Jim’s Gems – Booth 401
Jim Runkle, from DeLeon Springs in Volusia County, Florida, designs and produces rings, pendants, earrings and other fine jewelry from opals he and his wife, Barbara, mine in Australia at Lightning Ridge, New South Wales. Jim’s Gems, the Runkle’s national and international enterprise, is the 2017 Market Days Featured Artist. Jim has specialized in opal jewelry for the last 25 years and has been a jewelry artist for 40 years.
Jim and Barbara spend six or seven months a year at their opal mine in Lightning Ridge. The opals are mined and cut in Australia, but the jewelry is produced in the United States. The rest of the year is in the U.S. at their home in DeLeon Springs near DeLand in Volusia County or traveling to art and gem and mineral shows.
“We love it over there,” Barbara says of Australia, but DeLeon Springs has been their home for decades. Jim was a Florida Highway Patrol trooper in Volusia County and the couple raised their family there. Jim usually worked the night shift and, according to Barbara, “needed something to occupy himself in the daytime.” He learned to cut gemstones from his father. “All our stones are solid opal. We do it from the ground up,” Barbara says. “We mine them and cut them. Jim designs and casts the jewelry and then we try to sell it.”
Market Days is one of only two art shows Jim and Barbara attend regularly, and they have been regulars at Market Days for three decades. Be sure to check out their beautiful work during this year’s event!
OTHER SELECTED ARTIST FEATURES
Tallahassee artist Joy Green loves the smiles often generated by folks looking at her original art. “I love to paint! Trees, flowers, even food and beverages,” Joy says. “But my favorite subject is animals – happy animals, with sweet faces and smilie eyes. People often say that my work makes them smile and that makes me smile!”
Whimsicals by Joy, as she has dubbed her art, includes signs, prints, note cards and ornaments – all original and all upbeat. “There is far too much negativity in our lives so I paint happy animals to help take care of that,” she says. Joy also creates humorous signs about wines and coffee, an offshoot of “working at a wine shop with a lot of very funny people.” She also creates “goofy holiday signs.” “I love it. I love making art, interacting with people, sharing humor and the joy in life in general,” Joy says.
One of Market Days attractions for Joy is it generates financial support for a good cause, the Tallahassee Museum. “Supporting a great local venue makes me happy,” she says. “Once I came to Market Days and found out what a great well publicized well organized event it was I was so excited. I talk it up and promote it all year!”
Noah Thorner has been making wonderful wooden toys and puzzles since he was eight. “My grandmother gave me a coping saw and my father helped me learn how to use it. I was up and running after that,” he says.
“I love sharing my handmade heirloom toys with my customers. I have heard so many stories of how delighted they are when they get to share these gifts with their children or grandchildren.”
Noah, now 26, creates a variety of wooden toys and puzzles. In addition to the coping saw, he uses a scroll saw, chain saw and a lathe. He lives in Tallahassee, has been an artist at Market Days six years in a row now. He also has participated in the Lemoyne Chain of Parks Art Festival, the Blue Crab Festival at Panacea and shows at the Florida State University Fine Arts Gallery. His creations have also been placed in shops in Blue Ridge, Georgia, and Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.
Noah considers Market Days in Tallahassee one of his most important exhibits of the year. “As an artist with special needs I was glad they gave me a venue for my work,” he says
Dredging of Pensacola Bay in the early 2000’s, produced thousands of seashells of various sizes, shapes and colors. Like many Pensacola residents, Ron Sutek got a bucket of shells, not sure what he would do with them.
“My wife asked me to make her a pair of earrings,” Ron remembers. “I monkeyed around and made them out of seashells.” His daughter loved them and wanted a pair. Friends also wanted the unique seashell jewelry he was producing. Ron liked what he was doing, but wanted to get better and attended a jeweler’s school in Albuquerque, New Mexico. After the Albuquerque school, Ron stopped creating shell jewelry. He now creates from 14 carat gold, Sterling Silver and Swarovski Crystals and Swarovski Pearls.
Ron has a distinctive location at Market Days, as he emphasizes it: “Building Number one and vendor number one.” His three booths with 9,000 hand-made creations – necklaces, bracelets anklets and earrings – “look like a jewelry shop.” “If you don’t see it, describe it and I can make it,” he says.
It takes Ron and his wife, Sharon, a week to load up their trailer Market Days or other arts and craft show, and then eight hours to actually set up, unloading lights, tables, covers and one box of his special jewelry at a time. Ron travels throughout the country and the Southeast, but Market Days “is always my favorite.” He likes Market Days “because of the people who come to buy and the time of the year,” after Thanksgiving and before Christmas.”
“One of the things I like most is that I’m my own boss doing this kind of work. I come from a manufacturing background, formerly working at Mack Trucks in Maryland where we made engines & transmissions,” Scott relates. “I was always drawn to the ornamental aspect of what metal can do.”
Scott specializes “in 3D crafted items that are heavier duty than what are sold in stores.” He has participated in shows in Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia as well as Florida and Georgia.“I cut, grind , bend and weld the shepherd’s hooks I am selling all myself. Then it is a pretty big job to clean them as well,” Scott says. “I sell lots of Christmas gifts that come with a 100 percent guarantee to not end up in a drawer or a closet!”
Timmynoggy self-fastening plant hooks inspired by a new porch
Timmynoggys are leverage locking hooks for plants, bird feeders, chimes and lots of other things produced by Tallahassee-based LevyLoks and Mechele and Damon Cummins.
Timmynoggys, available in 19 different colors, and recently introduced Timmynoggy Thins for lighter hanging items were inspired by a new back porch. Seventeen years ago, Mechele and Damon had a porch built onto the back of their house. They were setting out furniture and Damon had gotten out his drill to hang plants. “I didn’t want a gazillion holes in the posts on our new porch,” Mechele recalls. “I asked him if he couldn’t come up with something that could wrap around the post on its own.” Off to the shop Damon went and after 11 tries, he developed a plant hook which could be attached without drilling holes.
The Timmynoggy name was as innovative as the new leverage locking hooks. “I happened to be looking at a list of words that had been removed from the English dictionary because they weren’t used much any more and I came across Timmynoggy,” Mechele says. ”I thought it was perfect when I read the definition – a device that saves time and labor.”This is only their second Market Days. “We are still newbies,” she says. “But “we love meeting the folks who come to talk to us about our Timmynoggys.”
Pat Falk comes to Tallahassee and Market Days from Owatonna, Minnesota, with “original kiln-fired glass is art that lifts the spirit,” Pat says. Her work includes wall pieces, nature, animals, sea life, fish, birds and functional bowls.
Her collections vary from traditional to contemporary and her recent designs “are mellifluous abstractions in primary colors in many forms.” Her work “appeals to collectors because of the joy it brings,” she says.
Pat travels long distances to major shows from her Minnesota home, including events in Florida from October through April each year. “I did LeMoyne Chain of Parks last April and enjoyed the area. I was looking for a show before Christmas and an artist friend encouraged me to try Market Days,” Pat says.
Pat studied at the Corning Museum of Glass and in Venice and Murano, Italy. “When viewing my art, one can see my influences from artists Miro, Picasso and Kandinsky,” she says. “I am proud of my art and enjoy sharing it with others.”
Justin Howard used a welding background and experience at his cousin’s ranch in north Georgia to develop expertise in horseshoe art and make it his full-time profession. From Ellijay, Georgia, north of Atlanta, Justin returns to Market Days this year offering 60 items made from horseshoes. His art includes horse head and steer head sculptures, chickens, hooks, reindeer, snowmen, Christmas trees, wreaths and other yard art and household items.
While working at his cousin’s ranch, Justin noticed “horseshoes lying around. I started tinkering with them. One thing led to another and I realized this is what I wanted to do,” he says. He took his work to local farmers markets and was so successful, he turned to this new avocation full-time. His previous shows this year include the Georgia Apple Festival and Yellow Daisy Festival at Stone Mountain.
He was born and raised in Marianna in west Florida. His sister lives in Crawfordville and helps out each year during Market Days. “The Tallahassee show, Market Days, has turned out to be really good for me,” Justin says. “I get to see a lot of the people I grew up with and don’t normally see. And last year was phenomenal I almost totally sold on Saturday. I will have a lot more this year.”
Paula Marksbury from Buckhorn Ridge Studio in Athens, Tennessee, has been bringing her one of a kind kiln-formed glass art to Market Days for almost 10 years. She keeps coming back because of “warm welcomes” and “fun people.”
“When I first came to Tallahassee it was because I had done a show in Sanibel the week before and this show was on my way home so I thought I would try it,” Paula says. “I have now done Market Days eight times and every year it has gotten better for me. What I like most is I feel like I am now part of a family in Tallahassee. Warm welcomes and fun people make doing this show easy and a pleasure.”
Paula designs and creates one of a kind kiln-formed glass art. “I build each piece with several layers of glass for depth and interest,” she says. “Each piece is usually fired three to four times during its formation.”
Her pieces include glass wall and table art, rockers, tables and spoons. In addition to Market Days, her major shows include Great Gulf Art Festival in Pensacola, Artfest in Fort Myers, Dogwood in Atlanta and Mainsail in St. Petersburg. She attends two-dozen shows each year.
Lulu Kaufman searches rural south Georgia near her Cuthbert home for old roof tin and barn wood and other “found objects.” The innovative tikki signs, trees, ornaments and other folk art she creates won her recognition two months ago as featured artist at the Yellow Daisy Festival in Stone Mountain, Georgia, one of the top arts and crafts shows in the United States. In 2014 she was featured artist at the Decatur Festival of the Arts, also an Atlanta area show.
“My folk art is created using recycled and found objects. Everything I paint is on old roof tin and barn wood,” Lulu says. “I feel blessed to be doing what I love and being recognized as a featured artist is such a huge honor!” Lulu “paints around the clock” and has been traveling to shows throughout the Southeast for 20 years.
She was exhibiting at the Fairhope Outdoor Art Show 17 years ago when the Market Days Crafts Committee asked her to consider Tallahassee Market Days. “I obliged and I’ve been enjoying my time meeting new friends and customers in Tallahassee year after year,” Lulu says. “My customers are so loyal…The Tallahassee Museum and Market Day team are welcoming, dedicated and organized and a pleasure to work with. They feel like family.”
Quincy’s Fred Fisher managed to convert a fishing hobby and interest in the ancient Oriental art of Gyotaku into a full-time profession which takes him to shows like Market Days. Fred’s acrylic fish etchings have become a Market Days staple and he has become one of the festival’s most popular artists.
Japanese fishermen developed this form of art in the 1800’s “to accurately record the size of their catch,” Fred relates. Each fish is covered with colorful acrylic paint. Hand-made paper is then pressed onto the surface of the fish. “When I lift the paper, a unique mirror image of the fish is created,” he says.
Fred began fish etchings or fish impressions 15 years ago as a fun hobby. It is now a full-time occupation for Fred and his wife, Andi, who exhibit in more than 20 shows a year as far away as Michigan, Texas, Kentucky and the Florida Keys. From Quincy, they are locals and had been Market Day fans for many years before they became vendors. “I am basically a fisherman,” Fred concludes, although now also a talented professional artist, and “one of the best things is still catching the fish.”