Archive for Friday, March 4, 2011

Marble artists descend on Bonner for its annual ‘crazy’ event

Marbles displayed during Marble Crazy included these marbles made by Geoffrey Beetem (pictured in background), Athens, Ohio. Marble Crazy will continue through Sunday.

Marbles displayed during Marble Crazy included these marbles made by Geoffrey Beetem (pictured in background), Athens, Ohio. Marble Crazy will continue through Sunday.

March 4, 2011

Marble Crazy, which kicked off Friday afternoon at Moon Marble Company in Bonner Springs, brought together marble artists and enthusiasts from across the country, just as it does every year.

Sammy Flowers, a marble artist from Duluth, Minn., demonstrates his lamp-working marble technique during Friday afternoon.

Sammy Flowers, a marble artist from Duluth, Minn., demonstrates his lamp-working marble technique during Friday afternoon.

But unlike the jam-packed atmosphere usually associated with the annual event, Friday’s rain gave attendees a little room to breathe — and that’s not such a bad thing, Moon Marble owner Bruce Breslow said.

“I think the rain has deterred folks from coming, but there’s plenty of people here and it’s very pleasant that it hasn’t been so crowded in here,” Breslow said Friday afternoon, noting that previous Marble Crazy events have been so packed, people have had to wait outside for others to leave before getting in. “The artists have time to communicate and chat with each other.”

Artists in attendance over the weekend will total 21, with each of them getting a chance to demonstrate for the crowd over the weekend their own, individual lamp-working, furnace and machine marble-making techniques. The individual stamp each artist puts on their marble-making process is what has drawn Ron Keller, Hays, to the event the past two years.

“I like the demonstrations,” Keller said. “I like to see what the artists are doing, look at their techniques. It’s interesting to see how different their techniques are. I just love to come and be around all of it and see what the artists are doing. It’s just a great event.”

Most of the artists this year were returning from demonstrating at past Marble Crazy’s. Take Jes Durfee, who works as a professional marble and glass artist in Duluth, Minn., and has attended the Marble Crazy the past three years. He said for him to become a marble artist was almost destined, given the fact his mother’s maiden name is Marble.

“That’s why I felt so connected with marbles, ‘cause I am a Marble,” Durfee, who has been a glass artist for 10 years, said.

Also returning for the third year was Sammy Flowers, from Duluth, Minn., as well. He said he used to dabble in glass blowing, but then he attended his first Marble Crazy.

“I was super inspired by all these legendary, really, really well-known marble makers,” Flowers, who is now a professional marble artist himself, said. “It changed my life.”

Flowers demonstrated his lamp-working technique Friday afternoon, and he said the demonstrations help him as much as those attendees who watch him and listen to him explain his marble-making process.

“I like explaining, because then it helps me go through the process … it slows (the process) down and makes me a lot more precise,” Flowers said.

Attending for the first time was marble artist Jerry Spangler, Jackson, Minn., who will demonstrate Saturday of the event. He has been collecting vintage marbles for about 11 years, and he said one of the best parts of the event for him was getting a chance to meet some of the creators of those marbles in the flesh.

“I’ll be honest with you, I think it’s fantastic,” Spangler said of the event. “It’s exciting for me to meet the people whose marbles I’ve collected before. “It’s just something I never thought I’d have the opportunity to do.”

Marble Crazy will continue from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, and with weather conditions expected to be mostly sunny, it’s highly likely Saturday’s turnout will be as large as ever.

For those who can’t make it out, Moon Marble is offering live streaming of the demonstrations throughout the weekend. The live stream can be viewed at marblecrazy.com.

Marble Crazy will conclude with a marble collector’s show sponsored by the Kansas City Marble Collectors Club from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sunday, at the Holiday Inn-Olathe Mecial Center, 101 W. 151st St., Olathe.

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