Instead of going from store to store with arms full of bags at the local mall, Saturday’s Cotton Block Art Market offered an opportunity for people to browse several things in one shop.
Cedartown native Dwain Rutledge’s table alone featured wooden birdhouses as well as jewelry and knitted scarves from his daughter and son-in-law.
Rutledge, who now lives in Rome, was at the art market last year and was happy to return. “They do a great job with this,” Rutledge said. “It’s a great way for artists to set up and showcase their work and they don’t charge us a penny.”
He said that he had people come in and pick up last-minute gifts and come away with something that Rutledge was glad to make.
While he keeps some of his work available at Old Havana Cigar Co., Rutledge has had people call him for special orders after seeing him at shows.
Such was the case after last year’s art market when someone contacted Ann Pullen, one of the event’s organizers, about having Rutledge make something for them.
One of the new artists that had a table at this year’s market was Adam Sikes, who along with Mike Tappan makes up Brothers Music Collective and had cigar box guitars for sale. “I try to make each one aesthetically pleasing as well as technically sound,” Sikes said. “As a musician, I think it’s silly to have something shaped like an instrument but it just sits on the shelf.”
Sikes played a number of his instruments throughout the day and offered anyone to give them a try. “To me, any guitar is a piece of art anyway,” he said. “I just kind of prettied up what guys have been doing for a hundred years already.”
Sikes is originally from South Georgia but moved to Rome and has only recently begun to take some of his work to area shows. “The art scene here in Rome is amazing. People really do seem to appreciate it here.”
“With such a wide variety of items here, from cigar box guitars to cardboard dinosaurs, it brings in a lot of different people, from adults to children,” Pullen said.
“There has been a steady flow of people through here for most of the day,” said Paula Blevins, who has also worked to put on the art market. “We have had a lot of the same crowd come out from the past, but we have also had a lot of new faces.”
Lisa Brown Ingram, proprietor of Pottery by Lisa, said that December is always a busy month for art shows like the one at the Cotton Block as people try to find a unique gift. “I think it’s fun for people to get out and find gifts that you can’t find in stores … things that don’t come from a can or a box,” she said.