Chilly temperatures played a role in Best of Show winner John Mascoll missing Sunday morning’s awards ceremony at the 41st annual Mount Dora Arts Festival.
The wood-turner was shocked to win $5,000 – the same grand prize he won last year for the vessels he created from exotic woods from around the globe.
He learned of his top win from his peers.
“It’s very rare to win back-to-back in a top quality show like this, but it speaks a lot that people appreciate my work,” said Mascoll of Safety Harbor.
This year was the 10th time he was invited to participate in the juried show of 280 artists from all over the country.
Two Lake County artists, Kate Carney of Eustis and Jim Casey of Clermont, each won $500 in the Awards of Excellence category.
“There are so many great artists here, so for him to be selected as Best of Show is such an honor,” said Mascoll’s wife, Jannis. “It really humbles us.”
“My work is always evolving, and it’s always a challenge to get better,” Mascoll said. “I call it ‘self-competitiveness,' competing with myself to improve.”
The Barbados native learned his craft as a young boy from his father, a boat builder. Mascoll uses a lathe and other cutting and hollowing tools to create his art pieces, and he loves the texture of maple wood the best.
“There’s more variety in the texture in the maple family that I like,” he said.
Mascoll’s win at the Mount Dora Arts Festival was for his entire body of work. He plans to spend his winnings the same way he did last year.
“I’m going to go out and buy more wood,” he said, grinning.
His overall goal with his work is to show mother nature’s beauty.
“You can look at his work and see how beautiful it is. It’s immaculate and it’s perfection,” said artist Bill Slade of Jacksonville, who won $500 for his glassworks and was thrilled a fellow 3-D artist won the grand prize.
Artist Robert Boyce of Phoenix, Arizona, said he experienced a “record-setting pace” of sales for his copper creations before Saturday’s afternoon rain slowed down the crowd.
A big crowd of festival-goers turned out in force Sunday, yet most were bundled up in coats and gloves to keep warm under chilly winds and temperatures in the 50s.
“This is our first year and we have fallen in love with the town,” said Lisa Leavell of Wilmington, North Carolina. “It’s an amazing place; we’re looking forward to exploring it a little bit more.”
She joined her husband, Matthew, a metal works artist, as he participated in his first Mount Dora Arts Festival show.
Judges praised all of the artists’ works in a statement: “The judges enjoyed selecting winners from a diverse group of artists, mediums, and styles. We believe in rewarding excellence, across these distinctions, and we’re delighted to find many wonderful artworks to reward. We also wish to recognize that each artist who puts his or her artwork before public scrutiny is to be commended. We congratulate all.”