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A Brilliant Day at West Portal Arts Fair

April 8, 2011

It’s wonderful weather for a fair. The sun’s out, the wind died down, and it’s cool. Which is lucky, because West Portal’s annual Arts and Crafts festival is on this weekend. It started today, and I went to have a look.

Many of the wonderful stalls that were there last year are back. It’s a mix of art, jewelry, clothes, and things like handmade wooden toys and elaborate artistic wood-inlay. Prices ranged from maybe $3 (notecards) to $3500 (an elaborate marquetry mirror). A Navajo Zapotec weaver was working on a rug, his loom set up next to an artistic display in bright colors as well as muted ones.

I stopped to talk with some of the artists. That’s always interesting; they’re so into their work, and willing to explain their artistic vision. One jeweler talked about texture and using unusual materials. She had a necklace of baroque pearls that looked like jasmine buds on a string.

A few people were out and browsing. I overheard one young woman discussing the spiritual significance of lapis lazuli with a jewelry artist. A little boy in a stroller spotted the wooden toys. “Stop, I want to look!” he said. Unfortunately, his mom was in a hurry. He gave the toys a regretful glance as they went by.

Here are a selection of photographs:

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