When it comes to arts and crafts, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival is a treasure trove of unique finds. An unassuming shopper may stumble upon stylish objects made for cooking, wearing or simply admiring. While some crafters exhibit both weekends, most are at the Fair Grounds one weekend or the other. Here are a few highlights of the second weekend.
Chris Fry – Spoon Mill
Contemporary Crafts – Second Weekend – Tent J
“I love to eat,” said Chris Fry, the owner of Spoon Mill. His passion for food and design inspired his collection of handcrafted cooking utensils, transforming ordinary kitchenware into art.
“A bent handle or an offset head adds to the artistic appeal of my spoons, but hidden in that artful or quirky look is a more ergonomic approach to the process,” he said.
Fry utilizes a variety of woods — from cherry and maple, to African ebony and pink ivory — and produces utensils that will last a lifetime. Though a few customers claim that his kitchenware is “too pretty to use,” others consider them a necessity for creating a successful feast.
“My intent is to make the most appealing tool — in terms of eye, touch, and function — so that it elevates the cooking process to a personal experience that will be looked forward to as often as possible,” Fry said. “Keep the cook happy and the cook keeps cooking.”
Fry has previously appeared in the Louisiana Marketplace section, but will now be in the Contemporary Crafts area. “It will be exciting to ‘do dah fess’ from a different perspective,” he said. “You’ve got to work hard to have a bad day during Jazz Fest, no matter why you’re there.”
Pat Juneau – Juneau Metalworks
Louisiana Marketplace – Second Weekend – Tent F
Pat Juneau and his wife, Suzanne, have created whimsical pieces of metal artwork since the mid 1970s and made their Jazz Fest debut in 1975. During this time, they designed jewelry and small sculptures, from a variety of metals. Juneau later began constructing steel sculptures, such as colorful wall hangings and furniture.
“I was adamant about not copying other peoples’ techniques,” Juneau said. So he focused on inventing and developing new methods for building a sculpture.
Today, Juneau works with his wife and his son — the “engineer” who has introduced a new level a technical expertise to the family business. Juneau usually displays his collection at the San Souci Fine Crafts Gallery in Lafayette. At Jazz Fest, he will present metal pieces that represent south Louisiana.
Gogo Borgerding – Gogo Borgerding Jewelry
Contemporary Crafts – Second Weekend – Tent I
Celebrating her ninth year as a Jazz Fest vendor, jewelry-maker Gogo Borgerding noted that her colorful aluminum arm cuffs remain a crowd favorite. In addition to these shiny accessories, she will showcase, for the first time, a new series of necklaces called Nouveau Leaves. These pieces, created in the Art Nouveau style, contain sterling silver and anodized aluminum leaves.
The artist, who received a degree in metals and jewelry design from the Savannah College of Art and Design, makes each piece of jewelry in her studio on Magazine Street. Each item consists of sterling silver and anodized aluminum, with the exception of her nickel belt buckles.
While establishing her career, Borgerding worked two jobs by day, made jewelry by night, and sold the jewelry in stores throughout New Orleans. She garnered exposure during her Jazz Fest debut and “things got a rolling.” Her fan base continues to grow.
Heather Macfarlane and Mark Kirk – UP/Unique Products
Louisiana Marketplace – Second Weekend – Tent F
Unique Products, a creative collaboration between the husband and wife team of Mark Kirk and Heather Macfarlane, transforms recycled products into home décor. Since opening their Lower Garden District shop in 1999, they have produced such innovative items as chandeliers made from vintage decanters, fused glass jewelry and doormats with a fun New Orleans flair.
At Jazz Fest, they will feature quirky home goods made from melted Mardi Gras beads. The process of molding the beads is similar to working with fused glass, in a system of large ovens and kilns. The kaleidoscopic collection includes an eight-foot alligator, made from more than 40 pounds of beads.
Talk about an ingenious answer to the perennial question, “What am I supposed to do with all of these beads?”
Mark and Brenda Rosenbaum – Rosetree Glass Studio
Contemporary Crafts – Second Weekend – Tent G
Artist Mark Rosenbaum makes multicolored blown glass objects, layered with murrine. His imagery is inspired by the music and culture of New Orleans. A Jazz Fest participant since 1982, the artist will feature three new series of larger work, along with a few older favorites.
Rosenbaum began blowing glass in 1978 at The Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia, where he earned a bachelor of Fine Arts degree, and later received a master of Fine Arts degree from Tulane. After he was awarded with a grant from the Louisiana Division of the Arts, Rosenbaum established the first privately owned glassblowing studio in Louisiana. His wife, Brenda, manages the gallery and handles the office work. Together, the couple revamped an old movie theater on Vallette Street into the Rosetree Gallery.
“Life in the studio is sometimes a vacuum, and Jazz Fest gives me a lot of exposure,” Rosenbaum said. “I am able to gauge the success of my work by the reactions that I get from my customers.”
Kiki Huston – Kiki Huston Jewelry Designs
Louisiana Marketplace – Second Weekend – Tent E
“I want people to wear and truly enjoy my jewelry,” Kiki Huston said. “I find nothing more gratifying than knowing that my customers are happy.”
Huston’s high-quality work is handcrafted from sterling silver. One of her favorite pieces is a necklace whose design is based on the shape of a leaf hanging from the water oak in her backyard. Another one of her silver treasures is reminiscent of the seedpods from a Chinese lantern tree, which stands in her neighborhood. Huston features this design in earrings and in clusters on lariat-style necklaces. During Jazz Fest, she will also offer an assortment of enamel pieces.
A self-taught artist, Huston has always adored the look and feel of metal. She mastered her craft through trial and error, along with a few workshops along the way. For inspiration, she draws upon her life in New Orleans — from the ironwork of the French Quarter and the majestic oak trees along St. Charles Avenue, to religious and cultural traditions.