Cash awards will be presented to artists, artisans and writers with booths at the festival. 2012 award winners were:
2012 Award Winners
Overall Best of Show Rebecca Koop, ceramics
Rebecca Koop has been a resident of Northeast since 1967. Her business, Back Door Pottery, was started in 1979 and she opened her present location at 3922 St John in April of 1986.
Rebecca received her BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute in 1979 and has been a full-time potter and part-time instructor of ceramics at William Jewell College from 1980 to 1999. She has demonstrated and marketed her work at Renaissance Festivals and Many Art Fairs for the last 21 years.
The majority of Koop's work is functional-kitchenware in Stoneware, Porcelain, and Terra Cotta earthenware. A love for Japanese Koi Fish has turned her focus to playful, colorful fish forms. Her work may be found in specialty shops and galleries around Kansas City.
In June of 1999, Rebecca took on the position of Executive Director of the Northeast Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, where she had served on the board for five years. She was a founding member, and served on the board of the KC Clay Guild for ten years. She is an active community supporter and volunteer for the annual Historic Northeast Fall Festival. She supported renovations of the Concourse park fountain, and is the coordinator of the Northeast Cultural Arts Commission's traveling art exhibit, titled "Cultures Without Borders".
Best of Show – Fine Crafts Natalia Butler, fiber
My name is Natalia Golovko Butler, and I have been doing creative knitting my entire life. I learned how to knit when I was 9 year old and have been doing this non-stop ever since.
I was born to a family of scientists. I could not even imagine that I will do something different in my life than being a scientist. So, I got a Doctor of Analytical Chemistry Degree in Kiev State University, was a successful researcher of nuclear chemistry, worked on the Chernobyl problem more than 15 years, traveled a lot around the world, mostly in Europe. However, knitting was always my passion. I knitted each spare minute and created very unusual and very specific things. It was a good hobby for me at that time; and I did knitting for my family and friends. Being native of Ukraine, I always wanted to knit something more individual than everybody could do. I never used a pattern, although I can read them and understand in the knitting magazines. Somehow, I needed only to look at the picture and I immediately knew how I can do it.
When I came to US (now I am a United States citizen and live in Missouri with my husband), I continued to do a consulting job for Geological Survey in Washington DC, but more and more time spent with my knitting needles. Now, my husband and I are retired, and we can spend our time doing what we want. Once, some lady from our church came to our house and asked me why I can not open a small business if I can not stop to knit. I replied “No, no, this is not my profession; I can not do this.” However, I gave deep thought to that and opened Natalia’s Knitting. I can tell you that it is very easy to open small business in US in comparison with other countries.
Now, I create my pieces for other people to enjoy, especially in an era when people can not find something specific in the abundance of mass-production stocked in retail stores which meets their individual style or need. What I like about my job now is a positive feedback from my customers. Often, people come to me again and again and tell me how happy they are wearing my creations, how many compliments they have, how unique they feel unlike thousand of others around. This gives me a boost of energy to create something more and more interesting.
My creations are different and varied. My collection includes very feminine shawls, ponchos, vests, snoods, dusters, cardigans, hats, scarves, sweaters, tops, and caplets. Many are made with European yarn purchased mostly from Turkey, Italy, France, Spain and Germany. The yarn is very special, unique, and exclusive. Usually, I prefer to work with silk, nylon, and cotton yarn which looks fashionable and still is light weight. Autumn ponchos and dusters are made from combination of yarn to keep them cozy, warm, and comfortable.
In my opinion, only hand made items can provide the comfort and style which people of fashion desire. Enjoy my wearable art and share the uniqueness of hand knit creations!
To see my creations go to the website www.knitbynatalia.com or visit Facebook Natalia’s Knitting Fan Page.
Best of Show – Fine Arts Desiree Warren, mixed media
Desiree Warren lives and works in KCMO. After receiving a degree in sculpture from the University of Kansas, she now makes art, clocks, and cards using street sign vinyl, found papers, and recycled frames.
Merit Awards Cindy Buhler, ceramics
Sandy Hunter, watercolor
Joshua Maier, ceramics
Joshua Ryan Maier was raised in a typical middle class family living in the Mid-West; split between Kansas City and a small Southern Ohio farm town. The monotony of the farming landscape naturally gave way to tendencies towards flights of fancy and a strange imagination that led to a curiosity in the arts through his youth.
Josh received his BFA from Bowling Green State University of Ohio where he pursued a BFA in Creative Writing before the personal discovery of hot glass as a studio medium within the School of Art. There he immersed himself in study, under the no nonsense and straight forward instruction of late Professor/artist Robert ‘Bud’ Hurlestone. Josh still proudly touts his title as being one of ‘Hurlestone’s Hellions’. After graduating from BGSU in the Spring of 2004 Josh continued his studies at the Glass Pavilion [Toledo Museum of Art] and at places around the eastern sea board; such as the Corning Museum of Glass and Penland School of Crafts where he studied and created closely with some of America’s finest artists & craftspeople in the fields of glass, ceramics, and studio equipment design.
Josh relocated to the Kansas City area in 2007 to work for the few glass artists in the city. At present Josh is employed as Ceramics & Sculpture studio tech at Penn Valley Community College. In 2009 he founded his own studio, Grim Whimsy Creation Studio, where he continues to work diligently, creating uniquely elegant utilitarian and sculptural glass & ceramic works.
Susan Noeller, photography
Tammy Ward, jewelry