This year's annual Takoma Park Holiday Art Sale made a departure from previous years by having a panel select the artists and crafters who would be allowed to display their work. And the show benefited, said Rob Rudick, the show's originator and manager.
"This year is our best year as far as art, because this is the first year we did a juried show," Rudick said. About 50 artists applied and around 30 were picked.
"We selected the participants more carefully than in past years, and the results have been worth it." I'm very excited about the artists we have here," he said, adding that artists and crafter are a mix of Takoma Park residents and those from the surrounding communities.
Rudick started the Holiday Art Sale , which was held at the Takoma Park Community Center on Maple Avenue, four years ago.
"I wanted to start a sale and have more arts activity in Takoma Park, and this was something that the city really got behind," he said.
The Arts and Humanities Commission sponsors it, and there are no charges to any of the artists, he added. Because this year's show was juried, the panel of artists who selected the participants "were looking for work that holds your eye, that keeps your attention and that made an artistic statement," Rudick said.
There were plenty of works that held viewer's attention, including the work of Jawara Blake, who paints surrealistic art using a lot of bright colors.
"I'm originally from the Spanish Caribbean, so I use a lot of colors in a water type direction," said Blake, who has been painting for about 24 years. "I started when I was really young and I really love it. I paint how I feel; the colors are expressive. I love the flavors of a lot of things and it kind of bursts out in colors. You can never have enough flavors, so you can never have enough colors really."
Because purchasing a painting can be expensive, Blake strives to make his art accessible by selling calendars, T-shirts, posters, postcards and mugs that depict his work. "The merchandise is a smaller way to go. I'd love for someone to buy a painting, but not everyone can afford a painting," he said adding, "the merchandise is so people get to see my art and enjoy my art."
The joy of art is something that drives Takoma Park resident Katie Dell Kaufman, who has worked at the Corcoran College of Art and Design for 20 years, and who now teaches individual classes and weekend workshops in collage at the community center. That combines "my two great loves of building things with three dimensional objects, and covering things with wax and collage and combining them to create sculpture," she said.
The workshops she teaches include collage for adults and for middle school students, some of whom are considering a magnet program at the Visual Arts Center at Einstein High School, Kaufman said. "I help them [the students] prepare portfolios, because I use to be director of admissions at the Corcoran, and that helps them prepare a project used to gain admission to the high school."
At the Holiday Art Sale, Dell Kaufman conducted a demonstration on creating a collage.
Bobbie Kittner also produces collages — her assemblage art — "which is found papers and hand-painted papers that have been embellished by me," she said. In addition, she also produces jewelry — earrings and pendants — made from copper pipes and brass pieces. "I fill the pieces with various materials and found materials," she said. "Any woman who wants to adorn her body would like these pieces."
Adorning silk is what Diane Tuckman does. Tuckman said she "introduced silk painting to America 33 years ago" when she started importing painted silk into the United States because it "was not available in this country." Now, she produces painted silk garments such as men's ties, and women's wraps, scarfs, and other clothing, as well as art to hang. "Silk is our canvas," she said. Starting with white silk, it is stretched and painted by many techniques." she said. "You can describe it as water color on silk." Once painted the end result is "gloriously colored silk," Tuckman added.
Takoma Park resident Patti Mallin does not work with a media as exotic as silk. She uses recycled grocery bags and recycled newspaper bags to crochet bags and house wares. After finding a website that provided instructions on how to make yarn out of recycled items, Mallin said "I tried it, and made myself a tote bag, and people said 'Those are great, do you sell those?'" "'I said, I do now,'" and I started making them myself and selling them to friends."
In addition, Mallin's neighborhood is involved in her craft by providing her with the material to make the yarn. "It takes about 50 grocery bags to make one tote bag," she said. And when she opens her front door every morning "there's a bag of bags there."
However, Mallin would be happy to be put out of business by plastic bags being gone. "But the fact is they're not gone, so as long as they're here, I'm going to keep using other people's bags to make useful bags that aren't ever going to biodegrade."
Like the other artists, David Carmero said pride of his work motivated him to want to display the puppets and masks he makes at the Holiday Art Sale. Originally from Venezuela, this year's show was the first time he displayed his art in Takoma Park, where he now lives. "I am proud to share my art with the artists' community in Takoma Park," he said.