Crocker Park Fine Art Fair


Westlake, Ohio



Jane Billman
Gregg Billman
8025 SW 103rd Ave
Gainesville FL 32608

(352) 258-2524
(352) 495-2787

Show Schedule

From Weeds to Artistic Riches

(Florida artists share their talents and passions with Crocker Park Fine Art Fair patrons)

It's much more than a story of a husband and wife sharing a love for the riches of nature and the creation of fine art that brings joy to the recipient. It's the marriage of a thick block of maple with carefully crafted handmade paper, peaceful shades of paint that blend together on canvas to create a soothing beach scene or maybe it's even a playful rendering of a dog sitting in a martini glass?! It's about Jane and Gregg Billman traveling the country, doing what they love and bringing happiness to people who enjoy their work. The Billman's will share their work with art-loving patrons in West side Cleveland at the 3rd Annual Crocker Park Fine Art Fair to be held on Saturday, June 14 and Sunday, June 15, 2008.

The story begins in the early 70's, where the couple met soon after Gregg's return from Vietnam. Jane hand-carved wood signs during the day and spent her evenings engraving her art. Gregg hired her to carve a sign for his business. He had showed her how he learned to make paper from weeds in Thailand without the use of electricity. Impressed by his craft, Jane suggested that Gregg use the artwork as therapy to help him recover from the emotional pain of war. They decided to marry Jane's engravings with Gregg's handmade paper and a new art form was born.

Stepping into the Billman's double-wide booth is much like entering an "open air" art gallery. Art fair patrons will enjoy a wide variety of their work in several different mediums including the traditional embossing, painting, acrylic, digital media, print making and paper making.

Their traditional embossing works encompass a variety of subject matter including the expansive display of "Career Art" with job title images both common and less typical. Gregg spends nearly 40 hours carving each of the career embossings into 5/8 thick maple blocks. Paper is formed over the block and each is hand painted when dry. Colorful and soothing beach scenes and whimsical, playful children's imagery nicely round out the display of embossed pieces.

Additional pieces include "Monotype Images" with subject matter ranging from music and animals to multicultural and religious imagery. The art begins with Jane's original drawings on wood. They are hand-engraved, embossed with handmade paper, oil painted and digitally enhanced in the studio using contemporary multi-media. The results show an amazing depth of color with layers of imagery.

Probably the most unique art you will find in the Billman's booth and definitely the works that bring the biggest smiles are Jane's "Party Animals." She dreamed of a booth filled with dogs, each unique personality communicating with the viewer, as they display their seemingly "human" emotions. The inspiration came after capturing a photo of a frog that had landed in a martini glass full of rainwater on the patio. Jane realized that the glass would be the perfect vehicle in which to pose the dogs. "I view dogs as "party dogs' playful, irreverent with our belongings, creatively finding new uses for them, doing anything to capture our attention," says Jane. "In the martini glass, they can interact with us!" Capturing literally hundreds of canine personalities on canvas, the Billman's have donated artwork to pet rescues across the country for more than 8 years.

For more than 30 years, the Billman's have enjoyed traveling the country, bringing happiness and inspiration to fair goers, exhibiting in more than 1000 juried art fairs with 42 scheduled for 2008. "It is such a nice feeling, at the end of the day, to look back and know that we have brought some joy into people's lives," shares Gregg Billman.

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