Wired, carved, created: Stockholm Art Fair attracts 100-plus artists


STOCKHOLM, Wis., — Jeff Solberg was pleased to be one of 106 artists displaying their works at the Stockholm Art Fair on Saturday, July 21.

"I came here last year, and it was the best show I ever had," Solberg said. "I sold more here in one day than I have ever sold in a two-day show."

Solberg, from Zumbrota, makes wooden bowls from burls and other unique pieces of wood.

"I had been working with a lathe for some time," he said. "I started making bowls and got addicted to it. It's a hobby that got out of control."

Solberg, who has items on display at the Red Wing Depot, said he can sometimes look at a piece of wood and imagine what it will become, but other times, the wood dictates what it will be.

"Especially with a burl, you never know what is inside or how it is going to hold together," he said. "I use a lot of super glue."

In a booth not far from Solberg, Bud Bullivant twisted black wire into what he calls "one-of-a-kind, three-dimensional drawings inspired by nature."

Bullivant was a middle school art teacher for 33 years. He did a lot of research and based a lesson on traditional Scandinavian and Slavic wire working.

"There is a lot of history in this," he said. "It developed from a utilitarian purpose, making tools and kitchen utensils, and then became more of an art form."

Bullivant made wire forms in the classroom, and his students frequently told him he should sell his pieces.

"I ignored them for 20 years," he said. "Then, 10 years ago, I started coming to art festivals, and now I can't keep up with the sales."

Having retired from teaching, Bullivant creates wire drawings that take the form of elk, deer, coyotes, fish, frogs and other animals.

"They reflect my love of the natural world," he said. "I try to catch a moment that tells a story, such as a moment between a doe and a fawn."

In addition to Solberg and Bullivant, other artists displayed jewelry, paintings, wood carvings, stained glass, beads, pottery, clothing and photography. Food vendors offered a variety of lunch possibilities, while musicians performed on the stage in Village Park near the beach in Stockholm.

"I can't give an exact number of visitors," said Andrea Myklebust, local artist and member of the Stockholm Art Fair planning committee, "but there are thousands. The weather is as nice as it could be."

Myklebust said the success of the Stockholm Art Fair is based on the quality of the group of people who set it up and the support of the community.

"This group of people have worked together for years," she said. "Everyone checks their egos at the door and works to make this an appealing community event."

With a 45-year history, the art fair is an event that "the village takes a lot of pride in," said Myklebust. "It is an important part of the identity of the village."