Art Fair Insiders

Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals

Featured Artists: Deborah Banyas & T.P. Speer

3-D Mixed Media Sculpture 

In the late 1970's, Deborah Banyas and T.P.  Speer had been married for 3 years and had purchased their first house. T.P. had just received tenure as an Assistant Professor in the art department of a small liberal arts college near Cleveland where he taught drawing, printmaking and photography. Deborah was busy fixing up the new (old) house and working on a series of quilts. They both were a bit restless and longed for a more exciting lifestyle.
On advice from an old professor, T.P. signed up to do the 57th Street Art Festival in Chicago and that spring loaded up their Volvo with a stack of etchings and some card tables and headed west. They came home with $400 which seemed like a fortune compared to the modest salary of a young teacher, so they signed up and did a few more mediocre shows during the summer and started collecting knowledge from the veterans they met along the way. By the end of the year they were off on their new adventure.

Their mixed media sculptures are a true collaboration from conception to construction, born out of T.P.'s wry sense of humor and Deb's knowledge of fiber and their combined mastery of drawing, clay work, sculpture and sewing.

All works are mixed media wall pieces made from carved wood, stuffed cotton fabric, polymer clay, tooled metal and acrylic.

"Trout Mistress"

Learn more about Deb and T. P.:

Meet them in person February 19-21 at Florida's most famous art fair, the Coconut Grove Arts Festival where they will be exhibiting for the 31st year in a row.

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Comment by geri a. wegner on February 19, 2011 at 6:55pm
I'm not done shopping.  I am pacing myself.  I visited with Barbara Umbel and Terry McDougal as well as a couple of other artists I see every year.  The quality of the show is still there.
Comment by Connie Mettler on February 19, 2011 at 4:06pm

take a pictue, Geri.

Gee, I'm glad you were able to get out of Barry's booth and go shopping!

Comment by geri a. wegner on February 19, 2011 at 3:35pm
Picked up another one today.  Their booth is so much fun to walk into.  (ten more years and I may catch up with Nels)
Comment by Connie Mettler on February 16, 2011 at 6:26pm

You are so right, Ginny. You get so busy in your own booth and unless someone is your neighbor at a show or in your media you recognize them but don't know these interesting details. I do these features partly because it is so fascinating to see how creative people put their lives together and make use of this life style. I always come away impressed with their dedication to their art and the interesting things they have done with their lives. Both of us have probably been in at least 200 shows with Deb and Terry but this story is a revelation still. Thanks for the comment.

Actually, I collect these stories at this link:

Comment by Ginny Herzog on February 16, 2011 at 4:12pm
Thanks for the great featured artist article, Connie. So nice to get to know T.P. and Deborah better! I've admired their whymsical work for a long time.
Comment by geri a. wegner on February 15, 2011 at 3:39pm
Wow Nels.  I only have one but I was thinking about getting another this weekend.  I love putting things besides 2d work on my walls.  Makes them much more interesting.
Comment by Connie Mettler on February 15, 2011 at 1:08pm
I only have one ;(
Comment by Nels Johnson on February 15, 2011 at 11:35am
Ellen and I are proud to have 11 of their pieces in our house.

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