"Do you have one about being kind?" one attendee asked artist Kay Foley about her cards and larger prints. More stopped by the booth to say hello, ask about plans for the upcoming holiday season or introduce a new friend while live musicians played nearby.
A feeling of camaraderie and friendship filled the 52 artist booths at the eighth annual Fall Into Art on Saturday as hundreds flocked for an escape from the rain and into art. Around noon , about 500 people had already come, said Farah Nieuwenhuizen, one of the show's organizers.
Nieuwenhuizen presented a variety of rings, necklaces and other jewelry at her table. Some were glass while others were made of stones like fluorite and tiger's eye. Jewelry with these stones had a small description of the stone's properties and attributes. Tiger's eye was said to "inspire creativity and utilizing one's talents and abilities," according to a card near one necklace.
In addition to the jewelry, she had hand-painted glass vases, butter knives and flattened wine bottles that Nieuwenhuizen said could be used as cheese boards.
Artists applied online and were given a booth via a blind juror process. This year's juror was Kate Gray, a graphic design professor at Stephens College, who selected the 52 artists at this year's show. Some included at the show are ceramics, jewelry, mixed media, painting, sculpture and wood, Foley said.
"We have a qualified juror look at the work without names and rate one through five — with no threes so we don't have to make that judgment," Foley said. "We then take the highest in each category."
Ceramics artist Jeffrey Ferguson has participated in Fall Into Art for every year but one. The first four or five years he did it as a woodturner, he said, only taking a break to make the transition between wood and pottery.
"The last couple years the show has been predictably good," Ferguson said. "It's hard to get in now."
Much of Ferguson's work consists of practical items such as mugs, sponge holders, baking dishes, bowls of varying size and shape and a few sake sets and teapots, though he also has vases and ceramic pumpkins. Both Ferguson's decorative and more practical pieces show deep earth tones, as he mainly uses brown, black and green glazes over clay that he usually mixes himself.
Almost everything is wheel-thrown, including his square bowls, Ferguson said. He throws it into a bowl, then reshapes it to give it the final sides. Most of work is also finished in an electric kiln rather than a wood one.
"Wood-fired (ceramic) tends to have a different texture and it's more unpredictable," Ferguson said. "I use it for decorative pieces, because people don't want a mug that's rough."
At the Fall Into Children's Art booth, presented by members of the Baha'i faith, kids could make their own art to take home. The group usually presents a craft at the art show and this year, helped the kids make "praying hands." They traced and cut out their hands and decorated them with paint by swirling the paint into shaving cream and dipping the paper hands into it. When they were dry, they added a Baha'i prayer in the middle of the hands.
"At the end, they have their precious tiny hands they can take home and that their parents will love," said Baha'i faith member Sue Moser. "We have some kids telling us they have art they've done here for the past few years now."
When planning the yearly craft, the members tie it into the "unity of mankind," a central theme of the Baha'i faith. In years past, other crafts have included flowers and trees, focusing on making each element different to appreciate diversity, Moser said.
"The garden isn't beautiful if all the flowers are the same," Moser said. "We want to celebrate unity and diversity."
Mixed media artist Amy Koch also incorporates flowers and nature into her artwork, including bouquets of paper flowers and ones of handmade paper. Her pieces take inspiration from children's memory, travel and the outdoors, Koch said. Often in the form of shadowboxes, the scenes evoke a sense of wonder and imagination run wild. One showed the historic 2017 eclipse, while another showed a children's treehouse surrounded by stars at night.
"You really like your whimsy!" one attendee said.
"I really do!" Koch responded.
Though Koch is not a local Columbia artist, she said she comes to the summer event Art in the Park every year.
"Columbia has a great art scene, really supportive," she said.
Another artist, Joel Chrisman, often shows scenes of Columbia in his art. Chrisman participated in a drawing category and uses chalk pastels and graphite for his work. Jesse Hall and the top of the Tiger Hotel are featured many times over at different angles, including one large image of Jesse Hall that Chrisman completed over three weeks, putting four to five hours of work in on the drawing each day, he said. Total, the 16 inch by 30 inch drawing took 80-100 hours to complete.
"I would come home from work every day and marvel at how it grew," wife Cindy Kilfoyle said.
Chrisman's work includes nature landscapes as well, in color and black and white. Most of his booth consisted of original work in wooden frames that Chrisman made from siding from barn that is over 100 years old and old fence railing; however, he also had reproductions and small printed cards for sale.
"I often say I developed my talent in spite of art school," Chrisman said.
This is also the third year for a silent auction at the show, said Foley, who is part of a committee for the show . Artists have the option to donate a piece and the final proceeds from the bidding will be donated to the Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri. The highest bidder will get to take the artwork home as well. A donation bucket also sits at the entrance of the show for those who wish to make a contribution.
"We raised about $2,000 last year," Foley said. "The show has grown in patronage. We expect more (this year)."
Fall Into Art continues Sunday at the Parkade Center from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
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