I love Summerfolk (duh…), and if you’re reading this, you probably do, too. We go for the music, but let’s be honest: the artisans are a Summerfolk staple and it’s impossible to spend a weekend (or even a day) at the festival without perusing the dozens of tents, each offering something unique and eye-catching. Vendors come from far and wide to sell their art, and talent is in abundance. From clothing to pottery, jewellery to instruments, folk art and beyond, there is something for everyone in the artisans’ village.
This year’s festival boasts over 40 vendors, welcoming back old favourites such as The Funky Clothesline (after all, what’s Summerfolk without tie-dye?!) and introducing intriguing newcomers like Hipknitized (yep, the clever play on words completely encompasses Jennifer Gontier’s nifty and eco-savvy knitted creations). Because Summerfolk is such a huge part of Owen Sound and surrounding area, though, I want to focus on the local artisans who will be representing our community within the festival this year. I’ve chosen a handful of artists from Grey Bruce to keep an eye out for while you’re meandering through the artisans’ village. Boy, was it hard to narrow down the list with so much home-grown talent out there!
Opal Wing Jewellery
Artist Naomi Assenheim creates ethereal jewellery pieces, featuring luscious gemstones, fossils, and crystals. Her longstanding love of nature is reflected in her designs, each piece lovingly pulled from earthy inspiration. Opal Wing Jewellery is a seasonal regular at the Owen Sound Farmers’ Market and can be found year-round at the Owen Sound Artists’ Co-op, The Barn Co-operative just outside of Meaford, and the Georgian Artisan Shop in Thornbury. Intricate and romantic, Opal Wing Jewellery is a must-see. https://opalwing.com/
Twisted Spiral Studios
Jewellery, wood prints, home décor… Katherine Kenny of Twisted Spiral Studios does it all. Her bold, laser engraved designs turn heads wherever they are. Katherine combines drawing and woodworking with contemporary technology to create unique artistic expressions inspired by nature. If you can’t wait until Summerfolk to check out the awesome Twisted Spiral Studios designs, pop into the Owen Sound Artists’ Co-op and have a look. https://twistedspiralstudios.com/
The Bruce Rocks
If you’ve spent any time at all in Bruce County, you will know that there is an abundance of rock. The Bruce Rocks sources stone from the Bruce Peninsula and turns it into beautiful and nifty items! Laser engraved paleo artwork, coasters, and – my personal favourite – whisky rocks. Why not take home a literal piece of the area this Summerfolk? https://www.facebook.com/thebrucerocks/
If whisky rocks aren’t quite your thing, but you’re a sucker for beautiful beach stones, you need to have a peek at Bella Grey. Artist Karen Cameron uses whimsical paper découpage to decorate rocks gathered along Georgian Bay shores and the resulting jewellery is magical. These wearable works of art are bound to make you smile. Bella Grey can be found at a wide range of locations across Ontario, including the Owen Sound Artists’ Co-op, the Tom Thomson Art Gallery in Owen Sound, and the Southampton Gallery and Art School. http://artistscoop.ca/project/karen-cameron/
Midnight Special Instruments
Of course, you can’t have a music festival without musical instruments, so for those of you who are musically inclined, you will want to stop at Midnight Special Instruments. Hugh Hunter hand-crafts gorgeous banjos, banjoleles, banjo-lutes, and dulcimers. Based in Georgian Bluffs, he uses ethically-sourced local and re-woods for his pieces, and he specializes in custom orders to ensure the perfect instrument for each musician. https://www.midnightspecial.ca/
Sometimes it’s fun to become the work of art, and that is where Owen Sounders Rebecca Ironmonger and Melissa D’Souza-Harris of Peaux Art come in. Rebecca specializes in transformational body painting, boasting a rainbow palette of bold and intricate face and body art that will have you glittering in the sunshine. Melissa works her magic with freehand henna and jagua, dreaming up lasting lacey designs to suit your style. Stop by this booth to become a walking work of art! https://www.facebook.com/RebeccasPrettyGreenHairServices/
Pierre has become an integral member of Intersections: Wood Gallery and Studio in Owen Sound, lending his woodworking talent and expertise to teach a multitude of workshops. At this year’s Summerfolk festival, he will be showcasing his skills through demonstrations. Stop by to watch the process of creating works of art and learn some tricks of the trade. http://www.intersectionsstudio.com/home.html
Well, there you have it, Folkies! Your comprehensive list of local artisans to look for at this year’s Summerfolk festival! Of course, there are many other amazing artisans you also won’t want to miss. To have a peek at the full group, head on over to the Summerfolk website (http://summerfolk.org/artisans/). Grab your tickets while you’re at it, if you haven’t already. See you on the Folk side!
Written by Sarah Goldman
Photos provided by Summerfolk.org