The Boston Arts Festival returned to Christopher Columbus Park for the 17th year on September 7th and 8th. Local artists set up booths featuring a variety of art and high-end craft such as jewelry, photography, painting, and woodworking. Taking to the stage, fourteen Boston bands entertained visitors with musicians such as Prateek, who was selected by NPR as the artist to watch, and Eduardo Betancourt, a Grammy-award winning Venezuelan musician.

Ford, the presenting sponsor of the event, unveiled their 2020 lineup and offered test drives for attendees. Also supporting the festival, Cascadian Farm handed out free samples to visitors.

Gary Kaplan, who’s been woodturning for about thirteen years, was more than happy to share his passion of bowls constructed from downed trees with anyone who stopped by his booth. It takes a year, he explained, for the wood to dry completely before the bowl can be finished. Because the process time is so long, he’s found ingenious ways to salvage split wood in order to avoid wasting it such as mending it with straps and beads found in the pictures below.

Gary Kaplan shows off his wooden bowl.

“The spalted bowls are my most popular today,” he said holding up his final spalted bowl available on his table. He explained that spalting occurs when the wood begins to decompose, creating unique patterns on his bowls. He went on to show a variety of other wood grains and his segmented bowls, which he created from piecing together other wood rings.

All of his bowls are completely functional, food-safe bowls, but he doesn’t just make bowls. His booth also held wooden pens and pencils, platters, and vases. “I don’t sell my work online. I want people to feel my bowls in their hands,” he stated.

Another artist, Sherry Divedi, displayed a beautiful array of fabrics which she made using old lost weaving techniques. With the mission of empowerment through fashion, Sherry passes along her knowledge to women in low-income communities. Using bamboo and silk yarn, her fabric holds beautiful designs that can be worn in six different ways.

Sherry Divedi’s fabrics at her booth during the Boston Arts Festival.

Playfully dubbed the “Aht” Festival, Boston’s 17th Annual Arts Festival was the launch of Boston’s Open Studios season. The festival was originally founded in 2003 by Mayor Thomas M. Menino and the City of Boston’s Office of Arts, Tourism and Special Events. The event successfully brought a number of local art, craft and music to residents and visitors. For a full list of participating artists and musicians, visit here.

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