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Boardwalk Craft Market Features Traditional Artists

Meet local artists who showcase work as blacksmiths, painters, glassmakers, photographers and woodworkers.

There is one month left before the closes its first season of the year. 

“We’ve had the February and March shows now and they were just good, if not better, when we started out last year,” Founder Valerie Ann Bailey said.

Local artists have been gathering at the event in every Saturday since February, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. From blacksmiths and painters to woodworkers, artists who work in traditional arts and crafts showcase their work and interact with visitors. 

Artists who participate in the market are juried on standards of craftsmanship and creativity.

“Some of our highlights are when we’re able to have artists demonstrating. There’s always interest in how people make their work,” Bailey said.

One artist is soapmaker Diane McNelly, who has been a vendor for a year as owner of Sassy Suds.

“I don’t use any animal oil—I use all vegetable oils to make all my soaps,” McNelly said. “That’s combined with an alkaline solution and a chemical reaction turns it into soap. I customize by different sands and colors. (My style) is rustic, there’s no definite shape to them. Every bar is individual.”

Ann Mitchell is a glassblower who specializes in offhand glassblowing. She has been involved in the event for 11 years.

“I tend to lean towards a lot of the images from the ocean—waves, turtles, seashells,” Mitchell said. “I think I really have a good color sense. It’s a very intriguing art form. You work with hot, melted glass. It cools up (and) it stiffens up.”

Painter Janet Leo has been involved for 10 years. She works in oils and mixed media collage, in addition to designing jewelry.

“I’ve been doing fine art for about 45 years,” Leo said. “For oil painting, as opposed to a brush, I use a palette knife to (make) work that is impressionistic. My collage and mixed media art is on the whimsical side—very colorful, everything is bright and happy.”

Leo’s husband, photographer Don Leo, has been involved for three years.

Additional crafters include those who work with metal, clay, stone, fibers, paints, photography, textile and fabrics.

Bailey—a Poway native and silversmith— has been involved in the event since its inception in 1993.

“Over the years, we’ve had hundreds and hundreds of participants,” Bailey said. “Every year has been bigger. We have different artists each year.”

She said the event remains popular.

“We still have good attendance in spite of the economy and we still have a lot of people who like to make things,” Bailey said. “It looks like I don’t know if we’re ready for another 20 years, but we’re going to keep going for a long time.”

The weekly event ends on May 5 and will resume in June, when the event will expand to the first and third Saturdays of the month. Its third season will feature weekly events from September to December.

For more event information, call 858-486-3497.

• There will be a Bluegrass and Old Time Jam near the Poway Craft Fair in Old Poway Park at 9 a.m., Saturday April 7.

• There will be a PFC Bluegrass Jam at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, April 9 at Round Table Pizza.

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