June 16--WINDOM -- A plethora of Riverfest activities were planned for Saturday in Tegels Park, located along the Des Moines River in Windom.
Heavy rains got in the way of those plans, but the annual festival still continued in the community as various vendors and other happenings were moved inside the Business, Arts and Recreation Center (BARC). Music scheduled to be performed on a Tegels Park stage was instead performed inside the much drier environs of the BARC gym. Young children colored and had their faces painted, and various vendors and exhibitors showed off their wares while food vendors originally located in the park set up shop indoors.
Jessica Kodada and Heather Olson were among four Windom photographers who had their work on display in the BARC. Rather than solely compete against each other for business, the quartet has opted to join forces to promote their art in the community.
"We're all the core of the Windom Area Photography Club," said Kodada, who listed herself, Olson, Laura Nerness and Jessica Bak as members. "This is a newly developed club, and we'll hopefully be done (with a website) by the time the fair arrives. We plan to go out to special events, and next year we plan on having different classes for kids so they can learn more about using their cameras."
"Our club is about gaining from each other and learning from each other, and about education," Olson added. "We'll teach technical skills ... because photography can be overwhelming if you don't know how to use a camera. We want people to feel a little more comfortable."
Olson, originally from southeast Minnesota, moved to Windom four years ago with her husband, who is from Storden. She has been doing professional photography for nine years, and currently owns and operates Red Barn Photography.
Kodada relocated from New Ulm to Windom about five years ago and went to school online for graphic design through the Arts Institution in Pittsburgh, Pa. A day before her graduation a year ago, she opened Jessica Kodada Photography and Design in downtown Windom.
Bak is originally from Bedford, Ky., and a graduate of Rochester (N.Y.) Institute of Technology, where she earned a degree in visual media. She later earned a master's degree in business, and worked for Eastman Kodak and Bausch & Lomb in Rochester before moving to Windom. Nerness, for her part, is a Windom native who has been a professional photographer for about seven years.
"We've been only working on the club for a couple of months," Olson said, while Kodada added that the group currently has a Facebook page.
A different kind of art created by a much younger individual was also on display inside the BARC, as 11-year-old Jessica Ambrose had a variety of self-created rainbow looms for sale. Rainbow Loom, manufactured by Choon's Design LLC, is a 2014 Toy of the Year winner.
"My cousin made me a rainbow loom, and it was just really cool," Ambrose said. "It just started from there."
"It" is a hobby that consumes considerable time, if the volume visible Saturday was any indication. Ambrose creates many different kinds of looms; she singled out chevrons and double starbursts as the most time-consuming to make, at about an hour each.
Ambrose explained that rainbow looms first came out last fall and involve hooks, rubber bands of multiple colors, and c-clips and s-clips. She is also the proud owner of Monster Tail, a product of the creators of Rainbow Loom that allows for additional types of designs.
"She's saved up all her money for these things," said Karla Ambrose, Jessica's mom. "It's also all she got for Christmas, her birthday and Easter."
Down the hall from Ambrose was Dain Jensen of rural Windom, who had an assortment of wood carvings arranged for viewing.
"I do wordwork and custom building," he explained. "I do bar stools, end tables -- I just make whatever kind of looks of nice."
Jensen said his woodworking started about two years ago as a hobby. Among his creations is a canoe he made for himself but has since opted to sell.
"I tore a complete two-and-a-half story house down and took all the lumber," Jensen said. "The house was built in 1903 ... and the lumber came from trees that were probably 300 years old or more. I imagine the lumber I work with is as much as 500 years old."
Daily Globe Managing Editor Ryan McGaughey may be reached at 376-7320.
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