It’s not every day that you see a line-up of vintage motorcycles AND tents filled with fine art at Knoxville’s Museum of Art. But there they were. Together. Art on the lower level. Cycles upstairs and on the street. With patrons mingling, looking, and commenting on the fun of having both at KMA on a crisp fall September day, gathered for Art Fair KMA.
If first impressions count for anything, we were blown away by our first two greeters — Modern Art (Alicia) and Impressionism (Hannah) — who directed us to the lower floor and the outside gardens where members of Foothills Craft Guild and other area artists shared their finest.
First stop: A visit with Sandy and Kelly (art teacher at Sterchi Elementary) manning the tables where “Plates with a Purpose” (hand-painted by area art students) were ready for purchase. All proceeds go to the museum, said Sandy, and the plates are sooo cute! (Couldn’t argue with that.)
We moved through the crowd, examining the wares and watching artists ply their crafts. Like Harriet Schneider of Loudon, TN who makes interesting lamps from gourds. Yes, gourds!
Lisa Kurtz, whose pottery we always admire, said she had personally called many of these artists and invited them to set up at the show — mainly because they were known for quality work. (She was right!)
Bob Ballard stayed busy weaving baskets of rattan. These classic workhorse carriers have an appeal all their own — utilitarian yet artsy, too.
Bobby Crews posed with one of her signature paintings of cars. Crews is known for capturing familiar styles, details, and reflections in her colorful renditions of favorite autos.
Pat Clapsaddle (Facebook – Pat Clapsaddle Pottery) was busy painting a tray with colors that looked pale. But, according to what Pat told us and what we saw in her finished pieces, those pale colors would come to life after firing. A new line of mugs sported birds, butterflies, and interesting faces, but, in the end, I chose one with colorful fruit to hold my morning coffee.
Lynn Hash tried to describe how needle felting works, but I just sorta stood there awed by this piece. Not only is it stunningly colorful — it’s also a bit translucent and was absolutely aglow in her garden booth.
Also set up in the garden, Cindy Marshall seemed to enjoy the tedium (Well, it looked tedious to us.) of stringing the tiniest of beads onto thread and then fashioning the strands into jewelry. From earrings to bracelets to pendants, Cindy’s beadwork took center stage as people gathered round just to watch her at work.
For fanciful pottery, we turned to the booth of Shauna Stevens (facebook.com/shaunaPottery). Solid colored mugs each bore a tiny animal — from kittens to bunnies and other critters in between. Her best seller? She said it’s the little kitty who seems to be falling off the side of the mug. And all I could think of was the old saying, Hang in there, baby. Friday’s comin’!
Ryan Blair (ryanblair.com) wowed us with his folksy bottle cap art. Someone asked him where he got all those bottle caps, and he just shrugged and said, Well, mostly people just bring ’em to me.
If you’re from Knoxville, you probably remember the old JFG coffee sign — an iconic beacon, especially when it’s lighted in the city at night. This bottle cap version, by Ryan Blair, is a fun interpretation.
We hoped we’d win a door prize just so we could shake hands with Team Kirkwood, this quirky pair whose animated voices and colorful get-up turned heads. They introduced themselves as Denise and Ken, and we liked them instantly, but really we were fascinated by Keni, the young member of Team Kirkwood in polka dots. Her coy, adorable smile made me want to keep snapping pics of her.
With shopping for art behind us, we turned to looking at something we admired but knew nothing about — motorcyles. As we understand it, the exhibit has been in place from September 14 to 20 under the name of CHOICE: An Exhibit of Vintage Motorcycles. Putting the show together was Time Warp Vintage Motorcycles, the club who determined which cycles should be on display inside and which ones outside. Glad the responsibility didn’t fall on us. All looked great to us — clean, shiny, vintage, and restored to perfection.
Even in the heat, folks walked around, examining engines, chrome, and leather seats. And then they voted for the BEST in various categories — European, Japanese, etc. — as well as Best in Show. I really liked a little yellow number — not for all its merits (which I didn’t know or understand.) I liked it simply because it was yellow! And cute.
But we cast our votes for this 1986 Yamaha Fazer mostly because its owner, Danny Hughes, took the time to explain to us why it was a star and what he had done to restore it. (We’ll have to check the Knoxville News-Sentinel to see if our votes made a difference!)
So there you have it. Art. Motorcycles. And a whole lotta fun. Who says museums are stuffy old places? Let’s rev this event up again next year!
For more information:
Knoxville Museum of Art: http://knoxart.org/
Foothills Craft Guild: http://foothillscraftguild.org/
Time Warp Vintage Motorcycle Club: http://www.timewarpvmc.org/