Featured Artists

Martha Starke, botanical and paper artist

Martha Starke, botanical art cards

Petal People — whimsical figures made from pressed flowers and leaves — are a recent creation for paper artist Martha Starke of Saratoga Springs, NY.

For more than 20 years, Martha’s primary art has been making handmade paper. She specialized in creating plantable paper (handmade paper with seeds embedded in it) for weddings. During this time, she was pressing flowers and adding them to the paper pulp.

“I began making Petal People after seeing a craft magazine that showed a rooster created from autumn leaves,” she says. “I was so enchanted that I started playing around with pressed flowers that I was using for weddings. I loved making human figures with the botanicals. I framed a few and they sold right away so I knew I was onto something.”

She didn’t sell her favorite ones, though, and soon gathered a collection of figures. She printed a few designs onto card stock. Petal People notecards were born. Now she carries more than 40 designs. She adds new ones every year and rotates some designs out or sells some in limited runs. 

“My studio is a crazy mess of boxes; there was one time when I had almost 12,000 cards and envelopes sitting in boxes,” she says. “Now that I wholesale my cards across the United States, I need to have a lot on hand, ready to ship.”

Martha never knows when an idea for a design is going to hit her. She carries a flower press with her in case she finds a new botanical to pluck for future designs. “I was in California last year and pressed some red flowers — please don’t tell the hotel in Culver City that I was pilfering their plants — that turned out to be some of my favorites. They are called Ixora and they look like little pinwheels when they are pressed.”

New ideas usually start with the botanicals. “I may see the shape of a flower that looks like a skirt in motion, or a leaf that resembles a torso with arms and legs. I usually don’t have any idea what I am going to make until I start arranging the pressed botanicals, and see where I end up.” She is thinking about making a little girl holding a pinwheel from the Ixora she picked in California.

Martha has recently introduced 10 new designs to VAM, including some featuring loose, scattered leaves and flowers in seasonal colors that she calls Garden Greetings. Find all of her lines at VAM, at various markets across the nation found on her website, and online in her Etsy store.

Leslie Fuller

Some knew her as a quilter, some knew her for the makeup work she did for film and television, but we knew her as a talented multi-media artist, phenomenal salesperson and friend. Leslie Fuller was a member of Valley Artisans from 1988 until her death on Nov. 1, 2017. She will be missed.

Leslie Fuller, an iconoclastic artist in several media including fabric art, drawing, makeup design and film making died at home in Sandgate, VT on November 1, 2017 after a long illness. She was 70.

Born in Pasadena, Ms. Fuller began working with cloth in Claremont, CA where she was raised. She studied in the California watercolor school at an early age, giving her a basis for color, technique, and a trained eye for the natural beauty of landscape and light. With her pan-creative approach to the arts, she developed a synergy of disciplines including drawing, painting, fashion design and photography, which lead to an interest in filmmaking.

Ms. Fuller completed her MFA at The London Film School in 1969. She returned to California to continue studying photography and made practical Mandala Quilts from re-purposed cloth. Working large paralleled her ‘big screen’ imagination with full size quilts used both on and off the wall.

She moved to Sandgate, VT in 1971, enjoying a fruitful period as an Art Quilt maker, focusing on commissioned appliqu landscape pieces, which were collected and included in many gallery shows and fiber-art publications. She also produced small illustrations on paper, contrasting and complimenting the large quilted pieces.

‘As my “Clothworks” evolved, I was always looking for a fresh palate to express my vision’, Ms. Fuller said. This led her to begin painting on white silk satin with airbrush dyed elements. From her fascination with the play of light on naked silk and an appreciation of the white-on-white quilted works from the 19th century, Ms. Fuller was inspired to begin making “Quilted Drawings”. Combining her pen and ink skill in contour drawing and using her sewing machine as the drawing tool, the “Quilted Drawing” became a sensual, three dimensional representation of her subjects as abstract designs in clothing or framed art.

Ms. Fuller began her second career as a Make-up artist for motion pictures and television in New York City in 1980, the ‘day job’ to support her art work. This combined her skills in painting and photography with her keen interest in the interaction of people. Working on productions like “The Juror”, “You Me and Dupree” and “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” gave Ms. Fuller a stimulating contrast to the simpler Vermont life.

Ms. Fuller’s philosophy was, ‘Being an artist is a point of view. Everything an artist does with that intent, is art.’ Ms. Fuller is survived by Rick Raphael, her husband of 37 years, their son Sean Raphael and her two brothers, Dr. James Fuller, MD and Tom Fuller.

 

 

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-Dugmore 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.
  
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