Ann Arbor Art Fair: Beautiful Booths and a Serendipitous Encounter


by Betsy Lehndorff

Today I took the morning off from the art show and let Lori, another jeweler, set up my display. She did a wonderful job, getting my pieces up off the bottom of the case, and when I arrived around 10 a.m., it looked a lot more professional. I was thrilled to let someone else give it a shot.

So I did a little selling for other members and then wandered off to see the rest of the show for a few hours. I had to pass through the tunnel through the engineering building to get to the Diagonal and as I went through the passageway, I found a pretty young woman singing and playing a harp, with a basket of dollar bills at her feet. The tunnel echoed and amplified her voice and playing, and was a brain centering moment.

The best show is located around the Burton Bell Tower. Near the tower was an outlet for Community Television Network and they were letting people broadcast greetings on camera. You can see mine at, recorded Friday at 10:40 a.m.

Roger Rayle, a CTN volunteer and venture catalyst, told me about new media marketing talks on Wednesdays — another opportunity, another chance to learn something about marketing online.

From there, I spotted the Ann Arbor Potters Guild on the steps of Hill Auditorium and stumbled across the work of JT Abernathy. My parents collected his work in the 1950s and 1960s. To my amazement, he was there and I was able to sit down and reminisce with him about my dad, who was a big supporter. So was my aunt. The short version of this story is that my family worked together to get JT hired on at the University and he became a legendary Ann Arbor potter.

The story JT told me is that my dad bought so much pottery from him that my mother eventually called JT and told him to stop selling it to my dad. In classic tradition, I bought one of his pieces today and will be giving it to Kristine, who has been letting me stay at her house.

I’ve included several booths shots – ones that I thought were unique. Among them are Frances Kite’s very classic booth and Don David Designs cast glass and cast sterling silver pendant booth on State Street. The other booth is made out of pallets – and it has been very successful, too.


Wubbers University instructor Betsy Lendorff is a journalist by day and silversmith during her spare time.  Mostly self-taught, she like to make beautiful narrative pieces that are very detailed and a challenge to solder.  She also occasionally writes for Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist magazine and other special interest publications.  You can view pictures of her work and enroll her in Wubbers U classes here.


Posted in Handmade Business, Selling Jewelry

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