A fair way to spend a Saturday


CAPTURING LIGHT IN GLASS — Casco resident Jean Grant turned her hobbies into creative art for sale at the Spring Holistic Fair. In addition to embellishing bottles with strings of lights, Jean makes hummingbird feeders from glass bottles. (De Busk Photo)

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

WINDHAM — Katie Snell decided to start selling her art to justify creating it.

“All of my art is inspired by nature and whimsy. I love the magic in nature,” she said. “For me, art is therapy. It’s magic. My paint brushes and pens are magical wands. It becomes tangible when it is on paper.”

“I want my art to inspire people to embrace their imagination,” she said.

Snell had a booth at the Spring Holistic Fair at the Microtel Inn & Suites in Windham, mainly because she needed to sell some of her original pieces to offset the cost of art supplies.

Working at her table was a nice way to spend the day with her teenage daughter. Plus, in the last hours before the fair ended, Snell sold two of her framed works.

With an accepting and peaceful smile, she said, “They are going to a good home.”

The Spring Holistic Fair took place during the last weekend of March. The exhibiters included many area business women from the towns of Naples, Casco, Otisfield and Windham — to name a few. The Spring Holistic Fair has been an annual event, and organizers expanded in recent years to a bigger venue, the Microtel.

This weekend, two other springtime fairs took place — the Denmark Sheepfest Fiber Arts Show at the Denmark Arts Center and the Gem, Mineral and Jewelry Show at St. Joseph’s College in Standish.

Fairs and festivals offer artists, crafters and small business owners an opportunity to network and to interact with the public. It’s also a good chance to sell their products, their services, their creations.

An active artist, Snell was raised in the Town of Bridgton where she was a resident for about 10 years, and she also lived in Naples for a while before moving to Otisfield two years ago.

IS IT A BOY OR A GIRL? Casco resident Jennifer Joy Klein draws a crowd while dowsing in order to determine the gender of a child still in the womb. Klein was among the businesswomen who had booths at the Spring Holistic Fair at the Microtel Inn & Suites in Windham. (De Busk Photo)

She volunteered that she did not attend college to study art. Hers is a self-taught discipline that combines nature and fantasy.

In the past, she has been commissioned to do artwork. Twice, she has completed paintings of pregnant fairies to be hung in the homes of women who were pregnant. A detail in one of the pieces was a butterfly across the mother-to-be’s belly, she said.

Her chosen mediums are ink and watercolor. However, she would like to experiment with gems and crystals if she could find a good adhesive for that.

“I like to do my art outdoors, in nature. I was painting in New Hampshire, in the mountains and I used river water to mix my paints,” Snell said. “It seemed like there was a different energy in the mountain river than in tap water.”

In her spare time, Snell enjoys mining for crystals — there are plenty of places nearby, she said. Another outdoor activity is mushroom hunting that can be done from spring through autumn. So, it’s natural that her art would combine her love for the great outdoors.

“We all have such great imagination when we are little. We believe in fairies and unicorns. Then, as we get older, the doors get shut and the lights are turned off to our imaginative side.”

Snell has been exploring social media as a way to share her love of art.

She has started a blog for fairy enthusiasts. It is called Wicked-pixie.

“Instagram is my porthole to the world,” she said, adding that she snaps and shares photos of her art as well as elegantly arranged food or a snowy scene. “When I use my imagination, I feel good.”

Another vendor at the Holistic Fair was Heather Elle Anderson, who owns Pure Spa & Studio in Naples. Anderson opened Pure Spa, 515 Roosevelt Trail, four years ago.

Because she sells natural products and services, Anderson was invited to the Spring Holistic Fair by Jennifer Joy Klein, one of the organizers.

Anderson is a licensed esthetician and a makeup artist. This was Anderson’s first experience as a fair vendor.

“It was busier in the morning around 11:30 a.m. It has been a good turnout. People notice my booth more when I am doing something like a facial on someone,” she said.

Casco resident Jean Grant agreed with Anderson about the flow of the crowd.

“People did a lot of looking this morning. Some returned later and bought the things that they had an eye on,” Grant said.

Among those sales were the glass bottle hummingbird feeders she makes. Her husband does the wood work. She makes ribbon wreaths, air plant holders and embellishes bottles with lights.

Grant considers being an artist and a seamstress to be her hobbies.

“I do this as a hobby. But I’d like to do more fairs now that I am semi-retired,” Grant said. “For seven years, I participated in the Gorham House fairs.”

It was convenient to be a vendor at the Gorham House fair because she was employed there at the time. Now, she works at the Microtel, which is how she learned about the Spring Holistic Fair.

“Now, I would like to do more fairs if I can balance it” with work and life, Grant said.

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