ST. PETE BEACH — The weather conditions in January in Florida really couldn’t be more conducive to outdoor activities. It’s the perfect time for a stroll on the beach, or shopping for unique and handcrafted fine art and crafts at an outdoor festival.
Just in time to take advantage of this gorgeous weather, American Craft Endeavors will bring its two-day juried outdoor showcase to a South Pinellas beach community this weekend. The 28th annual St. Pete Beach Corey Area Craft Festival will take place Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 8-9, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., on Corey Avenue and Gulf Boulevard in downtown St. Pete Beach.
It's the perfect destination for those searching for something unique and out of the ordinary — something creative, made by hand with meticulous attention to detail and an artistic flair. Admission is free to the annual festival. For details, visit www.artfestival.com.
Local and national craft artisans will bring thousands of handmade, affordable works to St. Pete Beach’s Corey Avenue.
Showcasing a cache of distinctive fine art and crafts, the festival will feature more than 100 Florida-based and national craft artists. The popular festival offers a chance for residents and visitors to peruse and shop for practical and whimsical works of quality, handmade art. The free event is pet-friendly for leashed animals, and includes a full green market of live plants, handmade soaps, edibles and more. Each artisan is on-site during the entire festival, allowing patrons to meet and discover the techniques and inspirations behind each piece.
The juried outdoor craft showcase also gives a boost to the surrounding business community. In addition to attracting visitors to the shopping district, a portion of the proceeds benefits St. Pete Beach Corey Area Merchants Association.
Crafters are hand-selected from hundreds of applicants. With prices to suit all budgets, the festival includes an array of artistic media, including 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. The green market offers exotic live plants, handmade soaps, savory dips, and gourmet sauces.
Among those crafters selected to be part of this year’s festival is Seminole resident Barrie West.
West is a regular at American Craft Endeavors shows who has more than 30 years of experience as a professional artist. She has participated in art shows for more than 20 years, specializing in underwater, beach and Harley Davidson motorcycle scenes as well as light switches and murals. She works mainly with acrylic paint to create intense personal moments masterfully created on murals, canvas and other media.
According to West’s profile from American Craft Endeavors, she is “in her studio literally from sunrise to sunset.” Her dedication to her work is shown through every piece of her art.
“My philosophy of life and art are the same, to create and enjoy,” West says in the press release. “It’s important to me that my art bring joy and happiness to all.”
For information about West’s work, visit www.facebook.com/beachartbybarrie/.
Jewelry artist Rhonda Manning joins the presenters in St. Pete Beach. Manning is known for her hammered aluminum jewelry that is inspired by nature. Her pieces feature botanical elements or whimsical creatures such as sea turtles and hummingbirds.
“Each piece begins with a simple strand of aluminum wire which is shaped and hammered to produce a strong finished piece,” Manning explains on her website. “The process of hammering also allows me to give the piece a little extra dimension through variations in the width of the wire due to the force of hammering. This comes in handy particularly for botanical pieces when I want to accentuate the tips of a flower petal or the edges of leaves.”
Many of her pieces are then accented with stained glass and semiprecious stones.
Clearwater resident Peter Lakiotis will display his selection of pet products.
Since 1996, Lakiotis has been creating specialty harnesses, custom leashes and sized-to-fit dog carriers. He began in Boston, creating knitted dog sweaters for more than seven years. However, a move to sunny Florida, where sweaters were not in much demand, led him to begin crafting creative, weather-friendly accessories including sunglasses, visors and his signature harnesses.
About American Craft Endeavors
American Craft Endeavors produces high-end juried craft shows in many of Florida’s vibrant downtown areas and popular tourist destinations, including the Downtown Dunedin Art and Craft Festival, the Palm Harbor Craft Festival, and the Downtown Sarasota Art and Craft Festival, among others. 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.
For information, visit www.artfestival.com.