An offering from Ford Arts, Beats & Eats
An offering from Ford Arts, Beats & Eats

Quilts, Apple Pie And Fun For Labor Day

A maker of colorful quilts displays her work at Art & Apples —
plus our annual roundup of
Labor Day fairs.

In her Farmington Hills basement, Beth Rosenfeld has been working at her four sewing machines plus a rented long-arm quilting machine to get ready for the Art & Apples Festival in Rochester.

Rosenfeld, an artist who has worked with many kinds of textiles, specializes in one-of-a-kind quilts for infants and children and will have 400 ready to sell as the event runs Sept. 8-10 in the Rochester Municipal Park.

This will be the first fair for the artist, who mostly sells to people she knows and people referred by others. The only times she has joined with various artists before now have been for the Temple Israel Sisterhood Spring Boutiques and a fundraiser for Project HOPE.

“‘Go big or go home’ is my motto,” jokes Rosenfeld, who also has a part-time career as a dental hygienist with skills learned at the University of Detroit after she turned 30.

“I will be showing quilted blankets, throws and wraps. I actually have five different kinds of projects — receiving blankets, stroller blankets, play mats, quilts and wall hangings. I do freehand sewing so that each one is different.”

Rosenfeld describes her work as having traditional, geometric block patterns made from contemporary materials, mostly cotton and polyester. She uses lots of color, and each item is machine washable.

“I’ve been running my own ‘sweatshop’ for nine months to get ready for Art & Apples,” quips Rosenfeld, who ultimately finds satisfaction in being creative with each piece and experiences the total process as therapeutic. “I decided to do quilts for infants and children because I prefer working on smaller items. I describe my style as colorful and playful.”

Rosenfeld’s projects will join the work of 300 artists from across the country. Artists new to the fair and those returning will showcase a variety of media, including ceramics, digital designs, glass, printmaking, jewelry, metal, mixed media, painting, photography, sculpture and wood.

In its 52nd year to raise funds for the Paint Creek Center for the Arts (PCCA), the event will have new features to commemorate the city of Rochester’s 200th anniversary. Among them will be a monster mural for kids to help create.

In addition to art, there will be live entertainment, children’s activities, food offerings and interactive exhibits. Apple treats — such as strudel, streusel and caramel apples — will be featured.

Art & Apples, which suggests a $5 tax-deductible donation per person, supports the PCCA as it promotes the arts and artistic excellence through art education, exhibitions, an art market, outreach programs and more. Other nonprofit organizations that benefit include Rochester Jaycees, PLEA Foundation (supporting K9 work in law enforcement), Music Shapes, Wish Upon A Teen, Rochester College Theatre Department and Onyx Theatre Troupe-Skating Team.

Rosenfeld, 57, became interested in fabric projects through her late grandmother, Emma Silverman, who taught her granddaughter how to knit, embroider and crochet.

Rosenfeld extended that interest through art classes at Southfield High School before going on to study textiles at Rhode Island School of Design and Syracuse University, where she earned a bachelor of fine arts degree.

Before returning to Michigan, Rosenfeld worked for a small company in New York, where she came up with wallpaper and fabric designs.

“When I was younger, I made purses and handbags,” she says. “My interest in quilting started when I was a teenager, but I didn’t get serious about it until 2008. One day, I started thinking about making quilts; my two sons, now in their 20s, were teenagers then, and I sewed quilts for them.”

Rosenfeld refined quilting skills by reading books and taking classes at the Guildcrafters Quilt Shop in Berkley and researching online sources.

Rosenfeld, a member of Congregation Shaarey Zedek while she was growing up and now a member of Congregation B’nai Moshe with her husband, Michael, has not made Judaica designs but is thinking about making a chuppah for a friend’s daughter who is about to be married.

In her own home, she cherishes a sampler quilt made by using different techniques. It became a learning and practice piece with lots of sentimental value.

“I love how it turned out,” says the textile artist, a member of Hadassah. “I will always keep it.”

As Rosenfeld gets ready to appear at the fair, she is looking forward to seeing the work of the other artists. She also is ready to do some tasting as the apple specialties roll out.

“I love apples,” she says. “And I love apple pie.”

The Art & Apples Festival runs Sept. 8-10 at the Rochester Municipal Park in downtown Rochester. $5 donation requested. (248) 651-4110;

Along with Art & Apples, Labor Day weekend offers lots of other fun events. Take your pick — maybe more than one:

The Michigan State Fair, Aug. 31-Sept. 4, at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi, brings the country to the suburbs. Agricultural contests, the Shrine Circus and a carnival midway enter into the mix so long a tradition. (368) 348-6942;

The Michigan Peach Festival, Aug. 31-Sept. 4 in Romeo, gives foodies a chance to enjoy peaches in all kinds of creative ways with plenty of sports competitions — running, golf, softball — to take care of the calories. Music, arts and carnival rides also are offered.

Detroit Jazz Festival, Sept. 1-4 on four stages spread across Hart Plaza and Campus Martius as the world’s largest free jazz festival.

Ford Arts, Beats & Eats, Sept. 1-4 in downtown Royal Oak, showcases art and spotlights musical entertainment as visitors sample foods from popular restaurants.

The Hamtramck Labor Day Festival, Sept. 2-4 along Joseph Campau, has a so-called Yacht Race, a fun event involving pushcarts that look like canoes on wheels, among the traditional foods, varieties of music, art and carnival fare.

A one-day event, the Franklin Roundup and Art in the Village, has food, music and art for a Labor Day tradition in the center of town, near to the Franklin Cider Mill as it opens for the season. The Roundup includes a parade, midway games, petting farm, pony rides, inflatables and a magician.

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