The 60 or so artists who will be showing and selling work at the Telfair Art Fair have all traveled different paths to get there.
For artist Cheryl Ross, a broken foot turned out to be a lucky break. Ross makes intricately beaded and embellished jewelry, which will be included in the art fair on Nov. 13 and 14.
I had just moved to Savannah when I broke my foot, she says. I didnt know anyone and couldnt go anywhere.
So instead, Ross beaded -- and beaded -- and beaded.
It gave me the chance to experiment and try new techniques that I wouldnt have done otherwise, she says.
Ross has always been creative. Ive changed media as Ive grown, she says. Ive never had a time in my life when I didnt create.
But Ross has not always worked as an artist. This is my fourth career, she says. I was a social worker, a school teacher and an executive with a brokerage firm. This time, I got to follow my heart.
A native of Brooklyn, New York, Ross has no idea where her talent came from.
My mother couldnt draw a straight line and my father was not interested in art at all, she says. Im completely self-taught.
In her handcrafted art jewelry, Ross uses glass beads from Japan and the Czech Republic. Those are the places that make the finest quality beads, she says.
She also uses high quality findings and clasps. For all the effort I put into something, I want to use the finest quality products I can find, Ross says. I find them in local shops and also online.
Ross uses not only beads in her work, but also fibers, paints and polymer clay. I really do like to combine all of them, she says.
To see Rosss work online, visit pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/cherylmross/my_photos/.
This will be Rosss first time selling at the Telfair Art Fair, although her work has been featured at craft shows throughout Georgia and Florida.
Everywhere I went, people talked about the Telfair Art Fair, Ross says. Everyone said how difficult it is to get into, also how prestigious it is.
Ross is thrilled to be accepted into the show. She will be selling beaded objects, mostly jewelry. I try to make each piece into an heirloom, she says.
Reaction from customers is always positive, Ross says.
They say theyve never seen anything like it before, she says. My goal is to make people who walk by smile, and that happens a lot. Even if people dont buy, it feels good.
But when someone does buy something, its a wonderful feeling. Im at the point where some people have two of my pieces. People look for me at shows to buy from me or else they call or e-mail me to ask me to make something for them.
Ross, who is among a group of 20 artists from Savannah who were accepted into the show, enjoys being around other artists at shows. She is looking forward to her first Telfair experience and is busy beading to get ready for it.
Ive been so successful at recent shows that my inventory is low, Ross says. Im just beading my fingers off.
During a recent road trip, Ross beaded in the car so she wouldnt lose valuable beading time. I wasnt the one driving at the time, she says with a laugh.
However, there was an accident of sorts. We went over a bump and beads went flying all over the car, Ross says. Now I have to vacuum it.
In addition to making art, Ross also teaches art classes in beading and polymer clay. She has her own studio in the upstairs of her house at The Landings.
Ross makes time for her art every day. I dont have the patience to just sit still, she says. If my husband and daughter are watching television, Ill sit with them, but Ill be beading. Im beading eight hours a day. Ill bead for a few hours, then I have to take a break. Ill go for a walk, have a cup of coffee. Its a nice job.
Painter Sharon McIntosh works in watercolors and oils. I really started getting back in the market a couple of years ago, she says. I do mostly coastal, environmental scenes.
McIntosh and her family do a lot of sailing, which inspires much of her work. Ive always been an artist, she says. I started taking art classes in the third grade and continued all the way through college.
Although McIntosh earned a degree in painting from Miami International University, she did not pursue a career in art at first. I moved back to Savannah, she says. It wasnt easy to work as a painter here, so I had to get a job.
Today, McIntosh works part-time at a business, but now considers herself a full-time artist -- except in the summer months.
My husband and son are big sailors, so were on the road in the summer time, she says. I dont get to paint much then. But I do take pictures and in the fall, I turn them into paintings.
McIntoshs paintings can be seen online at her website at www.sharonmcintosh.com.
Like Ross, this is McIntoshs first time at the Telfair Art Fair. Im so excited about it, she says. I know a lot of people enter it, so Im delighted I was accepted.
McIntosh also shows her work at a private show she holds each year. Im looking at doing another show in March, she says. Its a rewarding life.
Sculptor Susie Chisholm works in bronze. Ive been an artist my whole life, she says. I come from a family that encourages art.
My father was an architect, Chisholm says. My mother majored in interior design. I had private lessons when I was young and majored in graphic design in college.
Chisholm has worked at a variety of jobs, including designing billboards. But she always wanted to to do three-dimensional work.
Eight years ago, I took a class sponsored by the City of Savannah Leisure Services Bureau, Chisholm says. Id always loved sculpture, so I signed up. After the third class, the teacher quit, but by then, I was hooked.
Chisholm began seeking out sculpture classes and other opportunities to study. I took anything and everything I could, she says.
Ive been to Italy twice and to Arizona and Colorado to study, Chisholm says. In the past year or so, Ive gotten into art shows. I just got back from one in New York and another very prestigious one in Colorado.
Today, Chisholm is a full-time sculptor. I normally dont get into the studio until 12:30 or 1 p.m., she says. I work until 6:30 to 7 p.m. I do life stuff in the morning, then four to seven hours a day Im doing sculpture.
Chisholms work is figurative. Theyre all people, she says. They are along the lines of classical.
I do work from models, Chisholm says. Someone may hire me to do a piece, or I pick someone to be the model.
Patrons of the Bull Street Library already are familiar with Chisholms work. She did a sculpture of a girl who is curled up in a chair reading that can be seen at the library.
To view Chisholms sculpture online, visit www.susiechisholm.com.
Chisholms studio is at City Market, so she is used to working in the publics eye. I enjoy telling people what I do, she says. I enjoy talking to people.
Most dont understand sculpture, Chisholm says. I dont mind explaining to them how it happens.
One thing most people dont understand is that Chisholm works in clay, which is then cast in bronze. No, the clay is not dipped in the bronze, which is a common misconception.
Another common misconception is the belief that a portrait is always a painting. I have to educate people that they can have a portrait that is not a painting, but a sculpture, Chisholm says. Im working on one right now.
One local artist stole the show at last years fair. The first time Marcus Kenney entered, he was awarded the 2003 Brassler Best of Show award. Working in mixed media, Kenney creates layered collages.
That was the first show I had ever done any where, Kenney says. It worked out for me last year.
Kenney submitted an application at the urging of his wife. Because he had considered his work a craft, he did not realize it would be a good fit for the Telfair Art Fair.
The work there is all high quality, Kenney says. I had never considered it as an option. I didnt think it was the right venue for my work.
Kenney currently has an exhibition of his work up at the Columbus Museum of Art. His work can be seen online at www.marcuskenney.com/.
Ive always been involved in art, Kenney says. I drew a lot as a child and later studied photography. Now I am focusing on my paintings. Im looking forward to the art fair.
The chair of the Telfair Art Fair, Lisa Bell, says a record number of artists applied this year. Out of 275 artists who applied, 60 were chosen to participate in the show.
Its a juried fair, Bell says. People apply for it. They hear about it through trade publications, calendars online and through word of mouth.
This year, we had an incredible number of applicants, not just in number, but in quality, Bell says. After all the applications come in, we have a panel of jurors look at slides and choose the artists.
The jury is changed every year.
It is made up of local artists and others who are active in the art world. Everyone has a chance to rate each artist and we tally up the score, Bell says.
The works are judged again during the art fair and prizes are awarded by Brassler USA. Best of Show receives $1,800, second place receives $1,000 and third place receives $500.
This years judge is William U. Eiland, director of the Georgia Museum of Art in Athens. Eiland was named 2000 Museum Professional of the Year by the Georgia Association of Museums and Galleries, and 1999 Outstanding Museum Professional by the Southeast College Art Conference.
The fair continues to grow in prestige each year. It is getting very difficult to get in, Bell says. We are getting applications from all over the country and from Canada.
This year, artists are coming in from as far as California, Michigan and Maryland, as well as nearby states Florida, North Carolina and Tennessee.
We select a little over 60 because we know some will not be able to come, for whatever reason, Bell says. Wed like to accommodate more, but cant because of the way the tents are set up. We are looking at ways to expand it.
In addition to the artists, there will be activities for the whole family throughout the weekend.
Well have a childrens program in the square on Saturday and Sunday, Bell says. Well have food vendors. People can go and make a morning or afternoon of it.
The various activities also are free activities, including the childrens activities, such as face painting. There will be musical performances sponsored by Adventure Radio, and concessions will be available.
Work on the show begins a full year in advance, Bell says. She began working with the Telfair Art Fair when she was asked to serve on the committee a few years ago.
I just enjoy it so much, Bell says. Its been wonderful. Its a lot of work, but its worth it.
Hours for this years Telfair Art Fair are Saturday, Nov. 13 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 14 from 12:30-4:30 p.m. Admission is free.