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Catonsville Arts and Crafts Festival combines old and new

By Julie Baughman, jbaughman@tribune.com

11:18 AM EDT, September 4, 2013

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From Bloomsbury Avenue to Melvin Avenue, Frederick Road will be transformed Sunday as the Catonsville Arts and Crafts Festival celebrates its 40th anniversary.

The Sept. 8 event, hosted by the Greater Catonsville Chamber of Commerce, will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will feature products ranging from soaps and candles to unique bouquets.

For many of the thousands who stroll along Catonsville's Main Street, seeing the items on display is an early fall tradition.

"It's such a great event, people look forward to it every year," said Teal Cary, executive director of the chamber. "We have a number of crafters who contact us and want to be in it because they hear about us at other craft shows."

In addition to the stands that feature such standard festival fare such as jewelry, woodworking, wood carving and fine arts, there will also be displays featuring yo-yos, dog food and gift baskets for baby showers.

In addition to crafters, the event also draws local businesses and civic organizations. There are more than 250 vendor spots throughout the event and Cary said each one will be filled this year.

Among the new crafters at this year's festival will be Catonsville resident Jeff Salava, who will showcase products from his new company, Hot Bolts.

He got the idea for Hot Bolts from his work at Archival Arts, his fine art reproduction company located on Benson Avenue in Arbutus.

"I've been dabbling with printing art on fabric. That's how this little business got started," he said of Hot Bolts. "We realized that it was pretty cool."

"We can take a piece of art and print it on fabric, and we can refinish a chair with it or you can make a table runner," he said. "There's all kinds of different things you can do with it."

Salava said he is working with a number of local artists for licensing rights to print local art on the four fabrics he is currently experimenting with — an upholstery fabric, a suede, a polyester silk and a twill.

Since he just started the small company about three months ago, he saw the Catonsville Arts and Crafts Festival as the perfect place to get the word out.

"We figure this would be a great place to launch this in front of a lot of people," Salava said. "We're trying to market to people who are kind of do-it-yourselfers, who might have a chair or two that they want to cover with a picture."

Jim Roberts and his wife, Patricia Roberts, are also using the festival as a way to increase their company's visibility.

The couple operate Bees by the Bay, a beekeeping company, out of their home in Essex.

They usethe honey and combs to make candles, skin care products, lip balms, soaps, skin creams and hand salves, Jim Roberts said.

Roberts said he is a fourth generation beekeeper and participates in a number of festivals and farmers markets, including the Wednesday morning market on the Bloomsbury Center parking lot in Catonsville.

With honeybee populations dwindling worldwide, Roberts said it is important to get the word out about the broad, positive impact the creatures have on food production and environmental health.

"I think they [customers at the Catonsville festival] will respond positively to the honey and everything," he said. "With everything going on with the bees, people are a little more interested in supporting the beekeepers."