(Jon Berz, June 14, 2017)
Berkley, MI – It was a fine day for family fun and treasure hunting on a sunny, hot, breezy Saturday, and felt like the official beginning of art festival season. Over 130 artists, crafters, vendors and local businesses converged in downtown Berkley, where the entire downtown Twelve Mile stretch was blocked off to showcase the wares and wearables from a sea of incredible local talent.
For one day only, Berkley’s fair transforms the small town into a one-day walkable pop-up artist’s market. Now in its sixteenth year and only showing signs of growing, the Berkley Art Bash is an opportunity for citizens of Detroit’s northern suburbs to check out local artists, many of whom make their career in combination of art fair circuits, consignments, and etsy shops.
The fair featured any kind of art imaginable, in any conceivable medium. Paintings of all varieties, from hyperreal landscape and abstract expressionist, to watercolor, caricature and comic book superhero were all presented, along with photography and mixed media, collage, steampunk, jewelry, clothing and accessories for all ages of humans and pets. Patrons could also check out local woodwork, sand art, collage, blown and stained glass, and handcrafted musical instruments while enjoying the sounds of local musicians.
Music was provided throughout the day outside Berkley Music Company by David Nefesh, Billy Brandt, Brandon Calhoon, The Strangers, and Jennifer Westwood and the Handsome Devils. Additional musicians were performing outside of shops, so attendees were never out of earshot of a smorgasbord of sounds from rock, folk, blues, or classical cello.
Many businesses set out tables along the sidewalks of Twelve Mile, enticing those who came for the art to check out what the Berkley shops typically have to offer. A plethora of food trucks and tents provided plenty of lunch options along with fudge, lemonade, kettlecorn, and homemade cannolis.
Chris Gorski of Detroit GT had a booth set up with one of their classic cars on display, and was selling a shirt made specifically for this event. “Sometimes they are clever little ideas I come up with, or customers or friends give me ideas for t-shirts. Sometimes I just come up with an idea on a bar napkin and it becomes a shirt. You never know where an idea might come from.”
Not only is the local art fair a way to check out the products of local creatives, but can offer many opportunities for inspiration for anyone looking to generate creative ideas of their own. It also offers a chance for those with artistic appreciation or aspiration to look into creative worlds that can easily go unnoticed.
This free, all-ages and pet-friendly event will return to Berkley next June. In the meantime, art festival season continues throughout the summer months. Below is a sampling of local artists, links to their websites and information about where to find them next. More artist links and info can be found by visiting www.BerkleyArtBash.com.
A sampling of artists from this year’s Berkley Art Bash, their medium and where to find them:
I have been an artist since I won my first art contest at 6 years old. However, I didn’t make the scary leap to becoming a professional artist until last year. I always had the gift of artistic talent, but didn’t have the courage to really try to do it until now. I find inspiration in almost everything I see, but the most inspiring is nature! I’m am constantly in rapture and reverence of Mother Nature, the most talented artist!
As a patron, I’ve been attending art shows since childhood, going and dreaming of one day being an actual artist at a show! I did my first art show as a professional artist last year. It’s a really physically demanding way of working, to prep for the shows, then the set up and breakdown of your booth and artwork, it’s not an easy gig. But for me, I enjoy interacting with people and hearing what they have to say about my work, good or bad. It allows me to know how others are inspired by art. And when I’m able to see a reaction of someone that appreciates my work, stops at my booth and utters a heartfelt, “Wow!” Or “That’s amazing!” All of my artwork is done with passion and emotion, so I am humbled and grateful when my work can evoke emotion in others!
Support of the artisans is important and binds communities together, and I think this is what the Berkley Art Bash represents and continues to strengthen and grow that connection we all cherish!
Upcoming shows I am in are:
Art in the Sun, downtown Northville, June 16-18
Lakeshore Art Festival, downtown Muskegon , July 7-9
Wyandotte Art Fair, downtown Wyandotte, July 12-15
Hazel Park Art Fair, downtown Hazel Park, August 26-27
Photography, Jewelry and Accessories
I’ve been taking photographs for about five years. I enjoy doing art fairs and originally started out just selling photography. I wanted to find a way for people to carry my photographs with them and decided to try and incorporate my photography in jewelry.
Berkley Art Bash was my first outdoor art festival and it was great. It was a nice small show with great people. I made some great connections and had a lot of positive response to my work. People remarked at how unique my jewelry is because each piece is different. I’ve done indoors shows and I think what I like most about doing shows is making connections with people. A lot of my photographs were taken in Detroit like the Packard plant in the train station. It’s interesting to hear people’s connections to those places. People tell stories about taking the train from the station in Detroit and people whose fathers worked at the Packard plant.
My photographs and jewelry and cards can be found at Helium Studios in Westland, Craft Handmade in Adrian Michigan, The Detroit Artist Market and Harless Hugh and Flea in Bay City Michigan and the Eryie in Ypsilanti. My next show will be DIY Summer Ypsilanti and then the Divine Child Holiday show and Elf Shelf at Troy high school.
I have been running my current business for about 4 years now. I was inspired to create many of my products by new family members. Every time a new baby was born, I would gift them with a unique handcrafted item. If I got a lot of positive feedback, I would add it to the shop too. I crocheted lots of animals because I taught about all kinds when I was a zoology teacher. Lately most of my inspiration comes from finally having a son of my own.
I have loved attending all kinds of art fairs for as long as I can remember. Sometimes I go to find inspiration for my own shop, but usually I go to admire the crazy talents some people have. As a maker myself, I can appreciate the time and energy it takes to create the things I see.
The Berkley art bash always has different and unique vendors. This year the live music and food trucks were perfect for the young and hip family crowds that live in and around Berkley.
Vintage and Steampunk Jewelry and Accessories
I have been creating workable art wear since 2007. The source of my inspiration was when my daughter got married in 2006. She has a BA in illustration (she is a comic book illustrator) and she had a medieval wedding. It’s not like you can go to a regular wedding store for that, so I decided I’d do it myself. That really got my juices flowing to reinvent and recycle.
I, along with my sidekick, my hubby, have been doing art shows since 2008. What I enjoy is the diversity in each area we go and how people always comment that my work is so creative. I love to take what others feel is trash and turn it into a one-of-a-kind piece keepsake.
The diversity of the area is what I find intriguing. Here, around massive cities you find this little neighborhood that is quaint yet has that “artsy” feel. This is very similar to a neighbor in Grand Rapids called Eastown where I will be attending the Bizaar Bazaar fair on June 24.
Detroit Jam Co & JKM Soy Candles
I have had my candle business for 9 years, and I started my jam business about 3 years ago. I have been doing fairs for about 8 1/2 years, and what I love the most is the group of friends I have met at these events…the craft community in the metro Detroit area is very tight-knit and like a big family. So when I do shows, I get to see my craft family.
I think Berkley Art Bash always has a very positive vibe about it that I love. Some years are insanely hot, but I continue always wanting to set up there every year. The organizers are great and they really think about the vendors, providing us a little breakfast to start the day and even waters throughout the day so we can stay cool. I’m sure most vendors will tell you, we don’t get that treatment at every show, and those little things make vendors want to continue coming every year.
I’ll be selling my candles at are Shed 5 Flea at Eastern Market on July 9 and The Michigan Lavender Festival in Armada on July 14, 15, 16. A couple events I’ll be selling Detroit Jam Co jams at as well as candles include The Brighton Fine Art & Acoustic Music Festival on Aug 4, 5, & 6 and DIY Festival in Ferndale on Sept 22, 23, & 24.
2 years professionally; but I’ve been into photography for over 10 years. Travel/nature is really the source of my inspiration. I like to share the beautiful places I’ve had the privilege of visiting with others in hope of inspiring others to get out and see what this world has to offer.
I love supporting local artists as a patron; and as a vendor being able to display my work and share what I’ve been able to see and capture with my camera. I love the location, the atmosphere and friendly environment. It’s great that they offer music, food, and art! I think they do a nice job of supporting local artists/vendors. They put on a great show, and I love the interactions I had with those that stopped by my tent.
I will be participating in the Village Sidewalk Sale Art Fair on July 28 & 29 in Grosse Pointe, the Charlevoix Apple Fest in October; I also have things on display at Blaufenster in Grosse Pointe.
Fine Art Prints, Greeting Cards, Hand-Painted Glass
I have been a watercolor artist since adolescence, but I only started by business, MegCo. Crafts, over the past year. My source of inspiration is nature; I illustrate flowers and insects with near scientific accuracy.
I found the Berkley Art Bash to be very well promoted, well organized, and well attended. The quality of the vendors was high and the atmosphere was very festive.
My work is also available for sale at Poesy in Royal Oak.
I’ve been creating all of my life but bought my first acrylic paint set when I was 18 (almost 30 years). God’s creations inspire me, from the rising of the sun to birds singing and the blooming of flowers.
I’ve always attended fairs. I love to see all of the creativity that is out there. I love the essence of the Berkley Art Fair. April and her team are wonderful to work with.
I will be in the Lathrup Village Art Fair in August.
I’ve been making jewelry all my life. I started doing it full time about 7 years ago. I started attending art fairs about 3 years ago. Before that I was selling strictly online through Etsy. I started doing shows and realized how much I enjoyed being able to interact with my customers and hear and see their excitement when they found the perfect piece of jewelry. The Berkley Art Bash is such a great show because they really focus on exhibiting local artists, and you can really feel the support from the community and the city of Berkley.
Crawford J. Wolfe
Brick, Stone, Artifact Wood
I’ve been screen printing and printing all types of print methods since I went to Ferris State University for printing management. Commercial printing has been in a significant downtrend which made me reconsider my career path, and because I had graphic design experience and printing mechanics, I decided that I could combine the two disciplines together and found it to be far more rewarding all around.
Our first art fair was the Royal Oak Art Fair in 2014. I really enjoy being out amongst the consumers and being able to interact directly with them. The Berkley Art Bash is a great fair because it has such a wide range of art mediums, including culinary arts and musical art complimenting the more traditional arts to make it such a well-rounded event.
I have started doing jewelry since 2008, and more seriously in the art & craft shows since 2010. I mainly use sterling silver filled and semi-precious gemstones in my wire wrapped jewelry, most of the time inspired by nature. I love to create new and unique shapes with the wire (leaves or yoga inspired pendants, as seen on this website).
I sell online, but I also love doing art shows, especially to meet the people and my customers. I love chatting with them, see what they seem to like the most, and it gives me sometimes ideas on how to improve my business. Seeing the people who like my work and buy it is the reason I continue doing what I do. I also like to meet other artists, in the same business as me or not, and sometimes create friendships. We often meet each other again at various local shows. I only do local shows, 1 hour away from Rochester Hills where I am based (and also one in Holland, MI). I will just add that art shows are a lot of work, in preparation, set up and break down, and I do not think most people realize that, and how hard it is for us to be there. (It is Sunday night, and I am still exhausted by the long day in the heat on Saturday!)
Glass Tile Jewelry and Accessories
I’ve been doing Glassology for nearly seven years now. It started off as a side project, but has grown into a full-time business for me. Art fairs are a lot of fun; it’s a great way to meet customers, get feedback on my product, and meet other artists.
I’ve always enjoyed the Berkley Art Bash. April is such a considerate organizer. I love the family-friendly vibe at the Bash – with kids activities and crafts, live music, yummy food and, of course, the art. My work can be found locally at Yellow Door Art Market in Berkley, and Poesy in Royal Oak.
Fashionable and Functionable Accessories
I am from Hiram, Ohio. I have been making reclaimed fashion accessories for 10 years now! I love to create things and to reuse anything I can. I purchased a vintage Brooklyn NY Laundry service bag to frame and it inspired me find other textiles to use in my purses. I purchased a lot of bank bags from eBay and Kreative Fibers was born!
We participate in about ten shows a year in Ohio, MI, IN, PA! I love the creative atmosphere and the great food! Many members of my family did crafts shows when I was young so I guess it’s just in my blood!
The Berkeley art bash is one of the funnest shows I do! All the wonderful artists keep the customer in awe and make it an enjoyable day for all! The neighborhood and the people are all so welcoming it makes me feel like Michigan is my second home.
I have been making jewelry for nearly 9 years. All of nature is my inspiration. I’ve been attending art fairs for about 6 years. I love meeting all the other artists and watching a customer’s eyes light up when they find the perfect piece.
You can find my work locally at my father’s print shop Trenton Printing located at 2325 West Rd. Trenton MI.
Handmade Stone Art
I have been hand carving granite art work for almost six years. It came about from working in the granite business and seeing so many beautiful leftover pieces being disposed. I knew I had to find a way to repurpose them.
Handcrafted Dog Collars
I greatly enjoy dressing up other people’s pups with fun bright colored collars. I’ve been making dog collars for friends and family for about five years and just started making them for my handsome Jack, who is a German Shorthair. The Berkley Art Bash was my first art show, and I’ve been attending it for a few years now. What I love most are the people of Berkley! They are super friendly and I love to interact with the community. April, who runs the show always selects great artist and there is something new every year. She has a great eye for talent. It truly is the one show I look forward to participating in each season.
Courtney Fischer Uhrick
I love interacting with people face to face, talking about my work, and most importantly our communities and feeling a part of them. Everyone is friendly and I get to see familiar faces, meet new people, and connect face to face. In our online world, it’s nice to connect without a screen.
Courtney’s work is located at City Bird in Detroit, Green Daffodil in Ferndale, and Scout in Royal Oak.
I fell in love with taking pictures when I was rather young and someone gave me a miniature spy camera that was literally the size of the film you put in it, after that I was hooked and eventually turned my enthusiasm into a BFA in Photography from CMU. Since then, I have spent many years working as an independent product, wedding, baby, portrait, pet, newspaper and a music-loving band photographer. Once I had my son, I started taking photos of him and his toys while we played and enjoyed it so much that my fate was sealed!
These days I have found my photographic happy place! This little niche where my love of small objects, toys, animals and bugs works together with my love of photography to create photographs that will hopefully make those that view them smile!
I have been attending art fairs for years as a consumer and for the past 10+ years as an artist/vendor. It is always enjoyable to talk with so many different people, plus being able to introduce so many of them to my work in a single day is a definite plus. Of course with weather like Michigan it is not always easy to sell your work while dealing with the elements, but I have found that most people have a great attitude and are just excited to see everyone’s art!
The Berkley Art Bash has always been a fun show, filled with great energy. The friendly patrons who come out to shop are there to find interesting items and artwork that is just a touch different so I tend to fit in well. I often see my always awesome customers return to my booth each year to find out what I have been up to!
This is my third year in business owning The Sassy Olive. I began making a few headbands for myself after my grandma taught me to sew and it pretty much exploded from there. This is also my third year doing art fairs. While they are a lot of work, it is fun to go and set up and come across so many people in such a short time. It is great exposure for my business and usually a really great time. I love Yellow Door Art Market and Berkley Art Bash for the unique blend of art that it brings from all over the state.
I absolutely love interacting one on one with my clients and seeing all of the babies whose feet are so happy & comfy in my handmade Mini-Mocs moccasins.
It was my first time attending [the Berkley Art Bash] but for myself and my husband Tony who helps me at the shows, we were both struck by the happy people we met and the wonderful sense of community that was obvious from the locals we interacted with.
Being raised by an artist myself I admire greatly any artists who are able to express themselves in the things they create. It’s exciting to for me to bring joy, comfort or stylish functionally to the people I share my work with. Art in all genres are a necessity in my life.
My moccasins can be found at Hatched Naturals in Romeo – St Johns Hospital in Detroit – several boutiques out west and soon in Little Mooey boutique in New York and Purpose Driven Products located in Monroe.
Mixed-Media Art and Jewelry
This is my 7th year. I was laid off for 2 years and tapped into my creative side. I have always admired unique art and one of a kind jewelry pieces. I am inspired by Love, peace and tranquility, which helps me create my Angels and Hearts.
I enjoy Art Fairs because I love meeting the people that buy my art and jewelry. I love feeling the energy at the art fairs. The Berkley Bash is a very nice one-day show with affordable and Beautiful Art and Jewelry.
My art and jewelry can be found at Starring the Gallery in Northville, Mi. My art can be found at Art Is In Market at 12 Oaks Mall in Novi.