Of all the things that come to State College over Arts Fest weekend, the ocean is most definitely not one of them.
Still, the bells that echoed up and down Pollock Road on Penn State’s campus Friday had a distinctly nautical theme, resembling the ding of a distant ship or the call of a buoy out at sea.
Over on dry land, surrounded by a line of tents specializing in everything from bow ties to salad servers, artist Douglas Hain, of Myerstown, stood surrounded by creations of his very own.
Hanging from chains, wind bells of different sizes hung from the ceiling like chimes, echoing with each gust of wind or the occasional tap from a curious child.
The second official afternoon of the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts was sunny, warm — and good for business.
“It’s been a very good day. This is the best of the show so far,” Hain said.
This is the artist’s second year as a festival vendor and one of the 18 or so shows he visits every year with nautically themed creations.
Each of the bronze bells is made through a process of sand casting, their distinctive patinas achieved by the heat of a torch — but it’s the tones that require the most hands-on attention.
After Hain made his first bell almost 10 years ago, he became fascinated with the different notes he could strike. He has a fondness for the water and figured that his wind bells might be the closest he could get to living by the beach.
Getting the sounds of a ship or buoy to ring true took some experimentation.
“A lot of it is trial and error. It’s definitely a time-consuming process creating different tones,” Hain said.
Despite the painstaking effort of his art, the creative process continues to trump manual physical labor any day of the week. Hain always breathes a sigh of relief once he is set up and ready to sell — and after seeing the stacks of heavy looking wooden crates lining his tent, it’s hard to blame him.
“I think if I relive my life again I’ll be a jeweler,” Hain said.
Customers filtered in and out of the tent, including Paul and Rajean Burkentine, of Hanover.
Both are Penn State alumni and have been coming to the festival for almost a decade. The Burkentines were already familiar with Hain’s wind bells from last year’s festival.
“I had actually bought one of the bells before and we enjoy it,” Paul Burkentine said.
They must have — the Burkentines purchased another wind bell on Friday afternoon for their house at Rehoboth Beach.