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Rotary festival a hit with artists & art lovers

Monday, July 21, 2014 - Updated: 10:16 AM

By CASEY CROUCHER

casey.croucher@recordernews.com

NORTHVILLE -- Intricate wooden carvings, tree ring table tops, colorful clay beaded necklaces, and detailed floral window paintings were among the many sights at this weekend's sixth annual Woodworking and Fine Arts Festival.

The two-day event, hosted by Northville's Rotary Club, brought in thousands of visitors and 60 artists to the Bradt Municipal Building and Park on South Main Street.

"This is our biggest fundraiser of the year," Rotary Club secretary Susan Owens said. "All of the money raised during this event goes back into our community to help others."

Owens said her favorite part of the event is meeting new artists in the show. However, one artist Owens knows particularly well, Jeffrey Meuwissen, is the club's president.

Meuwissen showcased his intarsia/glass work, which he proudly says he invented. He takes his intarsia pieces, which are a form of wood inlay similar to a wooden mosaic and applies stained glass behind the intarsia giving the piece of art work color and dimension.

"I've been doing intarsia for 30 years and stained glass for 16 years; one day I decided to combine the two," he said. "I believe I'm the only person who does this."

He said the annual art show is one of his favorite events of the whole year.

"I think this brings people to Northville, gets them in our community, let's them see what we have to offer," he said. "It also gets people who live in the community out and about so they can see their fellow neighbors."

Artists like Katie and Patrick Fitzgerald who turn tree branches, stumps and rings into furniture, use the event as a form of networking, to help get their name out into the public.

"We're getting a great reaction here today," Katie said. "This festival is a great way to network because before we did this people always wondered why we had a bunch of wood and tree branches in our yard, now they know why, and they're interested."

Peter Schoonmaker, one of this year's featured artists, creates Adirondack Westport Chairs. His wife, Christine, said the chairs are hard to find because they originated in 1904 and died out around 1930.

"I've always loved these chairs," Christine said. "I used to go to camp when I was a young girl and I would write letters back home in these chairs and they just bring back memories for me."

Christine said she asked her husband to make her one and he did so, but then they realized other people liked them as well.

"So far we've made and sold 260 chairs," Peter said.

He said the Rotary Club's festival is easily his favorite event to attend.

"Everything we could want is right here," he said. "We've been coming to this event for four years now and the Rotarians are always so inviting. It's just great meeting everyone, interacting with artists and getting to know your neighbors. We get excited to see each other every year."

Owens said she hopes the progression of the woodworking and fine arts festival will lead to people realizing Northville is a "four-season destination."

"We want people to come here this weekend and fall in love with the community," she said. "We want them to visit us in the fall, in the winter, in the spring and again in the summer."

     

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