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New Hope Arts Fest


Jolanta Michalska has always had a bit of magic in her hands, deftly crocheting, knitting and needle-pointing.

Still, it was in felting that she found her true artistic calling.

For the last five years, Michalska has been honing her craft, creating elegant handmade scarves and wraps from fine silks, merino wool and high-quality felt – an eco-friendly process that includes purified water and chemical-free soaps.

At this year’s New Hope Arts & Crafts Festival, Sept. 28 and 29, Michalska’s hard work and talents were rewarded in a major way: The Poland-born artist took home “Best In Show” from the juried exhibition, which featured the creations of approximately 180 artists.

“The panel of judges felt that her originality, artistry and design sense were exceptional,” said Sharon Flanagan, co-chair of the festival.

Michalska was elated to receive the honor. She was also pleased with the sales she was making at the event. She added, too, that she feels greatly rewarded by the creation process itself – and the joy she brings to people who appreciate her handiwork.

“When somebody comes in, and you see them smile – their whole mood lifts – because of something you’ve created, it’s very rewarding,” said Michalska with a passion that she similarly pours into her art.

This was the 26th year for the New Hope Arts & Crafts Festival. Held at New Hope-Solebury High School, the event saw white tents containing the works of artists and artisans fill the school’s parking lot. Thousands of people flocked to the festival, with organizers estimating as many as 10,000 possible for the weekend.

Attendees had a wealth of diverse mediums and styles to view. Fine art painting, fabric art, photography, woodworking, jewelry, sculpture, ceramics, rod-and-needle creations and more were all featured.

Phillip Singer, a painter from New Britain, said he has exhibited at the festival four or five times. He plans to keep coming back.

“It’s a great crowd. I’ve had some really good sales, and it’s a well-run event – very easy to take part in,” Singer said.

The festival is brought to the public by the Greater New Hope Chamber of Commerce.

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