Bob Doring and Curt Dumdie have already made their mark in the area art community.
The longtime partners-in-art and fellow glass-blowers have been impressing southern Minnesota art connoisseurs for decades with glassware that is strikingly colorful and sturdy, yet delicate in form.
Doring is a pioneer of sorts in the glass-blowing community, studying as a teenager at what was one of the first such studios in the state. He hones his techniques at then-Mankato State College before — quite literally — building the glass-blowing program at Virginia Commonwealth University where he pursued graduate studies.
"We built it from the ground up," Doring said, "from pouring the cement to making our own tools."
Later, Doring became the first glass-blower at the Renaissance Festival, where he eventually met Dumdie. The two began working together, traveling around Minnesota and beyond to showcase their wares.
Now, however, the duo doesn't travel quite as often or near as wide as they used to. And, outside of a few stores in the area that carry some of their glassware — The Carnegie Art Center gift shop and Stones Throw Gallery in St. Peter most notably — it can be difficult to find their pieces.
But those interested will have no such trouble during the 11th annual GSR Fine Art Festival held today, Saturday and Sunday at the Verizon Wireless Center.
"We're done in the studio now," Doring said. "And I've got a lot more glass than I could show at one time."
Doring and Dumdie are among nearly 50 artists, most with ties to south-central Minnesota, who are exhibiting in the annual showcase of fine art.
Launched initially as a way for Stones Throw owner and jeweler Patty Conlin to reunite with her apprentices — hence the GSR acronym, which stands for "Goldsmiths' Reunion" — the event has blossomed into something much larger. Conlin and fellow organizers sift through applicants each year, admitting only those that are established, professional artists. The three-day event also includes food and beverage vendors as well as a full music lineup.
But the main draw is, of course, the art.
Among the 10 jewelers is an array of styles and influences. James Nord creates bent wooden rings in the Scandinavian tradition while Holly Ulm Bunde preserves butterfly wings to create wearable pieces of art. North Mankato jeweler Lolly Hinkle creates elegant, understated pieces, often from found objects while Julie Nodine creates jewelery from handmade glass beads.
Among the fiber artists are Madison Lake fashion designer Ahmelie Skistad and Laura Tritch, who makes handcrafted mittens for Minnesota Mitten Creations.
North Mankato's Andrew Judkins will be selling his lushly painted landscapes while area painter Margie Larson will be displaying examples of plein air, abstract and pet paintings.
John Traeger makes impossibly wavy jewelry boxes from such woods as butternut, walnut, mahogany and hickory. Kevin Caufield, a veteran potter who is one of the founding members of the Northern Clay Center, will display his array of dinnerware, raku and ceramic sculpture.
In addition to a handful of area photographers — including Ann Judkins, Jon Smithers and Pat Branstad — the event also includes metalworkers, woodworkers and leatherworkers.
For more information, visit www.gsrfineartfestival.com.
If You Go What GSR Fine Art Festival Where Verizon Wireless Center banquet room When 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. today; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday; and, noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday Admission Free Music lineup Friday 4 p.m.: Jake McInerney & Kaitlin Dahlquist 5 p.m.: Paul & Helen Baumgartner 6 p.m.: Christi Smith and Bonnie Jorgensen Saturday 1 p.m.: West High School-West Connection 1:30 p.m.: Lonesome Ron 2:30 p.m.: East High School-Chamber Singers 3 p.m.: Wayne Schmidt 4 p.m.: Yumiko Oshima-Ryan 4:30 p.m.: Cedar Paddle Band Sunday 1 p.m.: Christine Schulz 2 p.m.: Ron Arsenault 3 p.m.: Holly Schlingmann 4 p.m.: The Frye