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Clearwater painter Matt Deurr creates colorful and whimsical paintings using acrylic and palette knife. 

DUNEDIN — The 27th annual Downtown Dunedin Craft Festival will take place Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 9-10, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., on Main Street in Dunedin.

Admission is free. For information, visit www.artfestival.com.

Presented by American Craft Endeavors, unique and affordable arts and crafts will be showcased from the more than 200 Florida-based and national craft artists during the event. The popular, outdoor craft festival offers a chance for residents and visitors to peruse and shop for practical and whimsical works of quality, handmade art while enjoying the gorgeous Florida weather. The craft festival is pet friendly for leashed animals, and includes a full green market of live plants, handmade soaps, delicious edibles and more. Each artisan is on-site during the entire festival, allowing patrons to meet and to discover the techniques and inspirations behind each piece.

Craft enthusiasts will have the opportunity to stroll down Main Street and browse the wares of vendors exhibiting and selling their unique, handmade art with broad appeal. The artistic media will include folk art, pottery, personalized gifts, handmade clothing, basket weaving, beaded utensils, candles, cork assemblage, fabric design, fiber quilts, fused wax and glass, hair accessories, handbags and accessories, handmade cards, leather, mosaic, wood, painted wood, plaster craft and stained glass. A Green Market will offer a wide variety of quality plants including exotics, as well as dips and other gourmet items. The prices have been set to suit all budgets and range from $15 to $3,000.

Among this year’s participating vendors is Matt Duerr.

“I started painting late in life and have been a professional artist for about 10 years,” Duerr said. “I left the corporate world in Raleigh, North Carolina and moved to Florida in 2015 to pursue a more relaxed lifestyle, along with my dream of being an artist.”

Duerr works exclusively with acrylics, using a palette knife, vibrant colors, and lots of textures in his work.

“I think of myself as an impressionist but will sometimes lean a little into the abstract if the mood hits me,” he explained. “Living in Clearwater, I acquired a love for anything to do with the ocean, the beach, or Florida in general. I am a member of the Dunedin Artist Guild and participate in Art in the Park art shows in Downtown Dunedin.”

Duerr also enjoys taking part in art shows throughout Pinellas County.

“It gives me the opportunity to meet a lot of interesting people from all over the world, and will talk about art as long as anyone is willing to listen,” he said. “You will notice a definite Southern accent if you ever drop by my tent for a visit. I was born and raised in Huntsville, Alabama, and have lived in various places throughout the South.”

Dunedin’s own Patricia Harahan also will be exhibiting and selling her work at the festival.

“My art jewelry is inspired by our beautiful world,” Harahan said. “The glorious wonders made in the earth and sea amaze me. Nature is the ultimate artist.”

Harahan is especially drawn by fossils, even though she never set out to be a "rock hound."

“The fossils found me,” she said. “My grandmother left me a silver bracelet set with a large, glossy hunk of black Tampa Bay agatized coral, so when a friend learned of an estate sale that included Tampa Bay coral, he thought of me. The next thing I knew, I had a box of rough coral and no idea what to do with it.”

The cache provided Harahan with an excuse to learn.

“I bought saws and tumblers and a rock polishing system, and I began producing my own finished stones,” Harahan said. “And, along the way, an online etsy friend was kind enough to give me good advice. It turns out that I live in one of the few places where Tampa Bay agatized coral can still be found, so you'll find me out on Honeymoon Island after a major storm.”

Agatized coral is Florida's state stone.

Gulfport’s Robin Short also will take part in the festival.

Short has been quilting and sewing for most of her life. Her mother, Ellen Plankey, who is a well-known award-winning artist, has inspired her.

Short loves putting together great fabrics, colors and high-quality products to create usable, and unique items for her customers. A lot of her ideas come from customers who can't find exactly what they are looking for. She then goes home and develops a pattern that will be useful and fun. She has been working with American Craft Endeavors for more than four years and truly enjoys taking part in the festivals and meeting new customers and craft enthusiasts.

According to her website, Canadian-born Diana Calleja discovered her passion for travel at an early age. As she wandered the world, she always had a camera.

When she eventually settled in Florida, she rediscovered her love of photography and embraced the new digital advancements.

“Florida, with its abundance of wildlife, has proven to be a wonderful place for me to pursue my passion,” Calleja says on her website.

The talented crafter Walter Catts will be displaying his creations at the festival. Catts hails from Palmetto where he has his own carpentry shop, Catts Carpentry Inc. There, he creates beautiful furniture utilizing old shutters.

About American Craft Endeavors

American Craft Endeavors produces some of the nation’s most exciting high-end juried craft shows in many of Florida’s vibrant downtown areas and popular tourist destinations including the Lauderdale-by-the-Sea Craft Festival in Fort Lauderdale, the Holiday Craft Festival on the Ocean in Jupiter/Juno Beach and the Downtown Stuart Craft Fairs in Stuart.

The group’s founders personally select unique, culture rich cities for their show locations providing a complete outdoor experience unmatched by other festivals. All crafters are hand-selected from hundreds of applicants in order to ensure a superior event featuring diverse art media and the highest quality of original handmade crafts.

Tampa Bay area residents and visitors also can mark their calendars for the springtime 16th annual St. Pete Beach Corey Area Craft Festival on March 23–24 and the summertime 26th annual St. Pete Beach Corey Area Craft Festival on June 1-2.

For additional information on American Craft Endeavors craft shows, visit www.artfestival.com or call 561-746-6615.