CANAAN — Karen Campbell picked up a broken seashell, snipped a foot-long piece of aluminum wire with a pair of cutters and started wrapping the wire around the shell.

“I’m going to make a flower out of the broken shell,” she said, cutting two more pieces of wire. “Now I’m going to work in some leaves. These flowers you don’t have to water.”

She smiled, her fingers working deftly as she created leaves, a stem and base for the flower, which was the shell itself.

Campbell, 58, of Carrabassett Valley, was demonstrating her wire works Saturday at Maine Craft Weekend, a statewide tour of studios, breweries and businesses, held locally at the Canaan Farmers Hall and continuing Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Campbell joined about 20 other artists at the hall who displayed their works and gave demonstrations on how they paint, carve wood, weave baskets and do other crafts.

Their works were displayed on the ground floor and the second floor of the old building, built in 1897 as a Grange hall and converted to the farmers’ hall six years ago. A work of art in itself, the building has been undergoing renovation made possible through fundraising efforts. New electrical work, a handicapped-accessible elevator that goes to the second floor and an outdoor deck with a staircase to the second floor are among projects completed.

Artist Kathleen Perelka, who organized the local Maine Craft Weekend and is a member of the hall’s board of directors, said it was important that artists and artisans show patrons how they do their work at the event.

“I think people really need to see what the process is that people go through to get to the end,” she said. “This is really as much about education as it is about sales.”

Perelka, featured artist for October for Maine Center for Craft, in Gardiner, taught art 34 years and started working in pastels about 20 years ago. A Canaan resident, she owns Pinnacle Studio and has been doing shows for the last 13 years.

Campbell also has a studio, in Carrabassett Valley, called KC’s Kreativity Center, where she does and teaches art, pottery, sculpture, matting and framing, and holds special events.

Campbell also is a school bus driver who retired more than a year ago from running bars for 34 years. A 1977 Brewer High School graduate, she took college classes but is basically self-taught.

“I had a real creative upbringing,” she said. “My grandparents were very talented. My grandmother was a painter and I had an aunt who gave me crafting things to make for Christmas. I cut glass. I made jewelry, sculpted.”

Her studio is a wide-open space with five pottery wheels, a kiln with hundreds of pounds of clay, glazes and tools.

“I teach pottery. I have an open studio two times a week, year-round.”

The vice president of Upcountry Artists, of which Perelka is president, Campbell had many pieces on display Saturday, including a wire earring rack, a decorative cowboy boot, vases, a mobile made from a lobster bait bag, Christmas ornaments and an old, 12-paned window with each pane featuring a different wire design.

Roxanne Robinson, 66, of Clinton, bought two wire ornaments in the shapes of mountains for her granddaughter, Kacey Bickford, 19, of Benton. Bickford’s mother, Melissa Bickford, 42, also of Benton, was with them at the event.

“I just love mountains,” Kacey Bickford said. “I love to go hiking and I love Christmas trees, so I’m going to put these on my Christmas tree.”

Melissa Bickford said she thought Campbell’s works were beautiful and unique. Melissa said her best friend, Pamela Fortin, also was displaying her crafts Saturday on the first floor — screen-printed towels and other home goods from her business, North Circle Studio, of Fairfield.

“I always come to support her,” Melissa said, adding that all the vendors Saturday had beautiful items for display and sale.

“They’re all so different,” she said. “That’s what I like about it.”

Campbell’s works include exquisite fish wall art made from small pieces of beer and club soda cans affixed to hardware cloth, or wire mesh, and a top hat made from colorful bottle caps. She said Saturday’s exhibit was a good way to showcase local artist and artisans.

“There’s a lot of talent around here and it’s good for people to be aware of that and decorate their walls with our stuff,” she said.

Canaan photographer Barbara Joseph was showing her framed photographs, prints and cards featuring outdoor scenes.

“I love beauty, particularly in nature,” Joseph said. “I have a love affair with my gardens; and on my walks, something will catch my attention — color or light, and of course, there’s water.”

Exhibitors included wood carver Doug Frati, artist Sue Hellewell, beader Amanda Slamm and Alan Haley, who works in wood.

Maine Craft Weekend is being held in conjunction with American Craft Week, a nationwide event that promotes craft events during the month of October. The self-guided tour features artisans, artists and businesses from around the state that are not regularly open to the public. Maine Craft Weekend was developed by the The Maine Crafts Association and the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development’s Maine Made Program.

Glass blowing studios, craft beer breweries and craft beer brewery-restaurants took part. Central Maine participants included Tree Spirits Winery & Distillery in Oakland, featuring Christopher Hastings Confections, of Waterville, and the Center for Maine Craft, in Gardiner.

On Oct. 21 and 22, Canaan Farmers Hall will present “Polter-heist,” a dinner mystery theater being held to benefit ongoing building work. Common Threads Weekend will be Nov. 10-12 and will feature arts and crafts, a cookie walk, a stone soup potluck and a vegetable orchestra demonstration, with 25 percent of proceeds going to benefit farmers’ hall work. John Meader’s planetarium will be on tap at 12:30 Nov. 11. More information is available by calling 474-3205.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

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