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Glass art by Berry Davis and Collette Fortin at the Palmer Park Art Fair.
Glass art by Berry Davis and Collette Fortin at the Palmer Park Art Fair.

’Tis The Season

Michigan’s multifarious outdoor art fairs kick off this month.

Like so many artists — and so many art enthusiasts — Gabriel Craig will be at more than one outdoor art fair this summer.

Craig, a metalsmith who makes Judaica among his many projects, will demonstrate how he does it at Art of Fire, what previously had been known as the Royal Oak Clay, Glass and Metal Show set for June 9-10.  He also will spotlight his creativity July 19-22 at the Ann Arbor Art Fair.

A regular at the Royal Oak event, Craig finds the new name more exciting and more representative of what goes into turning clay, glass and metal into creative expressions.

“I make jewelry, housewares and architectural ironworks in addition to menorahs, Sabbath candlesticks and kiddush cups,” says Craig, who heads up a team, with Amy Weiks, at Smithshop, which is moving its location from Detroit to Highland Park.

“I recently learned that my great grandmother, Kitty Craig, owned a millinery shop close to where our next building will be and made hats for the women who used to live in that area.”

Craig, who earned degrees at Western Michigan University and Virginia Commonwealth University, has exhibited at prestigious art centers, including the Renwick Gallery in Washington, D.C., and the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston. He has lectured around the country and held a residency at California College of the Arts.

“I will be bringing a furnace, anvils, hammers and many kinds of hand tools to the Royal Oak fair,” says Craig, who has attended services at the Downtown Synagogue. “I’m looking forward to showing my work and showing how the work is done.”

Art of Fire is one of five events coordinated by Mark Loeb of Integrity Shows. The others are the Kensington Metropark Art Fair, Palmer Park Art Fair, Belle Isle Art Fair and Funky Ferndale Art Fair.

“We’ve added more demonstrations and more drama in Royal Oak,” Loeb says. “There will be ambient music, and it generally will be positioned as a downtown experience. Setting is important to these fairs. People who have lived in the neighborhood of Palmer Park, for instance, feel comfortable returning to that setting.”

Popular fairs listed here are arranged by date with a special feature or activity that has enlarged the particular experience.

Regular fairgoers will note that the Mount Clemens Art Fair has become Art! Macomb and the Ypsilanti Heritage Festival is now YpsiFest. While no date has been set for Michigan First Summer in the Village in Lathrup Village, planners are trying to move it later in the season. The Great Lakes Folk Festival in Lansing has been suspended.

Just before heading out, visitors are advised to check websites for updates that may change the following information.

Suzanne Chessler

Suzanne Chessler’s writing-editing career has spanned many years, and her articles have been featured in secular and religious publications across the state and around the country. There was a period of time when she maintained three regular columns in three different publications – one appearing weekly to spotlight metro volunteers, another appearing weekly to profile stage enthusiasts in community theater and a third appearing bimonthly to showcase upcoming arts programs. Besides doing general reporting, she has had continuing assignments involving health, monetary subjects and crime. Her award-winning work builds on majors in English-speech and journalism earned at Wayne State University, where instructors also were writers-editors on Detroit’s daily newspapers.

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