GUMTREE FESTIVAL: 'Good Time Had by All'

By Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Many artists – from first-timers to veterans – had nothing but good words for this year’s Cellular South GumTree Festival.
Rainy morning skies Sunday gave way to a bright, sunny sky in the afternoon, and the festival had a steady stream of customers and browsers all weekend. Artists showing off woodwork, paintings, glasswork, jewelry, photography, pottery and sculptures all said the 2010 festival was good one.
“It’s been great,” said festival director Tina Lutz. She said the artists especially enjoyed the move to the street from the courthouse lawn.
“The artists were pretty glad about sales,” she said. “It’s been a good time had by all.”
Ellie Ali of New York, N.Y., won Best in Show, and it was the painter’s first time to show at GumTree.
“It’s a great honor,” she said. “I’ve sold a lot. The people here ‘get me.'”
Ali, who has lived and painted in Morocco, India, Portugal and Spain, said she finds the South to be full of art and art-lovers.
“I think art grows in the ground here,” she said. “It’s a soulful part of the country.”
Ali said she will return for the 40th annual GumTree next year.
Prizes inside
It was the first GumTree Festival for C. Brian DeVaughn, a painter from Baldwyn.
His space at the festival was a curious one: The doors on his set-up read, “A Cereal Box Prize Show” and “Please Ring Doorbell Before Entering.”
“The whole idea came from a cereal box – you’ve got to see what’s in here,” the 28-year-old artist said.
DeVaughn’s music and life-inspired art found a few good homes.
“I sold a pretty good piece yesterday, one of my favorites,” he said. “I was kind of scared to let it go, but the people who got it seemed to enjoy it, and that’s what matters.”
It was also the first GumTree for Amory’s Linda F. Lindale, also known as the “Funky Lady.”
Decked out in an antique top hat, snakeskin boots, a “Nightmare Before Christmas” belt buckle and what she called her “Sleepy Hollow coat,” and surrounded by her colorful crocheted creations, Lindale was constantly chatting up customers.
“I have had a great weekend, an awesome weekend,” she said. “I have truly been blessed.”
She showed off her crocheted dresses, scarves and shawls, inspired by movies like “Avatar” and “Alice in Wonderland,” as well as her copper jewelry.
Charles Pinckney, a jeweler from Athens, Ga., has shown at GumTree on and off for more than 10 years, and said this year was just as successful as any other.
“In fact, I met a lady who had a piece on that I made at least 20 years ago,” he said. “It was the same metals I use now, just rearranged.”
Pinckney won second place in jewelry this year.