It's a family affair

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Garrett Spencer is the youngest artisan to be juried into Art in the Park in the history of the event.

He is 11 years old and is a wildlife digital photographer from Jackson, Wyo.

"I do elk, moose, mule deer, white deer, lots of stuff," Spencer said. "That's just some of them. We go to Grand Teton National Park and around town (to find the wildlife)."

Spencer wanted to do this arts and crafts show to get his name out there, and his booth will be a family affair. His mother makes beaded jewelry with precious stones, his brother helps make the jewelry and his father builds the frames for his photographs.

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A vendor arranges his wares at last year's Art in the Park. This year's event is from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday in West Lincoln Park.

There will be 130 artisans in this year's Art in the Park who offer unique, hand-crafted items made from metal, wood, leather, clay, fiber and glass, plus jewelry, fine art, photography and sculpture. Eligibility is limited to artists who display work that is entirely of their own original concept, design and execution.

Jenny Tseng, who is traveling from North Hollywood, Calif., also keeps her craft within the family. She makes slumped glass vases and tables with her husband Jeff. Creating glass vases was her mother's idea, who teaches people how to make flower arrangements. And the Tsengs make their metal stands at Jenny's grandmother's metal shop.

Their creations are not sold in stores.

"I only do art shows because people appreciate more that you are the artist that designed it and made it," she said. "Once you sell it to a store, who knows what they do with it and at commercial shows, they could care less that you made it or not - they just want a bargain."

Susan Owen will be appearing in Art in the Park with her daughter for the first time this year and is not in it for the money. Creating her natural bath and body products is a hobby that she now sells under her new company's name, Mystic Bliss Creations.

"All of my oils are organic and there is no animal testing," Owen said. "Just family and friend testing. They make sure that you won't swell up."

She has done extensive research on aromatherapy scents to assign the appropriate scent to whatever mood you are in.

"If you feel like you need to be awaken or stimulated, use a citrus scent, but if you want to relax, I would recommend a lavender or sandalwood scent," Owen said.

She is excited about the show to see the reactions to her products and to meet new people.

Suzi Kull, who has been selling handmade baskets in Art in the Park on and off since 1994, now has customers who track her down.

"They look me up, come say 'hi,' tell me what they bought last year and are like old friends," Kull said. "I remember a lot of them, which is strange."

She enjoys not only getting to know her customers, but also her neighbors.

"Usually I do these shows all by myself which is hard but not, because all the other vendors are so helpful and will watch your booth for you," Kull said. "We are all in the same boat. And it's fun to trade stuff too."

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