By MIRANDA BAINES
THE DAILY SOUTHERNER
The 22nd Annual Great Tarboro Art Bazaar offers a mix of contemporary and traditional pieces to holiday shoppers.
“We hope everyone will come out and shop and enjoy the eclectic tastes we have here,” said Joyce Turner, executive director of Edgecombe County Cultural Arts Council. “We’ve got something for everybody who comes.”
The first and second floors of the Blount-Bridgers House will be filled with the handmade crafts and pieces of artwork until the bazaar ends on Nov. 29. Edgecombe Arts members will get the first glimpse of the art at a party Thursday evening, and the bazaar opens to the public Friday. Thursday’s party begins at 5:30 p.m., and attendees will enjoy music from the Chambergrass Duo and appetizers and have a chance to meet some of the artists.
One of those artists is Wendy Ferguson-Whitehead, a fabric artist who makes her home in Wilson. Her tapestries are hand-sewn and clearly have an Aboriginal influence. Ferguson-Whitehead began her career in art as a painter in her parents’ art shop in Brighton, Victoria, Australia. She found the textures and rich colors of the quilter’s palette more appealing and since then has been creating colorful wall hangings that incorporate animals, landscapes, and her own playful exuberance.
“Her artwork suits her personality,” said Edgecombe Arts’ event coordinator Carol Banks. She said the artist wears bright colors and a smile and “nothing bothers her.”
Another artist at the bazaar whose pieces exude fun and adventure is Stacey May of Rocky Mount. Banks showed off May’s artwork created using local acorns and recycled bottles.
“There’s been some real fun art, and very affordable,” Banks said, as she glanced around the second-floor art gallery. “It’s been fun seeing it come in and it’s fun to tell a story here.”
Turner admired a blue-and-white painting with bold lines created by May on the first floor of the house.
“I see some influence of birds, because this reminds me of peacock feathers,” she said. Other pieces of art created by May include clocks illustrate the “painters’ palette,” which Turner believes anyone who collects art would appreciate.
Michelle Richardson of Rocky Mount has designed rich textural, bold-colored paintings for the bazaar ideal for hanging as a statement piece in one’s home.
“She usually incorporates some found objects in her pieces,” Turner said. “Some of the pieces just pop out at you…It’s something that can be hung almost anywhere.”
In contrast to May and Richardson’s contemporary pieces are Tarboro artist Ken Thompson’s traditional floral oil paintings. Holiday quilts and Christmas-themed crafts are also part of the mix at the bazaar, namely Tarboro artist Pauline Nicolosi’s “pot babies,” bears, carolers and miniature Christmas tree.
“She uses a mixture of things you would use either in the garden or the kitchen to create her artwork,” Turner said.
For shoppers looking for functional yet visually appealing pottery, Kenny and Susan Pelletier of Cape Cartaret offer a variety of pieces, including a large bowl with a glaze incorporating rich blue, gold, and chocolate brown tones.
The art bazaar is both a membership drive and a major fundraiser for Edgecombe Arts, and supports the arts council’s yearlong mission of supporting Edgecombe County artists, Turner said. The bazaar will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. The Blount-Bridgers House is at 130 Bridgers St. in Tarboro. For information about arts council membership, call 823-4159.