On International Festival Day, Main Street in Waynesville will transform into a world bazaar where more than one hundred artists, craftsmen and international guests sell all forms of arts and crafts.
The day offers the ultimate cultural exchange for all ages, whether you’re an art lover coming to browse booths of jewelry, paintings, photography and woodwork; a child traveling the world at Passport to the Arts; or a family seeking a glimpse of international dancers and old time mountain music.
The 25th Annual International Festival Day takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, July 31, in downtown Waynesville. North Carolina’s Official International Festival runs from July 22 to Aug. 1. (See special Folkmoot section inside this week’s edition)
Festival-goers can browse booths filled with handcrafted items and even catch a demonstration or two by artisans including flame workers, potters and woodworkers.
Modern metal artist Bob Gwynn creates one-of-a-kind artwork that brings a vibrant feeling to any room. After returning from a tour in Vietnam in 1972, Gwynn took a welding course to learn a skill before deciding to go back to college.
One day on a power plant job, he cut a butterfly out of a plate of steel. Thirty-eight years and more than 800 major art shows later, he has produced hundreds of metal designs ranging from nature designs, water fountains, and furniture all from his studio located just outside of Greenville. Gwynn’s work has evolved from simple wall pieces to multimedia pieces that bring in vibrant colors and textures.
Metalsmith and jeweler Maggie Joynt has an eye for beauty in unexpected places such as the surface of the rocks outside her studio or the frayed wings of a well-traveled butterfly. Using various materials including leaves, paper, insect wings and fabrics, she presses patterns and textures directly onto sterling and copper. This process preserves the delicate texture directly onto the metal. These abstract, organic and textural elements are evident in all her work. Joynt’s open studio and gallery is located at the Riverwood Shops in historic Dillsboro.
Ceramicist Courtney Tomchik employs the raku firing technique where smoke penetrates the clay and glaze to enhance the range of colors and finishes she uses. After cooling for a short time, the pieces are placed in a bucket of water.
“The water phase stops the color process and sometimes creates flashes that are not visible until it is cooled completely,” Tomchik said.
Once cooled, the piece is cleaned with an abrasive cleaning agent ash deposits. After a 24-hour drying period, Tomchik assembles her pieces and adds additions like glass beads from local shops or her travels and small bits created from clay with gold leaf to create more drama. Each piece is truly one-of-a-kind.
Nadine Fidelman chooses semi-precious gemstones, pearls, fossils and dichroic glass that have character, then “wraps” each one, surrounding it with a minimal amount of wire, to enhance its beauty. Fidelman uses her fingertips, fingernails and various pliers to surround each one and often adds gemstone beads or pearls to create a unique piece of art jewelry. No casting or solder is ever used. She also creates unique jewelry with fine silver, bronze and copper, sometimes combining them with wire wrapping.
The international theme continues at opposite ends of Main Street where food courts feature a wide variety of choices including gyros, Asian spring rolls, crepes, beignets, Caribbean shawarmas, fajitas and — a North Carolina staple — pulled pork barbeque.
The Passport to the Arts children’s area is where children are issued a “passport” and “travel” to countries like Russia, India, Latvia, United Kingdom, France, Switzerland, Jordan, Portugal and Poland, and create Indian twirling palm puppets, Kufi hats and other one-of-a-kind crafts to take home.
Festival entertainment will be provided by Folkmoot USA’s international dancers and musicians; Voices in the Laurel Children’s Chorus; and students from the Haywood County Arts Council’s Junior Appalachian Musicians program. The cultural exchange takes place on stages at each end of Main Street beginning at 10:15 a.m. at Town Hall in downtown Waynesville.
For more information, www.haywoodarts.org or call the Haywood County Arts Council at 828.452.0593. For ticket information about Folkmoot USA performances during July, visit www.folkmootusa.org, 828.452.2997 or 1.877.FOLK-USA.