Get your arts and crafts on at the 43rd Annual Art on the Bay
ALPENA — Now in its 43rd year, Art on the Bay will bring more than 130 artists from near and far to share their talents with the Alpena community.
The event will take place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at Bayview Park.
As of Thursday, more than 130 vendors had signed up to participate, according to Thunder Bay Arts members.
A wide range of professional-quality arts and crafts will be available, including the artists featured here.
Artists travel from all over Michigan, the U.S. and even other countries to participate in this diverse arts and crafts show, organized by Thunder Bay Arts, which consists mostly of art-enthused volunteers.
“We’re really looking forward to a good show,” said Ann Diamond, TBA member. “I think we’ve really got a nice cross-section of vendors. We’ve got a lot of variety.”
This year’s artists include a weaver who grew up in Alpena and now lives in Hawaii, a woodworking duo from Midland who only uses Michigan hardwood, recycled fashions, unique stoneware pottery, and colorful glass art.
This year is Susan Kessler’s first time in Art on the Bay, and she is so excited to travel from Kona, Hawaii, back to Alpena, where she lived until she was 10 years old. She is the daughter of Dr. Harold Kessler, who practiced in Alpena for more than 30 years before moving to Ann Arbor in 1964.
“That’s one of the reasons I’m coming up there,” she said on Friday. “I went to Ella White, and I lived there until I was 10. There’s this unique connection.”
She will be showing and selling handmade jewelry and crafts, woven in traditional Hawaiian fashion from lauhala (leaves from the hala tree).
Kessler has been weaving for about six years. She started when she moved to Hawaii, and wanted to learn more about the Hawaiian culture.
“It’s a lot of fun,” she said. “We use the leaves from the hala tree. We harvest them and weave with them.”
She has woven many crafts and friendships through her hobby.
“It kind of connects me to a community in Hawaii that I otherwise wouldn’t be connected with,” Kessler said. “I’ve learned a lot.”
She met a ‘kunu’ which means ‘revered teacher’ who helped her acclimate to the culture and introduced her to the craft she loves.
“I met a kumu, and she invited me to be in her weaving group, which is a big honor,” Kessler said. “So I just really fell in love with this.”
Kessler will make the cross-country trip with her daughters, Rachel Rowe and Kyla Rowe, to participate in the show.
For more information, email email@example.com, or visit konaweavingco.etsy.com.
For woodworking artist Deb Stutts, coming to Alpena for Art on the Bay will become an annual trip after she enjoyed participating in last year’s event.
“It was wonderful, and that’s why we’re coming back,” Stutts said. “It’s in a beautiful location, there are a lot of really nice customers, and there’s a diversity of vendors.”
Stutts and her partner Bob Birch create handcrafted wooden cutting boards, serving boards, coasters, engraved signs, wooden utensils and more, using only Michigan hardwood.
“We use walnut, cherry, maple, white oak, and some hickory,” Stutts said.
Their business is called Midland Moose Works.
“Just about everything is made by us both,” she said of herself and Birch, her partner in both business and life. “I’ve been woodworking for about seven or eight years, but he’s been a carpenter his whole life.”
She said from start to finish, they each have played a part in creating every piece.
“We’ll both go to the supplier and pick out the wood,” Stutts said. “He dimensions the wood. He planes it and cuts it. I do the sanding. I do all the laser engraving. … I do the design work with a computer program, and then it goes back to Bob to put the parts together, and I do the final sanding.”
They make a great team.
“Some of our items have a mineral oil coating, like on the cutting boards, and I’ll do that,” Stutts explained. “Some have a spray-on conversion varnish, which he’ll do.”
They travel to about a dozen shows each year, and Stutts said Art on the Bay is “a pleasant one to do.”
She said they used to go to some shows downstate in the Detroit area, but they prefer being up north, so they can enjoy the natural beauty of each area where they are doing a show. They enjoy trips to the U.P. as well.
“We are concentrating on places where we want to be,” Stutts said.
For more information, call Stutts at 989-600-9856, go to midlandmooseworks.com, or search “Midland Moose Works” on Facebook.
Other returning vendors to watch for include:
¯ Stoneware pottery by Catherine Bur of Gaines, Mich. For more information, email CatherineBurPottery@gmail.com, or visit Green Earth Pottery on Etsy.com.
¯ Recycled clothing made by Barb Drzewicki of Funky Threadz out of Bay City. This whimsical clothing for women and girls is made from 100% recycled materials. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.FunkyThreadz.net.
¯ Hand-painted silk scarves and pictures, watercolor bird pendants, natural stone jewelry and fish prints by Claire Rettenmund of Grayling. For more information, email email@example.com.
This eclectic event will have something for everyone.
“I think it will be an exciting show for all ages,” said Clint Kendziorski, TBA volunteer.
He added that attendees will have a choice of many interesting pieces, from indoor and outdoor metal signs and wall decor, to dog treats, toys, leashes and bandanas.
Attendees will have more than enough food to choose from as well.
“Our popular food vendors are back, with kettle corn, roasted almonds, fruit smoothies, and fish sandwiches,” Diamond added.
“For the first time in quite some time we are going to have a signature shirt for sale,” Diamond said, adding that local artist Pat Manning made the design for the T-shirts.
Thunder Bay Arts has unofficially dropped the “Council” from their name, although it is still the formal name of their group, and it will remain the TBAC Gallery.
“We’re transitioning to a new logo, a new name, ‘Thunder Bay Arts,’ trying to be a little more contemporary,” Diamond said.
She noted that the group is very active in the community promoting the arts in many ways, and that the word ‘council’ makes it sound like they just have meetings and oversee things from afar. Many of them are at the heart of arts and cultural events, volunteering their time to make things happen.
“As we looked at the big picture, there’s so much that we do,” Diamond explained. “‘Council’ kind of is an old term, really, and it really doesn’t signify what we do. We’re more of an arts organization than we are a council.”
“And I would say it’s more young and energetic,” Kendziorski added of the title change.
Diamond added that Art on the Bay requires many hands to make it successful and the Alpena community always comes together to make it great each year.
“It’s kind of a signature event for Alpena,” Diamond said. “When you look back and see, we’ve come a long way. This has been going on for a long time.”