An artist’s view

Local artist gives insight on preparing for shows

Johanna Andronis, left, and metalsmith Emerson Graves, of Adorned Smithing Co., converse at her booth, Saturday evening, during Art on The Rocks. (Journal photo by Corey Kelly)

MARQUETTE — Over 10,000 visitors are expected to visit Art on the Rocks and the Outback Art Fair this year.

For the artists showcasing their work, the planning and preparation for events like these started long before when the event opened Saturday.

For metalsmith Emerson Graves, preparing to show in a public setting started as early as last year.

“Planning and preparation happens throughout the year as far as designs and what kind of pieces I want to showcase, but the actual bulk of the work happens over the last six weeks or so,” said Graves.

Graves, a second year exhibitor at Art on the Rocks, is a local artist who produces work as Adorned Smithing Co. Graves uses sterling silver-, turquoise- and variscite-based materials.

“I would say my jewelry is mainly comprised of contemporary designs using traditional southwestern patterns, seventh generation Navajo stamps with the combination of contemporary design for the overall piece,” Graves explained.

During the year Graves works out of her home and sells her creations through her website.

At Art on the Rocks, Grave’s work is being judged and exhibited alongside more than 140 other artists, both local and from around the country. She has prepared an inventory that represents both her salability and her artistry.

“It’s having that good balance between sellable work that is going to be available for everybody and having those few higher-end pieces that really shows what I am made of,” said Graves.

The fair is more than just a place for exhibitors to compete for prizes, sell and display their work, it’s also a place for professional development and community.

“It’s a bonus to have other artists looking at my work and seeing what I am capable of,” Graves said. “It’s a positive aspect and I think it adds a flavor to the show.”

Even with all the effort Graves has put into this weekend, she isn’t worried about how the public or the judges will receive her work.

“I am just here to enjoy myself,” Graves said. “Being able to have a venue for local clients and customers to come to, as well as being around a lot of other artists in the area to collaborate and talk with new people, is worth it.”

On Saturday, three judges walked the grounds of the Art on the Rocks show to assess artists on their craftsmanship and creativity. Those who place in the categories of Best of Show, Best of 2D and Best of 3D will be awarded cash prizes totaling $5,000.The winning artist will be announced at the fair, as soon as the show opens, Sunday morning. Results will also be posted on the group’s Facebook page.

Artist will be exhibiting their work at Art on the Rocks until 4 p.m. today and at Outback Art Fair until 5 p.m. Art on the Rocks is located in Mattson Lower Harbor Park near downtown, while the Outback Art Fair is at Shiras Park along Lakeshore Boulevard.

To learn more about Art on the Rocks, visit or the group’s Facebook page. More information on the Outback Art Fair can be found at To see more work by Emerson Graves,visit

Corey Kelly can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 243. Her email address is