Every year I make it a point to attend the Utah Arts Festival. My Uncle Den and I go the opening day to avoid the crowds and we spend a whole day meandering around ogling and awing over the beautiful art pieces in the booths. I like to attend the festival to look for unique gifts and some different pieces of art. And I feel good knowing that I am supporting someone who is using their own creative gifts to make a living. I used to own a small store that carried handmade jewelry pieces and local art. I miss my store, and attending the festival allows me to once again appreciate the amazing artists we have in our communities.
The Utah Arts Festival is over; however, I have chosen five of my favorite artists to share in case you missed the festival. You may not get to see and touch each piece but it is still worth a visit to their websites.
Bryan Schultz started making handmade belt buckles in 2005 after receiving his MFA in Sculpture. He has taken his unique prospective to sculpt metal belt buckles. Each buckle takes months to design and build. He carves all the original molds out of wood and then sculpts each piece until it just ‘feels right’. My Uncle Den bought me my first one in 2016. It is a lovely Ohm symbol that locks into place. Most of his buckles use puzzle like precision to open and close. I went back this year and added to my collection and purchased the “Beetle” for me and one for my boyfriend.
Even a visit to his website evokes fun and whimsy with his long-legged characters in the Old West. His art makes me feel like I am viewing the early days of cowboys and Indians but in a new view with amusing characters and sepia tones. All his characters (a total of four) are inspirations from his own persona. I walked away with a wood puzzle featuring “The Sign Painter” as a gift from my Uncle Den. Seems like a fitting image (pun intended) for a classic wood puzzle.
Being that I have extremely long hair, the next vendor couldn’t be missed. Hair forks! I am not talking about the silver forks you find on in your utensil drawer but exquisitely shaped, recycled wood forks. These beautifully made hair accessories are all created from recycled wood such as ash, oak plum and cherry. The curved prongs are amazingly strong and yet comfortable to wear. Wearing a piece of art to keep my hair up in this hot weather makes me feel a bit artsy myself.
I have to be honest, I am not really a fan of sculpture, with one exception – Adam Homan Metal Sculpture. He creates some of the most amusing, creative and fun pieces I have seen at the arts festival in many years. He mixes toys, such as Barbie dolls into his creations. He adds all sorts of other repurposed objects including bike chains, parts from old typewriters, motorcycle gears and watch gears. Each piece is a discovery of hidden objects. My Uncle Den is always inquisitive and wants to know how some of these artists come up with their ideas. Well, we found out his inspiration came from none other than “Star Wars” when he was six. You must check out his work. My favorite is from his owl series. I didn’t buy one, not yet anyway.
When I walked by this booth, I stopped dead in my tracks. His art reached out to me, gripped me by the hand and pulled me in. He uses nothing but a ball point pen. His intention is to stimulate the mind – and it works. It evokes an emotional response. I can guarantee at least one of his unique works will grab you. I had to step closer and closer as if I was being absorbed into the ink on the paper. He was drawing while at the festival and watching him was mesmerizing. I wanted not just one, but too many to choose from. I am still deciding as having a piece of his art is a must!
I hope you enjoy shopping my five favorites. See you next year at the Utah Arts Festival.