Tuesday, July 27, 2021
Hula Hoops, Bugs and Big Pins-It’s the Ketchum Arts Festival
Tom and Melissa Boley show how hula hooping’s done.
Saturday, July 10, 2021


Haley Willard couldn’t help but giggle as she moved her hips from side to side, her arms out in the air catching rays from the afternoon sun.

“I used to be able to work the hula hoop all the way down my body, then up again,” she said “This brings back memories.”

The booth providing the workout at the Ketchum Arts Festival is Melissa Boley’s Sun Valley Hoops--Holistic Hooping and Hollerin’ where hula hoops are works of art.  It’s back after a five-year absence.

Woodblock artist Hannah Spencer lives off-grid in a straw bale home on the banks of the Salmon River where she works as a fly-fishing guide and creates art.

Boley, a certified hula hoop instructor, is there to provide a running commentary on the physics involved—the bigger hoops give you more rotation time, making it easier to hula hoop. And she can provide the motivation—all it takes is 10 minutes of hula hooping a day over a month or so to lose an inch off your waist.

But the biggest attraction is the fun.

“I feel like a kid again,” said Willard.

Willard was one of hundreds of people stepping out of cars sporting license plates from places like Iowa and Florida to attend the first day of the three-day Ketchum Arts Festival at Festival Meadows on Sun Valley Road. The festival continues from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. today and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Anne Jeffrey has supplemented her photohypercollages featuring 80 layers of birds and butterflies and more with 8-by-8-inch panels that feature fruits and butterflies and other subject in geometric patterns.

“I think this is the busiest Friday I’ve ever seen at the Ketchum Arts Festival,” said jeweler and co-organizer Lisa Horton.

Among the artists is Ronald Fehr, who has scads of exotic butterflies and other bugs hanging in frames on the walls of his tent. Fehr’s father collected and framed bugs and when Fehr wanted to wash his hands of his detested mechanics job, he decided to follow in his dad’s footsteps.

“Now I take my boys camping, just like my father took me. And we put up a big white sheet and shine bright lights and it traps them,” he said.

That said some of Fehr’s favorite bugs come not from the woods of Idaho and Utah but from Peru, Brazil and overseas.

Ronald Fehr’s Walking Stick bug is one of many showcased at his “Acquainted with Butterflies” booth.

“When you see insects in nature, they don’t hold still long enough for you to examine them. But when I spread their wings out and mount them behind glass, people are blown away examining the detail,” he said.

Hannah Spencer, who lives in North Fork near Salmon, trotted out her hand painted wood carvings that depict everything from the iconic Sun Valley barn to Dog Days of Summer—a dog in the bow of a raft. A few sport proverbs, such as the Serbian saying: “Be humble, for you are made of earth. Be noble, for you are made of stars.”

“I’m a fly-fishing gal, and I’ve found that people like the ones with rivers and camping. They like to have a memory. And my art gives them that memory.”

Many of the artists are veterans of the Ketchum Arts Festival. Deanna Schrell, for instance, has been showing her landscapes at the festival too many years to count.

Jewelry maker Lisa Horton says pins, such as Madeleine Albright’s great big pins--are coming back in style. “I think they are a woman’s power statement,” she said.

“I love doing it because I like people buying my paintings. My clients become fans and come back to get more. And selling paintings gives me room to make more,” she said.

Marty Lyon, in contrast, is among the first-timers at the festival. And he beamed when  he sold his first painting--a pastel of Maui to a women whose daughter had been engaged on the road to Hana. Told that she planned to give the painting to her daughter at her engagement party that night, Lyon was so touched he gave her another painting aptly titled “The Road to Hana”

“It’s amazing,” he said. “People have been coming by and they all say, ‘I had no idea you do art.’ ”

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