Laura Robson is bringing her handcrafted spoons to the Salem Art Fair this weekend. (courtesy Laura Robson)

Hope Raszka remembers walking through Salem Art Fair as a child, happily looking at the local art.

“It’s just such a happy atmosphere,” she said. 

When Raszka decided she wanted to pursue art herself, she dreamed of making it into the fair.

She took a chance and applied under the emerging artist category this year and got in.

“And now that it’s actually coming true, I can’t believe it” Raszka said.

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She makes three-dimensional paper art with hand-drawn designs.

“The piece of paper itself becomes a piece of art,” she said.

Raszka also makes topographic maps by cutting, stacking and gluing dozens of sheets of paper together.

Hope Raszka makes 3D paper art that she's bringing to the Salem Art Fair. (courtesy Hope Raszka)

She is one of more than 200 artists selling their work at this weekend’s event.

The Salem Art Association puts on the annual event which is now in its 70th year.

Executive Director Sandra Burnett said for a relatively small city, Salem has a lot of high-quality artists that come to the fair.

“It does bring to Salem a signature cultural event unlike any other in the valley,” she said.

Burnett said there’s a lot of competition to get into Oregon’s largest art fair – roughly 400 people apply for 210 spots. More than half of the artists are from Oregon, with some from Washington, California and as far away as Louisiana.

“What makes it unique from the artist perspective is the extent of artist hospitality,” Burnett said.

The artists get breakfast in the morning and have a place to get refreshments throughout the day.

Burnett said, “Things like that have a big impact on artists.”

While many of the same artists return each year, Burnett said, “there’s always new artists that haven’t been here before.”

Laura Robson has exhibited at the art fair before, but not with her current medium.

This past year she started making decorative spoons made of hand-hammered copper or brass with handles made from things like roots or bones.

Robson also makes functional spoons out of wood from cherry, maple or madrone trees.

The medium is new to the artist, who has a background in metal work.

It started when she took a workshop on raising copper and started hammering out little bowls.

At second glance, one started to look kind of like a spoon.

“I challenged myself to create a spoon and it turned out pretty awesome,” Robson said.

She recalled grabbing one of her spoons off the counter and making pancakes for a group of people.

“It’s such a great spoon to use for that,” she said.

Robson said if you don’t take a spoon to a potluck party, you’re crazy – they’re a hit.

“It’s a functional thing we all know how to use it, but it has some funkiness to it,” she said.

Laura Robson is bringing her handcrafted spoons to the Salem Art Fair this weekend. (courtesy Laura Robson)

In addition to the art, there are also live performances, music, food, drinks and a kid’s court.

The band Con Brio headlines the event on Friday at 7:30 and Too Slim and The Taildraggers headline on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

Burnett said this year there’s something new for kids called a “wish wagon.” She said it’s a magical environment where kids can go and make their wishes.

There will also be a graffiti wall where people can practice their art.

Tickets cost $5 or $10 for a three-day pass. Admission is free for kids 16 and under and for Oregon Trail Card holders. The event, at 600 Mission St. S.E, runs from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. More info can be found on the Salem Art Association’s website.

Have a tip? Contact reporter Saphara Harrell at 503-549-6250, saphara@salemreporter.com or @daisysaphara.