This summer season’s art fairs have something for everyone.
Among the many artists traveling through Michigan to show their projects in outdoor summer art fairs will be two individuals who have experienced artistic activities in Israel.
Lea Alboher, based in California after growing up in Israel, will be bringing collages and whimsical clocks to Art Birmingham and the Ann Arbor Art Fair. Jeffrey Jobe, who settled in North Carolina and traveled to Israel, will present metalsmith work learned in part through family members who trace Jewish heritage, and he will be appearing at the Kensington Art Fair and the Orchard Lake Fine Art Show.
A large sampling of the fairs scheduled this year can be found in a list provided after these two have their work described. The list provides websites so readers can access more information about associated activities at each event. Many fairs feature provisions for food, entertainment, demonstrations and craft activities.
Patrons are advised to check the individual websites just before attending to learn of any impactful changes.
“I cut and paste different images together, and I usually show two lines — animal images and surreal images,” Alboher said. “I wanted to be an artist when I was very young, but I didn’t start professionally until I was in my 40s.”
As a youngster, Alboher first expressed her talents by painting on stones she collected in Israel. After that, her painting appeared on ceramic pieces.
“I never went to any art school,” she said. “Everything I did just evolved. I’m self-taught.”
Alboher, who came to America some 40 years ago after reading about California locales, earned her living in the early years of her immigration by working various jobs for others. She realized that she would be happier self-employed in artistry.
The artist has a cat and feels a special connection to animals. Beyond appearing at art fairs, she completes commissioned projects by designing special settings that feature specific pets.
“I’ve been coming to Michigan for 15 years and do about 20 shows throughout the country in a season,” she said. “I’m attracted to the freedom and creativity of art. I used to paint and do photography and sculptures, but these other forms were mostly for me. The collages are the commercial line.”
As Alboher talks to fair visitors, she is glad to hear when many tell her they see a sense of humor in her images and like that element of her work.
Jobe became an archaeologist through study at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro before moving into the skills of metalsmithing, and he has revitalized techniques popular in earlier centuries. Starting his projects with gold, he added the use of silver, platinum, copper and bronze as he worked in a specialized building behind his home.
This year, as Jobe travels to six fairs, he will be showing various Judaica projects among his offerings. He and his wife, Marcia, have traveled to Israel to become inspired by the designs popular there.
In Israel, Jobe saw metalsmiths cutting Hebrew words into metal, and he wanted to do something different. He raised the letters on bracelets, for example, to emphasize religious verses.
“I bring the old styles back to life, and I really like that,” he said. “I have tools that my grandfather used and tools my dad used. I was gifted tools of a Jewish goldsmith who survived the concentration camps and wanted his tools used, so I use them. I try to come up with new designs.”
Most of the work that Jobe does is one-of-a-kind.
“Modern tools and techniques are great, but I think the old techniques give the end result more personality,” Jobe said. “We need to know the past — the good and the bad. That way hopefully we won’t repeat the bad and hopefully we will repeat the good.”
This Summer’s Art Fairs
Annual Art Birmingham, streets surrounding Shain Park.
Kensington Art Fair, Milford.
Palmer Park Art Fair, Northwest Detroit.
Art on the Grand, downtown Farmington.
Berkley Art Bash, 12 Mile in downtown Berkley.
Flint Art Fair, grounds of the Flint Institute of Art.
Canton Liberty Fest, Heritage Park.
Arts and Acts, Northville Art House.
Trenton Summer Festival, downtown Trenton.
Royal Oak Outdoor Art Fair, Memorial Park.
Plymouth Art in the Park, downtown Plymouth.
Wyandotte Street Art Fair, downtown Wyandotte.
Farmington Founders Festival, downtown Farmington.
Ann Arbor Art Fair, various locations.
Sterlingfest, City Center Campus, Sterling Heights.
Orchard Lake Fine Art Show, 6900 Orchard Lake Road, West Bloomfield. artsandeducationinc.org
Fine Art at the Village, 220 N. Adams Rd., Rochester Hills.
Stony Creek Art Fair, Metropark in Shelby Township.
Allen Park Arts & Crafts Street Fair, Allen Road between Southfield and Roosevelt. cityofallenpark.org/community/street-fair.aspx
The Pointes Art Festival, The Hill on Kercheval.
Belle Isle Art Fair, near Scott Fountain.
Milford Memories Summer Festival, downtown Milford.
Shelby Township Art Fair, River Bends Park.
Aug. 19-Oct. 1
(Weekends and Labor Day): Michigan Renaissance Festival, Holly.
Arts, Beats & Eats, downtown Royal Oak.
Art in the Village, Franklin Village Green.
Art & Apples Festival, Rochester Municipal Park.
Funky Ferndale Art Fair, Nine Mile at Woodward.
Common Ground’s Birmingham Street Art Fair, streets around Shain Park.