a fair, and she was a little underwhelmed.
“The attendance is very, very, very slow,” she said.
From Bowling Green, Ronna Love filled in for her husband, Bob Love, on Saturday morning to display his upcycled aluminum can creations inspired in part by Corvettes and Van Gogh. The couple recently closed Love Art Gallery downtown and decided to instead participate in art shows.
Ronna Love believes her husband’s work is unique, clever and colorful – despite not having a splash of paint. “You’d be surprised now by all the colors in cans,” she said.
Douglas Dahlman, a former insect physiologist and University of Kentucky emeritus professor, carves intarsia – an intricate way of creating patterns on wood.
He attempted the method to create a gift for his grandson over a decade ago, and decided to devote more time to the craft.
“I just like to enjoy doing this,” Dahlman said.
His shop is called “Bug Doc’s Wood Art,” as a nod to his former career. His creations ranged from bunnies and owls to UK and University of Louisville insignia. All of the color in the wood was natural wood – except for the blues.
Among the limited number of attendees Saturday morning, Barbara Duncan, a watercolor painter in Bowling Green, was happy to check out the scene when invited by a friend.
She commented on the professionalism and quality of the crafts, as they were labor-intensive artworks – not just simple crafts haphazardly constructed.
“It’s beautiful work here,” she said.
Pamela Frost and John Frost traveled from Nashville to visit family, and decided to check out the fair – and both expressed appreciation for the uniqueness of the offerings.
“This is better than craft fairs that we’ve been to,” John Frost said.
“I like when they make their own stuff,” Pamela Frost said, as opposed to people selling copies of other works.
Like other visitors and vendors, they were hoping to interact with more people.
“If they don’t get more people, they won’t come back,” Pamela Frost said.
The fair concludes Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Sloan Convention Center.