Artists display wares at Graue arts festival
Kristin Allison of Hinsdale helps her son Luca Ripani, 14, shop for gifts for his teachers during the 11th Annual Fine Arts Festival Saturday at Graue Mill. | Jerry Daliege~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 6, 2012 2:16AM
The historic Graue Mill provided the perfect backdrop for area artists to display and sell their works at the Graue Mill and Museum Fine Arts Festival.
More than 30 artists showcased their photographs, paintings, sculptures, woodwork, ceramics and jewelry outside the mill last weekend, just steps from the flowing waters of Salt Creek. Festival chairwoman Deeda Cordin has been in charge of all 11 festivals at the mill and said the cozy, intimate setting appeals to many artists and visitors.
“The best thing about this art fest is the artists love to come here,” Cordin said. “You can’t get more scenic than this. Half of the artists here have been with us since the beginning.”
Jet Wittenberg of Ogden Dunes, Ind. has been a mainstay at the show for five years and spent the two-day festival showing visitors around her tent, which was filled with many of her colorful works.
“I’ve been to many big shows in Illinois and the people here are wonderful,” Wittenberg said, while showing off paintings of her world travels, which included France, New Zealand, England, Greece and nearby Lake Michigan.
Artist Alix Palo of Clarendon Hills decided to again pick up her palette following the birth of her children and has reinvented herself as an artist, taking numerous classes at the Morten Arboretum.
“I’ve always been into natural settings to paint,” Palo said of her watercolor pieces. “You can get more detail with watercolors. I still get nervous before showcasing them, but I have the best location here (on the Graue House porch).”
La Grange resident Sally Couture stopped by with her children Emma, 7, and Ben, 5, to visit her neighbor, artist Tim Johnson. The visit was the family’s first to Graue Mill’s art fest.
Emma and Ben were particularly interested in Hanover Park native May Xiong’s colorful handcrafted clay flowers and miniature animals.
“One show my booth had bees and flies everywhere,” Xiong said. “They saw the color and tried to go into all the flowers.”
Xiong provided demonstrations of how she handcrafts every flower petal and was happy to share some of her secrets.
“It was lovely,” Sally Couture said of their visit. “(Emma) wants to go home and make her own flowers now.”
“I’m going to use all of my clay until I get it right,” Emma said.