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7th annual Hawaii Artist Collaboration culminates with benefit auction Saturday

October 26, 2017 - 11:14pm

HOLUALOA — Sawdust and wood chips covered the ground, kilns were stoked and jewelry makers were intent on details.

Such was the scene as 40 artists from four countries gathered at Tai Lake’s Holualoa shop this week for four days of collaborative creation between varied media including woodwork, blacksmith, jewelry and pottery.

The artists and their pieces, all made from reclaimed objects, are the highlight of the seventh annual Hawaii Artist Collaboration.

The unique pieces made by some of the masters of their field will be auctioned from 4-8 p.m. Saturday at the Holualoa Inn. Proceeds from the admission and drinks will go to Children’s Art Project for West Hawaii schools, where teachers will get credit at Akamai Art Supply to purchase supplies for their classroom.

“We started with nothing,” said Lake, who along with Cliff Johns, brought the collaboration to the Big Island after attending a collaboration on the mainland. “It was a complete leap of faith.”

And what started as basic woodshop with 10-by-20 tarps for the other mediums grew into today’s artist haven. Artists who never overlapped their disciplines began coming together, eventually creating a community of artists interested in sharing talents and time.

“It enriches themselves and everyone around them,” said Lake.

“Our original intent was to bring this event to the Big Island and have other communities hold weekend events using different medium,” added Johns. “There are so many different mediums and artists on the island, it’s amazing the different things you pick up. It’s not about making money, it’s about spreading art — one-of-a-kind things.”

Most of the artists involved are teachers themselves, eager to share their talent with the community. Coming together and intermingling is one of the best parts.

“If you play music, that’s great, but where’s the orchestra?” Lake said. “We are cross-pollinating art forms on the island.”

M. Craig Campbell is a blacksmith from Saskatoon, Canada, birthplace of the Artist Collaboration movement in 2004. He worked this week at a 2,800-2,900 degree coal fire creating wingnuts and iron hardware for a woodworker building a table.

“These are my people, a wonderful tribe,” said Campbell. “So many of us work alone in our studio, having the buzz of all of this is magical.”

And magical it was.

The energy was almost palpable as artists worked together, exchanging ideas and morphing their projects as they progressed.

This year was Papaikou woodturner Aaron Hammer’s first time at the collaboration. He was shaving spindles on a lathe for another artist’s inspiration.

“I love working with professional, like-minded, dedicated people,” said Hammer. “The dedication to our craft comes from teaching and demonstrations.”

Campbell summed up the event.

“Collaboration equals 100 percent work and 100 percent fun — and where else can you live your life at 200 percent?”

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