Featured Artists

Featured artist: The Quiet Woods

“Carefully cutting and filing each small shape by hand, we then gently soften the points and edges smoothing them until they are perfect. Using a very light hand while leaving subtle marks on the surface we create textures with fine rosewood hammers and steel wool. Oxidizing and polishing the delicate shapes comes next and what is revealed after this step is always an exciting moment. Each piece has its own personality. Once the silver shapes are connected to the chain, the pieces dance and come alive.” ~ The Quiet Woods

Kim Sheridan-Dunmore and her mother, Mue, are the creative team behind The Quiet Woods jewelry. They sell their delicate sterling silver jewelry at Valley Artisans. This article was reprinted from the Gazette with edits to shorten for space.

By Cady Kuzmich
Gazette Reporter

Kim Sheridan-Dugmore grew up in Brooklyn making daisy chains and painting rocks with her mother, Mue. Her father Peter was an architect in the big city. Design has been calling to her from the beginning. When her parents decided to move upstate to the small village of Round Lake, she decided to stay in the city. Having always been “a maker,” Sheridan-Dugmore was intent on making it in the world of design. She worked as a decorator but eventually moved upstate over a decade ago when her eldest son was five. She lives just around the corner from her parents.

While a lot has changed since those daisy-chain making days in Brooklyn, some things remain the same. Sheridan-Dugmore and her mom are still in the business of creating art together — but this time they’ve turned their art into a business. The two have started their own jewelry line called The Quiet Woods. The mother-daughter duo has been turning delicate pieces of sterling silver into unique necklaces and earrings for five years now. “Mom and I, together, it’s a partnership,” said Sheridan-Dugmore. She said they’re basically self-taught, with the exception of one class they took in the beginning for some basic understanding.

Her mother worked as a dental hygienist. For years she was tasked with the intricate work of probing inside people’s mouths with fine dental instruments, so working on a very small scale with jewelry is “not dissimilar” according to Sheridan-Dunmore. The idea for The Quiet Woods came to fruition five years ago after Sheridan-Dugmore had her second son and decided she needed to make time for her creative endeavors. “I didn’t want to go back to the corporate life. I wanted to do something creative,” she said. Sheridan-Dugmore now works in municipal government as a treasurer in the mornings and concentrates on The Quiet Woods later in the day. While she noted The Quiet Woods isn’t a full time gig, she admits she’s always thinking about it in some way. While Sheridan-Dugmore is at work in the morning, her mother can likely be found working away on new pieces for the Quiet Woods at her kitchen table.

Find out more about Quiet Woods on their website or come into the Market and see their delicate work in person.

Ceramic artist Wayne Smith

Every August, Valley Artisans Market holds a Seconds Sale for one weekend. Artists clean out their studios and discount items that are overstocks, seconds, experimental works, or work that has not sold and needs to be cleaned out to make room for new pieces. One of the artists who has participated in this sale for many years is ceramic artist Wayne Smith who has been a full-time potter for the last seventeen years. With a background in painting, drawing, printmaking, graphic design, ceramics, and historic preservation, Wayne’s work is complex and interesting without being fussy. His ceramic work is functional, and explores the tension and possibilities of form and function using clay as an expressive medium while still maintaining functionality. The work is wheel-thrown and often altered. Many pieces are hand carved. All work is glazed with food safe glazes mixed and often developed by Wayne, and fired in a gas reduction kiln to 2400 degrees F. His work often references organic forms found in nature, and is influenced by Japanese, Chinese and Korean ceramics, the English Arts and Crafts Movement of the late nineteenth century, and American Abstract Expressionist painting. Come to see and appreciate all of his stunning work for sale in the Market, and marvel at the reduced prices of more of the pieces he has chosen for the sale.

 

Stained glass artist Peggy Pulling

Peggy Pulling’s introduction to stained glass began in the 1970s. “I was introduced to stained glass when a friend opened a wholesale business in the late 70s,” she says. “She asked me to come to work for her and that was that. Love at first sight.” Peggy’s stained glass starts with a design idea.

“Nature mostly is what inspires me. It could be from photographs, the real thing, greeting cards, magazines, you name it,” she says. “Animals and flowers tend to be what I do. I have done abstract work and the blend of colors is what inspires me there.” Many of Peggy’s customers love the glass she choose, “which really is beautiful on its own.”

She uses large sheets of glass and cuts the pieces to match the design. “They fit together like a jigsaw puzzle,” she says. She cuts out the design, choosing areas of the glass that best fit what she is working on: a swirl of color, for instance, for an interesting accent. Next, each piece of glass is ground on a motorized grinder that smooths the edges. Once smooth, the edges of the glass pieces are covered with copper foil. (Copper foil is a metal strip of tape, sticky on one side, that sticks to the glass so the design can be soldered together. “Solder will only adhere to metal [the copper foil] and solder is what holds it all together,” she says.) The artwork is not only in the design and seeking out the right piece of glass for each design but also in the skill of soldering. It is tricky to make a nice, smooth line of solder and only comes with patience and practice. Glass is an unforgiving medium and the bumps and bubbles of stained glass can be quite fussy to cut.

Peggy has had a few favorite pieces over the years that have included a giraffe, which was purchased by a customer who moved to Australia, and other one-of-a-kind pieces like a mountain lion and a black bear. They were quite complicated, which is why she only made one! Her biggest artistic mishap was when she was making a pair of sidelights. “The first one was fine,” she says. “When I laid the glass on the pattern for the second one the pattern had shifted slightly. I ended up with a curved window that would not fit in the opening. I had to take it apart and rebuild. Yikes!”

Peggy is our newest member, and we are so thrilled to welcome her and her work to the market!

Fabric artist Kris Gregson Moss


Welcome to our newest member, Kris Gregson Moss

Kris Gregson Moss is not a quilter. She is an artist who sews pieces of fabric together in interesting shapes, this is true. But she often takes the process a step further by making them into cloth sculptures using wood and frames. It all started in her childhood. While her brothers were allowed to use hammers and nails, Kris had to wash the dishes, and, of course, sew. To make matters worse, she wasn’t allowed to take art classes in high school since she was on a college entrance track. “It was the 1960s,” she laughs.

But when she got to a point in her life when she could explore the kind of art she wanted to pursue, she fought back. “I wanted to make fabric stand up,” she says. Since then, she has been making what she describes as “contrary” work, always trying new things, pushing her work beyond traditional art forms, uncomfortable following the rules.

“I pick up fabric all over. I love to use Dupioni silk. I won’t use just cotton, as is used in traditional quilts,” she says. “I am bored with rectangles so I use triangles. They have more movement. Maybe I refuse to be in a box.” When making her work, she asks “What if?” and “Can I do this?” She feels her process of creating is like playing. And her husband gets to play, too. She takes advantage of his woodworking skills for help with frames and other structural elements for her work. Kris likes abstract work because when she began making her fabric sculptures, she didn’t feel she was good enough to make representative work. Even though she has made work such as flowers and even a sea otter that hangs in her house, she still prefers the abstract.

Meanwhile, in her new home in Granville, she is creating smaller cloth objects and has been quite happy making sculptural necklaces, which have been selling well. Some of these mini sculptures look like a little lily, hanging in a trumpet shape. She calls them “Backwards at the Dinner Table” because she was wearing one and looked down to find it dangling in her coffee. (They are not washable.) She recommends flipping them around and wearing them down your back when you are eating dinner!

Many of Kris’ works have appeared in juried shows and private collections, and she just won first placein in the 3-dimensional category of the Central Adirondack Art Show at the View Gallery in Old Forge, NY, for a piece pictured here called “Synchronicity”

It will be exciting to see what comes next for Kris, especially from the inspiration she draws from the view from her new house. “I can see the length of the Green Mountains and the hills and farms of Washington County,” she says. True inspiration for an artist who doesn’t fit into a box.

Stained glass artist Diana Schleicher

Diana Schleicher often starts a stained glass project — such as a sun catcher or mosaic piece — by allowing the glass itself to suggest a subject. Sometimes it’s a landscape, a bird or insect or some kind of geometric design.

“The texture of the glass and the way the light filters through is what first sparks my interest,” she says. “I particularly like incorporating shells, beads and natural materials in the design.”

Her interest in stained glass began when she took a BOCES class more than 20 years ago when she found a local stained glass instructor. Working alongside three other students, she began going weekly to improve her skills.

But long before that first class, she was interested in art, even as a child. She studied Advertising Art and Design at the State University Agricultural and Technical Institute in Farmingdale, Long Island. Although Advertising Art wasn’t for her, she enjoyed calligraphy and later used it to create signs and posters in the various places she was employed.

As an Occupational Therapy Assistant at Pilgrim State Hospital on Long Island, her interest in art developed into a desire to try various crafts.

“I worked in several Occupational Therapy ‘shops’ with psychiatric patients in the areas of weaving, ceramics, woodworking and embroidery. I was learning as much from the patients I worked with as well as other staff,” she says. Hoping to continue working in the human service field when she moved upstate in 1977, she got a job at Community, Work and Independence and has been there 35 years.

“I was one of the original members when VAM first began. I made soft-sculptured character dolls at the time, more as a hobby. It was a new experience for me, to be around other successful artists. I later moved on to decorating boxes with birch bark and twigs from the woods behind my house. I loved using materials in nature to create usable items.”

Diana’s biggest challenge with stained glass is having the time and space to make it. Also, stained glass is unforgiving. “Unfortunately, if you make a mistake in stained glass, you either have to take it apart, or replace broken pieces. Each step is challenging, cutting glass the wrong way results in pieces of glass in shapes you can’t use. Soldering those pieces together, so your finished piece looks neat, is also challenging. This can be costly and time consuming. Having a full time job and limited work space at my house — the kitchen table — doesn’t allow me to produce as much as I’d like to,” she says. “In the future, I hope to improve my skills, and learn new techniques with glass, such as jewelry making, etching, and the use of a kiln.”

Painter Barry Targan (aka Richard Dubin)

An artist is “a person who produces works in any of the arts that are primarily subject to aesthetic criteria.” If this definition is true, then I am not sure what Barry Targan is. He produces work in MANY of the arts, not just ANY. If you have seen Barry’s work at VAM (under his alias, Richard Dubin), you have enjoyed his acrylic paintings. He loves acrylic because it’s a forgiving medium. “It dries so quickly that you can almost immediately make corrections, which for me, is a great advantage,” he says.He paints from photographs, but only photographs he’s taken himself, then he enhances the images on a computer. “My method is an ancient one; that is, I grid the printed photograph and then translate that by a grid of the larger canvas,” he says. “It seems that my favorite subject is flowers, but I try to avoid just describing them. I make sometimes extreme distortions, hopefully making the painting look like flowers but also something else. I try to set the viewer’s imagination free.” One of his main subjects is still life, particularly fruits and vegetables.

If you have come into VAM during one of Barry’s shifts, you may have seen him working behind his portable sewing machine. He often passes the time making quilts at VAM. But of course, he has dabbled in many art forms.

“I’ve always been interested in craft. What excites me mostly is the attempt to give an informing shape to stuff. Over the years I’ve worked in ceramics, bookbinding, weaving, quilting, wood working, boat building, polymer clay, copper enameling. My aim is to explore a medium and try and find different and unusual possibilities for it.”

Barry’s art also includes writing. He is an accomplished writer and teacher with a Ph.D. from Brandeis University. “For 42 years of my adult life, I taught 16th and 17th century English literature. For the last 20 years I taught creative writing at Binghamton University. I’ve published three collections of short stories and three novels as well as dozens more stories, essays, poems. I’ve received two Endowment of the Arts grants and a Rockefeller Foundation grant to study in Italy.”

Aside from his writing, his most ambitious and challenging work was with ceramics. “Once I had a complete ceramics studio, including two kilns that I built myself. Eventually I focused on raku. But firing a raku kiln is very hard work, and so, at my age (84), I had to give it up.”

But back to painting. Barry’s greatest influence is his wife, painter Arleen Targan, a fine and highly-respected artist (and also the reason he has an alias so that the two painters are not confused). Over the years she encouraged and mentored him. She was an early member of VAM, and in time Barry joined her.

We hope there will be much more exploration produced by Barry. “I don’t mind parting with any of my work because I’m always going on to new things,” he says. “Also, I get a kick out of thinking that someone wants something I’ve made.”

An artist is “a person who produces works in any of the arts that are subject to aesthetic criteria.” If that is true, then I am not sure what Barry Targan is. He produces work in MANY of the arts, not just ANY. If you have seen Barry’s work at VAM (under his alias, Richard Dubin), you have enjoyed his acrylic paintings. He loves acrylic because it’s a forgiving medium. “It dries so quickly that you can almost immediately make corrections, which for me, is a great advantage,” he says.

He paints from photographs, but only photographs he’s taken himself, then he enhances the images on a computer. “My method is an ancient one; that is, I grid the printed photograph and then translate that by a grid of the larger canvas,” he says. “It seems that my favorite subject is flowers, but I try to avoid only describing them. I make extreme distortions, hopefully making the painting look like flowers but also something else. I try to set the viewer’s imagination free.” One of his main subjects is still life, particularly fruits and vegetables.

If you have come into VAM during one of Barry’s shifts, you may have seen him working at his portable sewing machine. He often passes the time making quilts at VAM. But of course, he has dabbled in many art forms.

“I’ve always been interested in craft. What excites me is the attempt to give an informing shape to stuff,” he says. “Over the years, I’ve worked in ceramics, bookbinding, weaving, quilting, wood working, boat building, polymer clay and copper enameling. My aim is to explore a medium and try and find different and unusual possibilities for it.”

Barry’s art also includes writing. He is an accomplished writer and teacher with a Ph.D. from Brandeis University. “For 42 years of my adult life, I taught 16th and 17th century English literature. For the last 20 years I taught creative writing at Binghamton University. I’ve published three collections of short stories and three novels as well as dozens more stories, essays, poems. I’ve received two Endowment of the Arts grants and a Rockefeller Foundation grant to study in Italy.”

Aside from his writing, his most ambitious and challenging work was with ceramics. “Once I had a complete ceramics studio, including two kilns that I built myself. Eventually I focused on raku. But firing a raku kiln is very hard work, and so, at my age (84), I had to give it up.”

But back to painting. Barry’s greatest influence is his wife, painter Arleen Targan, a fine and highly-respected artist (and also the reason he has an alias; he does not wish the two painters to be confused). Over the years she encouraged and mentored him. She was an early member of VAM, and in time Barry joined her.

We hope there will be much more exploration produced by Barry. “I don’t mind parting with any of my work because I’m always going on to new things,” he says. “Also, I get a kick out of thinking that someone wants something I’ve made.”

Basket-maker Bliss McIntosh

My basket-making career has roots that begin way back with learning to knit and sew when I was about 5 years old. I took over from my mother in making my own clothes and then progressed to spinning, weaving and using natural dyes when I was just finishing college. After college, I built a small cabin on land that my parents gave to me and honed my woodworking skills. By the time my husband and I married in 1977 the time was right for basket making. A dear friend gave us a basket made by Mary Tilley of Ashfield, MA and soon after that I spent a week with Mary learning the craft. It was exactly the right thing for me, incorporating my love of plants and wood, fiber, weaving and carving, with much of it done outdoors.

Black Ash basketmaking is a traditional American craft. The ash is obtained by cutting a Black Ash tree, removing the bark, and then pounding on the log to separate the annual rings. The splints are soaked and smoothed, then cut to dimension before weaving the baskets. I create handles and rims by splitting out white ash while it is still green or after it has been soaked and then carving it with a drawknife on a shave horse. There is nothing but wood in a finished basket and it is a strong, light, and flexible object with infinite uses. The “art” of basket making is when you decide on proportion, surface texture, the carving of the handles and the fineness of the weave. It has never lost its charm for me.

In 1990 I was introduced to a birch bark basket maker in NH and spent another week learning her techniques. Since then I have made a mixture of splint and bark baskets. Since 1977 I have also taught many workshops, usually at my home, to people who want to learn the “real” way to make a basket. I have also taught thousands of 4th graders to make reed baskets as part of their study of Native Americans and Colonial life.

I have made baskets for almost 40 years. It has been mostly a winter activity as I am a professional gardener during the summer months. I concentrate on corn husk dolls just before the holidays, then spend January and part of February weaving up a basket a day. In the late winter, I work on rims and handles and binding up. (An intern at the Crandall Library produced a 6-minute video of me making an ash splint basket.)

I am one of the founding members of Valley Artisans Market and am grateful to the market for being a simple way to display and sell my work, as well as providing me with a community of artists for friends and inspiration.

Read more about Bliss in her bio.

 

  

Photographer Ian Creitz

Photographer Ian Creitz has been playing with photography since he was in high school but his interest increased in 2004 when he was given his first digital camera. “From there I continued to grow in my craft. Ever few years I upgrade my equipment and continue teaching myself and picking up tips from other seasoned photographers,” he says.
       In recent years, his work has focused on the juxtaposition of nature and man, and the decay left behind by structures that have been vacated, like photos taken at Mary McClellan Hospital. He is always inspired by finding a new location to shoot and challenging himself by studying other artists and then “seeing if I can create something similar but with my artistic twist,” he says.
      But Ian’s creative pursuits are not just in digital photography.
       “I am always interested in making things with my hands. But just the process of creating and learning a new skill fascinates me,” he says.
       Though he only exhibits his digital photography at Valley Artisans, he has explored other media. “As a younger kid I always enjoyed art class. I also was taught how to throw pottery and created many pieces in the few years I took the classes,” he says. Most recently, he has explored working with wood. I built a coffee table from a maple pallet wood. It had a finished top in tung oil with a rising sunbeam pattern. It was my most challenging piece to date,” he says. It was this piece Ian was most sad to see go when it was sold to a person in another state.        
       When he is not being creative, you can find him helping his brother sell apparel (www.tappedlife.com) at festivals around the Northeast.
       You can see more of Ian’s work on his website and on Instagram. For more about Ian, check out his bio.
  
Cloth artist Luann Gilligan

Cloth artist Luann Gilligan

Welcome to our newest member, Luann Gilligan of Round Lake, New York, who joined Valley Artisans Market in December of 2016.

Luann has been fascinated and intrigued by fabric all of her life. She has been sewing since she was 12 years old and has enjoyed all kinds of handwork: embroidery, quilting, silkscreen and surface design using paints and dyes. She went to school for clothing and textile design then went on to have an interesting path working as a sample maker for Carter’s Childrenswear, doing theater costuming work and partnering in a small company that designed and produced figure skating apparel. She has also worked doing bridal alterations.

Decades of loving fabric has led to a wonderful collection of cloth. “I’ve collected a lot, mostly in the category of bits and pieces,” she says. She stumbled upon Shibori while trying to figure out a way to make something with all those bits and pieces.

“My current work is dying natural fiber cloth with natural indigo plant dye. I use a technique called Shibori, which involves folding, clamping, stitching, twisting the fabric, then dipping it repeatedly in the dye vat. Everything is then washed, cut and sewn together,” she says.

Shibori is like tie-dye. The way Luann folds or twists the fabric will result in different patterns and designs with some areas of the cloth remaining white from being tightly wound up.

Luann currently has table runners and table toppers for sale at VAM and is interested in new twists on traditional methods for her work. “I’m interested in more experimentation with the circle theme and in moving away from the very traditional examples of shibori to develop more abstract pieces for the wall or for art quilts,” she says. “I’m also quite infatuated at the moment with sacred geometry and the Fibonacci number series for design layout.”

When she isn’t immersed in the joys of fabric, Luann is busy with many fascinating jobs, including working with an autistic child, cooking for an alternative food store, as well as finishing an apprenticeship to become a Reiki Master. She is certified to teach yoga and meditation and is developing a Conscious Breathing course for people who are stressed and overwhelmed. “Everyday is different, and I squeeze the art work in where I can,” she says.

For more information about Luann, check her bio.

 

Gourd artist Chung-Ah Park

Gourd artist Chung-Ah Park

If you have walked into Valley Artisans Market, you have probably been immediately attracted to the gourd houses made by artist Chung-Ah Park. A dried gourd is cut open, given windows and doors and made into a sweet room, decorated like a dollhouse with wallpaper, rugs, tables, beds, desks and the like. The rooms have beautiful details, some very sparse and some with a variety of her carefully handmade items. No matter their subject, each one is charming and innovative, and radiate the care and attention to detail that Chung-Ah gives all of her creations. “I love making things and love the whole process of designing, solving problems, and the actual hands-on part. When I am making these gourd houses, my thoughts are all about the process and nothing else. It relaxes and gives me energy at the same time.”

Chung-Ah grew up in Korea where gourds were common. “I always thought they were magical,” she says. “When I began to grow vegetables in my garden [in upstate New York], I learned that gourds could be grown around here by starting the seeds indoors to give the plants the necessary long growing period. Having many dried gourds around the house naturally made me think about making them into useful or beautiful objects.” (She grew gourds for about 15 years, which supplied her needs, but sometimes when she is looking for a particular shape of gourd, she orders from an Amish farm in Pennsylvania.)

A true artist, Chung-Ah isn’t happy unless she is creating. She has tried her hands in sewing, weaving, pastel drawing, print making, book making, card making, pottery, and gourd craft. “I took some time off from gourd craft while I was doing pottery, but I came back to gourds a couple of years ago.” She would still like to try pottery again without using glazes, but right now she is having fun with the gourds. “I love the simplicity of the gourd and the fact I can grow them in my garden and it does not require chemicals in comparison to ceramics. I still would love to explore more of all these media I have tried so far though. I would like to create a piece of artwork which combines all the crafts I have done.”

Because she works part-time as a gardener, Chung-Ah finds much of her design inspiration from nature. “Nature is always the most influential inspiration for me, but I also get inspired by art and crafts of other artisans and artists around the world.”

Sometimes inspiration seems to happen spontaneously, but more often “I sit down and think about how I can design some particular type of pieces.”

Chung-Ah has been having new inspiration lately for her gourd work. “I have been making decorative lights/lamps and am having fun with it. I am not sure whether they will sell or not, but I like making and having them around for myself,” she says. The gourds use energy-efficient LED lightbulbs which run on lithium batteries. Two different lights are available: either a color-changing bulb without a timer or an amber-colored bulb with a four-hour timers. (The light will turn on and stay lit for four hours and then turn itself off; 24 hours later, it will turn itself back on.) Because the gourds have little skylights in them or intricate designs cut into them by using a tiny motorized saw, they cast beautiful shadows and designs on the walls around them.

We look forward to all the ways Chung-Ah will continue to express herself in her gourds and all of her other artwork.dscn9428 dscn9439 dscn9425 dscn9437 chung2

 

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