Artist: Stu Eichel
Located in historic Hubbard Hall in Cambridge, NY, and amidst the rolling hills of Washington County in upstate New York, Valley Artisans Market is one of the oldest arts cooperatives in the country. Local fine artists and craftsmen work in a variety of hand-crafted media including glass, paper, cloth, photography, oil paintings, pastels, wood, mosaic, sculpture, metal, jewelry, ceramics and more. The Small Gallery features rotating shows by members and guest artists, and the market is always staffed by one of its artisan members.
May 11, 2018 - June 5, 2018
This past year I decided to take the time to do some experimenting. One of the more exhilarating things to do in the studio is to test and learn new things about materials, mediums, paints, paper, and canvas. In so doing, I push myself out of my comfort zone. I started the process by working in all different kinds of acrylics and then I went to oils trying new mediums, colors and tools to make marks and gestures. I ended up with images that surprised me and many I would never have done unless I had given myself the freedom and time to play in the paint.
Many of the pieces in the exhibition were done in stages that were months apart. I worked on them and then put them away for four or five months. It is like life: everything looks different with time. I was able to go through the process of releasing preconceived notions of what I wanted and let the paintings reveal themselves. Having “fresh eyes” has been the greatest gift of all.
This show is about pushing myself out of a box and learning new ways of doing and seeing.
With a BFA from Syracuse University, she later attended The Art Students League of New York to further her studies. Leah spent the last 13 years working between her home in Salem, NY and NYC as the Director of the Exhibition Outreach Program of the Art Students League where she worked with hundreds of artists curating well over 150 exhibitions in both private and public spaces. In May 2017 she made the transition to living full-time in upstate NY.
Leah has exhibited at Interchurch Gallery, NYC, The Good Gallery Kent, CT, 3 Pears Gallery Dorset, VT, McCartees Barn in Salem, NY, Heather Blue Home Reading, PA, Flores Fine Art Saratoga Springs, NY and Gallery 100 Saratoga Springs, NY. She has had solo- exhibitions at the Grace Gallery, NYC, Mimosa Gallery Saratoga Springs, NY, and Valley Artisans in Cambridge NY. And was a featured artist in 2-person shows at the Riverfront Studios in Schuylerville, NY. . She has participated in group shows with many local venues and her work is in numerous private collections and public venues including Saratoga Hospital in Saratoga Springs.
Reception: Friday, May 11, 4:30 to 6:30pm at the Valley Artisans Market, 25 East Main Street, Cambridge, NY12816
Contact: Leah McCloskey Phone: 917 359 8884
Glass artist Cheryl Gutmaker has run out of peacock green-colored glass. Since this color was one of the most popular in last year’s designs, it is frustrating that she can’t get more. Two companies that supplied the glass closed two years ago. A third company has no projected date for when they will manufacture this color again.
But Cheryl takes the challenge in stride. She has shifted gears many times in her life when she has hit speed bumps. She recreated herself after losing her job as a music teacher due to budget cuts. She beat cancer. And then she began a career in glass when others might have thought of slowing down.
Cheryl has just returned from a four-day workshop at The Bullseye Resource Center in Mamareneck, NY. Her voice crackles with excitement about what she learned at this renowned glass center. “We played with different textures of glass in the kiln and experimented with firing different sizes of glass together,” she explains. “We explored what effect there would be if you fired the same piece at different degrees. How is it going to affect the material? How is it going to look different? How will the color change?” One of the thrilling parts of the workshop for Cheryl was playing with frit powder, or tiny bits of glass, that allowed her new possibilities in her artwork. “I have always wanted to make a weeping willow tree and never could get the effect until taking this glass course,” she says. (See photos)
She’s come a long way from her artistic beginnings. She began her career as a glass artist creating beads for jewelry. She forged them with a torch, glass rods and an annealing kiln. After accumulating baskets of beads, she looked for a new way to use her kiln. “I started making soap dishes because I could fit three in the kiln.” They were a hit. Now Cheryl owns seven kilns and uses the small annealing kiln to make handles for her large serving platters and bowls.
Recently, Cheryl has been experimenting with more complex techniques. Painting with glass – called frit paintings – intrigues her the most. Creating a landscape takes enormous planning and a wealth of knowledge about fusing glass. “If I put a bird on a branch, I have to figure out if I should fire the bird first.” Cheryl explains that glass will react differently at different temperatures. The juxtaposition of pieces of glass also impacts the eventual artwork because of the presence of differing amounts of copper, sulphur and lead. “I want a nice amber in the background but amber is very reactive so there has to be clear glass between the amber glass and other pieces,” she says. There are also a finite number of times you can fire glass. “Some glass can only be fired three times before it starts to break down, while others can be fired 25 times.”
Her knowledge is dizzying but she is constantly learning. Sometimes, the best lessons come from mistakes. “When I put on little bits [of glass], I use Superglue to tack them into place. Sometimes the glue burns off before I want it to and the glass slides a bit. I was doing eyes for crabs and they slid so that the crab came out with googly eyes.” Her customers loved them so much that she changed her design.
But for now, Cheryl is trying not to make any mistakes. She is busy creating inventory for the prestigious Paradise City Festival in Massachusetts in May, facing many happy hours fusing glass. If you own one of Cheryl’s creations with peacock green in it, consider yourself especially lucky. It may be a while before a matching piece will be available.
- Clancy King: “Small Still life oil paintings”
June 8, 2018 - July 3, 2018
- Adirondack Regional Textile Artists Alliance: “Divergent Visions”
July 6, 2018 - July 31, 2018
- Nancy Powhida: “Painting, Sculpture, Prints”
August 3, 2018 - August 28, 2018
- Pottery Sale & Overstock Sale
August 18, 2018 - August 19, 2018
- Ann Larsen: “Landscape Painter”
August 31, 2018 - September 25, 2018
- Seline Skoug: Photographer
September 28, 2018 - October 23, 2018
- Judith Plotner: Fabric artist
October 26, 2018 - November 18, 2018
- Holiday Show
November 20, 2018 - December 31, 2018
See past shows →
Two of our member artists — Mary Lou Strode and Bliss McIntosh — brought work from the Market to the Schenectady Today show. If you have a few minutes, take a look at the beautiful arts and fine crafts that we have in at Valley Artisan, going strong since...read more
Three things that happened in 1981: Ronald Reagan became president; Lady Di married Prince Charles; Valley Artisans Market was born. Celebrate the latter on March 18, 2-5 p.m. at our 37th anniversary party. The party will be held at Valley Artisans Market and the...read more