PORT CLINTON – The annual Port Clinton Arts and Crafts Festival made perhaps its biggest splash yet in what was its first time being held at Waterworks Park on Saturday.
While there was plenty of paint, fabric and photography on display at the scenic location near the Port Clinton Lighthouse along the coast of Lake Erie, the festival hosted artists of all kinds working with a vast array of mediums.
The Greater Port Clinton Area Arts Council has been organizing the event for nearly 15 years, but this year was its first at Waterworks Park, which was adequate space for the roughly 70 exhibitors and even more visitors taking advantage of the nicer weather.
Artist uses napkins as a medium and creates distinct impressions
Shirley Frater, of Walbridge, shared a large collection of her unique work, textural art created with thousands of small torn napkins, repurposed picture frames and other materials.
Frater said she collects napkins from all over the world with a variety of prints, often floral, which each leave their own district impression on the respective piece.
“It keeps me busy,” she said, the art for her being first and foremost a labor of love.
Working with another rather unique medium are father and son, Jim and Greg Matter, of Live Art based in Sandusky. As the name suggests, the Matters create living pieces of art.
They grow succulent plants out of tufa rock, a porous kind of limestone. Jim Matter said the specific tufa they use has only been found in Castalia and one other area in Italy.
Its rare properties of a hardened surface and much softer interior allow many plants that can survive the lime environment to penetrate the rock and still be able to extract nutrients required to grow.
Character of the rock defines how the art comes together
Matter said it is hard to describe precisely how, but explained it is the character of each individual rock they find dictating how a piece comes together. The resulting final product is truly unique to each rock, offering striking scenes unlike any other.
Jonnie Myers Debbink, GPCAAC board member, credited the very bright, warm and welcoming atmosphere among everyone at the festival to having finally turned the corner with COVID-19.
For many art enthusiasts, Saturday’s show at Waterworks Park was their first event since the pandemic began more than a year ago. Now, however, with masks and restrictions lifted and cases trending in the right direction, the festival was able to return bigger than ever.
“Everyone’s so happy,” Myers Debbink said. “We’re celebrating that we can get out and not deal with COVID — I attribute the enthusiasm in the air to that.”