Shop ‘til you crawl

Banbury Art Crawl offers variety of local artwork


Kevin Midthun, a woodcarver out of Eau Claire, showing off a mantle that he is currently working on. © 2014 Katy Macek

Story by Katy Macek, Staff Writer

Banbury Place is to home many  Eau Claire shops, but this weekend it hosted the annual Banbury Art Crawl, where local and visiting artists were able to set up and show off their pieces.

Ryan Hamilton, a senior at UW-Eau Claire, attended the crawl on Saturday and said he enjoyed looking at all of the different types of artwork. But that wasn’t what impressed him the most.

“I think my favorite thing overall, aside from the variety of mediums that are presented, would probably be the fact that it’s such a good use of a space,” Hamilton said.

The artists were spread out through two buildings and featured various forms ranging from pottery, jewelry, woodcarving and everything in between.

One of the artists participating in the event was Eau Claire resident Raymond Kaselau, who makes mostly papier-mache pieces, ranging anywhere from geometric shapes to masks and animals.

Kaselau became interested in his medium when he was a child working with papier-mache, but he began taking his artwork seriously about four years ago.

“I started exploring different themes and different structure types, and then it started filling up my house,” he said. “So then it was time to do a few art shows and sell some it off so I could make room to make some more.”

His inspiration comes from “all around,” and he said it can change day to day. His geometric designs are made from free form patterns.
Of all the pieces he’s done, he said the papier-mache owl is his favorite.

“Being able to bring in different geometric patterns and then also give it a personality on top of that was a lot of fun,” Kaselau said.

Another artist who proudly displayed his work was Eau Claire resident Kevin Midthun, who has done woodcarvings for many homes and businesses in Eau Claire, including the UW-Eau Claire Seal of Excellence emblem.

Midthun said he started woodcarving while working as an orderly at a Lutheran hospital.

His friend’s dad was Chief of Staff and asked Midthun if he would like to do a wood carving as a “good Samaritan deed.” That carving is still hanging in Mayo hospital.

“I liked working for myself, and I always liked artwork, putting things together and drawing, so I was just a natural,” he said. “I don’t like clocking in. … It’s like being held after school.”

In 1981 he opened his own shop. His friends and family were very supportive in helping him, he said.

Since then, he has created many woodcarvings, but said mantles are still his favorite to make.

“It’s quite rewarding to create a mantle for someone and put their ideas together with mine, and they get what they want.” Midthun said.

The art crawl allowed him to attract potential new customers, but he said it was also very nice to have people come up to him and remind him of the pieces he made for their homes.

“Sometimes you get the compliment when somebody’s building a house and they say ‘the best part of building the house was working with you,’” he said. “I like that.”