Inside the Newsroom @ A2 Journal

Welcome to Inside the Newsroom @ A2 Journal, a blog written by the newspaper's staff at A2 Journal, a new, weekly, community newspaper covering Ann Arbor. This blog is a place for members of the newspaper's staff to write their thoughts, observations, opinions and other informative pieces they put together while covering the rich history, interesting people, institutions and traditions that make Ann Arbor such a unique community.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Sunday Artisan Market

What a nice group of vendors at the Ann Arbor Artisan Market on Sunday.

And that's not just because they gave me a wonderful surprise when I introduced myself as a reporter for the soon-to-launch A2 Journal.

All of them had wonderful stories about how they decided to get into their art forms and try to make a living doing what they love.

Several said they'd heard the news of A2 Journal already and seemed genuinely happy to learn about a new weekly newspaper that will cover their town.

When I asked how they'd learned the news, they said they'd heard from vendors who saw Editor Michelle Rogers and I at the farmers' market Saturday. She was taking video and I was behind the camera lens, reporter's notebook in hand.

Although I had to get my grass mowed this afternoon, after all the delightful people I met at the farmers' market Saturday, I had to stop by to meet the artists today, if only for a few hours.

Today's first stop was the booth of Vickie Alexander of Lansing. Her stained glass pieces immediately caught my eye.

She said she's been working with glass for 32 years, but this was her first time at the Tree Town venue.

Alexander said she frequently sets up shop at the farmers' market in Howell, and although she seemed a little disappointed because her first-hour sales were slow, things had picked up by the time I stopped back an hour later.

I couldn't pass up the opportunity to purchase several of her pieces as birthday gifts for two friends.

Next stop was the booth of Judith Russell of Ann Arbor who had high-fire porcelain jewelry, beaded pieces and pottery. It's her third year at the market and she said the Kerrytown spot was a great way to spend a Sunday, regardless of how much (or little) she sells. "It's a community," she said, "as well as a sales venue."

She suggested I check out, a place where she also sells her contemporary seed-beading jewelry with a vintage flair.

And, she said she was having all kinds of fun with pottery, a medium she'd recently gotten back into creating.

The next work that caught my eye was Ann Sheppard's of Ypsilanti. She said many of her brightly colored wall hangings and kids' T-shirts were inspired by her almost 5-year-old son, Jack.

Sheppard said she's been creating her work since 1997, and this year she's added illustrations and photos to her pendants, as well as print on her fabrics.

Although I'd have liked to stay longer, I had to get back home to deal with the grass that had grown wild thanks to all the rain this week.

In two weeks, I plan to return and meet more of the clever artisans who spend their Sundays April through December selling the gorgeous creations they've made.

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