The spring session of the 37th annual Crozet Arts and Crafts Festival is expected to bring in about 5,000 visitors. It already has drawn quite a crowd of exhibitors.
More than 120 artists in a variety of disciplines from painting to pottery were invited to the juried event, which is set for Saturday and Sunday at Claudius Crozet Park. Many other appealing vendors couldn’t get in because the park simply can’t hold everyone, festival director Amanda Polson said.
“I’m excited about the variety,” she said. “There’s more fine art this year, and more paintings and two-dimensional wall art than we’ve had in the past few festivals.”
Paintings by Janet Ford, Craig Snodgrass, Maggie Grier, Michael Farrar and Lauren Stangil and photographs by Nathan Donaldson, Jim Spillane and Ben Greenberg — just to name a few artists — are among the wall-friendly works on display.
Everything from knives to baskets to wooden tables and cabinets to handwoven shawls and jackets can be seen in the booths. Exhibitors are coming from throughout Central Virginia and across the country, including Alabama, Ohio, Texas, Colorado, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Connecticut — and even Toronto, Canada.
Jurors had a particularly tough time this year determining who’d make the cut, especially in the jewelry category. The styles offered were so diverse and the quality level so high that it was hard to judge one jeweler or artisan against another, Polson said.
“It was really difficult,” Polson said. “In the jewelry category, this year, everybody had high scores. It’s hard to limit it. It would be great if we had more space and could let everyone in.”
There will be instant-heirloom pieces crafted from precious metals and fine gems — Debra Bet’s show-stopping opals and diamonds, for instance — as well as handmade adornments formed from reclaimed and found materials, such as watch parts. Polson said there also will be plenty of metal and stone options for the minimalist at heart and comfortable pieces for daily wear.
Look for jewelry items by Lynell Dodge, Avery Groves, Tom Chavanne, Ryan Eure, Beth Gaudreau, Linda Osterhoudt, Sarah Brown, Allison Schroeder and other artists. Expect “modern, simple beaded items, up to the very ornate jeweled pieces,” Polson said. “We also have several people who are doing lighter beaded things and simpler metal designs.”
Also in the exhibition space will be “very different styles of pottery,” Polson said. Pottery selections by Nancy Ross, Rebecca Garrett, Janice Arone, Brian Evans and other artists range from simple to sublime, including everything from wall art to teapots.
Fiber arts are well represented by shawls, tunics, scarves and what Polson called “beautiful modern-art jackets.” And a popular stop each year is the dye-your-own silk scarf booth, at which visitors can learn marbling techniques and take colorful examples home.
“The results are so cool,” Polson said. “Everybody looks so thrilled. It’s like magic.”
And if all Mom wants for Mother’s Day is a card, you always can take her literally and get her some of Laura Richards’ stationery and one of Brenda Hardman’s handcrafted pens.
Visual arts aren’t the only disciplines represented. A full lineup of musicians is scheduled for each day.
On Saturday, listen for Field School Boys’ Choir at 10 a.m. and Celtic harpist Vicky Lee at 11 a.m., see Skyline Country Cloggers in action at 12:30 p.m., catch Annabeth McNamara’s music at 2 p.m., watch the Albemarle Morris Men dance at 3 p.m. and hear Matthew O’Donnell sing at 4:30 p.m.
Sunday’s musical lineup includes the Western Albemarle High School Jazz Band at 10 a.m., Greg Howard and Darrell Rose at 11:30 a.m., Roosevelt Dime at 2 p.m. and Jim Lord at 4 p.m.
And if you’re still searching for Mother’s Day ideas, wondering how to make your mom, mother-in-law and grandmama happy, bring them all. The festival traditionally is scheduled for the Mother’s Day weekend, and watching your honoree pick out her own handmade present is part of the fun.
The Charlottesville Area Massage Therapy Consortium’s licensed professional massage therapists will provide some hands-on stress relief, and Crozet photographer Alicia Williams of Simple Will Photography will schedule mini photo sessions from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. If Mom isn’t the fuss-and-bother type and a simple alfresco lunch with the family is more along the lines of what she wants, there will be Virginia beers and wines in souvenir glasses, locally roasted coffees, grilled pizzas, Thai specialties and other food offerings from barbecue to burritos and burgers.
Need to keep children entertained? Kim and Jimbo Cary will bring their interactive performance to the children’s area, which also will feature bouncy castles and face painting. Charlottesville Waldorf School will have a play area set up, and Lebanon Evangelical Presbyterian Church will run a baby comfort station for some quiet time.
“We’re trying to bring in more family things for the festival,” Polson said.
If you’re new to Crozet, plan to take some time to explore the park while you’re there; the festival is its major annual fundraiser. Enjoy the trails, mountain views and open spaces, but leave pets at home. Volunteers always are welcome, and they get in for free; visit crozetfestival.com to see what spots still need filling. And don’t forget to mark your calendars for the fall festival, which is set for Oct. 7 and 8.