Hundreds of booths lined the Memorial Art Gallery for the Clothesline Festival, in which local artists from the Rochester community presented their projects on Sunday, Sept. 9. The crafts spanned from leather, metal, and glass, to photography, mixed media, painting, and digital art.

“Art should be able to transform the room it decorates, and what better way to do that than a door?”

I couldn’t agree more with the creators of Fairy Doors, which had one booth. Fairy Doors is a mixed media company that makes fairy and pixie doors spanning many themes, patterns, and colors. These creative little treasures can open and close and fit in almost any garden or room in your home.

Not only was the art unique and quirky, but  found the artists and attendees kind and open. I was surrounded by families, fellow students of the University, other couples, groups of people also spending a Sunday morning enjoying the surprising fall weather.

Neighbor ran into neighbor, friends caught up, children would run and play, and festival-goers would ask questions about the art and its creators. Everyone was more than willing to share their inspirations, past festival experiences, and their enthusiasm in presenting art.

A couple of jewelry booths caught my attention. The first was Jean’s Jewels Crystal Boutique, owned by a local woman whose family owns a mine in Herkimer, near the Adirondacks. Each piece of jewelry she makes has a piece of crystal she picked herself. She told me how Mother Nature is able to make the crystal have two points and 18 faces naturally. It’s a beautiful thing to be able to simply pick a crystal and make something others can enjoy.

The second booth was called Vintage Soul. Ever piece there looked as if it was meticulously made to resemble vintage or refurbished objects. It reminded me of steampunk, the Victorian Era, and all things elegant and old. The most eye-catching piece of the entire festival was from Vintage Soul’s creator: a mannequin wearing a dress made of a vintage corset, sheet music, and a broken-up violin. All I wanted was to be able to wear it.

One booth I visited was set up to be a true art gallery and some of the artist’s pieces involved what resembled quartz crystals and masquerade masks. Another was filled with hanging, succulent plants inside handmade and painted pots.

I also passed a booth with metal sculptures of a man engaged in  different activities and occupations. In one, called OB Delivery, a metal figure was giving birth to a metal blob into another metal figure’s hands. Yet another booth took my breath away with photos on canvas resembling paintings from far away.

The last booth I ran into was called Crackpots and Crockery, which featured intricate-looking medieval pottery from an incredibly cheery woman with rainbow hair. One mug resembled a Viking helmet, and another like the metal helmet of a knight’s armor. I fell in love with a mug that resembles a barrel, and when I asked how long it took her to make, she replied that the decoration is what takes the most work. But the product makes her fall in love with it all over again.

My entire life, I have prized the individual creativity of the mind, and the beauty that can come from much smaller businesses. To be an active part in valuing another person’s art, to me, is the greatest way someone in my generation can keep art alive.

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