Alberta holds first Art and Craft Fair

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette Andrew Lindgren of L’Anse finishes a glass globe in a demonstration at the Alberta Art and Craft Fair Saturday.

ALBERTA — About 30 vendors participated in the first Alberta Art and Craft Fair, held at Michigan Technological University’s Ford Center.

The fair was the idea of Karen Runvik and Amy Sikkila, seasonal workers at the Ford Forestry Center in Alberta who do arts and crafts in their spare time.

They made a proposal to the Ford Center director, who approved it. The center also sold concessions, proceeds from which went into capital improvements for the site.

Bridging the gap between arts and crafts is another aim of Runvik’s.

“Quilting is considered a craft, jam and jelly is considered a craft — but it’s an art,” she said.

Runvik hopes to make it an annual event.

“People are smiling, so that tells me they’re happy,” Runvik said.

Sew Cranky of Hancock had sewing stations with antique sewing machines. Goods made in the shop were also on sale, such as custom hobby horses, hats and calico fish.

The shop opened in November 2017, and sells, restores and repairs sewing machines. It specializes in antique hand-cranked sewing machines. Those are mostly sourced from Europe, since American dealers mostly took the machines in trade for newer models, then destroyed the older ones, said Sew Cranky co-owner Ginger Alberti.

There are also projects people can sew when they come to the shop, from grocery bags to quilts.

Alberti liked the variety of artists on display.

“It’s a lively group here,” she said.

Several artisans were on hand to demonstrate their trades, including water color painting and blacksmithing. Andrew Lindgren of L’Anse has been blowing glass for nearly six years.

Before a small crowd of onlookers Saturday, Lindgren rotated a small glass globe in the flame. If cooled down too quickly, the glass would crack.

The globes Lindgren was carefully finishing Saturday are one of his mainstays. He also does a bit of sculpture work.

“It’s just amazing that you can take something in raw form and make it liquid,” he said. “It’s endless what you can do.”

Some pieces take 15 minutes, Lindgren said. Others are done over 24 hours.

People flitted back and forth between indoor and outdoor vendors. Holding bags of merchandise, Renee Eliason of L’Anse was looking at a booth outside.

She’d come to the event to look at the photography sold by a fellow church member.

She’d bought honey wheat sourdough bread, handmade soap, magnetic rocks, earrings and more. She also had her eye on a Mount Bohemia sign from Studio 13.

“What a beautiful place to have it,” she said. “Historic. And there’s so many talented people. Music, shade and a breeze. You can’t go wrong.”