Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Chardon Arts Festival 2007

Chardon, Ohio, is one of those small Midwest towns that is holding fast to some of the elements that make such towns charming: an historic courthouse, a real downtown square lined with locally-owned shops, and events that mark it as a fun destination. There's a maple sugar festival each spring, and for the last 27 years there's been an arts festival in the summer.

I've been to a number of arts festivals and they vary a lot -- with anything from crafts and a flea-market feel to high quality, professional art (with prices to match). I wasn't sure where the Chardon Arts Festival would fall on that line; it turned out to be a very pleasant surprise. There were a wide variety of art forms represented with very good to excellent quality, and prices that the more casual collector could afford, although those who wanted to spend a lot certainly could. And it was fun, and full of home-town atmosphere.

I liked a number of the vendors present but especially appreciated the work of Diane Castle Babcock. She does linoleum block prints, something you don't see often any more, and she does them well. I spent some time looking at her work before making the rounds of the rest of the festival, then backtracked to visit her booth again. This is the result:

She has a number of prints that I liked, but this one was in my budget (well, actually, being unemployed, *nothing* is in my budget, but this one was at the lower end of the price range of her work and I splurged). She makes beautiful block prints, primarily nature scenes, using the reduction method of printing. More about her work and the process she uses can be found here. Quite by coincidence, the print I chose is featured on her home page. She does lovely work and I plan to purchase more of her prints in the future. If you like block prints, give her website a visit. I like to support art and her work is well worth it.

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