We had a lovely and very inspiring day at the Austin Fine Arts Festival today, followed by an afternoon at the Blanton (included with price of admission to the festival as was admission to the Austin Museum of Art, but there are only so many hours in a day).

We walked away from the festival with at least 8,000 dollars worth of mental purchases (no material ones alas) and lots of inspiration.  It’s hard to touch on all the highlights, but there was some wonderful metal sculpture (and I’m not usually into that kind of thing) and some very interesting jewelry, mostly silver, and some fabulous glass bangles www.toddmartinglass.com, but also a woman who constructed her jewelry out of masses of beautiful seed bead coral-like strands in rainbow tones.  A bit much for me, but I would love to try and make a single strand for earing’s.  I’m sorry now I didn’t note her name, so her ingenuity will have to remain anonymous for the time being.

There was a photographer with beautiful photographic prints on canvas of San Miguel, that made us nostalgic for home.  Not much in the way of fiber arts but I loved the hand carved brooms by Little John.  You can see them here: http://www.moonwiseherbs.com/handmadebrooms.htm,  but the pictures don’t do them justice. Wizened men are carved into the top of the handles–found branches with wonderful natural twists and curves and knobs.  The bristles themselves are woven or stranded with yarn or wire; some subtly dyed, some left wild and bushy.

I think my favorite though, were the sculptures by Armando Lopez.  ("Magic Angel" shown below, we didn’t see this piece at the show, you can see others at: Armandolopezjpg http://www.armandolopez.com/sculpture_gallery.htm)

Each piece looks like the illustration to a wonderful story, so it doesn’t surprise me that it was a childhood story that helped inspire his work.  You can read his full Bio on the website so i won’t go on and on, but it really was wonderful to see these in person and marvel at the interplay between humble materials such as corn husks and onion skins subtly adorned with gold leaf and precious or semi-precious stones.