Join Waukesha resident Brien Lee and his blog, Sir Fido, as they explore the city and report on the interesting things they find.
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The Nineteenth Annual Waukesha Art Fest couldn't have had a better weekend. The weather was as gorgeous as some of the works. With cool temps and a breeze it was perfect bike riding weather, so Schwinn and I swerved our way past multiple potholes to see what was going on in Cutler Park yesterday.
I was pleasantly surprised by the variety. Forty artists from Wisconsin, and one each from Florida and Illinois. Eleven diverse areas of creativity; glass, fiber, painting, etc. Much of what we saw was useful as well as beautiful. The copper ornamental garden sprinklers of Jerry Ross - nice to look at while an attempt was made to bring back the trampled grass at Cutler Park. The plaque with nicely-lettered, thoughtful poetry that's also a picture frame. Clothing as art and, of course, ceramics - nice to display on a shelf, but also fun to use as bowls, candle holders, etc.
Of my more favorite local art, Jill Verbick's large, vibrant pastels are always eye pleasing. But the visiting Wisconsin artists who held me captive were the couple from Mt. Horeb, Sara and John Lash.
Sara and John's booth was rather spare and simple. A small white saucer represented their entire porcelain inventory. The woodwork; turned bowls and other delicate, oiled pieces, were represented only in the pages of an album. John did mention that he sold a few pieces, but the only things that remained around the 5:00 closing were metal objects. Even though many stamped owls hung in the air, the things that caught my eye, and ear, were the gongs. A four foot industrial gong made from a discarded scuba tank greeted browsers to his booth with a long, loud tone. Other gongs sat on a shelf. One of the gongs was made out of an old fire extinguisher and was suspended by an automobile leaf spring, another was with the Japanese kanji for "dream" welded on it and suspended by rebar.
While there were a couple of other pieces, a welded-wire bowl and torch-cut tree sculptures for instance, I was most interested in sound as art and, if they ever introduce Tibetan singing bowls, sound as prayer and meditation.
I became even more interested in the couple's art after I visited their website, www.elementsarts.com. Besides learning how and where the couple grew up and met, it was interesting to note that as much of their material as possible is recycled from dumps or scrap yards and are finished in the most ecologically friendly way. Also interesting to note that all profits from sales of the welded-wire bowls go to the Muscular Dystrophy Association. (I was guessing they must know someone with MD, but it turns out John himself has a form of it.)
My Uncle Lee used to use found and discarded objects in his welded art years ago, and John Lash's art reminded me of him. It's a pleasant memory.