Award-winning artists will present works in unique media at this weekend’s indoor art festival at the Tucson Hilton El Conquistador Golf and Tennis Resort.
“I use my jewelry-making time for destressing,” says artist Jennifer Gastelum, whose work has won awards at the Fire Mountain Gems competition. “It is the one time where I am in control, and it makes me feel great when the pieces are complete.”
Fire Mountain Gems is one of the largest suppliers of jewelry in the world, with a catalog featuring 1,300 pages of merchandise. The company interviewed her about her artistic style and background.
“A customer once told me that she viewed my style as primitive,” Gastelum says. “At first I felt a bit insulted, but then from listening further I agreed with her. She explained that my designs are simple and straightforward. I love styles that can be worn with any number of outfits.”
Gastelum designs pieces using metal clay, specifically copper clay, for her business Catalina Creations. She will present her work with other talented artists during the free arts and crafts festival.
“I live in Tucson, where there is a rich heritage of Native Americans. My family has been in Tucson since the late 1800s, and I have been raised with the Native American culture and designs,” Gastelum says. “I grew up with a father who taught auto mechanics. From this I learned how to work with tools. This has been very valuable in working with metal clay.”
The artist calls nature her “biggest inspiration.”
“Many of my pendants are representative of nature, such as shells or leaves. Nature has very healing qualities and I love creating pieces that remind people of its power,” she explains.
In addition to Gastelum’s jewelry, the festival will feature handmade jewelry, watercolor and acrylic paintings, woodwork, gourmet chocolates, pottery, metalwork, mixed media, textiles, leatherwork. gourd art and copper enameling. The artists will be present, giving attendees a chance to meet the creative minds behind the artwork.
This inaugural event will feature wine and entertainment, such as the Flambe-Jazz Quartet, Miss Fanny the clown, the acoustic folk guitar sounds of Gaia Sound, and kids activities, in the cool, air-conditioned setting of the resort.
Harpist Vanessa Anne will perform on Saturday during the festival. She studied classical harp privately with Susan Brown. Playing both acoustic and electric lever harp, she tailors her sound for specific gigs or music genres and is one of a few people in the United States playing jazz on a lever harp.
In addition, Vanessa Anne was a guest harpist for a number of groups in both Phoenix and Tucson and has also backed several well-known musicians, including leading Celtic harpist Mary Bouley and Grammy-nominated saxophonist Vince Redhouse.
Also, Fae Ghillie Azalea Seedpod will dance around the art show, making youngsters smile as she gives “fairy kisses” – painted hearts, clovers and butterflies – on children’s cheeks. She wears a fairy dress in glitter and beautiful wings as she remains silent and communicates with faces and gestures.
If you go
What: Hilton Indoor Summer Arts and Crafts Festival, presented by the Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance
When: Aug. 13-14, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: Tucson Hilton El Conquistador Golf and Tennis Resort, 10000 N. Oracle Road
For more information, visit http://www.orovalleyfestival.org/ or call 797-3959.