— Each year, Easton Middle School is transformed into a magical workshop for both experienced and budding artists. The school, on Peachblossom Road, is home to both the Artisans Gifts and Workshop and the children’s craft activities area during Waterfowl Festival weekend.
Patrons are invited to observe artists honing their craft, and creating new and original pieces for sale, on site at the exhibit. Artisans of all styles, from painters and sculptors to jewelers and furniture craftsmen, are part of the Workshop exhibit. This year, about 35 artists were on hand displaying their works.
“I love this location,” said Jocelyn Beatty, a watercolor and acrylic painter who has been exhibiting at the Waterfowl Festival for the past 10 years. “I get to paint, and everyone gets to see what I’m doing. And they come back because they want to see how it’s going to turn out.”
Beatty, from West Middlesex, Pa., has been attending the Festival for almost 20 years and has exhibited in other Festival gallery locations, as well. The self-taught artist was the first woman to win the Federal Duck Stamp in 2003, and her work was chosen again for 2014. And even she admits she’s never sure how a painting is going to turn out.
“It’s always a good feeling to put the pieces together,” she said. “Even though I have an idea in my head, it’s a lot of fun seeing what it’s going to turn out like.”
Seasoned veterans return to the Artisans Workshop year after year to show off their finished pieces and craft original work on site for patrons.
“Thirty-six years ago, I was in this same spot,” said Rosalyn Leach Daisey of Newark, N.J.
Daisey, who is a carver and creates whimsical statues of wildlife like birds and mice, has been exhibiting in the Artisans Workshop since 1981.
The atmosphere not only brings back the artists, it also brings back the patrons. “All of the artists are wonderful,” said Linda Sturtevant of New Britain, Conn., who was returning to the Festival for the fourth time to attend the weekend’s events, including the raptor demonstrations, retriever demonstrations and downtown art galleries.
The Workshop also serves to inspire new artists, like Stephen Melady of Clayton, Del. Attending the Festival for the first time with girlfriend Gloria D’Anzi, Melady said he was interested in possibly exhibiting his solid wood birdhouses in the future.
New to the Artisans Workshop this year was Edible Birdhouses, represented by Salisbury natives Krissie Houseal and Tara O’Barsky. Their ecologically friendly, reusable birdhouses and edible wreaths capture the spirit of the new creative projects that take root in the Workshop exhibit.
Budding artists are invited to tr y their hands at painting and carving at the children’s craft activities, also held at the Easton Middle School.
Art classes for the youngest Festival-goers were held throughout the weekend, including fun and simple instruction on soap carving, decoy carving and painting decoy magnets. Kids were provided all the materials to create original artwork.
New this year, children also were treated to a minihay maze in front of the school, perfect for energetic little ones and toddlers.
Joan and Russ Orme return to the 47th annual Waterfowl Festival. Joan is a local professional photographer, and Russ creates original pen and ink drawings on wood.
Tara O’Barsky and Krissie Houseal of Salisbury display their edible birdhouses at the Artisans Gifts and Workshop exhibit. This is their first year at Waterfowl Festival.
Two-year-old Cora enjoys the mini hay maze in front of Easton Middle School, new to this year’s Waterfowl Festival weekend.
Jocelyn Beatty of West Middlesex, Pa., was the first woman to win the Federal Duck Stamp competition. This is her 10th year exhibiting at Waterfowl Festival, seen here painting in watercolor at the Artisans Gifts and Workshop exhibit.