Donna Plunkett considers herself a champion of the lonely, the lost, the discarded.
She rescues unwanted paper items otherwise destined for the trash — newspapers, junk mail, catalogs, magazines, candy wrappers and such.
Then she gets rolling, turning strips of paper into tiny loglike pieces that, when stacked together like a woodpile, become three-dimensional works of art.
"I sit down and watch some bad TV and start creating," the Clearwater paper artist says.
Plunkett is one of 200 artisans selected to show and sell original artwork during this weekend's Fine Arts Festival on the Bayou, at Craig Park in Tarpon Springs.
The artists come from around the nation to enjoy the beautiful spring weather and the picturesque backdrop of Spring Bayou while selling paintings, photographs, jewelry, ceramics, fiber, glass, leather, metalworks, sculpture and more. They'll be vying for awards and a share of a purse worth $18,400.
The juried art show, now in its 39th year, is slated to run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission is $5. The ticket price will also get visitors an afternoon of live entertainment and a free beer, wine, soda or water.
On Saturday from 6 to 8 p.m., gates will stay open for a free concert by Circle Sky, a rock 'n' roll band from New Port Richey. Food and drinks will be available.
Good weather is always a plus, but "we will stay open even if it rains," said Sue Thomas, president of the Tarpon Springs Chamber of Commerce, which sponsors the event.
Food choices on both days will include Greek specialties, seafood, hamburgers, hot dogs, salads, barbecue and pastries.
Featured artist Ellen Negley of West Palm Beach created a lively, color-saturated painting for the festival. She calls it Sponge Docks. Stop by her booth, see her lovely tropical watercolor paintings and pick up a signed poster or a T-shirt. Festival posters cost $10 each.
Be sure to mosey on over to Plunkett's booth as well and see her unusual rolled paper art. The 68-year-old fiber artist will gladly spin a yarn or two about the pretty paper and how it came to be.
"There's a story behind each one of my pieces," she says.
For instance, she created an abstract, Caverns of the Mind, based on a colored pencil design she did in elementary school. Vibrant pinks, honey browns and hues of blue are layered on top of each other, each stratum appearing to drip into the next.
She explains how she came to name the painting: "We have thoughts that come into our mind and filter down. That's how our minds work to solve a problem."