Pushing the pedal and spinning a work in progress, Bert Harris from Seneca, SC carefully shaped clay into bowls and cups.
These items look like products, but they won’t be sold. Made from spare lumps of clay, Harris said that they’re simply “to demonstrate to young folks and adults on how pottery starts as a lump of clay, and ends up a finished product.”
This year’s AthFest boasts a block-long Artist Market with more than 50 visual artists, consisting of painters, potters, clothiers, jewelers, sculptors, and more.
Harris, like many of the artists, attends numerous festivals, around 15-20 per year, he said. His pots, mugs, and other wares are handcrafted, painted, waxed, and glazed by him and his wife. Harris is at AthFest for the first time, but other artists have more of a history with the event.
Four years in, Jeffree Lerner continues to attend. His art, painted wood carvings, have common themes: cats, mushrooms, insects, the moon and stars, all of which are “cosmic symbols,” as he calls them. Although the art is varied, cat-inspired paintings abound.
“I kind of see it more like I’m a cat person, but like not necessarily a crazy person who’s got a lot of cats, just more like I’m am a cat… As a person…” Lerner said.
Lerner is originally from Colorado. He previously lived in Atlanta, but has now settled in Dahlonega, where it’s “cheaper and easier for artists.”
Stone Love, however, is based in Atlanta. She’s spent 35 years honing her craft as a silversmith. Right now, she’s been focusing on brass and copper jewelry. For her too, this is her first AthFest, where she’s been pleased by the people and the sales she’s made.
“I love it, I absolutely love it. The people are fantastic, the dogs are awesome,” Love said. “People appreciate the art.”
Love travels all over the country selling her jewelry: the southwest, the midwest, even her native New Jersey. She started small by having her mother sell her earrings at her workplace, but jewelry-making has long been a full-time job.
Suma Bambal, an artist since childhood, specializes in painting. Based out of Atlanta, most of her works at AthFest are acrylic, colorful and inspired by nature. She often travels to festivals in the southeast to sell her works.
“Colorful, happy, joy, I just like to spread joy, peace. From nature you get all those,” said Bambal.
The artist market is open on Friday, June 22 from 5–10 p.m., Saturday, June 23, from 12–10 p.m. and Sunday, June 24 from 12:30–8 p.m.