Winter Arts Festival Nov. 19 and 20

So Much Creativity and Inspiration in One Place!

The Holiday Valley Lodge will be bursting with creativity on the weekend of Nov. 19 and 20 with the 2nd annual Winter Arts Festival, presented by the Cattaraugus County Arts Council with special support from Holiday Valley Lodge, the Ellicottville Times and the Cattaraugus County Department of Economic Development and Tourism. The fine artists and artisans for this juried sale are looking forward to reconnecting with friends at the festival and meeting the public to share their love of the arts with them.

Ellen Paquette, a painter and fiber artist explains, “It’s always a pleasure to be gathered with other artists in one venue to share our work with the public. Artists spend a lot of time alone doing the work, yet we need those opportunities to see what others are creating and to give and receive feedback from our peers. I always leave an event like this feeling inspired by what fellow artists are bringing forth with their creative talents. The opportunity to interact with the interested public, answer questions and have art-inspired conversations is what I love the most about events like the Winter Arts Festival. I’m always guaranteed to meet interesting people and receive helpful feedback.”

Paquette was an art major in college, focusing on painting, primarily in oils. About five years ago, she started experimenting with acrylics on a very small scale and specifically in the context of animal portraits. Working so small, in such detail, and in acrylics, made it all new to her. Paquette says, “I really feel like I had to learn how to paint all over again when I started in on this body of work.” Her animal portraits present the creatures wearing lush, jewel-toned Renaissance garments. Her inspiration for the work is Renaissance portraiture and she works to convey the same dignity of the sitters in her animal portraits.

In the arts, as with any vocation, experience and time bring growth and change to one’s work. Bev Fehringer of Black Raven Pottery was originally interested in pottery after watching and admiring a friend who did pottery, seeing her transform a lump of earth into a beautiful vessel. Now, she is inspired by challenging herself to make that bigger bowl or that taller pot. She describes her own growth this way: “When I look back at pictures of pots I made several years ago and see the growth and improvement I have made, that alone inspires me to continue to do better.”

Fehringer is looking forward to the Winter Arts Festival, saying, “It is perfect for selling my work because the guests are in the holiday spirit making it enjoyable to talk about my craft and help them find the perfect gift. The great thing about pottery is each potter has their own style, so there really is no competition.”

Asked what holiday gifts they like to give, Paquette and Fehringer agreed that hand-made tops the list.

Fehringer says, “My family has come to expect some kind of pottery as their gift, and I enjoy seeing their appreciation for a truly hand-made gift. I generally like to give a gift that is functional and can be used every day.”

Paquette describes her family tradition: “When I was growing up, it was tradition in our family to give siblings and parents two gifts each: one small store-bought gift and one home-made gift. I was fortunate to grow up in a family of ‘makers’ so we always had supplies and tools around for art and craft projects, sewing, building things with hand tools, and whatever we could concoct with the materials at hand. My home-made gifts have varied from fabric ornaments to mobiles to puppets to paintings.”

If original, unique, beautiful and one-of-a-kind are important qualities for the gifts you give, come to the Winter Arts Festival where you will be sure to find it. The event is free and the hours of the sale are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 19 and noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 20.