The Pleasanton Harvest Festival will welcome a new, local artist this year, one who has been committed to both art and community service for over six decades.
Ann Garske, 82, of Pleasanton, is the matriarch and visionary of Steel Confetti, an art company that urges people to "Tell Their Story" using personalized tiles.
But aside from promoting hands-on crafts and fostering creativity, one of the most important aspects of the company is that it donates 100% of its proceeds back to the Good Tidings Foundation, a non-profit charity aimed at improving the welfare of underserved youth.
In collaboration with major Bay Area sports teams, city representatives and companies like Steel Confetti, the Good Tidings foundation helps to breathe new life into challenged neighborhoods.
"To date, Good Tidings has opened five art centers for underserved youth, and we have two that are slated to open this year in both the Tenderloin and East Palo Alto," said Larry Harper, president of the Good Tidings Foundation.
"Steel Confetti is one of our primary fundraising sources for these efforts and has raised well over $20,000 for the Good Tidings Foundation," he added. "It has been instrumental in bringing the arts to the forefront in communities all across the Bay Area."
Garske and her two daughters Laura Elmore and Suzanne Haendel make up the core team for Steel Confetti and are always on the look-out for fairs and community events such as the Pleasanton Harvest Festival because it essential to their fundraising model.
Customers can visit the Steel Confetti booth at the Pleasanton Harvest Festival and choose a metal canvas, typically a picture frame, mirror or a necklace, and then select from a multitude of over 10,000 tiles in over 100 categories.
Ann Garske, Suzanne and Laura source, hand-glaze and fiberglass each tile by hand, and together they create nearly 600 tiles each week. Their tile selection features a wide array of designs, including names, zodiac signs, nationalities, favorite movies, foods, bands and famous icons, sports teams, car brands, vintage posters and much more.
If a customer happens to request a design they do not have, Steel Confetti will custom make it and ship it to them directly.
Steel Confetti will also be bringing a special "Tri-Valley" tile series to the Pleasanton Harvest Festival which includes local ties to Pleasanton area high schools, police/fire departments, restaurants, shops, parks and even media outlets.
"To really tell your story, there has to be a personal connection and often that is tied to where you live," Laura said. "It is fascinating, and extremely rewarding, to see how individuals define themselves through artistic expression."
The Pleasanton Harvest Festival Original Art and Craft Show opens Sept. 19 for a three-day run at the Alameda County Fairgrounds. The event, one of the largest indoor arts and crafts shows on the West Coast, features thousands of American handmade arts and crafts, including jewelry, ceramics, blown glass, clothing, art and photography, specialty foods and more.
Hours: Friday and Saturday: 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sunday: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Tickets: Adults: $9, Seniors (62+): $7, Youth (13-17): $4, Kids 12 & Under: Free (Tickets valid for re-entry).
Info: Call or visit www.harvestfestival.com or 800-346-1212.