Mason County News
Weather Fair 81.0°F (47%)
21st Annual Texas Mesquite Arts Festival Coming to Frederickburg
Wednesday, October 16, 2013 • Posted October 17, 2013

The Texas Mesquite Arts Festival returns to Fredericksburg, Texas this weekend - October 11, 12 and 13, 2013.

Juried artists from around Texas and beyond will gather in Fredericksburg’s Marktplatz for this three-day celebration of the exquisite and attractive mesquite.

“Besides seeing the absolute best selection of mesquite, visitors will enjoy the largest mesquite show in the world,” show organizer Al Carr said.

The festival, like mesquite wood itself, has come a long way since the first event in 1992. Fourteen mesquite woodworkers gathered then for a seminar. According to Carr, they weren’t the only ones showing interest in mesquite.

“So many local people dropped in to see what we were doing and to try to buy our work, we realized Fredericksburg was the best place on earth to have a Texas Mesquite Arts Festival,” Carr said.

The Mesquite Arts Festival has become one of the top events in Fredericksburg, and organizers expect over 10,000 visitors throughout the weekend.

Visitors will be treated to collections of sculpted wood from the world’s absolute finest mesquite craftsmen. Items range from large furniture items such as beds, dressers and chairs made entirely from mesquite, to unique craft and gift items such as beautifully turned lamps, delicate scroll work, handsome pen and pencil sets, unique Christmas tree ornaments, sturdy gun stocks, and sculpted vases, all carefully crafted of mesquite.

This year’s featured artist will be Spider Johnson, a modern master marquetry artist. He has been featured in numerous national publications, including Fine Woodworking. “Wood Marquetry” is otherwise known as “Wood Mosaic” or “Intarsia”. It is also called “Wood Inlay”. It simply means that many pieces of wood are cut and fit together to create an image. An ancient art form, it reached its ascendancy during the Italian Renaissance where master artists created artworks comparable to the finest painting and sculpture of the day.

Spider Johnson is one of the living masters of this art with over 30 years of “painting with wood” to make large and small marquetry artworks. Some of his commissioned pieces consist of over 5,000 separate pieces of hand-cut wood veneer to create intricate designed, diverse tones, colors, and grains to achieve dramatic and subtle effects. Much of his body of work was done in collaboration with Texas artist Lora Hunt with whom he occasionally conspires.

Texas born and bred, Spider lives in the Hill Country where he maintains his art studio. His award-winning artwork is found worldwide in public and private collections. He is also a renowned as a performing musician.

Once viewed as a nuisance, mesquite has become the darling of architects and retailers. Mesquite’s growing appeal comes in part from the high profile offered by this festival, according to Carr. Additional articles praising mesquite’s quality and value have appeared in such magazines as AAA’s Texas Journey, Texas Highways, Veranda, and Fine Woodworking.

“Architects now vie to install mesquite accents in upscale homes,” Carr said. Mantles, doors, flooring, art items, dining sets, tables, and other furniture are increasingly requested in mesquite. Prices for raw wood as well as finished pieces have soared.

The Texas Mesquite Arts Festival is free and open to the public. Hours are Friday noon to 6:00 p.m.; Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.; and Sunday, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Items are available for purchase, with food and drink sold on the grounds. Free parking surrounds Market Square in downtown Fredericksburg.

More information on the Texas Mesquite Art Festival is available at, or by calling the Fest Office at 830-997-8515. Please be sure to connect with us on Facebook as well.

This article has been read 123 times.
Readers are solely responsible for the content of the comments they post here. Comments do not necessarily reflect the opinion or approval of Mason County News. Comments are moderated and will not appear immediately.
Comments powered by Disqus