Edom Festival Features Original Arts



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October 15 and 16 in downtown Edom is the place to be for art lovers. The juried art show includes exceptional handmade, original art and crafts including painting, pottery, jewelry, sculpture, weaving, clothing and blown glass. Live music takes place on two stages both days. Shown here is artist Mark Clark with one of his "meloddities." The festival also has great food and a kids’ activity area and dogs are welcome on a leash. For more information visit edomfestivalofthearts.com. Courtesy photo.

For more than 40 years, the small art community of Edom in East Texas has hosted a festival for working artists. The festival has grown throughout the years to become the premier art show in East Texas, twice named the area’s Best Special Event by County Line readers. High quality art, fine crafts, live music and great food fill the festival grounds behind the resident artists’ studios on the one main street in town, Farm to Market Road 279.  Hours for the festival are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, October 15 and Sunday, October 16. Admission is free.

This juried show is well known for having exceptional handmade original art and crafts. There is a wide variety of creative works such as painting, pottery, jewelry, sculpture, weaving, clothing & blown glass. Visitors express surprise at finding such outstanding art in the middle of a meadow located in the center of this tiny hamlet. Live music on two stages during the show add to the festivities.

A sample of featured artists

John Tracy II

Mainly self-taught, John Tracy was 18 years old when he sold his first painting. He later went on to college at Southwestern Oklahoma State University where he earned a degree in commercial art. For a number of years he worked as sign painter and pinstriper. He began his professional work as an artist in 1970 when he and his wife Mickey established Tracy's Studio of Fine Art in Mountain View, Oklahoma.

His artwork consists of variations of Southwestern landscapes, wildlife scenes, wildflowers, and contemporary paintings. He has worked in watercolors, oils, mixed media and etchings, making him one of the better known artists in the southwest region.

He has received the top award at the Rough Rider International Art Show held in Williston, N.D., has been featured on TV and claims country singer Randy Travis as one of his clients.

The use of color and realism is what sets John's art apart. He says he loves color and isn't afraid to use it, which is evident from the pulsing colors in many of his paintings.

Mark Clark
Mark Clark’s “meloddities” combine elements of depression-era tramp or folk art with the love of playing music. These are one-of-a-kind functional, playable art pieces using reclaimed, re-purposed “found” objects so they become impossible to mass produce or replicate. Many of the pieces incorporate used cigar boxes and antique violin cases along with hand-tooled or hand-carved wood such as oak, walnut, maple and jatoba. Clark began playing a $5 Sears Silvertone guitar at age 7 after a brief encounter with The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show. Later, a love of antique restoration, wood working, garage sales and dumpster diving produced other trashed treasures such as furniture, wall art, and various sculptures.

Also a writer and photographer, Clark received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism and Graphic Arts from East Texas State University in 1980. After being in awe of a fellow artist/musician friend who began building his own instruments, Mark came across a cigar box at a garage sale. From that one dollar purchase, he began designing, building and playing his own creations.

Clark’s manifesto is simple. “Though I want my pieces to be visually compelling and unique, each instrument has to sound good and be relatively easy to play. I won’t make something that looks cool but doesn’t produce good sound or is difficult to play. They are musical instruments. You have to play them, not just hang them on the wall.”

Many early players and makers of homemade instruments were musically illiterate with no training or knowledge of music theory, but a knack for innovation, craftsmanship and the ability to play by ear. Lack of formal exposure to music actually enhanced the creativity and unique style of the instruments and their sound. Since makers/players didn’t know the rules, there were no set rules. A single-string “diddly bo” can translate the blues as effectively as a six-string guitar-type. There are literally dozens of tunings and playing styles. These are usually played finger style like a guitar, or with a slide made from an empty whiskey bottle or spark plug socket.

Clark makes his own slides, straps and accessories. He also builds a line of amplifiers made from old clocks, radios and drive-in movie speakers.

Arthur Sekula
Sekula uses watercolors to create beautiful, naturalistic paintings about nature and humanity. His approach to painting is to present a representational style that emulates calm, solitude, and strength. He is compelled to create artwork that can be actual or imaginary

Sekula was born in San Antonio. He attended San Antonio College to study advertising design but shifted to receive his undergraduate degree in art from Stephen F. Austin State University where he earned a BFA and All-Level teaching certification. He has been teaching art for the past 34 years, 19 of those years in public school.  He paints in his home studio in Jacksonville. Along with teaching he enjoys participating in various exhibits and group shows across the country.

Jennifer Morales
Morales is a textile artist inspired all her life by minimalism. Modern home architecture, sleek automobile designs, jewelry, and paintings, especially the ones with simple uncluttered lines, and patterns always spoke to her. When she started making things, she tried to connect to those influences in her own work.

While attending the University of North Texas, she took classes in metal smithing and partnered with her husband in a jewelry business, selling jewelry made from sterling silver, brass, copper, gold and semiprecious stones.

At the Edom Art Festival, Morales will show her most recent fabric compositions: one-of-a-kind throw pillows, eyeglass cases, and many other utilitarian items. These items were born from a project involving her father-in-law’s necktie collection. Once she started working with these vintage silks she realized the ideas she had for family gifts was just a starting point. Learning more about silks, she discovered vintage Meisen textiles used in Japanese kimonos from the 1920’s -1960’s. Meisen silks are known for their use of contemporary modern design motifs. She uses a piecing technique with Kona cotton and Shot cotton as accent fabrics to frame the silks.

Morales explains, “Working with my hands makes me whole. As I create new things from pieces that someone else made before me, I feel like I’m helping to preserve and honor the work that went into that original creation but in a new and repurposed way that maintains the original beauty in a new form through my vision.”

During the last 15 years, she put her design energies into the complete renovation and restoration of historic midcentury modern homes in Denton, Texas. The demands of fitting functional design as well as aesthetic considerations together was a new challenge that brought her a lot of knowledge as well as satisfaction.

Family fun
In addition to fabulous art and music guests enjoy great food including traditional fair food, Cajun gumbo, hand-cranked ice cream and sorbet, roasted corn and homemade root beer. 

Start a new tradition for the family by attending the Edom Art Festival. Bring the kids to play in the children’s activity and art area and dogs on a leash.  Help support  American artists at the Edom Art Festival.

Edom is located halfway between Dallas and Shreveport, 15 miles west of Tyler. Visit their website for a detailed schedule of events and a map, www.EdomFestivaloftheArts.com.

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