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Art in the Park offers cornucopia of crafts

Kristin Bjornsen

It was like a candy shop for the eyes. Artistic creations of every color, shape and size delighted thousands Saturday at Art in the Park.

The 30th annual event at West Lincoln Park drew 128 artists from across the state, their white tents lining the grass end to end. From glass fairies to metal sculptures to mountain photographs, artists displayed their crafts throughout the day.

As a backdrop, bands played, belly dancers swayed, and roasted sweet corn, funnel cakes and chocolate-covered fruit kabobs tempted those with more than an artistic appetite.

Near the entrance, perched on a handler’s arm, a golden eagle stretched its wings and threw a piercing glance on the people nearby. The Rocky Mountain Raptor Program representatives brought the eagle and were selling jewelry crafted by Silver Hawk, an Estes Park artisan. The money raised went toward rehabilitating raptors orphaned or injured by collisions, barbwire or pesticides.

“Silver Hawk borrows feathers from us and carves identical copies onto bovine bone. The feather jewelry is the only legal way you can have raptor feathers,” said Carin Avila, the environmental educator for the program.

The jewelry and donations are the primary sources of funding for the program, she said.

Close to the raptors, Jay Rabideau, with Diabolo Revolution, taught a boy how to use a diabolo, a large spool whirled and tossed on a string held by two sticks. The diabolos originated in China and often are used in ethnic dance performances.

“The trick is to hold your left hand still and your right hand spins it,” Rabideau said.

Eight-year-old Nick Reetz furrowed his brow and tried his hand. He quickly made progress with the toy.

“You have to start it rolling and keep it balanced,” Nick explained, his voice briefly panicking as the rebellious spool threatened to fall.

This was Diabolo Revolution’s first time at Art in the Park, and Lee Rabideau, the company founder, said sales had been good. About half of their earnings come from festivals such as Art in the Park, he said.

Farther along the green, Brad Smith blew glass in front of a 1,500-degree flame. He held colorful glass rods in front of the flame and nimbly turned and shaped them.

“The glass always wants to flow downward, so you constantly have to twirl it,” he said.

Smith, who owns a glass art shop in Hayden, said this was his first time at the festival. Despite the hot summer day, he didn’t seem to mind the flame’s additional heat.

“Oh, I’m used to it,” he said as he spun out unicorns, flowers and fairies.

Rather than buying such decorative objects, 10-year-old Alli Lowrie decided to have them painted on her body. Alli patiently extended her ankle as Sonya Bastow, with Embodiohmehndi, painted a henna tattoo on it. Alli chose for her design a moon and star with the word “friend” in it. Her friend, Camille Sachs, 11, got the same design except with the word “best” in it.

The henna tattoo lasts for one to four weeks and, unlike a real tattoo, doesn’t hurt.

“It’s a little tingly from the tea tree oil, but that’s it,” Bastow said.

Other crafts on display included pottery, paintings, clothing, soaps and sculptures. In addition to such traditional crafts, more unusual art forms also garnered attention such as the Exotic Spoons stand. Elegant wooden spoons hung from the tent including the Gerber Server for babies, the Pickle Plucker, the Olive Thief and the Peruvian Shade ground coffee spoon

And still the booths continued on with seemingly no end to the multifarious manifestations of human imagination.

“We get more and more artists each year. This year, the booths are stretching out of the park and down the street,” Steamboat Springs Arts Council volunteer Jeff Hall said of a trend he hopes continues.

–To reach Kristin Bjornsen, call 879-1502


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