26th Annual Fine Arts and Craft Show Returns to Verona Park
Rose Squared provides the ideal venue for artists to showcase their work in beautiful weather.
Rose Squared Productions returned to Verona Park last weekend, marking their 26th Annual Fine Art and Craft show, where more than 140 artists and vendors were able to showcase and sell some of their work.
The show, co-sponsored by the Essex County Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs, featured diverse works including jewelry, pottery, clothing, glass, wood, fibers, toys, leather, folk art, metal, photography, furniture and other fine art.
With the beautiful weather over the weekend, between 5,000 and 7,000 attended each of the two day shows, said Janet Rose, president of Rose Squared Productions, Inc.
“It's a chance for the public to meet exhibitors, artists and craftsman and understand what goes into the process,” said Howard Rose, vice president of the Company. “It means more when you have a photograph at home and you know the photographer, more than buying something at the mall or over the internet.”
Gaye Olin and Arlene Silikovitz of West Orange, two dedicated Rose Squared fans, have been to every arts and craft show for the past 26 years. They particularly enjoy the homemade jams and jellies found at the Gypsy Wind.
“We've been to other fairs, too, but these are the best,” said Olin. “They are the best because they are outdoors, admission is free, Janet and Howard do a great job of organizing things, the exhibitors are great and we like seeing the new vendors.”
Peg Miller, owner of Peg's Jewels started her business in 1978 and during those 34 years, she has worked with Rose Squared for more than 25 years.
“They are fabulous promotors and the one thing that I know about them is that no matter what happens to us weather-wise, the artists are going to be taken care of,” she said.
Miller crafts her jewelry using fiber techniques in metal and hand-weaves all of her silver and gold. When she completes the weaving, she then designs the jewelry from the weave, mixing two different mediums together and creating unique pieces of jewelry. Prices range from $45 to about $1,500 depending on the metal and the work.
“It also depends on if I cut myself,” she added. “If I bleed, it costs more.”
The arts and crafts show also featured some new vendors making a big splash and catching a lot of eyes. Shannon Macklin of Macklin's Sculpture came from Flagstaff, Ariz. to showcase and sell his copper and driftwood fountains. Macklin went to college to work with diesel machines while taking welding classes and decided he liked the welding more than he liked the machine work, so he began making sculptures. He has been sculpting full time since 1979.
Macklin takes root systems and sandblasts them to bring out the features in the wood. The tubing is made out of copper because the water picks up the copper sulfate which kills all algae, mosquitos and anything else growing in the fountain without the use of any chemicals, he said.
Some of the smaller fountains take about a day to complete and cost around $250 while his largest fountain, standing at about 8½-feet tall takes him between five and seven days to complete and costs $4,500.
“There are never any two root systems that are alike,” he said. “When I see a really nice piece of wood, there are endless possibilities.”
Whether looking for fine art or enjoying some of the treats, toys or snacks, the arts and crafts show was suitable for the whole family. Julie and Paul Cusumano of Verona have come to every show since 2003 and now enjoy bringing along their daughters Olivia, 5 and Abby, 1.
“The first thing we look for is the face painting for my daughter,” said Julie. “We like to buy artwork for the house and we love all of the photography. The girls love the American Girl dolls and dresses, so they are very excited to see that.”
Eugene Perry, a sculptor from Philadelphia was enjoying his first time showing off his work at Verona Park. Perry, who previously worked as a welder building cell phone towers, began sculpting in his free time and now works full time as a sculptor and owns his own studio.
“Its hard to sell art because its not a necessity,” he said. “But I like the venue whether people are buying or not. Its a great time to enjoy the weather, show your work and receive compliments and critiques, which as an artist, are very helpful.”