April 2010

Historic Honey Horn to Host Annual Art Market

Author: Michele Roldán-Shaw

Something about Hilton Head attracts artists. Perhaps it’s the island’s stunning natural beauty that draws forth inspiration or the thriving community of creative people; maybe it’s the tranquil atmosphere, so conducive to working unfettered.

All these priceless qualities—and the art they help nourish—will take center stage on April 24 and 25 at the eighth annual Art Market at Historic Honey Horn, a juried fine art and craft show organized by the Coastal Discovery Museum. Over 80 artists—local as well as national—will display works in clay, wood, fibers, metals, glass, jewelry, watercolors, oil, mixed media and photography. Against a backdrop of salt marsh, oak groves and historic buildings, visitors and collectors will peruse the tents while artists compete for prizes totaling $5,000.

“A lot of artists come back year after year,” said Hilton Head woodturner, John Diamond, who has shown at Art Market since its inception. “Many are on the circuit, and it’s interesting to talk to them because they are the real pros. Things are always organized to a tee, and it progresses smoothly; I’ve always done very well sales-wise.”

Other local artists are discovering what Diamond has known for the last eight years. First-time participant, Barbara Benedict, who lives part of the year on Hilton Head and part in Ohio, hopes the show will be a chance to not only exhibit her work, but also spread the word about a painting style called plein air.

“I enjoy being out, meeting people and talking to them about what I do,” said Benedict, who started the Lowcountry Plein Air Society. The group takes its name from the French phrase “in the open air,” and denotes a method of painting wherein the artist goes out-of-doors to paint a scene under natural light. Thanks to nice weather and pristine landscapes, plein air has become very popular in the Lowcountry.

“It was kind of an epiphany the first time I took my easel out to the marsh, with the bugs and the snakes and everything,” said Benedict, who paints in oil and will have several depictions of Honey Horn for sale at Art Market. “In the midst of all that, the light was amazing—the way the marsh looked as the sun went down and the light reflected off the water.”

The chance to speak directly with artists about their work is a big part of the draw at Art Market. Bluffton potter, Steve White, another first-time exhibitor, looks forward to being able to explain the alternative process he employs to fire his pots, using salt and soda as opposed to electric or gas-fired kilns.

“There’s a certain serendipity about the pots,” said White, who has been collecting pottery for nearly 20 years and making his own for about six. “You have to show people that it’s labor-intensive and there’s something different about it.”

After attending Art Market several times as a spectator, White decided to try his luck selling his own pots. “I enjoy the setting and the varied types of art you see, and I like that you end up bumbling into friends you haven’t seen in a long time,” said White. “You strike up a conversation, get something to eat—it’s very festive.”

Another local clay artist, Laura Silberman, has done craft shows up and down the East Coast and says she is familiar with the quality of Art Market entries. “Just from going to the event myself, I know the caliber of the artists,” she said. “It’s a good mix of price points—high-end but affordable. Anyone who visits could come away with a piece of original art.”

Silberman says the setting at Honey Horn is “special,” and like so many creative people in the area, she credits the environment with inspiring her work. “Living here on Hilton Head, you’re certainly influenced by nature,” she said. “Just walking on the beach and seeing the baby turtles crawl back to the ocean—I have to recreate that somehow in my work. I’m very influenced by the beauty of the area, the colors, and just the good feeling that I have living here.”

Whether you come as a serious art collector or just to take a pleasant stroll around the spacious grounds of Honey Horn, Art Market promises to be a fun and aesthetically-pleasing event. The show is open to the public Saturday, April 24, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sunday, April 25, from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission is free, while there is a $6 per car parking donation. Concessions are available, and demonstrations will take place throughout the weekend in glass, pine needle basketry, gourd carving, watercolor, silver smith and photography. An artists’ reception will be held Saturday evening to honor prize-winners; admission is $20 and reservations are required. For more information, call the Coastal Discovery Museum at (843) 689-3033 ext. 224.

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