Artists, musicians share talents

The blisters and calluses covering Grant Charpentier’s palms and fingers were in sharp contrast to the sparkling glass roses, bowls, and plates he offered for sale Sunday at Marion’s Art and Music Stroll.

Charpentier, a glass blower from Emporia, displayed his art in front of Flint Hills Gold at Third and Main streets and visited with those who stopped to admire his work.

“I would die without this,” Charpentier said. “It is definitely not a hobby for me. It’s a passion.”

Charpentier said he enjoyed the danger of his medium, melting blocks of glass into interesting shapes after removing them from a furnace that reaches 1,000 degrees.

A large blue glass bowl with a folded lip drew the attention of several strollers, and Charpentier admitted that sometimes mistakes resulted in the best designs.

“I was actually going to throw that out,” he said. “I turned away from the furnace for just a second and the side drooped over and stuck. It was a big mistake.”

Charpentier’s talent, exemplified by tables of glass flowers, globes, cacti, and conch shells, was no mistake, however. He even turned glass balls, left on the end of his blowing rod after creating a larger item, into crimped and flowered paperweights in a glittering array of colors.

Charpentier is a regular consigning artist at Jan Davis’ Gallery 101 of the Flint Hills shop at 106 E. Main in Marion.

Many artists exhibiting at the Art and Music Stroll had connections to Davis, her store, or to Marion, including woodworker Mark DeCou from Elmdale.

“I walked into Jan’s gallery one day and inquired about printmaking,” DeCou said. “It turns out she has a degree in it and gave me several classes. I plan to incorporate it into my work someday.”

DeCou is a mixed media artist, combining carpentry and sculpting to create a wide array of wooden toys, caskets, canes, bowls, and functional furniture.

“People in this area generally like art that combines form and function,” he said. “If they are going to purchase something for their home, it has to serve a purpose. It is a Midwest mindset sort of thing.”

Though DeCou did not have many sales on Sunday, he said the bass guitar he handcrafted drew a lot of interest. Maybe it was because of the musicians also in town for the Art and Music Stroll.

Melodies from musicians playing guitars, saxophones, and a harp drifted from the Liberty Park gazebo, business doorways, and street corners. Violinist Mark Wilcox played his instrument in the back hall of Marion Ogden’s Bearly Makin’ It antique shop at 308 E. Main.

“Mark has been a good friend of mine for years,” Ogden said. “I just love his playing.”

Wilcox, a carpenter and violinist, decided several years ago to combine the two skill sets and start hand-making violins.

On Sunday, he played traditional songs on a violin made from tiger maple wood.

Wilcox played his violin at Winfield’s bluegrass festival last year and gave away one of his violins to the second-place winner of a violin playing competition.

 

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