Any given Wednesday you’ll find me at the Farmers Market at Marco Island’s Veterans Park. While I do love to amble among the stalls, absorbing the aromas, colors and textures of fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices, and skillfully prepared delicacies, it’s not always about the edibles.
The most delightful group of artists and artisans also bring their talents each week. High quality work handcrafted locally by knowledgeable folks who are ever so pleased to spend time with you in the easy-going ambience of Market Day. So grab your reusable shopping bag, and follow me…
Beth Brown-Rinella is a charming and soulful woman who, alongside her own semi-precious stone jewelry creations,sells colorful elephant grass baskets with sturdy goatskin handles handcrafted in a women’s cooperative in Ghana, West Africa at Fair Trade prices. visit goddessiam.net.
Further up meet Katherine French of Katherine’s Bead Designs. Beautiful lampwork glass beads and jewelry in designs ranging from elegant to whimsical and each one is completely original. Katherine loves the Marco Farmers Market, “It’s a beautiful location, has great management, and I get to meet friendly people from all over the world.” 239.353.1638.
Now come the Grab-A-Bag ladies who seem to be having more fun than just about anyone else at the Market – a lot of laughter comes from their tent and everyone leaves smiling. MarciaO’Neill and Karen Marcotte have been friends for many years forming the foundation for their terrific partnership. Distinctive fabrics are stitched to last as beach bags, sassy bags, and bags to match that one special outfit. “We put our heart into every bag, “ said Karen, as Marcia was diligently attaching the tiny silver heart that goes inside each bag. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keep moving, because next is the delightful and insightful Tiffany Graefenstein who offers energy-healing jewelry and crystals under the name Earth’s Aura. Garnet, Camelian, Citrine, Peridot, Lapis Laxuli, Amethyst, and Quartz are worked into exquisite designs and offer relief to their related chakras. She’ll explain. www.earthsaura.com.
Around the bend isaward-winning potter Annabelle Johnson. It’s appropriate that Annabelle works with clay – I find her to be the salt of the earth and a delight to talk to. She has her own studio (one of the famed Shirley St. 16!) with the North Naples Art Alliance, does all the nationally-ranked art festivals in the area, and still loves coming to the Market on Marco. “People here are genuinely interested in handmade fine crafts and I appreciate that – and the relaxed atmosphere is just a pleasure.” Check out clayland.com and find out about “Underground Art Wednesday” held the 1st Wednesday each month at the North Naples Art Alliance.
The powerful photographsof Barry Howe come next. Barry, too, feels appreciated by Marco Islanders and visitors alike. He must, you can find him at just about every show on the Island: at the Y, local churches, Veterans Park, pretty much anywhere you see white tents. I especially enjoy Barry’s aerial photographs of our area; taken over a span of decades they really highlight the changes our Island has gone through. www.barryhowe.com
By the way, Barry’s booth is next to his wife’s, well-known clay artist and instructor Sandy Moore Howe. Dedicated readers will know my last column was on Sandy and her fantastic life and work. Introduce yourselves.
I know you’re getting tired, but wecannot leave without visiting stained-glass artist Jo-Anne Tentshert. Jo-Anne is a 6/6 resident of Naples and Shark River Hills, NJ. When asked her thoughts on the Market her answer came quick, “It’s such a good time, it’s like a day off!” It’s her smaller pieces that sparkle in the sunny breeze at Market, but Jo-Anne also creates full-size windows in her studio. 732.502.8889.
Okay, now I’m tired.
Tara O’Neill, a lifelong artist, has been an area resident since 1967. She holds Bachelors Degrees in both Fine Arts and English from the University of South Florida. She has a studio-gallery at the Artist Colony at the Esplanade on Marco Island and can be contacted through her web site www.taraogallery.com.