Lynn Berry beckoned Monique Purguy to join her at this years’s interactive art project, the DreamWeaver, a first for the Tillett Gardens Art Fair, now in its 32nd year.
Berry, executive director of Arts Alive, instructed a willing Purguy in the mechanics of the project, indicating boxes filled with scraps in every imaginable color and fabric.
"You just pick out the scraps you like and weave them into the fence," Berry said indicating a cyclone fence toward the entrance to the Gardens, which already bore a purple and pink peace symbol and other less identifiable contributions.
"Each year," Berry said, "we do something to involve our visitors. It’s an engagement, a connection of creative design, a sensory experience."
The entire sun-filled garden provided an almost overwhelming sensory experience Saturday, with artists displaying their local, homemade creations – everything from paintings, ceramics, jewelry of every description from feathers to finely crafted gold and silver, quilts, stained glass, even crocheted aquariums, prints cards, cookies clothing and candles.
Berry was delighted with the number and variety of this year’s artists.
"We have 52 this year, the most we have had in the last five years," she said.
The fair’s musical performances took a brief break in the afternoon for a fashion show featuring local designer Nayda’s native Coki designs paraded by local women from teenagers on up, everything from bikinis to gowns.
The artists ranged from the traditional Jason Budsan’s Caribbean Candle shop, to the not-for-profit Apparent Project Jewelry manned by Janelle Scott, dosplaying wildly colorful beaded jewelry made out of recycled paper products in Haiti.
"I saw this online and I volunteered to help," Scott said. "Each piece of jewelry bears the artist’s name and any money goes directly to that artist. It’s a way for families there to make a living. They need volunteers to host jewelry parties, sort of like Tupperware. It’s really a worthwhile project."
The organization can be reached at www. Apparentproject.org.
The multi-talented Acquannette Chinnery – gospel recording artist, assistant attorney general at the V.I. Department of Justice, jewelry maker, painter – was busy vending her newest creation, JDNatlady’s Creations LLC beauty products, home made soaps in imaginative colors and scents, creams and hair products. The one-person creative force said she has a secret.
"I don’t sleep," she said.
Cheri and Ray Lopez brightened up a corner of the garden with their arresting display of glass designs – reflecting the light in the garden.
"It’s a copper foil technique in the Tiffany style," Cheri Lopez said.
The two make their creations at their Water Island studio.
Jason Budsan instructed an attentive audience in the art of candle-making at his studio in the rear of the garden. The award-winning artist displayed his Large Ripe Mango in de’ Shell, encased in a conch shell.
"We’re celebrating Small Business Saturday," he said with some satisfaction. "It’s a national response to Black Friday."
The fair continues from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Arts Alive, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to cultivating children’s interest in fine music and visual arts, organizes the fair, which breathes life into the Danish West Indian Farm turned artist hub. It is supported by a grant from the Virgin Islands Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency in Washington, D.C.