Ferndale Gets Artsy with DIY & Funky Ferndale Festivals

(Crystal A. Proxmire, Sept. 23, 2017)

Ferndale, MI  – Local art, music and food fills the streets of Downtown Ferndale this weekend for the annual DIY Street Fair and Funky Ferndale Art Fair.  Both continue through Sunday on opposite sides of Woodward Avenue at 9 Mile Road.

Among the artists is nationally-exhibited Michele Sapp of Farmington Hills who uses mixed media to create African-inspired dolls she calls “Annie’s Girls.”  The dolls are not from specific tribes, but Sapp loves when people tell her which ones remind people of their heritages.  She also loves when they inspire people.

“I’ve had the dolls on display at U of M hospital,” she said.  “I do sell them, but the best thing is the emails I get from people who see them and relate to them.  I remember one woman had gone there to get treatment. She had cancer and she was waiting to get chemo.  She wrote me and said ‘For one moment you made me forget that I was sick.”

The dolls helped her through her own challenges as well.  “Three years ago, I had cancer.  Making the dolls helped.  I’ve done serious dolls and fun dolls, but never any sad dolls.  And when I was fighting cancer, everything I did was bright.  I know there are different viewpoints about art, but I believe, for me, that art should uplift the spirit.”

Dawn Casella of Livonia also sees the uplifting quality of art.  She began working with mosaics several years ago after seeing a staircase decorated with multi-colored bits of glass.  She did her own at home, and fell in love.

“I have friends who do glass blowing, and you know that once that glass hits the floor, that’s it. So they have lots of scraps.  I put them to good use,” she said.  She’s mainly stuck to pictures and mirrors, with her favorite being a horse she made for her daughter.  “It’s Lady Hawk, the horse my daughter rides,” she said.

Metalworkers Paul Wizynajtys and David Barber of Flint did demonstrations of their intricately cut luminaries, ornaments, wind chimes and medallions.  At a table full of castles, dragons and coats of arms, Barber showed how a hole is punched in metal and a thin saw blade is inserted to remove the inner pieces so the outside remains similar to a stencil.

“We just spend hours sawing away,” he said.  “A simple piece can take a few minutes and some of the bigger pieces can take days.  It just depends on how intricate the design is.”

The Ferndale High School Golden Eagle Marching Band opened up the weekend in the space between the WAB and the Emory.  The festivals showcase dozens of artists, and DIY also has a stage with local bands and a section just for food trucks.  Funky Ferndale has a community art project mural, and DIY has a Farris wheel.

Other artists include: Paul Gilbert, Savage Arts Studio, KPAC Kreations, Kelly Kaatz Ceramics, Tom Elliott of Studio Medford, Printer & Press by Amy Ferguson, and Bit O’ Whimsey by Kandy Myny.

For information on these and other events, visit the White Castle Bold Moves Event Page.