Artists don’t let the rain dampen the excitement at the Edwardsville Art Fair – 71Bait

The Edwardsville Art Fair got off to a rainy start on Friday night, but the rain eased as the night progressed.

The fair will be held at City Park, 101 S. Buchanan in Edwardsville, Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

“I think Edwardsville likes arts and festivals and relishes the opportunity to be outside during these times when we’ve been stuck inside for so many years,” said volunteer Lori Huntley.

Huntley volunteered with the Canvas to Community Committee on Friday night. Canvas to Community is an outreach committee between the city and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and communities like Glen Carbon that tries to get students interested in the city and city residents interested in campus, Huntley said.

Huntley said she’s been to the Edwardsville Art Fair at least a dozen times over the years.

“I’ve always participated as a spectator, but I was interested in volunteering more, so this was a good opportunity,” Huntley said. “It was interesting because the setup changes due to the weather. They had some problems with it electrically earlier, so they took care of everything. I think we’re just looking forward to the rest of the weekend when it’s clearer.”

Jahna Kahrhoff of Webster Groves, Missouri was thrilled to be returning to the Edwardsville Art Fair this weekend.

“This is my second year. I was here last year and had a really great time, so I’m happy to be back,” said Kahrhoff. “I thought this was just a really great show.

“I’m on a committee for an art fair in my neighborhood, so I know what makes a really good fair,” Kahrhoff said. “And everyone (in Edwardsville) was just so welcoming. Everyone in the community was really excited and the people who organized the fair were really great.

“Last year we had really good weather. So I hope the prognosis for tomorrow and Sunday looks pretty good,” said Kohrhoff. “It was just a really good experience and not too far away.”

Kahrhoff crafts bags and accessories from vintage, upcycled and repurposed textiles from antique stores, flea markets and thrift stores. Kahrhoff uses materials from feed sacks, seed sacks, vintage quilts, embroidered linen, purses and clothing.

“And then I make them into bags and I never know what I’m going to make until I put my materials on my desk. It’s like a jigsaw puzzle where I’m just trying to figure out what fits together,” Kahrhoff said.

Lois Gress Neal, who makes handmade chain jewelry, is also a returning artist at the Edwardsville Art Fair. Neal traveled from the Springfield, Missouri area to sell sterling silver, rose and copper jewelry this weekend. She said this is her fourth or fifth year at the Edwardsville Art Fair.

“We travel around to the different shows at this time of year and this is a show that has been very good for us in the past. So here we are again,” Neal said. “This fair has supported me, so I have a fan base that collects my work. So that’s a big part of it; you get to know the people in the area. And they come back and see us – and buy – that’s why I’m here.”

Jon Welborn traveled eight hours from Pittsburg, Texas to attend the Edwardsville Art Fair for the first time. The turner and wood sculptor works with individual, massive finds.

“As someone who does this full-time, that’s what you do,” Welborn said of traveling to art shows. “For those of us who do this frequently, it’s not that far. Also, I have family in St. Louis, so I have a bed to sleep in.”

While Welbron said the show is mostly about sales, he’s also enjoying the area.

As for the weather, “It’s just something you have to put up with,” he said. “It’s never fun.”

St. Louis’ Emily Cross and her mother, Linda – who also serves as a design consultant and emotional support, according to her daughter – are exhibiting at their first Edwardsville Art Fair this weekend.

“So we’re practically local,” said Emily Cross, whose medium is hand-cut paper in the style of German silhouettes. Instead of using scissors, Cross uses an exacto knife to create detailed edges. According to Cross, people often think the job is done with a laser cutter or a Cricut, or that the images are painted.

“Silhouette cutting was kind of a dying art form and I’m really excited that it’s reviving,” said Linda Cross. “People are now doing a lot of creative things with paper and it has multiple layers and dimensions, and I think it’s really great. But still, Emily is the only paper artist at almost every art fair we attend.”

Emily Cross said this is her first year trying to host trade shows.

“So I was very excited to be admitted to the Edwardsville art fair,” she said. “I’ve heard good things. Honestly, I just wanted my name before my 30s. Therefore now.

“I’ve always wanted to fill the world with pretty things, with beautiful things, and that’s really my inspiration for most of my art,” she said.

Cross said she’s looking forward to this weekend’s crowd.

“I always have so much fun talking to people and people always have such interesting things to say,” Cross said.

More information about the Edwardsville Art Fair is available online at

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