Searching for Inspiration at the Bloomin' Artfest

Artists talk about their work and the many places they find their muses.

Inspiration is all around us, whether it’s on the street we walk down every day, or a place that is thousands of miles away. It can be anything that stirs emotion and prompts us to create something new.

The 2011  brought dozens of artists and musicians from the area to  Saturday and Sunday. They gathered to celebrate spring and share their work with the community.

Guests were treated not only to perfect weather Saturday afternoon, but also dozens of vendors offering handmade crafts of all kinds. From jewelry and fashion accessories to paintings, photographs and pottery, there was something for every kind of art lover.

Where artists find inspiration is an important aspect of their work, and artists at this year’s festival each had their own individual source.

Lauren Stabile, and international studies student at Towson University and Franklin High alumnus, has been working with the nonprofit organization Students Helping Honduras. After traveling there last January to help construct an orphanage, she decided she wanted to keep helping.

“It was deplorable—the conditions there were terrible,” she said.

Other volunteers continue to help construct the new orphanage, and Stabile and a small group of students plan to return this summer. To raise money for the trip, Stabile decided to sell her own handmade jewelry.

Her necklaces are made of dominos with screen print stamps glazed on one side. She said the idea was simple, but her inspiration comes from a deep concern for the well-being of those less fortunate than herself.

“I want to give the people of Honduras opportunities that they don’t have right now,” she said. “I want to help them live in a place where they can feel safe.”

Alan Fink and several of his students from Fink’s School of Traditional Art were on hand at the festival. They were enjoying the nice weather, painting and chatting with passersby.

Fink said he thought the Reisterstown community in general is very supportive of artists, and this festival is a testament to that support.

“This is a good community for artists. It’s historic and there are a lot of great artists here,” he said.

As far as inspiration goes, he finds the area has more than enough to offer, especially on such a beautiful day.

“We have the ocean a few hours away, we have the mountains a few hours away,” he said. “There’s no lack of inspiration here, for landscapes or types of people. We have it all here.”

Bobbi Ruben, one of Fink’s students who worked on her latest soft pastel at the festival, finds painting incredibly rewarding, even though she’s not a professional.

“It’s a way for me to escape, you know?” she said “After a tough day, I can just come here [art class] and just get happy.”

Ruben was pleased with the turnout for this year’s event. She said the festival always draws a great group of people together from throughout the community.

“It’s wonderful—everybody comes out, neighbors and friends. It’s just a great atmosphere and it’s such a beautiful day.”

It was hard to miss Ron Birgerman's paint-splashed pottery, and he took a few minutes to explain his methods and where he finds his inspiration.

After teaching art at Pinewood Elementary in Timonium for 37 years, Birgman said he was finally able to become a full-time artist. His unique pottery collection features every color of the rainbow either as a base coat or splashed on in an edgy '50s vintage meets '80s punk-rock feel. The effect is created by using a very soft bamboo brush and simply splashing each piece with a variety of colors, he said.

He finds inspiration for his work all around him.

“It’s the world around us, all the colors of the flowers and just the beauty from all of that around us every day,” he said.  “Clay really comes from the earth, so that’s really where I find a lot of my inspiration—nature.”

Angela Miles said she came out for the festival mostly for her daughter, Arianna. Miles said her 6-year-old daughter has been an avid painter for as long as she can remember. She said she thought it would be good for her daughter to see other artists applying their trade.

“I’m glad they take the time to hold this every year,” she said. “I think it’s important for her [Arianna] to see that there are other people that are just as into art as she is.”

Check out our photo gallery from the festival .

kathleen May 22, 2011 at 03:34 PM
Thanks for reminding us about this- totally forgot- on my way up there now
RON BRIGERMAN May 22, 2011 at 09:11 PM


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