The Uptown Art Fair is an annual tradition in Minneapolis. Each August since 1963, the area around Lake Street and Hennepin Avenue has shut down to all but pedestrian traffic and booths filled with artisan creations have lined the streets. This year artisans from 37 states, plus Canada, Israel and Argentina, showed a great mix of media and products—much better than last year when there was too much photography (and too many repeats of the Eiffel Tower).
I spent a few hours in Uptown with my friends Eva and Connie. We looked at jewelry and clothing, glass and wood, sculpture and framed art. I’ll share my favorites with you below.
Michael Hoots of MatMar Wood Works did some fabulous things with wood. He tiled small, rectangular pieces into vases and bowls in a way that created a new kind of visual rhythm. This was particularly true when his modern mosaics featured multiple types of wood that, although unstained, provide beautiful color contrast. Maple and purple heart (a wood from South America) or cherry, maple and walnut combinations showed this off the best. At left, a bowl with a spiral pattern.
Sam Stang at Augusta Glass Studio had many items on display in his stand but it was a series of glass bottles that caught the eye. Four sizes of blown glass bottles had one thing in common: an elongated and very thin neck. I asked if this feature meant that his pieces should be used as a vase for a single stem and learned that they are really more decorative than utilitarian. They are so beautiful that adding a flower would probably be a detraction.
At Commerford Art Studios, shoes stopped Eva in her tracks. They were paintings of high heels, embellished with Swarovski crystals (in great new colors like mid-tone Teal) and pearls. Some had feather wisps. One of artist PJ Commerford’s most popular pieces this summer has a Kiwi colored ground. Another is a complex and textural mix of cool and warm Yellow used together. In fact, she says that solid colored grounds are old news; more sophisticated and textural grounds are directional, as are combinations of warm and cool versions of a single color, like the Yellows or like Scarlet and Cadmium Red.
By the way, she also confirmed that high heels are not selling as well as they once did. That’s no surprise to us. In spite of the fact that we still see fancy shoes as surface designs in the gift industry, The Trend Curve™ forecasted their decline two years ago.
Rising up for Commerford are hearts—also embellished with Swarovski crystals, of course!