Jessey LaFontaine

Jessey LaFontaine

Qualicum Beach craft fair hits 35 years

Original artisans still attend annual event, which runs Nov. 21, 22 and 23 at the QB Community Centre this year

Some of Vancouver Island’s finest artisans will be together under one roof Nov. 21, 22 and 23 to showcase their artwork at the longest-running Christmas show on Vancouver Island.

The Village Christmas Arts Faire has been going for 35 years at the Qualicum Beach Community Hall.

Renowned artists in District 69 will have their original handmade pieces for sale during the three day event.

Local potter Dee Aguilar said The Village Christmas Arts Faire has become somewhat of a tradition in these parts because many of the founding artists who were in the very first fair are still involved.

“It has been in the community hall for 35 years. This show has a core group of artists and most of them have been in the show since its inception. Every year we jury in new artists and create something positive,” she said.

Aguilar describes the event as an outstanding exhibition and sale by local professional artisans.

With jewelry, unique household goods, art on canvas and some of the finest works in glass, fabric, paper, wood, pottery and metals, the exhibition will offer something for shoppers who want gifts that are unique and special.

Featured artists include potters Larry and Dee Aguilar, glass artist Ted Jolda, stone sculptor Del C. Mark, fiber artist Lucinda Hepting, leather artist Armando Dos Santos and Wendy Maurer of Beads of Joy.

Guest artists this year include Davej Friesen of Crossed Heart Forge, Dave Kasprick of Red Cod Forge, photographer Roy Hancliff, copper artist JP Holbrook, Val and Jai Kealy of QB Arts and potters Martha and Gordon James. There will also be gourd artist Jessey LaFontaine and silversmith Ruth LaFontaine.

The LaFontaines are a mother and daughter artist force to be reckoned with.

Ruth has a BFA from the Alberta College of Art & Design and currently works from her studio in Qualicum Beach creating stunning art jewelry.

Gourd artist Jessey specializes in one-of-a-kind organic gourd vessels and each treasure-trove is hand carved and stained with rich leather dyes.

Ruth said even as a young child Jessey looked through the eyes of an artist and instead of asking for toys for her birthday she requested professional art supplies.

Jessey said she was first inspired with nature’s vessels a decade ago when her mother brought two painted gourds back from a vacation down in the southern U.S.

She said they were hand-painted in acrylics and stylized in a pueblo influenced design.

She researched more into gourd art, instruments and use for dinnerware, studying Hopi and Pueblo Indian art.

Shortly afterwards, she discovered her own means of cleaning and prepping each gourd, and eventually developed her own unique style.

You can find both Jessey and Ruth’s creations at The Village Christmas Arts Faire at the Qualicum Beach Community Hall on Memorial Avenue from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday.

The Elegant Threads show is another good reason to visit Qualicum Beach this weekend. This exhibition hosted by the Qualicum Weavers and Spinners guild is at Rotary House 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and

10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday. The show reflects the traditional arts of spinning, weaving, basketry and the working of raw fibre. All items are hand crafted by local artisans who will be on hand doing demonstrations.

Also this weekend is the Parksville Quilter’s ninth annual Christmas sale on Saturday, Nov. 22 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at St. Stephen’s United Church in Qualicum Beach.

 

 

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