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.
November 24, 2018 - December 31, 2018
Our annual Member Holiday Show opens right after Thanksgiving. Our show kicks off with our annual Holiday Open House on Saturday, Nov. 24th 10 am – 5 pm.to celebrate with Hubbard Hall’s annual holiday breakfast.
This years theme is “England”. We will decorate the small gallery with some traditional Jolly Old English holiday decor as well as offering some English style decorations for sale.
After Thanksgiving, we will be open seven days a week through New Year’s Eve. As always, our market is staffed by the artisans who sell their work here. Introduce yourself, ask us questions and learn about our craft.
Our real Christmas tree — donated every year by Bailey Family Christmas Trees — will be in the front of the market and decorated with lovely handmade ornaments made by our artist members, from the ones you come to expect every year (like corn husk angels and hand-blown glass balls) to new surprises. Christmas cards, stocking stuffers and Hanukkah gifts, as well as gift certificates, will help make yours a handmade holiday!
Christine Levy hunches over a white chicken egg. She sticks a quill in the flame of a candle to heat it then pokes the quill into a chunk of beeswax. As the smell of beeswax fills the air, she begins to write. Christine has been practicing her craft of Pysanka (traditional Ukrainian egg decorating) for more than 50 years. As a 2nd generation Ukranian, she learned her craft as a child, handed down through the generations. Her grandparents kept up with the traditions of the culture, especially dying and decorating eggs. “It‘s a clever folk art because it doesn’t take much to do it: beeswax, candle and dye,” she says. Christine begins with chicken eggs from local farms. Farm-bought eggs are better than store-bought because “they are stronger and take the dye better.” She uses a white egg that has not been hollowed out: a hollow shell is very porous and does not take dye as well as a full egg. Then she writes on the egg with beeswax. (The word pysanka comes from the verb pysaty, “to write,” as the designs are not painted on, but written with beeswax.)
“Wherever you put the beeswax you are masking the color,” she says. “So I start with white then stick the egg in a light dye color like yellow.” She continues to write and mask more areas that she wants to keep yellow, then she dunks the egg into another dye color, working from light to dark. She keeps working until “[the egg] is black and covered with beeswax.” She removes the wax by sticking it in a toaster oven, though her ancestors would have held the egg over a flame to slowly melt off the wax.
Even after 50 years of creating, she still is enchanted and surprised when she removes the wax to see her creation. “You don’t know what it is going to look like. Every egg is different and takes dyes differently,” she says. When finished, Christine adds a coat of Polyurethene to make them shiny and also a bit stronger.
At this time of year, her decorated eggs can be used as ornaments on Christmas trees but they originated as an Easter tradition that is still alive and well in the Ukranian community. In her cultural tradition, one would make an egg as a gift where the pictures painted tell a story. Christine uses images like horses, which represent health and strength, and ribbons, which represent eternity and wisdom, on her eggs. “Deer and horses are my favorite images as well as flowers. It’s like handwriting – everyone has their unique handwriting and it’s the same for egg painting,” she says.
Ukranians also take pride in their ceramic work. “Many homes have a stove in the center completely lined with handmade tiles,” she says. Christine paints ceramics – porcelain and China – and has a lovely collection of pocket mirrors as well as small plates in the Market. To make the pocket mirror, she makes a pencil sketch then scans and prints it on thin plastic polymer. She fuses it to porcelain, like the back of the hand mirror, then decorates it with enamel paints. She fires it in an oven, not a kiln, until everything fuses to the porcelain.
“I love experimenting,” she says. “Every couple of years I feel like I am in a new zone. I just discovered last year how to get a really nice light green. I have been doing this for 50 years and I just figured it out. There’s also always something to learn.” Thankfully, Christine also teaches how to make her stunning eggs. “I love teaching because I don’t want to take all this knowledge with me.” Her ancestors would be proud.
- Joy Muller McCoola and Robin Blakney Carlson: Meditations in Wool an exhibition of Hand Felted Art
February 17, 2019 - February 20, 2019
- Victor Juhasz: Drawings, Watercolors and Oils
February 22, 2019 - March 20, 2019
- Emily Crawford: Pottery
March 22, 2019 - April 16, 2019
- Diane Segal: Assemblage and Collage
May 17, 2019 - June 11, 2019
- Vermont Pastel Society: Pastel art
June 14, 2019 - July 9, 2019
- Laurie Goodhart: Painter
July 12, 2019 - August 6, 2019
- Theme Show: Fire and Ice
August 9, 2019 - September 3, 2019
- Annual Overstock Sale and other works
August 17, 2019 - August 18, 2019
- Irene Berkson and Friend: Sculpture
October 4, 2019 - October 29, 2019
- Chris Levy and Friends: Pysanky
November 1, 2019 - November 24, 2019
See past shows →
We are open seven days a week until New Year's Eve. Come and see all that local artists have created with their hearts and hands. Hope to see you...read more
VAM member Carolyn Kibbe has a new website: http://ckibbe.com. Her homepage features a picture of the month so you can check out her new work even when VAM isn't open!read more