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.
August 1, 2021 - August 31, 2021
Artist Reception will be held on Sunday, August 1st from 3-5pm. The public is welcome!
Valley Artisans Market to celebrate 40th anniversary by holding a special exhibit of work in the Small Gallery by current and former members of VAM.
A Short History of Valley Artisans’ Market:
The Valley Artisans Market was founded in 1981 by a group of artists who saw the potential for a cooperative market making its home in the west storefront of historic Hubbard Hall. Just a few years before that Hubbard Hall had been bought by a group of local people who wanted to preserve the building and create a non-profit art center using the beautiful opera house upstairs. The Village Store Food Coop had moved into the East storefront, sharing the space with Helen White’s Village Store. The “Calico Trunk” fabric shop was in the West space but its closing in the winter of 1980-81 inspired some of the same forces behind the food coop to call a meeting encouraging artists to come together to discus the opening of an artists’ cooperative. And so Valley Artisans’ Market opened its doors to the public in March of 1981. The initial group invited friends whose art they respected, but after that they set up a jury system to insure that the quality of the art remained high. There was much joking about “no painted rocks”, though we’ve had some marvelous examples of painted rocks over the years. We’ve had painters, sculptors, weavers, potters, basketmakers, woodworkers, fiber artists, photographers, jewelers and more.
Over the past 40 years the membership has hovered around 30 artists, most of whom take their turns tending store, doing display, working on building projects, jury, cleaning, management and marketing. The market has been more than a storefront for art. It has made a community for the artists involved where friendships flourished and where each person could find inspiration in seeing their own work displayed as a part of the whole group. Artists have supported each other in solo shows, both in the “Small Gallery” of the market, and in the wider community. They have seen their members age, babies be born and members leave for all sorts of reasons, but all through that time the good energy of beautiful art has kept the market united and creative. Along the way new members have joined the cooperative with fresh ideas and energy to advance the market into this constantly changing world.
Empty branches may be beautiful but for Kristina Martin they are a photo failure. It’s the birds that have just vacated the branches that she is hoping to photograph. “I take a lot of photos to get to the good one,” she says.
Her interest in birding started in 2016, after a 30-year career as a medical transcriptionist. Lured by the songs and chirps, flights and feathers of birds, she picked up a camera in order to capture their images to identify these fast-moving creatures and study them more closely. As she began photographing them, she discovered their quirky secrets: the catbird loves to splash and bathe; the wings whistle when the dove takes flight.
“I ended up with all these photos. So I made cards for family and friends. They said they were pretty good! I put together a basket and put them on the counter at Yushak’s (general store in Shushan, NY) and that’s where it all started,” she says.
Kristina loves nature and being outdoors; she doesn’t mind how challenging photographing wildlife can be. Recalling a recent evening in Fort Edward, I can hear a smile in her voice. She hunkered down in the tall grass and waited for short-eared owls that have migrated locally from the arctic to appear. Owls are a favorite subject of hers to shoot partially because they are nocturnal; it’s difficult to get a good shot in natural light. “They came out at dusk and were flying over the grasslands,” she says.
Her work has grown into an extensive line of cards but she also offers enlarged prints and framed art. As customers have requested, she has expanded her work into nature scenes and rural living, including florals, barnyard scenes and covered bridges. (She had a fox family in a hedgerow behind her house last year. She set up a blind and was able to watch four kits grow up while getting great photos for her cards.) She plans to package her cards into gift sets and will create groupings of birds, flowers and more for Mother’s Day and springtime.
Her art is transforming as she gets more practice. She introduced photos that are more abstract. “It’s fun to see people’s reaction to my more abstract work. Some people really get it,” she says. For instance, she took a photo of a snow bend with trees and altered it into sepia. There’s a path that’s lighter than the surrounding area. “It’s nature but it’s funky,” she says.
Although Kristina tries to keep photos as genuine as possible, she uses digital technology, specifically Lightroom, a photography platform, to facilitate the finest result. “I try to make sure the photos I take are the best they can be to start, depending on the conditions. Editing or enhancing photos is part of the craft, improving on the original photo, creating more definition by cropping or enhancement,” she says.
Kristina is enjoying being a relative novice, always learning something new. She appreciates the feedback she receives from her customers as well as tips from other photographers.
Kristina is happy to accommodate specific bird photo requests. She also offers enlargements of any images seen on her Whistle Wing Print cards. “Creating hand-crafted cards and prints allows me to share the beauty, charm and humor I see around me every day.” In the meantime, Kristina will keep on getting outside and shooting … hopefully not another empty branch.
- 40th Anniversary Show – Valley Artisans Market
August 1, 2021 10:00 am - August 31, 2021 5:00 pm
- Laura Leigh Lanchantin: Livin’ in Cambridge
September 3, 2021 10:00 am - September 28, 2021 5:00 pm
- Julie Branch
October 1, 2021 10:00 am - October 26, 2021 5:00 pm
- Ian Creitz – Photography
October 29, 2021 10:00 am - November 23, 2021 5:00 pm
See past shows →
We are proud to announce that the Crandall Library in Glens Falls, NY, has purchased several pieces of artwork from our members for inclusion in its Folklife Center permanent collection. The Folklife Center at Crandall Public Library is an award-winning program...
Would you like to see how Bliss McIntosh makes her corn husks angels? Watch here.