• Artist Watch: Austin Flea and WEST

    by  • May 17, 2014 • Artists to Watch, Blog, Events • 0 Comments

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    Austin Flea

    I checked out Austin Flea for the first time last weekend and loved it. It’s small in a nice, intimate sort of way. While you might set out intentionally to visit Austin Flea, you’re not committing a whole day to it like you typically would an art festival. And it has the added benefit of often being connected to a fun local restaurant or bar.

    Here are a few highlights among the many amazing artists we saw at the festival.

    Hidden Dragon | handmade metal art

    I love Hidden Dragon’s metal prints of Austin attractions, especially when they added flying saucers into the mix (cupcake abduction, anyone?). I also loved the gorgeous patina on their metal sculptures and loved hearing about the process and the significance of the choice of chemicals used to achieve the effect.

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    My favorite sculpture by far was the dragon (how appropriate that it was hidden among the stems of flowers, butterflies, fairies).

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    Ornamental Things | jewelry

    All of the jewelry from Ornamental Things has an eclectic vintage feel. Just my style. I especially loved the line of silhouette necklaces, long pendant necklaces with images printed on glass cased in aged brass coin holders. My favorite held an image of birds on a power line on South Congress. I don’t know why, but I’ve always had a fascination with birds on power lines.

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    Annemarie | artisan handbags, patterns, and home decor

    Anne Marie makes beautiful use of pattern and texture in her bags and wallets. I especially love her streamlined Notch Wallet: beautiful, minimal, won’t bulk up a purse or pocket, and effectively and securely holds considerably more than you’d expect.

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    Soapapilla | handmade soaps

    Soapapilla makes soaps that smell AND look good. Lacy’s choices of colors swirled into her soaps are gorgeous, and she makes beautiful use of texture on the topside of the soaps and on occasion even sprinkles some of the soap ingredients as a garnish. My favorite scent was the Lemongrass Lemon. Yum.

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    By Lillian | handmade jewelry

    By Lillian jewelry is stunning and unique. I love Lillian’s use of coins and her colorful enamel pieces are my favorite. I’ve had one of her gorgeous compass-print enameled pendant necklaces for years and it’s still one of my favorite pieces of jewelry. Lillian also pulls in awesome references to pop culture icons like Batman, Doctor Who, and Captain America, to name a few.

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    A few artists I didn’t catch photos of:

    • Inviting | letterpress boutique
      A fellow stationery artist, I caught a glimpse of Ashley and Trent’s work last weekend at Violet Crown and got to take a closer look at Austin Flea this weekend. Their gorgeous designs are pressed into stunningly textured paper using a vintage printing press. So lovely!
    • Victrola Design | screen printed t-shirts, dish towels, and ties
      Victoria’s designs are simple, natural, beautiful, and completely my style. I especially loved the sitting bird dish towel, a soft grey shirt with gold branches printed on it, and the screen printed ties.
    • Hatton Henry | leather bags and goods
      Vanessa’s bags embody minimalism, style, and craftsmanship. Every one is simple, made of leather that feels luxurious to the touch, and looks amazing. I especially loved the cactus-looking green leather pouch and the brown leather clutches.
    • Frankie | leather bags and goods
      I love the Majorette handbag with it’s beautiful contrasting chevrons of leather. I also love Frankie’s adorable dog. Too cute.
    • DH Designs | jewelry
      I love DH Designs’ copper cuffs. They have a beautiful permanent patina that comes from finishing the copper with a blow torch.
    • Leap Designs | hand printed apparel
      My favorite pieces from Leap Designs include the lovely reusable bags with a handy shoulder strap or handle design, the screen printed shirts displaying a sketch of a hand making the UT hook’em sign. I also like that all of her work uses American Apparel clothing and accessories, as they’re so soft and always fit well.
    • The Bottle Garden | upcycled home decor
      I loved the bottles turned vases, oil bottles, soap dispensers, and ring dishes with lovely silhouetted designs on them. It’s a seemingly simple idea, painting bottles bright colors with designs, but executed with such care and expertise that each bottle is a work of art.
    • Tasty Jewelry | jewelry
      Diane makes fun jewelry with a classic appeal. I like that she keeps her designs simple, fresh, and colorful.

    WEST

    Because Austin Flea was so nice and small, instead of feeling ready to head home and take a nap as I usually feel after visiting art festivals, when we left Austin Flea I actually felt energized. Which is fortunate since WEST was also happening last weekend and I wanted to revisit one stop from last year’s visit.

    We stopped by Fireseed Studio on Thornton Road to take a look at pottery since I loved the artists there and wanted to pick up a couple more planters.

    Rick Van Dyke | pottery and succulents

    Rick makes gorgeous succulent planters with a life of their own, and if you don’t trust yourself to properly set up a succulent planter you can even buy one already set up. I love hearing about his process for getting the amazing textures he creates (for more about that, see my post from last year). He also readily offers advice to succulent newbies on caring for succulents, which I very much appreciate.

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    Kathy Harris | pottery

    Kathy makes beautiful pottery. I especially loved her line of turquoise blue bowls and mugs with a gorgeous layering of dripping glazes down the outside that also delicately drip down the top edges to meet the inside’s creamy white glaze.

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