Sammamish Arts Fair brings art to life at City Hall, library

October 2, 2012

By Lillian O'Rorke

‘Los amantes,’ by Leslie Moon, who is making her first appearance at the Sammamish Arts Fair. By Leslie Moon

Pablo Picasso once said that every child is an artist — the problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.

But with any luck, that may not be a problem next weekend when area artists invite the public to a free two-day event of experiencing and exploring art.

“I like experimentation. I think people should. If they fail, who cares?” asked print maker Leslie Moon “Doing my art and sharing my art with people is what fuels my soul.”

Moon is one of 31 artists who were hand-selected by a panel of peers to take part in the sixth annual Sammamish Arts Fair. Her black-and-white images, printed from raw cuts on a linoleum block will be on display there. Next to the finished pieces, Moon’s sharp carving tools will be ready and available to any adults who want to feed their curiosity about printmaking. This is the artist’s first time taking part in the event.

“Living out in North Bend, I used to think I had to go into Seattle or Bellevue. Then I found this art community in Issaquah and Sammamish and it’s fabulous,” Moon said. “Whenever I can be in a situation where I am just an artist, it’s wonderful. Everything else goes away and I can just be Leslie the artist, and it just fuels me for the day.”

The fair will stretch from inside City Hall — where paintings, jewelry, ceramics, textile art and more will be available for purchase — to the library and the grounds in between. Out in the plaza, families can watch live musical performances and take part in different art projects, including contributing to a community mural. Ten easels will be set up in a line and a volunteer artist will start the mural and then invite fairgoers to make their own mark.

Another art encounter planned for the event is the Junk Chime, a mobile percussion sculpture that is suspended for tone and hung from a wheeled superstructure. Made from recycled metal objects, the project was started in Seattle in 1985 and has since evolved through its use by children and adults at various fairs and festivals.

“To compliment the display of art … we wanted to make it a family day,” said Daphne Robinson, chairwoman of the Sammamish Arts Commission, which is helping to put on the event. “Usually it’s a beautiful day … people can come look at the art and go help make a quilt, go see a puppet show.”

One of the fair’s founding artists is Joe McConnell. While the reins have since been passed on, the wood carver and teacher will still have his work on display, including a 4-foot totem pole that depicts McConnell’s story of moving to Sammamish from the other side of the country.

If you go

Sammamish Arts Fair

  • 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 13-14
  • Sammamish City Hall
  • 801 228th Ave. S.E.
  • Learn more about the free event and find links to artists’ websites at

“Once you’ve established what you want to say, then you find the animals or characters or design elements that help you say that,” he explained the process of crafting a totem pole.

The fact that you can find an artist who makes totem poles, and others who paint or work with glass all in the same community is one of the main inspirations behind the fair, he said.

“As an artist, I became aware of the diversity of the different artists and the different things they are doing just on the plateau,” McConnell said. “Every type of art form that you could go into a museum or gallery to see is represented here.”

To get ready for the event, Pamela Holderman set a goal for herself months ago to do a painting a day. Her mixed-media pieces start out with humble beginnings — builder’s joint compound, which can be picked up at any local hardware store. She first slabs it on a board, then draws lines through the mud. Next, she applies layer after layer of paint, paper and things like old stamps and buttons. Holderman, who majored in sculpture in college, has even been known to add glitter to her final pieces.

“I always have a million ideas going through my head. Right now, I have a thing for crows,” she said.

Holderman will work on a painting throughout the weekend so people can see her work come together and ask questions.

“I am a little nervous sitting there listening to people talk about my stuff,” she said. “But I am a big girl. I can handle it. I think it’s going to be a lot fun.”

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