By Maggie Caraway
For the Opelika Observer
Spring has officially sprung and it is time for the Sweet Homemade Alabama art show. This year, Sophie’s Muse Handmade Jewelry is presenting the second Sweet Homemade Alabama event. The event will take place on June 5, 2021, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. at the Opelika Art Haus located at 500 N. Railroad Ave.
The Sweet Homemade Alabama Spring Show invites individuals to visit the charming Art Haus for “great art, good food and a worthy cause.” There, you can enjoy art and find various gifts from local artists, all while supporting a worthy cause.
Proceeds will benefit the Community Market, an extension of the Food Bank of East Alabama.
Sophie’s Muse is a business born from artist Kathryn Whetstone’s desire to keep busy during hard times.
“Fourteen years ago when my mother died, I needed something to stay sane … when I lost her, I had to find a focus,” Whetstone said.
That was when she turned to art, specifically handmade jewelry. Whetstone’s signature pieces are hand-molded and crafted from PNC silver. Additionally, some of Whetstone’s bestselling items are made by using impressions of her great-grandmother’s buttons. Named Sophie, and an artist herself, Whetstone’s great grandmother inspired the name for her company and influenced her art style.
Sweet Homemade Alabama features about 18 hand-picked artists from across the state of Alabama and their authentic, homemade art forms. These range from birdhouses, music boxes and pet portraits to apparel, leatherwear and jewelry and so much more.
Pamela Pattillo – woven scarves, jewelry and leather goods, Opelika.
Sam Cheek – folk art, birdhouses and music boxes, Notasulga.
Annie Bartol – acrylics, jewelry and leather, Alex City.
Elizabeth Nist – calligraphy, watercolors and acrylics, Auburn.
Leslie Brasher – watercolors, prints and notecards, Auburn.
Jeffrey Bern – acrylic on canvas; animal subjects, Montgomery.
Talia Lumpkin – handmade plant-based soaps and skin care products, Fairhope.
Bryan Ross – stained glass, Loachapoka.
Loretta Brown – watercolor tie-dyed clothing, Fairhope.
Mary William s- pottery, Auburn.
Rick Atkins – hand-forged knives, Tallassee.
Turner Porter – hand-turned wood, Eclectic.
Robin Reed – hand-poured candles.
Mary Finley – “The Cake Lady” desserts and fruits, Camp Hill.
Bill Whetstone – ceramic statuary, acrylics and oils, Opelika.
Kathryn Whetstone – hand sculpted and fired silver and repurposed jewelry, Opelika.
Jill Holt – oils, Auburn.
Jennifer Melton – repurposed art pieces, Alexander City.
DeDe Wilson – mixed media of acrylic, glass and resin, Jackson’s Gap.
The Community Market, an extension of the Food Bank of East Alabama, will have a booth set up at the Art Haus and will also be receiving a portion of the art sales. Whetstone emphasized the importance of marrying art and charitable foundations.
“People are more prone to give or support an artist or event if they know it also benefits the community, it’s a win-win for everybody,” she said.
Whetstone is excited to host another Sweet Homemade Alabama event after the first show was held in December. Despite being scheduled during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the show was extremely successful. In fact, she believes that the art community could find some light in the darkness that the pandemic created.
“I think there’s an appreciation for hand-made and small businesses that maybe didn’t exist to a very great degree before we went through what we did as a country. So, there’s a new appreciation for the artists and that’s really a nice thing to see,” Whetstone said.
Whetstone emphasized the role the Art Haus plays in bringing art to the Opelika community.
“Their gift to our town is beyond words that I can express,” she said.
The Opelika Art Haus is “committed to recognizing, educating, supporting and enriching our community,” according to its website. Art Haus works in conjunction with local and regional artists to create a space to display their work while simultaneously supporting them and bettering the community as well. Not only does the establishment have spaces to display artists’ work, but it also has working studio space so artists can create their work in-house. The ultimate goal of the Art Haus is to create a “creative space for creative people,” owner Ginger Stern told Auburn Opelika Tourism. This, in return, will enrich the Opelika community.
The Art Haus has already had remarkable success but has even more plans in the works for expanding and growing. With hopes of eight full studios available for artists to rent and including space for an Artist-in-Residence, the Art Haus might go from “haus” to home!
The Sweet Homemade Alabama art show will take place on June 5, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. at the Opelika Art Haus located at 500 N. Railroad Ave.