ARTful Living

St. Louis Area Fine Arts, Crafts & Performing Arts

By Michelle “Mike” Ochonicky, Arts Editor

Traditional American Crafts Artists On Display In Ste. Genevieve July 21-22

How memorable would it be to hold a piece of silver made by Paul Revere in your own hands? Taking that moment a step further, what would you ask if you could actually chat with Mr. Revere about his work, or watch as he made that piece?

Although such historical artisans are long-gone, you can meet contemporary artists whose names future generations may recognize at a special reception and show of Midwest artisans from the 2019 Directory of Traditional American Crafts.

Early American Life magazine is dedicated to recognizing and preserving the artistic and architectural treasures of American history. To that end, the Directory of Traditional American Crafts was established 34 years ago, recognizing those artists who are currently working in traditional arts, including a myriad of mediums. (www.EALonline.com)

JeanMarie Andrews, EAL executive editor, said, “Selection for the Directory is an honor bestowed on a handful of artisans who work in traditional media, styles, and crafts. In addition the Directory is also a buying guide… a selection of the best historically informed handwork in America today…. An artist who has been selected for the Directory has had his or her work thoroughly evaluated by a panel of experts.”

Thirty-two museum curators and directors served as this year’s Directory judges. The panel included such knowledgeable experts as the curators of Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, the Winterthur Museum and the Museum of Southern Decorative Arts.

Clearing the artistic high bar set by these experts is no easy task. Accustomed to seeing the best history has to offer, these experts accept nothing less from contemporary artisans. Hundreds of artists from throughout the United States submitted their work to be evaluated by this prestigious group. The 132 artisans selected for the 2019 Directory demonstrated fine craftsmanship of museum quality and supporting scholarship, usually in the form of extensive research and study of the artist’s particular medium.

Eight of these nationally-recognized artists will be present at ASL Pewter in Ste. Genevieve, Missouri, July 21-22.

Vernon DePauw, of Jerseyville, Illinois, is a woodcarver whose sought-after American eagles and signboards are the result of his research into the history of such pieces. His whimsical witches, Santas and mermaids are pure fun. (www.vld.woodcarver.com) Creativity abounds in the DePauw family: Kathy DePauw (Vern’s wife) stitches delightful miniature quilts, totally by hand, in historic patterns. (kathy.depauw@gmail.com)

Cathy Grafton comes from Pontiac, Illinois. She creates delicate embroideries with silk ribbon. Her beautiful stitchery looks like paintings. (www.PrairieQuiltsAndMore.com)

Kandye Mahurin hails from Uniontown, Missouri. She creates fabric covered hatboxes and handpainted gameboards that look fabulous in any décor. (www.facebook.com/sassafras-creek-originals)

Lisa Palmer lives in Ste. Genevieve, Missouri, and takes paper-quilling to impressive levels. She makes intricate framed works, jewelry (yes, made of paper!), ornaments and lots more. (www.NeverBoredCreations.com)

Hosting the fun event are Tom and Pat Hooper, owners of ASL Pewter at 183 S. Third in the historic heart of Ste. Genevieve. These incredible pewter artists know their stuff! You’ve seen their gorgeous artwork in the television miniseries John Adams, starring Paul Giamatti. (www.ASLpewter.com)

And one remaining artist in the show will be me! I create hand-etched scrimshaw and this year marks the 23rd time that my scrimshaw has been chosen for the Directory. (www.StoneHollowStudio.com)

Come meet us all, 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. and maybe purchase a piece of American art for yourself. The event is free and open to the public. Just an easy 1-hour drive from St. Louis, Ste. Genevieve is a historic French town, founded in 1735. It’s perfect for strolling, with many original buildings; several are open for tours.

The Rep hosts a Summer Block Party on July 25, 5-8 p.m. at the Loretto-Hilton Center for Performing Arts, 130 Edgar Road. It’s a free outdoor community celebration to welcome the Rep’s new artistic director Hana Sharif to St. Louis.

After 32 years in the role of the Rep’s artistic director, Steven Woolf retired this year. Ms. Sharif now picks up the reins, with a multi-faceted theatre career of experience as an artistic leader, director, playwright and producer in Baltimore. Let’s give her a great St. Louis welcome!

There will be live music, food trucks, games, children’s activities, prizes and more. There’s more info at www.repstl.org.