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Rail Walk artists to host festival of gifts

By Marietta Smith

The artists of Rail Walk Studios & Gallery keep their eyes open throughout the year for beautifully made handcrafted items and the North Carolina artists who create them. When they find an artist whose work they want to show, they invite that artist to participate in the “Festival of Gifts — an Invitational Exhibit and Sale of Hand-Crafted Art.”

As in years past, the crafts will be accompanied by the “Small Works Exhibit” featuring two dimensional pieces of art by the Rail Walk artists. These small pieces of art were created with gift-giving in mind and are priced accordingly.

This year’s show opens Thursday, Nov. 19 and runs through Saturday, Dec. 19. The “Meet the Artists” reception will be Saturday afternoon, Nov. 21, 2-4 p.m. Festival of Gifts is held at Rail Walk Studios & Gallery 409-413 N. Lee St. in the Rail Walk Arts District of Salisbury.

In response to requests from last year’s visitors, the group decided to extend the show to four weeks instead of three and to remain open on Friday evenings until 6 p.m. Thursdays and Saturdays will be open until 4 p.m. It will open Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 11 a.m.

Many of the most popular artists from previous Festivals of Gifts are returning this year including Salisbury artists: Sue Davis of Sunfire Art with her delightful kaleidoscopes and colorful fused glass objects, Pamela Deal whose beautifully crafted baskets were a big hit last year, Liese Sadler with intricately hand-woven wearable art and goat’s milk soaps, and Patt Legg (now a Rail Walk artist) will have her charming jewelry on display.

From Spencer, Shirl Hull will be bringing her African beaded jewelry and has responded to requests for more of the unique and very popular small purses. Lennie and Ann Cooper will be there from Richfield with wonderful pottery and jewelry.

From Lexington Chris Joss returns with his precious metal and gems jewelry and this year his wife, Kris Joss will join him with her special hand-woven scarves. Sue Smith returns from Winston-Salem bringing a lovely variety of mosaic and glass art. Potters from Western North Carolina, Lin Venhuizen and Deborah Gerard, will return with their practical and decorative ceramic creations.

New artists have been invited to join the event: Judith Long of Germanton with her own recipe soaps and lotions, Mark Smith of Salisbury with stained glass windows and weather vanes, Ina Nikitina of Mooresville with jewelry and gifts, Marla George from Asheville brings ceramic figures and Dorothy Gibson of Salisbury with intricate quilled jewelry creations.

The show and reception are free and open to the public. Rail Walk has plenty of free parking and is easy to find — just four blocks north of the Visitors’ Center on Lee Street. For more information visit www.railwalkgallery.com or call 704-431-8964.

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