Written by Karan Marie Cross
posted on June 13, 2014 07:35
Mary Ann Evans - known as Mare - is living her father’s legacy and extending her heritage at Evans House, a North Country treasure near Morristown, in the Thousand Islands. Over 60 years ago Mare’s dad, Jim Evans, launched a go-kart track and restaurant on the site. He added a small grocery store, gas station and a thriving fishing guide, bait and tackle business. Since then Mare has refurbished the building and dramatically developed the grounds for both summer and winter fun and creativity.
Mare is an accomplished academically trained potter. Her passion for wheel thrown, traditional and Raku styles, is reflected in the studio and gallery, she created as “Mare’s Wares Pottery,” at Evans House. Here she conducts lively and popular pottery parties, where beginners and more advanced potters, can create custom works for firing in her on-site kilns.
It was with the help of the Artisans of the River Valley, a small artisan networking group, that Mary Ann decided to use part of her property to host an arts festival.
Taking advantage of Canada Day and an influx of Canadian customers, at her highly visible highway location, she made the festival a one day event – beginning on July 1, 2008. What began as a small event, with 12-15 artisans, and some musician friends, has turned into something else entirely. The back yard at Mare’s Wares Pottery, is transformed from noon to 8 PM, into an outdoor gallery and entertainment venue.
The festival now hosts 70-80 accomplished artisans; live music all day, wine tasting and bottle sales; plants, goats and alpacas (and their resulting products); a petting zoo, with pony rides, as well as other children’s activities. In addition, ongoing Raku firing, T’ai Chi; fiber-spinning, weaving and other demonstrations throughout the day; metaphysical talent, and body care and herbal remedies.
Several art organizations have participated, including TAUNY and the St. Lawrence County Arts Council. This year the Adirondack North Country Association will be promoting a new Art Trail. Re-enactors from Ogdensburg’s Fort de la Presentation, will be in costume, promoting their popular mid-July Founder’s Weekend. As well, the Community Performance Series, out of Potsdam, NY, will be promoting two upcoming shows. Attendees will also find gourmet food vendors, concessions, and a palpable air of excitement.
Now in its seventh year, Mary Ann’s vision is still in its infancy and its coordinators –primarily Mary Ann, and a local artisan friend, Karan Cross – continue to learn and grow from year to year.
Inundated with requests, all vendors are included by invitation only, which helps maintain the quality of the offerings. With few exceptions, vendors at the Arts Fest make the work they sell – many of them have won awards.
July 1, 2014
3938 State Hwy 37
Noon to 8:00 p.m.
See this year's participants on Facebook
A few of the vendors returning in 2014 include Foster Holcombe and Theda Hansen, of Art of Fire Contemporary Glass Studio (resident glass blowers at the Sterling Renaissance Festival in Central NY); Judith Utter Natural Science Art, with beautiful watercolor & giclée prints of fish, birds & botanicals; Storyteller Flutes, a maker of traditional Native American flutes; Tom and Donna Amoroso, of The Leather Artisan, who have been creating quality leather goods, at their shop and studio in the Adirondacks for 30 plus years; and Scott Ouderkirk, a multi-talented artisan, who will be featuring stained glass panels.
Mare’s Wares Arts Fest is all about sharing creativity and promoting everybody. If you’ve got a creative talent, Mary Ann is willing to help you share it with an interested audience. One of her greatest strengths is being a supporter not just of the art community, but her community in general. In 2010, Fish of the Adirondack North Country Association (ANCA) invited Mary Ann to speak at Great Camp Sagamore, in the Adirondacks, as part of a panel comprised of similarly creative and energetic folks from around New York State, who have revitalized tourism in their respective locales.
Mary Ann has no doubt that the show will continue to grow. There’s no telling what new and exciting things Mare may add in the future, but it's her wish that it always remain a down-to-earth event for friends, family, and summer residents, as well as curious and adventurous travelers wondering why cars are parked on Route 37, on either side of the road, just a little east of Morristown .. every July 1st. You can count on always having an interesting day of art and entertainment at Mare’s Wares Arts Fest.
By Karan Cross
Northern New York native Karan Cross spent her formative years in gold rush country California. Her professional career spans diverse fields as crafting custom-design furniture, working with emotionally disabled youth, and telecommunications network design. A long time collector of fine jewelry, in 2002 Karan created The Wild Inside - an evolving diversity of personally handcrafted pieces in stone, pearl and precious metals. After 24 years in New York’s Capital District, in 2005 she and her husband, Ed LaVarnway, relocated to the North Country on the Oswegatchie River south of Ogdensburg. She continues to create jewelry and has employed her organizational skills to help develop the Mare’s Ware Arts Fest.