Molly Strader used to walk around the Crosby Festival of the Arts as a little girl and make things in the children's area to give to her mother.
As a girl looking at all the pieces of art, she dreamed of one day becoming an artist.
This weekend, Ms. Strader, 33, of Perrysburg, will have her art work prominently on display at the festival in Toledo. She makes jewelry and travels all over the eastern part of the country to shows and art fairs on weekends. She makes her art at home.
"It makes it a special show," Ms. Strader said of the Crosby Festival. "I have a lot of ties here since it's were I grew up and I see a lot of old friends, professors and even a second great teachers at the Crosby Festival.
"It's amazing, when I was five or six, I said one day I want to be an artist at this show."
The Crosby Festival runs 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Toledo Botanical Garden. It is one of 11 shows she is attending in 13 weeks. She started that span by going to East Lansing, Mich. in May, then went to Massachusetts, Cincinnati, Buffalo, Virginia Beach, Toledo, Luddington, Mich., Madison. Wisc., Ann Arbor, Mich., Minneapolis, and Chautauqua, N.Y..
Ms. Strader joked that her car dealership loves her in the summer with how often she has to change her oil.
Growing up in Perrysburg, she said, her inspiration was from constantly visiting and taking classes at the Toledo Museum of Art.
"I remember she was exceptional at making jewelry and vessel forms out of metals," said Rex Fogt. He is a retired after 15 years of teaching at the Toledo Museum of Art and 30 years at the University of Toledo. "She was a very impressive gal with her jewelry."
When she was graduating, Ms. Strader said, Mr. Fogt was encouraging to her and proud as he watched her grow in the area art programs.
Two weeks ago in Virginia Beach, Ms. Strader won Best in Show at their Boardwalk Art Show. The show had 330 artists.
When her small tea cup won, she began crying in shock. Ms. Strader's parents, Jane and Jud Strader, were both there, making the moment even more important for their daughter.
"Jewelry never wins best in show," she said. "The best part was seeing my parents expression [when I won]. Priceless."
Contact Matt Thompson at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-356-8786 or on Twitter at @mthompson25.