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Thursday, Sept. 9, 2004 06:58 am

Sweet 16 for popular craft fair

Carole Walton, co-chairwoman, Edwards Place Fine Crafts Festival
Photo by Job Conger

More than 60 artists from 12 states have registered for this weekend's Edwards Place Fine Crafts Festival, an annual event hosted by the Springfield Art Association. The number of participants is especially impressive in light of the competition offered by other cities, says Carole Walton, one of the event's chairwomen.

When it started, the fair was unique in the region, "but now there are a lot of them," says Walton, who has headed up the event three times during its 16-year run. Springfield has responded to the challenge by broadening the scope of the event over the years. The original focus on jewelry and crockery has been expanded to include fiber, wood, metal, mixed media, and printmaking. "A couple of years ago, we added photography to bring more people to the fair, and this has proven very popular," Walton says.

The event is popular with artists and craftsmen and women because it's juried. All exhibitors must submit satisfactory samples of their work before being allowed to participate.

Not only do visitors get to shop for quality arts and crafts, but the fair also offers a learning opportunity, Walton points out. SAA members will offer demonstrations, among them pottery-making by Bonnie Post, clay sculpting by John Crisp, metalsmithing by Meghan Tippy, and silk-scarf painting with Kate Humphrey.

The venue for the popular event is Edwards Place, the oldest home standing on its original foundation in Springfield. Many names of note, including Abraham Lincoln and Vachel Lindsay, have passed through the doors of the mansion, which was built in 1833. Today the SAA-owned property houses a large library and galleries.

The fair will occupy most of the large lawn between Fourth and Fifth streets. Throughout the event, guided tours of Edwards Place will be offered. The Michael Victor II Art Library will conduct a sale of used books and magazines.

Food and drink will be available for purchase from the Enos Park Neighborhood Association, the Noon Lions Club, and local restaurants. Local musicians will entertain.

The Edwards Place Fine Crafts Fair, 700 N. Fourth St., runs 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 11; and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 12. Admission is free.

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