I just came back from this year's Bewitching Peddlers of Halloween art show in Marshall, MI and it was spectacular! I swear this show never disappoints.
I first visited the show in 2015 when it was called Ghoutlide Gathering and run by Rucus Studio artist Scott Smith. Back then it was located in Chelsea, MI. I was blown away by the experience and vowed to return, but it took me four years to get back and by then artist Jennie Hepler Takens of My Dearest Witch was running the show and the name became Bewitching Peddlers of Halloween. The show had also moved to Marshall, Michigan's Calhoun County Fairgrounds.
Quite frankly, I think Bewitching Peddlers has a majority of the best Halloween artists in the country. Artists are invited to the show by Hepler Takens and I believe I get just as excited as the chosen artists when I see through social media posts that they have received their beautifully packaged invitations that are handed out each spring.
This year was my third visit to the show and although I said I would go every-other year, I know I can't wait that long to return.
You're probably wondering what I purchased, but that will have to wait till I get everything unpacked and situated. For now, I'll give you a taste of the show through some rather haphazard photos I took. I'm sure you'll forgive me for not taking more, but I was very occupied with selecting my favorite pieces. Don't worry, Halloween art collector and photographer, Amy Schneider, was the show's official photographer and I'll share a link when she posts her pictures.
I also want to say how awesome it was to meet some of this blog's followers! I was really touched by those of you who introduced yourself to me and said that you were following the blog. If it wasn't for my vintage glasses and pumpkin shoes I'm sure I would have been more anonymous. It was also great to talk to the artists I've featured on the blog and to be able to spend some time with Kristen Stafford of the podcast Halloween Art and Travel- she's the one who gave me the awesome Halloween Decor Hunter key chain you'll see below that I will treasure.
My dear husband insisted on driving me to the show this year (a 12 hour drive) and this is our traditional "start of the trip" photo just in case we didn't make it home again- either from a disaster or a divorce. Happy to say we've always made it home still married and in one piece. Of course, I wore my Halloween pumpkin shoes that I purchased from Die With Your Boots On in Salem, MA a few years ago. The top photo is the lovely downtown Marshall, MI. (We want to live there now.)
This is the view you get when you approach the ticket booth for Bewitching Peddlers and the upper right photo shows how it looked when I arrived at 7AM for the 8AM opening. Every time I've been to the show it has been rainy and cold, but somehow it's fitting. There are breathtaking Halloween sculptures placed around the show. Some of them were there when Scott Smith ran the show so they may have been built by him or by Jennie Hepler Takens. I need to find out.
The hand-painted banner when you enter the show is by the artist Nina Vivian Huryn. The skeleton holding it is larger than life. (I think I let a piece by Huryn get away from me that I'm going to regret for some time, but I sent her a message in the unlikely chance that it didn't sell.) Because the show is so well attended by eager collectors, for two days before the show you can stop by the fairgrounds and pick up a number to stand in line. This year I got #69. The show instituted the number system because collectors were camping out in their cars days before the show! Don't underestimate the desire of a Halloween collector. It's actually kind of fun to stand in line and meet other collectors from around the country and hear their collecting stories. Once the doors open, it's a mad dash inside to find your favorite artists and make sure no one else gets the piece you've had your eye on. It can be a bit overwhelming for newbies and is a real adrenaline rush.
Here are some more of the giant Halloween figures that are displays. I had Kristen stand next to the pumpkin just so you could see the scale. You can't believe how beautiful they are. (By the way, Kristin had her stunning witch hat custom made by Karen Steinkraus of The Victorian Witch Hat to match her vintage dress- jealous....)
There were 40 artists at the show and their booths were all magical to behold. Stephanie Tiongco's (Stevi T) booth is the top left; Lurena Williamson's booth (Tattered Moon) is upper right; Stacey Bear's booth (Momentos) is lower left; and Isaac Bidwell's booth (Pickled Punks Plush) is lower right.
Upper left is the beautiful tree of ornaments from Jill Chambers (Chambers Artisan Metal and Wood); Kristen and I stopped for a quick photo -upper right; lower left is a to-die-for witch hat from Karen Steinkraus (The Victorian Witch Hat); and lower right are some spooky paintings from Shelly Broughton.
I wish I had thought to take photos of every booth! Sometime this week I'll have a post of the pieces I purchased. It always seems like I have to rearrange my entire house whenever new artwork comes into the house.