Sarah Nour: A Reflection of the Unglued Craft Fest at Plains Art Museum

In addition to the usual food, drink, art, apparel, and jewelry vendors, this year’s Unglued Crafts Fest on Saturday, February 24 at Plains Art Museum had some more uniquely-tailored attractions, and even a scavenger hunt for patrons who wished to win a prize. Lists of scavenger items were provided at the entrance, and included tasks such as retrieving stickers, finding items of a particular color, and writing down a favorite flavor from one of the food vendors.

In the presentation room on the first floor, a few creative children participated in the Young Makers’ Market, courtesy of the Creative Plains Foundation. The products sold were mostly creative items, such as hand-sewn elephants, holiday wreaths made out of rags, homemade playdough, hand-painted magnets, and teapot terrariums. More practical items included bath salts and Lucky Ducky soap, which came with rubber ducks embedded on top.

Also on the first floor was a watercolor “vending machine,” set up and managed by painter Nichole Gagner. Anyone wanting to take home some custom artwork had to choose a canvas size and a one-word prompt. Then they got to watch as Gagner painted something just for them, using the prompt as inspiration.

In the art lounge on the second floor, local artist Nichole Rae held a “make and take” project workshop for all ages. Participants made “I Am” affirmation cards by gluing words to blank cards to create positive, reassuring phrases. The cards were then decorated with paint, ink, or markers. This activity was meant to inspire creativity and to generate visual reminders of positive self-image.

On the third floor was the Mini Market, a smaller-scale version of the Red River Market. H&J Kitchen offered chia balls in unique flavors, such as PB&J, cherry almond, and mango coconut. Vegetables from Solberg Farms were available for purchase, as well as honey from Three Bears Honey Co. and craft tonic and soda from Flannel Fizz.

Wood products had a major presence at the fest—so much so that one of the scavenger hunt tasks was “Find a vendor who makes a wood product.” Longshadow Woodworks sold handmade kitchen and home accessories, including serving trays, cutting boards, coasters, mouse pads, toothpick holders, and spaghetti measures. Greenbush Woods offered children’s toys made out of wood, such as cars, trains, and miniature kitchen sets, all made by Dale Rousseau.

Painter Lauren Strom, who uses pieces of wood instead of the traditional canvas, sold her paintings from her self-managed shop, Artifacts of Joy. String artist Ashley Rieck sold unique images made with string wound around nails on wooden boards. These images included the Bison logo, a map view of North Dakota, and a beer bottle filled with a colorful assortment of bottle caps.

Sarah Nour is a content contributor to The Arts Partnership that writes reflections on Partner events in the community. All photos are courtesy of Sarah Nour.

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