Saturday, October 20, 2018

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Creativity, communication to merge at Banbury Art Crawl

» Crowds admire array of work  » Artists get chance to chat with each other 

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    Photographer Christopher Smith shows a metal print to Amy Baures of Altoona, left, and her friend Sarah Best of Chicago, Ill., at the eighth annual Banbury Art Crawl on Feb. 10. This year’s art crawl will be Friday and Saturday in Buildings 10 and 13 of Banbury Place, 930 Galloway St.

    Staff file photo

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    Work by local artist Mary Hermanson awaits to be hung up as part of a Janet Carson Gallery exhibit in August. Hermanson will be bringing her fiber art to the Banbury Art Crawl this Friday and Saturday to Banbury Place in Eau Claire.

    Staff file photo

Looking at one of fabric artist Mary Hermanson’s kaleidoscope designs, one thinks of the kaleidoscope magic toys children could put up to their eye and rotate to change the patterns.

Picture that, multiply the intricacy by about 100 and you can — sort of — get an idea of Hermanson’s work, which she describes as a mix of quilting and fiber art. 

“I title my work ‘Kaleidoscope Designs: Making Magic With Fabric,’ because that’s kind of what it’s all about,” Hermanson, who lives in Independence, said. 

Check out some of her latest pieces on display this weekend at the ninth annual Banbury Art Crawl, which takes place Friday and Saturday in Buildings 10 and 13 of Banbury Place, 930 Galloway St. Hermanson will be in Building 10 at booth 27. 

She is one of 96 artists who will display a variety of media and artistic styles, art crawl co-chairwoman Christina Geissler said. 

For two days, Banbury Place will fill with hundreds of people crowding through the halls to talk to artists, find a new favorite piece of art and discover new artistic possibilities. Geissler said artists from around the Chippewa Valley and as far away as Minnesota participate in the crawl. 

Geissler estimates, based on previous years, at least 1,000 people come through over those two days, and she can’t believe how different the buildings look in that time.

“Especially Building 10, which is empty now,” she said. “When you walk in art crawl day — it’s amazing, the transition of that building. It’s just night and day.”

It is Hermanson’s third year participating in the crawl, and she said she has come to look forward to the event as a time to gather with other artists and meet old and new friends. 

Sharing ideas

Like any passion, communication is important, and she said that is especially true for artists, who tend to work alone in their studios. 

“When you go to the art crawl you see what people are doing in their studios, talk to them about it and as a result it inspires you as an artist to produce art differently than maybe you would have if you hadn’t talked to them,” Hermanson said. “Even great masters had their places they went — Van Gogh and impressionist painters especially, they would meet and share what they were doing. That’s so important as an artist and really to anybody.”

 This year’s event also features six new-to-the-crawl artists, Geissler said. They will feature items such as contemporary jewelry, wood craftings, wearable weavings, paintings and alpaca products. 

The number of artists they are able to accept depends entirely on the space they have available, and Geissler said it is difficult to choose from the hundreds of submissions they get each year. 

She, co-chairwoman Lorelei Ernster and a committee go through each submission and try to choose new artists on a first-come, first-served basis, but she said it is a fine and difficult line to decide.

“It’s like a puzzle piece to put together every year,” Geissler said. “Right now we’re really tight with space, and that’s the hardest part. There’s a lot of good artists and a lot of people apply.” 

This is the second year Geissler and Ernster are leading the Banbury Art Crawl, and Geissler said each year they are finding ways to improve.

To help new artists and new visitors, Geissler said they really focused on signage inside to help direct people to both buildings and also emphasize where artists are. Brochures that list where artists are will also be available at the event or on the art crawl’s website. 

Appetizing display

Using feedback from last year’s vendors, she said they also worked to improve food options at this year’s crawl. 

“We really bumped up our food options this year, not just for people coming in but for our vendors who are there all day,” Geissler said. 

There will be plenty to choose from with Forage, Elder Valley Farms, Red Coal BBQ and Woodworth’s Fine Toffee all supplying food at the event. In addition, Elder Valley Farms, N7 and Honest Roast Coffee will have coffee and other beverages. 

They also started the Artists After Crawl, which will take place from 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday at The Lakely, 516 Galloway St. Everyone is welcome to come chat with the artists, enjoy snacks or take advantage of a cash bar. 

“It’s a time to socialize, and for the vendors it’s a chance to take a breather and relax for a bit,” she said. 

Whether you’re looking to connect with other artists, find a new piece of artwork or just enjoy all the creative energy the Chippewa Valley has to offer, there’s sure to be something for everyone at this year’s Banbury Art Crawl.

Contact reporter: 715-833-9214,, @Katherine Macek on Twitter


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