The heart of CraftArt
An old-fashioned creed reigns at this weekend's outdoor exhibit: a love of creating fine things by hand.
By MARY ANN MARGER
© St. Petersburg Times, published October 26, 2000
Take art to heart at Florida Craftsmen's fourth annual CraftArt exhibit on the University of Tampa campus this weekend.
Tomoo Kitamura, stoneware teapot
Take it to heart to take it back to its beginning, in the heart of an artist. Functional as they often are, the kind of high-caliber, original fine crafts in this show start with a concept of love for things made by hand. If that seems like an old-fashioned idea, it is, but it's also new, as these artists search for challenging ways to bring their creative instincts to fruition.
They also invest their hearts in their skill, burnishing a wood bowl to the smoothest touch, blowing hot glass into a perfect vessel or working the potter's wheel so there seems to be no distinction between the wet clay and the hand that knowingly fashions it to form.
The show, held in Plant Park on the University of Tampa campus, is the first of a string of fine art shows put together by not-for-profit groups, extending into May. Its modest size -- just 125 artists, about two-thirds from Florida -- makes it easy to navigate.
Artists will vie for $10,000 in cash awards and an additional $10,000 in purchase awards. Selecting the cash prize winners is Andrew Maass, director of the Mississippi Museum of Art in Jackson and former director of the Tampa Museum of Art.
All contemporary fine crafts media -- clay, wood, fiber, metal, paper, glass and mixed media -- are represented. Among those showing are:
Last year's top winners, Fiona Clar (Burnsville), Kathleen Dennison (Naples), Dale Lewis (Calera, Ala.) and Phil Parker (Flagler Beach);
Avant-garde explorers Catherine Bergmann (mixed media, Dunedin), Susan Gott (glass, Tampa) and Celeste Simon (mixed media, St. Petersburg);
Perennial favorites Mary Jackson (sweetgrass baskets, Charleston), Peggy Wattenbarger (bargello quilts, Tampa) and Kristin Holeman (whimsical jewelry, Fort Lauderdale).
Kathleen Dennison, necklace, sterling and 14 karat gold
Two newcomers are of special note. Jewelrymaker Holly Anne Mitchell of St. Petersburg was among the 120 artists chosen from more than 1,600 applicants for the Smithsonian Craft Show 2000. Ceramist Grisel Rivera Hernandez is coming in from Havana to give the show an international flavor.
Check out these artists, then add your own discoveries.
Artists will demonstrate techniques in a tent throughout the weekend so that visitors may better understand the making of fine crafts. Offerings from local restaurants will be available for purchase.
CraftArt 2000, Plant Park, University of Tampa; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday; $2 donation, children 12 and under free. Parking is free. Organized by Florida Craftsmen Inc. and the University of Tampa. Food and a demonstration tent are available. Directions: From Interstate 275, exit at Ashley/Tampa Street. Follow Ashley south to Kennedy Boulevard, go right on Kennedy (west) across Hillsborough River. Plant Park is immediately on the right. (727) 821-7391.
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