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2:04 AM Thu, Nov. 15th

Decayed wood transformed into art; watercolors and more featured at fest

Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->Wood Whisperings' Bill Daggett of Paradise Valley won Best of Show at the annual Mountain Artist Guild Arts and Crafts Show on the Yavapai County Courthouse Plaza Saturday afternoon. The show continues through Sunday afternoon.<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->

Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->Wood Whisperings' Bill Daggett of Paradise Valley won Best of Show at the annual Mountain Artist Guild Arts and Crafts Show on the Yavapai County Courthouse Plaza Saturday afternoon. The show continues through Sunday afternoon.<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->

Prescott's Courthouse Plaza was alive with the vibrancy of the visual medium on Saturday, Aug. 8 with the Mountain Artists Guild 65th Annual Prescott Arts & Crafts Festival. Featuring a variety of media, the festival saw the inclusion of every kind of artist, from painters and photographers to glass blowers and woodworkers.

One medium presented was art made from decayed wood by John Hoyt, who said he has been doing it for two years. It started out as physical therapy for a broken back, but he's hoping to turn it into a career.

Hoyt said he finds all his pieces locally, within 15 miles of Courthouse Plaza, adding that working with dead and downed woods is a celebration of decay.

"I'm trying to capture a picture of a moment of the decay," he said, mentioning that all his pieces were burls formed by parasites, viruses and trauma. "The second stage... the decay starts. That's where you get all these wonderful colors and all the details come out. It's a snapshot of the decay of the wood."

Hoyt said he hand carves with chisels and never uses chemicals - he views using heavy lacquer as putting a separation between the artist and the art.

There were also watercolor paintings by Lisa Lopuck at the festival. Lopuck has been painting since she was 8 years old, starting in oils and switching to watercolor about 15 years ago. She said she's gotten to a point where she has a unique style for watercolor.

Painting mainly horses, Lopuck said the equine inspiration comes from a life of riding, competing, training and raising horses. She said she loves coming out and meeting people and talking about her work.

"There are people who are horse fans, there are people who are artists," she said. "So we're just connecting on mutual interests."

Other creations included handmade pottery by Teri Howard and hand blown glass by Rick Hunter. Howard said she's been making the pottery for nine years and started when she was in high school. In class, she said she used to make tiny gnomes and dragons and her teacher told her she needed to take hold of the craft.

Howard said she loves making the sculptures because it lets her make things that bring smiles to her and other people, as well as allows her to explore her creativity.

"It's interesting to be able to tell people how we make it," she said, mentioning that all her work is started out on the pottery wheel, with a base form, then altered with all the details added by hand. As for the time it takes to make the creations, it depends on the detail, with the simple creations taking between 30 to 40 minutes and the most detailed taking eight hours.

Hunter said he's been hand blowing glass for a quarter of a century and got into it through the curriculum to his art major. He enjoys doing it because he likes the heat of it, as well as the fun that comes out of it. As with Howard's work, Hunter said the time it takes to make a piece depends on the piece itself.

"Some take 20 minutes," he said. "Some take an hour and a half."

The Mountain Artists Guild 65th Annual Prescott Arts & Crafts Festival continues Sunday, Aug. 9 at the Courthouse Plaza from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Follow reporter Jason Wheeler on Twitter @PrescottWheels. Reach him at 928-445-3333 ext. 2037 or at 928-642-5277.