BROADALBIN - Roy Peters plays the flute and records his own music, but he is not a musician. And he makes early American-style flutes, but he is not a craftsman. Not according to Roy Peters, at least.
"How can a guy who has built his own instruments and recorded six CDs not call himself a musician? Because I've never been trained in music," he said. "I have learned to talk and say things with these that I couldn't say with my mouth."
Peters, who lives in Verona, Oneida County, made the 90-mile trip to Broadalbin to be one of more than 100 vendors at the annual Eagle Mills Art and Craft Show. That event was one of two local craft fairs that began Saturday - the other is the annual Wemple & Edick's Craft Fair in Sammonsville.
Roy Peters, a flutemaker and storyteller from Verona, plays one of his custom handmade flutes at the Eagle Mills Craft Fair in Broadalbin on Saturday. (Photo by Bill Trojan/The Leader-Herald)
Vendors at the two events varied from veteran crafters to first-timers, but they all offered their homemade goods and unique skills.
They offered plenty of jewelry and clothing, and one vendor in Sammonsville offered psychic readings.
Teresa Rhodes was at Wemple &?Edick's offering psychic readings "for amusement only." She said that statement is required to appear on her sign by law, but many people take her prognostications seriously.
"Some people take it to the point where they rule their lives by it,"?Rhodes said. "One woman called me every week. It didn't matter the time of day."
She said she tells customers incidents from their past and what they're headed for if they maintain their current lifestyles.
Thomas Hamilton was in Broadalbin making custom jewelry for patrons. He has attended the Eagle Mills fair for four years.
He, like many other vendors, said he comes because of the size of the event - where more than 100 crafters were set up under white tents - and the friendly environment.
Hamilton, a Dolgeville native, attends several fairs across the country, but he and his wife make a point to come back to Broadalbin every year.
"It's so well attended, and there are so many different artists that are here," he said. "We get ideas from them ... We know a lot of the people, because they come back year after year."
The modest Peters has been making Native American-style flutes for about 7 years. Just as he never formally studied music, he never took any lessons on how to craft the instruments.
"I tried to play guitar as a boy, and I stunk and gave up. I tried piano, and I stunk and I gave up. I just figured I stunk at music," he said. "Finally, one day I built the flute, and I still stunk. I just kept doing it. Since that first flute, I have never built myself another flute in 17 years. Everybody wants to buy them, and I was like 'Wow. Not only can I play, but people want them, too.' It's a pretty neat thing."
He constructed his first flute with basic instructions, and he didn't even know what it was supposed to look like. Still, he didn't seek anyone's help and just kept making more flutes.
"With anything that you do, if you love what you do, it gets better with time," Peters said.
The Wemple & Edick's event continues today, and the Eagle Mills event continues today and next weekend.