Art, festival highlight upcoming weekend

Published 1:03 pm Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Jen Hall and husband, Wesley Henderson, model apron designs from her line of fabric creations, and Henderson shows off the event mug also available. (Contributed)

By LAURA BROOKHART / Community Columnist

Art on the Side, the monthly sidewalk art show held second Saturdays in Old Town through October, will be concurrent with Buck Creek Festival this Saturday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Come by and see the work of local area artists in the area adjacent to Buck Creek Stained Glass Studio.

“There will be a bead-making and lampwork demo by artisan Darci Alexander and Illumiboo hand-carved bamboo flutes by Brian Mason. Holly Irwin will have her wrapped-wire sculptures, and Hillary Wilson makes jewelry. Qwerty Studio is about photography and greeting cards, and Jen Hall is bringing her fabric creations,” organizer Dave Schlueter said.

A visit with Jen Hall introduced me to her fun and festive fabric aprons, napkins, purses, quilted casserole dish covers and wine caddies and pet-survival kits.

Hall, who recently completed her MPA in public administration, received a sewing machine from her mother, Kathy Hall, as a graduation gift. At Christmas, she decided to put it to use making special gifts for friends.

“The aprons are made from patterns that I have adapted and embellished. My mother and I have noticed something of an apron renaissance on television, and we call each other back and forth to trade style tidbits that we find inspiring,” Hall said.

Thinking of the amount of paper-towel waste generated in even the smallest household, Hall also decided to create napkins sets with flair.

The fabrics, of course, set the personality for each apron. Some designs have a vintage feel, some are very chic in contemporary patterns and trendy colors. Hall searched to find a fabric with ducks, certainly de rigueur for Buck Creek Festival days, and friends recently brought her a selection of Ikea fabrics to incorporate into new designs.

Hall says that aprons are for everyone, and her men’s bar-b-que aprons are of more utilitarian style, but still allow the manly meat-grillers their own fashion statement.

“It’s a great way to say Happy Father’s Day besides just another tie,” Hall added.

“My friends have been so supportive of my venture into this cottage industry. And my husband, Wesley, is fully on board. He suffers through trips to the fabric store and gives me his opinions and a male perspective.”

Each apron style will be named after a significant person in her life, such as “The Kathy,” as Hall’s way of paying tribute to those who have stood by her.

Dave Schleuter, who came up with the idea for Art on the Side, began the monthly art show as a way to bring the arts to Helena. His vision is that Helena will evolve into a mini-Asheville, bringing a wide variety of the arts and those who appreciate and buy art together to establish Helena as an art destination.

Laura Brookhart can be reached by email at