Art Fills Nine Mile with DIY and Funky Ferndale
(Crystal A. Proxmire, Oct. 2, 2022)
Ferndale, MI – Over 200 artists lined areas along Nine Mile in Downtown Ferndale for a pair of artistic events – The Funky Ferndale Art Fair on the west, and DIY on the east.
The first cool weekend of the year meant the comfort of flannel and hoodies, and the warmth of adult beverages whose sale benefitted local charities. Visitors moved to the sound of lives bands on Troy Street through the weekend, including Jack the Bear, Summer Like the Season, The Doozers, Flobots, and Passalacqua. And there were food trucks and family activities. But of course, art – in its many forms – was the main attraction.
Jewelry was a popular choice at the event. Britany Macintyre of Ann Arbor started making earrings out of polymer clay and painted resin. “I handmade some of the colors, so they’d be something people can’t find in stores,” Macintyre said. She uses the name Mixed Bag to promote her jewelry items, as well as the stickers she makes for sale at art fairs like these.
Nina Dimambo of Twistful Thinking was also at DIY, selling jewelry with crystals. “Six years ago I was having health issues, and I couldn’t work or go to school. But I went to Dally in the Alley and saw necklaces like this and I thought it would be something good for me to do to keep busy.”
Dimambo started making necklaces for herself, then friends and family. Before long others were asking her to make jewelry for them. And when she started to feel better, she made this craft that had helped get her through tough times into a career. “I regained my health and now I have a full-time small business,” she said.
“I like the freedom to do what I want. It’s a lot of work, but its good work and it makes other people so happy.”
Artists like Erin Isaacs, Audra Olivia, and Chris Deighan were also included among the booths. Uta Brausser was also there with large canvasses and information about The Packard Art House in Detroit – a home she purchased in 2018 as a place for artists to get together and collaborate. “We’re painting a sanctuary there,” she said. “There’s this converging of artists and energy.”
Brausser moved to Detroit from Munich Germany in 2017. She said her art focuses mainly on “expressionist work and some pop surrealism.” One painting she calls “Consciousness Exploring.” It’s about the changes of consciousness as people age. “Your consciousness becomes enriched as we grow,” Brausser said “It’s what makes us human. We’re above robots and artificial intelligence, and we need to use our consciousness to make art and express ourselves.”
Tapping more into the more adorable side of the mind is the work of Nicole Ray of Slow Gin Fizz, who does illustrations of children’s books as well as whimsical art featuring scenes from nature and adorable animals. Her drawings appear in the Ann Arbor Adventure Series, with the first being a book about the Museum of Natural History.
When asked her advice for other artists, Ray told Oakland County Times “Just keep putting your work out there. Your work isn’t going to be for everyone, but the right people will find it.”
Evan Lian, who grew up in Novi but recently moved to Berkley, has the same kind of persistence with his work. Lian draws comics and has had some published in national magazines like The New Yorker and Readers Digest.
“Get comfortable with being bad,” Lian said. “The sooner you get over that insecurity, the more bad stuff you get out of your system, the sooner you can get on to the good stuff.”
Liam had been working at job at a bank that he didn’t really like. “It helped me to move out of that job,” he said. Now he works in graphic design, and continues submitting his comics for publication. He also sells them at events like DIY.
It’s not just artists that shine at these events. Local food creators were there as well.
Hell Fire Detroit has a line of hot sauces, a business that started in Royal Oak but recently moved to a larger facility in Warren. The creator Don Button had been looking for last minute Christmas Gifts in 2014, and spent a day grilling peppers for some homemade sauce. “I had a dream that I opened this business, and I bought the domain the next day.” Now Hell Fire Detroit is in over 350 specialty stores in Michigan and beyond.
“Each sauce is created around a specific pepper, and we make sure we honor the unique flavor of the pepper,” Button said.
Also in Ferndale that weekend was Hunt and Gather Dry Foods, makers of craft cocktail kits. Flavors include Grapefruit Moscow Mule, Sugar Plum Fairy, Hibiscus Rose and more.
Funky Ferndale and DIY were once again a hit for the artists and those who came to Ferndale in search of creativity and fun.
For more things to do, visit the Oakland County Times Event Page!
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