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 17, 2019 - June 11, 2019
There has never been any doubt that I had an affinity for wood or that it was in my blood. My grandfather ran a fine timber and veneer business in London. My father built many beautiful pieces of furniture and redecorated and maintained our home. We did projects throughout my childhood, heading down to the basement workshop evenings and on weekends, assimilating woodwork skills without knowing they would be part of a lifelong interest as well a way to make a living. My most enjoyable course in high school was mechanical drawing which gave me a valuable tool to solve problems, design and convey ideas to future clients.
Graduating high school in 1969 I joined the counterculture with dreams of being a craftsman, artist and free spirit. It was the heyday of re-newed interest in making things by hand, learning traditional crafts, respecting materials and pushing back against the sameness of manufactured goods. I started building furniture and cabinets, experimenting with joinery and materials. Over the years I collected books on woodworking, crafts, architecture, art and design and visited historic house sites, galleries and museum collections and sought out contemporary makers who were pushing the boundaries of the new Studio Furniture movement. I also attended workshops at places like Haystack School and Penland to explore other crafts, materials and processes. The energy and exposure of these workshops has helped stimulate my creative process. Some of the objects in this show are from those workshops. My work has been influenced by Shaker ideals of simplicity and function, the high design of the Art Deco period and the unique interpretations of style and design by people like Frank Lloyd Wright and Gustav Stickley. I have worked at the drawing board, in the woodshop and on construction sites, consulting, problem solving and bringing design ideas to fruition. Projects have ranged from furniture, cabinetry, and industrial design, to energy efficient houses, renovation, historic restoration and reproduction.
I have enjoyed working with many clients over the years striving to produce high quality, thoughtful, functional spaces and objects with my own signature style. Design is most rewarding when it is a collaboration with the client or another designer, working together to achieve a special home, room or beautiful object. My usual approach has been to listen carefully and take detailed notes and measurements. I begin by making a scale drawing of the space or the parameters of the object. I might have an idea, almost immediately, for the piece or the solution. Sometimes I need to let it gestate, to let my unconscious mind work it out. I have often thought that inspiration seems to grow and flow with time and experience. Sometimes I let the wood lead the outcome, other times it is the desired function, and always to create something that has a certain balance, symmetry and harmony. It is interesting to look back on a lifetime of work and realize how varied and numerous are the projects I have had a hand in. Some of the pieces in the show are mine alone, others were done with the help of fellow craftsmen in the area. I hope I am leaving a body of work that is recognized and appreciated for its elegance and beauty. I hope you enjoy getting a glimpse of my life in woodworking.
Founding VAM member Virginia McNeice, 82, died on March 12, 2019, surrounded by her loving family. Virginia was the beloved wife of Donald McNeice. Born July 17, 1936 in Riverdale, N.Y., she was the daughter of the late Harold and Maude (Taylor) Paro. Virginia (Jini) attended Pratt Institute of Art in Brooklyn, N.Y., graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Fine Art. In 1966, the family moved from Huntington, Long Island to Cambridge, NY to pursue their dream of living on a farm with their family.
Jini became a prolific and regionally-renowned landscape artist who drew inspiration from the natural beauty of the countryside she loved. Her work is in private collections, regional galleries, local hospitals and businesses. Jini’s art moved many people and even inspired some to begin their own artistic journey. Her artist friends valued her knowledge and insight, as she welcomed them into her studio and her life. As celebrated as she was in the art world, Jini accepted accolades with humility and grace. A quotation on her studio wall reads, “It’s the process, not the product”. Jini enjoyed being a vital member of the Cambridge community, Valley Artisans Market, Hubbard Hall, Battenkill Chorale, and the Agricultural Stewardship Association. Her calendar was always full.
Visitors to her studio were drawn to her gardens, which were one of her personal passions, and on hot days she would alternate gardening with dips in the pool. Jini and Don knew that gathering and growing their family around them was another expression of art in its finest form. Family extended far beyond blood relatives: they frequently opened their home to their children’s friends, young artists, and friends with shared interests. Jini was generous with cuttings from her garden, a quick art crit or a recommendation for a good book to read. The McNeice home was always open and the table always full. In the early years Jini and Don were proud to produce all their own food for the table, and in later years Jini always had a large vegetable garden, which she shared with family and friends and, to her great annoyance, woodchucks and rabbits.
Her children write, “Our mother taught us to see and appreciate color and light in the landscape around us. She taught us the pleasure of putting our hands in the dirt and making something beautiful. She encouraged in us her love of poetry and words, from juicy, descriptive phrases in a novel to a particularly witty wedding announcement in the Times, to a poignant line in a Mary Oliver poem. We learned to be curious and hardworking; to follow our passion; and to value family above all.”
Virginia was predeceased by her husband Donald of 54 years. Survivors include four children, Maggie McNeice of South Portland, Maine; Brian McNeice and his wife Jenny Ramstetter of Halifax, VT.; Kathy McNeice and her husband, JR Dugas of Cambridge; Annie McNeice of Cambridge; her sister, Diana Schleicher of Greenwich, NY; and many nieces, nephews and eight grandchildren. If you would like to remember Jini in a special way, the family suggests a donation to a Hubbard Hall or the Agricultural Stewardship Association.
- 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
- Zoe’ Burghard
September 6, 2019 - October 1, 2019
- Irene Berkson and Friend: Sculpture
October 4, 2019 - October 29, 2019
- Chris Levy and Friends: Pysanky
November 1, 2019 - November 24, 2019
- Annual Holiday Show
November 28, 2019 - December 31, 2019
See past shows →
We are looking for painters specializing in watercolor as well as jewelry makers who are silver smiths. If you are interested in becoming a working member, please consider joining our friendly bunch of artists! There are no monthly fees for membership, you don't have...read more
Congrats to member Peggy Gray who received a Small Business Excellence Award from the Small Business Administration and the Women’s Business Center of New York State on May 7!read more