WEEKI WACHEE — Inspiration comes from many places and takes many forms — driftwood fish, fantasy bubble wands and even monkey-face night lights. All of which are on display this weekend at the Spring Hill Art League's 36th annual Fall Harvest of Art.
On Saturday morning, organizers and artists at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park smiled at the great weather.
"It's wonderful," said Esther Phol, president of the art league, as she surveyed the number of guests arriving at the park. "The numbers look really good right now."
The organizers hoped to attract 4,000 guests to the event — 3,000 on Saturday and an additional 1,000 today. They also hope visitors will fall in love with the art or spot the perfect Christmas gift.
"The economy has affected artists drastically," said stained glass artist Peter Schoenly. "Art isn't something people need to buy, plus the costs of our materials has tripled."
Schoenly and his wife, Stephanie Price, collaborate on a variety of colorful stained-glass pieces.
Some of their work is inspired by ideas that just come, he said. And some is inspired by life itself. The couple recently attended a child's birthday party where monkeys were extremely popular. Price began adding monkey faces to her night light line, and they have been selling quickly.
Inspiration by children was evident in some of the pastel portraits by Lynne Simone, as well as the whimsical products available through Fantasy Creations of St. Petersburg.
Artist and owner Trish Ekhott demonstrated the correct way to master her wooden fantasy bubble wand. A giant bubble danced in the wind, attracting onlookers.
"My grandfather made my first one when I was 7," Ekhott told a young girl.
Ekhott also sells marshmallow shooters, fairy wands and one-of-a-kind clocks with unique beads, wires and decorative materials on them.
Joey Barkhouse of Crystal River, who works under the name of Forest Fish, creates fish from pieces of discarded wood.
"I see a piece of wood rotting away, and it's just about to go out of existence," Barkhouse said. "I feel like I'm just snatching it from disappearing altogether."
"Once you start seeing different creatures in the wood, you never know where it's going to go," she said.
Shary Lyssy Marshall can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.