Marble Crazy will continue today with a marble collectors show going on from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the grand ballroom of the Holiday Inn-Olathe Medical Center, 101 W. 151st St. There will be free admission, door prizes, and free games and marbles for youths. Attendees are invited to bring their antique marbles to be identified and appraised for free. The show is sponsored by Kansas City Marble Collectors Club.
Bonner Springs Marble Crazy, which kicked off Friday afternoon at Moon Marble Company in Bonner Springs, brought together marble artists and enthusiasts from across the country, just as it does every year.
But unlike the jam-packed atmosphere usually associated with the annual event, Friday’s rain gave attendees a little room to breathe — and that’s not such a bad thing, Moon Marble owner Bruce Breslow said.
“I think the rain has deterred folks from coming, but there’s plenty of people here and it’s very pleasant that it hasn’t been so crowded in here,” Breslow said Friday afternoon, noting that previous Marble Crazy events have been so packed, people have had to wait outside for others to leave before getting in. “The artists have time to communicate and chat with each other.”
There were 21 artists in attendance, with each of them getting a chance over the weekend to demonstrate for the crowd their own lamp-working, furnace and machine marble-making techniques. The individual stamp the artists put on their marble-making process is what has drawn Ron Keller, of Hays, to the event the past two years.
“I like the demonstrations,” Keller said. “I like to see what the artists are doing, look at their techniques. It’s interesting to see how different their techniques are. I just love to come and be around all of it and see what the artists are doing. It’s just a great event.”
Most of the artists this year were returning from demonstrating at Marble Crazy in the past. Jes Durfee, who works as a professional marble and glass artist in Duluth, Minn., has attended Marble Crazy the past three years. He said for him to become a marble artist was almost destined, given the fact his mother’s maiden name is Marble.
“That’s why I felt so connected with marbles — ’cause I am a Marble,” said Durfee, who has been a glass artist for 10 years.
Also returning for the third year was Sammy Flowers, also from Duluth, Minn. He said he used to dabble in glass blowing, but then he attended his first Marble Crazy.
“I was super inspired by all these legendary, really, really well-known marble makers,” said Flowers, who is now a professional marble artist himself. “It changed my life.”
Flowers demonstrated his lamp-working technique Friday afternoon, and he said the demonstrations help him as much as those attendees who watch him and listen to him explain his marble-making process.
“I like explaining, because then it helps me go through the process … it slows (the process) down and makes me a lot more precise,” Flowers said.
Attending for the first time was marble artist Jerry Spangler, of Jackson, Minn., who was to demonstrate Saturday. He has been collecting vintage marbles for about 11 years, and he said one of the best parts of the event for him was getting a chance to meet some of the creators of those marbles in the flesh.
“I’ll be honest with you, I think it’s fantastic,” Spangler said of the event. “It’s exciting for me to meet the people whose marbles I’ve collected before. It’s just something I never thought I’d have the opportunity to do.”