Luke Pappaspanos, Staff Writer
Ever want to know what you could do with an art degree and where you can showcase your work? There are many art fairs around St. Louis throughout the year where artists can share their skills and sell or buy artwork. A novice can learn from a master artist, gain knowledge, purchase from an exhibitor and even participate in making a piece of art. The Queeny Park Art Fair on Labor Day weekend has been going strong for the last 41 years in the West County area. A highlight of the art fair was watching a friendly egg lady from St. Ann, Missouri, Teena Billingham. Teena’s Eggsquisite Treasures booth was the most eye-catching of all vendors. Billingham wore earrings she made from real eggs.
She said, “These are tiny finch eggs and the necklace is a blue bird egg.”
Another vendor, Don Kelley, makes jewelry from dinner forks. Kelley is from Crestwood, Missouri and makes rings, bracelets and necklaces out of dinner forks.
He explained the process of how he puts two tines together to form a finger ring, “I do not smooth the stones or gems I use in my creations. I order them from Germany and other nations.”
Kelley participates in art shows around the country and he was happy to be at Queeny Park because it is so close to his home.
Tahmi DeSchepper, designs and makes jewelry. DeSchepper believes, “jewelry should make you glad not sad.” She demonstrated the easy clasp she attaches to bracelets to make it quick and simple to put on your wrist.
A metal sculptor artist, Wayne Trinklein, makes metal tree sculptures about people he knows.
“I make a tree from the personality traits of people I know and meet. I can tell what tree an individual will gravitate to when they see my displays. It is the tree most like them,” said Trinklein.
Many art fairs have wine tasting and the Queeny Park Art Fair was no different. A big hit with visitors was the Three Squirrel’s Winery with wine tasting which made everyone happy. Three Squirrel’s Winery is located in St. James, Missouri. This small winery does not sell their products in local stores, so buyers at the fair must go to St. James to purchase additional wines.
Next to the Three Squirrel’s Winery booth was Dan Martin, the Weatherbird artist. He is a Lindbergh Flyer which means he went to Lindbergh High School.
Martin said, “I still live in the Lindbergh School District.” He told all of the visitors, “I get my ideas from the [St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s] front page.”
He graciously drew the Weatherbird, a cartoon character printed on the front page of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and has been around since 1901, for anyone who asked for a picture and he autographed them. Martin received a recognition award for his 30 years of service as an artist with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Newspaper. Everyone in the crowd was spellbound watching him draw the Weatherbird.
There were many sensational works of art. Among the art fair booths were sculptures made from wood, metal, glass and ceramic; purses made from leather and other cloth materials, clothing vendors displaying scarves and motivational sayings on cloth dolls. Some artists had digital art, clay, photography, glass, there were lamps made from automobile parts and shaped like flowers and pianos.
Visitors were mesmerized watching an artist, Don Tran, embroider a beautiful flower garden picture with a needle and thread. Local musicians shared their form of art throughout the duration of the event.
Each will share their knowledge with anyone who asks and are willing to inspire others to explore their love of art. Some upcoming art fairs are St. Louis Art Fair in Clayton, Sept. 7-9; South Grand Fall Fest on Sept. 15; Grove Fest on Oct. 6; Historic Shaw Art Fair, Oct. 6-7; Shaw Nature Reserve on Nov. 3-4; and the St. Louis International Film Festival, Nov. 1-11.