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Seventh Keweenaw Art Affair held

November 12, 2012
By Kurt Hauglie (khauglie@mininggazette.com) , The Daily Mining Gazette

HOUGHTON - Anna Sanchez was attending her first Keweenaw Art Affair annual sale Saturday looking for Christmas presents, and she was amazed with the variety of items available.

Sanchez, from Ripley, said she's a painter, and she recognized some of the vendors from her past.

"It's nice to see some of the people I went to Finlandia (University) with," she said.

Article Photos

Kurt Hauglie/Daily Mining Gazette
Anna Sanchez of Ripley looks over some carved wooden spoons and paddles created by Mark Klemp of Laurium Saturday at the seventh annual Keweenaw Art Affair sale and juried show.

Because the items made are unique, Sanchez said she enjoys shopping at events such as the Keweenaw Art Affair.

"I like to get a lot of my jewelry here," she said.

Jan Perry, KAA committee member, said the group's holiday sale is in its seventh year.

The event this year was at the Houghton High School gymnasium, and it was crowded with vendors and customers.

"It's been busy," Perry said. "People were here early."

Many of the people shopping Saturday were repeat customers, Perry said.

"We usually have a pretty good turnout," she said.

There were between 40 and 50 vendors at the sale, Perry said, offering items in a wide variety of media, including, wood, fabrics, clay and metal, among others.

Perry was offering calendars she made using the photography of her husband, Lee, and she was pleased with the results.

"We've had good sales today," she said.

Besides the sales of items, Perry said the event was also a juried art show with some of the KAA members acting as judges.

Stan and Barb Thomas were offering wooden toys handmade by Stan, who said he got started about 32 years ago.

"I was looking to make a living somehow, someway," he said.

Stan said he and Barb came from downstate Midland so he could attend Northern Michigan University. After finishing there, they went back to Midland, but decided they wanted to be back in the Upper Peninsula and they settled in Iron River where he has a shop in a log cabin on their property.

"We just quit our full-time jobs," he said. "(Toy making is) our full-time job, now."

Most of the items he makes for his Wood Den Toys & Crafts company are from oak or pine, Stan said.

Although he and Barb used to attend about 30 art shows per year, Stan said they now go to about 12, including the KAA sale.

Barb said it isn't just children and their parents looking at their items. College students accustomed to high tech games seem to be fascinated by the wooden toys.

"They'll stand at our booth for an hour," she said.

Mark Klemp, who makes wooden spoons and paddles from birds eye maple and curly aspen, said the wood he uses is rejected by the people who harvest it. The birds eye has dark stains, which many people don't want.

"It's not what birds eye is about," he said of the reason for rejected the wood.

Klemp, who is from Laurium, said he's been making his spoons and paddles about eight years and he's been to all but one of the KAA sales.

Dennis Sotala, who was offering his clay plates, bowls and mugs, said he started making black ash baskets, and he did for about 20 years before switching to pottery.

"It's hard to make a dollar making baskets," he said.

Sotala, who is from Trap Rock Valley with a shop in Copper Harbor, was attending his fourth KAA sale as a vendor, and he likes taking part in the event because he does well selling his items.

"It's a good show," he said. "They're very supportive people here."

 
 

 

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