IF YOU GO
• What: Slotin Folk Art Fest
• Where: North Atlanta Trade Center, 1700 Jeurgens Court, Norcross
• When: 5 to 10 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 19
• Cost: $15 (Includes free T-shirt and weekend admission) Friday; $7 Saturday or Sunday.
• For more information: www.slotinfolkart.com
The big show is about to begin. I am referring to the Slotin Folk Art Festival happening next weekend in Norcross.
In 1994, Steve Slotin took a leap of faith, cleared out his savings account and set up his first folk art show here in Gwinnett. It is now considered the nation's heart of the folk art community.
Slotin has nearly 100 artists coming in from all over the country, but will also showcase some hometown folk artists.
Andrei Palmer of Stone Mountain, a master of model cars, trucks, and even cement mixers, fashions them out of recyclables such as cardboard, bubble wrap and faux fur. They even come fully lit with battery-operated Christmas lights. Many, like his 1965 Corvette, bring a real wave of nostalgia and are cherished by collectors.
Joycelyn Hairston, a construction engineer from Suwanee, has exhibited her folk art all over the United States and is best known for her southern heritage scenes, many influenced by her own childhood, which include memories of Rich's.
Next weekend, her collection will include first time offerings of long-awaited and highly requested pieces like "The Great Tree of Rich's" and "The Pink Pig."
"Come see the others and be pleasantly surprised," Hairston said. "Of special interest to Atlantans will be the limited edition 'Rich's Traditions' charm bracelet."
Mavis Stevens, a textile artist from Buford, offers yarn art only she can create.
"I found a rebuilt industrial Singer sewing machine with an extra attachment welded on. It's the only one in existence," Stevens said.
She loves to recycle fabrics for her wall hangings and rugs, but makes it clear she only uses the best yarn.
"I love yarn. When I was little I used to carried a skein of yarn around instead of dolls."
Stevens shares her love of yarn not only through her art, but also through her workshops. Even as we talked on the phone, she gladly made suggestions for a yarn project I'm working on. And to support fellow folk artists, Stevens is also putting together a co-op for them at the show.
Not to be missed is Herschel Kranitz, a mosaic artist in Norcross who pieces together everything from broken wine bottles to imported Czech crystal for his myriad creations. He also helps piece together the local art community.
"I have used my studio name, '1 if by hand' as an umbrella for other artists who would like and deserve to be seen but might not have the financial resources to take space on their own," Kranitz said.
He also offers an open studio on Tuesdays and Sundays where people are free to drop by to learn about mosaics. For more information, visit www.1ifbyhand.com.
All this and more at the Slotin Folk Art Festival. Great art. Great folks.
Susan Larson is a writer from Lilburn. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.