The toasted fragrance of autumn leaves and hot cheesy bagels from U-Rok Bakery; the giggle of children speaking French as they drew on the Graffiti Wall; resplendent display of textile treasures; sounds of Conrad Gulch Ramblers tuning up to rock our afternoon. Saturday’s Artist in Action Festival was a cacophony of sounds, smells, electric colors and textures.

Forty-four artists from Redding, Shingleton and Trinity County packed the sidewalks of Main Street to share their passion with the hundreds of visitors from the North State and France, Wales, Germany, Israel, and all regions of Trinity County. The festival was designed so that artists could share their process of creation in hopes that the exposure would spark the interest in others. Thanks to the generosity of our artists, the event has morphed into a hands-on experience into crafts many of us have never heard of; Hypertufa?

Kids and adults enjoyed the experience of sinking their hands into cement to form clever garden art.  Several jewelers offered opportunities to bend wire with gemstones to make earrings, rings and be-jeweled spiders. Many enjoyed the ancient art of Batik, where hot wax and colorful dyes yield gorgeous fabric wall hangings. Painters engaged visitors to experience pouring alcohol ink into colorful coasters, marble painting scarves, and experiencing silk screening.  

One creative artist had people making turkeys from assorted colored leaves and pinecones. And at Studio G, people lined up to glaze the souviener ceramic bowls and cups then watch the fire and smoke reduction process create iridescent ceramic art.  

“I love the art of forming metal into jewelry. The festival allows me to take my bench outside and show my customers how I make my jewelry,” Gold Rush Jewelers’ Jean Lam said. “But the real joy was handing my hammer to a little boy and letting him pound the copper. Watching his eyes get big and the smile grow as he handled my tools. He loved it! And so did I. This could be the spark that makes him want to be a jeweler. This is why we do the event.”

The Artists in Action Festival combined with the Salmon Festival at the Highland Art Center meadow, Dutch Oven Cook-off and Blacksmith Shop at the Jake Jackson Museum, and tours of the Joss House Chinese temple offered visitors a cultural extravaganza. One mile of family fun.   

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