Outdoor Arts Show Planned for the Slate River Valley

By Pat Forrest

Fashion designer Joyce Seppala can still recall the feeling of shock that she and her partner, potter Fritz Lehmberg, felt when they returned home from Cuba in the spring of 2020 only to discover that the world had changed. Having been offline for their entire vacation, the news about the pandemic hit them hard.

A jacket by Joyce Seppala Designs

“We were completely stunned. The big artisan shows that we have attended for years were closed. There was no way to have in-person contact with others. We immediately felt the loss of the energy that comes from exchanging ideas and just being together,” she says.

Their solution was to get creative. Lehmberg was the founder of a cross-border artisan tour that ran for many years with great success. The couple put their heads together and came up with a concept that would see a variety of talented artisans of diverse backgrounds sharing their stories, their techniques, and their work with the public. Autumn Rendezvous TBay was born and was such a hit that plans for a similar spring event are well underway.

“Strolling among nature, enjoying the spirit garden and all those great conversations left people glowing. Arts add such joy to life and people were urging us to do it again. They said they felt the magic in the air,” Seppala says. Spring Rendezvous TBay is slated for May 28–30 on the Lehmberg-Seppala property on Highway 61 and promises to be an antidote to the COVID-19 blues. Getting there is part of the joy of the experience as visitors will witness the beauty of the Slate River Valley and the enjoyment of walking through the tall pine trees to reach their destination. “The journey down the drive is part of the buildup to experiencing what we do, which is to work with lots of natural materials,” Seppala says.

Soapstone carving by Sleeping Giant Stone

Apart from Seppala (Joyce Seppala Designs, designer clothing) and Lehmberg (Early Snows Pottery, wood-fired pottery), vendors will include Elizabeth Tornblom (Lunar Moose Treasures) with jewelry made from birch bark and wasp nests, soapstone carver Deborah Spear (Sleeping Giant Stone), the whimsical driftwood and other creations of Sue Holloway (The Woodland Faery), and the eclectic works of Kerry Crooks and Curtis Wilson (Fablewood Homestead). On Saturday only, Jen Huhta of Roses & Purls Artisan Yarns will have hand-dyed wool and woven goods for sale.

Each artisan will contribute an item to a prize gift basket with each purchase giving participants a ballot for the draw.

The COVID-19 health guidelines of the day will be in place. For more information and updates on new developments, follow them on Facebook and on Instagram @springrendezvoustbay.