June 30, 2010

Floorcloth demonstration

During this past Saturday's ArtWalk on June 26, we were fortunate to have Eileen Whalen of Newburyport, here to show us the steps involved in painting floorcloths. Eileen sells her floorcloths and painted furniture at the store.

She begins with a pre-bound heavy canvas which she paints with an interior latex paint. Eileen then sponges and stipple brushes a darker blue acrylic paint on it to create a watery background.

In this next step (above) Eileen lays a mylar stencil she's created wtih a stencil burner over the entire floorcloth. You can see from previous uses which colors are generally used where.

Here, employee Amanda Breen applies the paint to one of the fish designs. Eileen then continues with other customers' help to add additional stencil overlays to create dimension to the little fish and then adds seaweed and bubble designs sporadically around.

The finished floorcloth! When fully dry, the floorcloth is then painted with four coats of a marine polyurethane to make the design waterproof and wear very well underfoot. Contact us for more information and pictures of available designs at 978-499-8444.

June 23, 2010

Q & A Interview with Deb DeCicco

This is the first part of an ongoing series we'll be doing to introduce you to our artists. Deb DeCicco is printmaker who lives in Jaffrey, NH and creates floral woodblock prints using the Japanese 'hanga' method of printing without a mechanical press. A little background here is I used to work at the Sharon Arts Center in Peterborough, NH where Deb ran the school program. When I opened my gallery here in Newburyport, I originally sold beautiful bags that Deb made. She is a multi-talented person and I excited to share more of her art with you.

Q: What medium are you working in and for how long?
I’ve been making woodblock prints for 13 years and have been drawing for over 45 years.

Q: What mediums did you work in before (if any)?
I’ve worked in drawing, watercolor, collage, fiber art, book arts, and printmaking.

Q: Why this subject matter?
I draw flowers and plants because I am constantly amazed and inspired by the infinite beauty, and the infinite shapes of the natural world. I’m also interested in the way the flowers and plants reflect the circle of life and our human condition. On just one iris plant you can see one flower in full bloom, one curled and dying, one bud just coming out of the leaf and one bud that you know will burst open tomorrow. You see the strength of the leaves holding everything together at the base and you know that the roots are there, soaking up the water and nutrients. You can see flowers reaching out, turning away, bending over, struggling for enough light, happily blooming, clustered together or beautifully alone.

Q: Describe your workspace and how you get into the mindset:
The drawing is done any time and any place where there’s a plant or flower that I want to draw. I can ignore whatever’s going on around me because I’m totally absorbed in describing the shapes of the plant on the paper. The prints are done in a small studio in my apartment. The variety of processes involved, drawing, prepping the blocks and paper, carving, proofing and printing, framing and of course the administrative, marketing parts, are usually all going on at once with different images. This prevents boredom and gives me purposeful activity no matter how much time I have at the moment. The morning is my best time for critical decisions on composition, value, fine tuning the carving and color. The evenings seem better for printing when I’m slowing down and can be more careful.

Q: What hangs on your walls and/or what fine craft do you enjoy at home?
My home is filled with paintings, prints, drawings, pottery, books of poetry and jewelry made by my friends.

June 21, 2010

New pieces just in from Kathy Bransfield Jewelry

We've just received a large collection of Kathy Bransfield jewelry.

Pictured are:
"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams” –Eleanor Roosevelt.
"Stillness is the greatest revelation"
"Peace" written out in 17 different languages

We love her pieces and the quotations she selects, funny, sweet and mostly inspiring. To see all her pieces, go to our website.

June 17, 2010

Now open Thursday, Friday & Saturday evenings!

We're now open Thursday, Friday & Saturday evenings till 9 pm for the summer season!

June 15, 2010

Collagraph prints by Kathleen Buchanan

I just love these by Maine printmaker Kathleen Buchanan.  What is a collagraph print you're wondering? ... It's a type of printmaking where you start with a solid board such as masonite, and cut out shapes for your elements from some type of heavy paper. Then an acrylic gel medium is painted to add texture and details. This creates a single plate for part of the image. With Kathleen's prints, she usually creates three to four plates for each print (one plate per color). Then printer's inks are applied generously and then wiped off of the surface (leaving the ink to stay in some areas). The paper is slightly dampened and placed over each plate and the pair (painted plate with paper) is run through a press together. Kathleen limits her editions to 20 to 50. Her prints have a wonderful toned-down feeling about them and we're excited to show them.

June 4, 2010

Robin Luciano Beaty's show at the NAA

If you haven't had a chance to view Robin's show at the Newburyport Art Association, I really recommend it. Robin's work is encaustic wax paintings and she's got a tremendous selection of very large paintings as well as groupings of her smaller 8" pieces. Her solo show runs through Sunday, June 6th.

June 3, 2010

Part of Jim Conley's collection

Jim Conley and I were talking last weekend about his history in Newburyport with Conley's Goldsmiths Silversmiths and the variety of pieces he has made over the 20+ years for customers. In addition to rings and jewelry, Jim has crafted a chalice for a local church, as well as a beautiful commemorative box lined with zebra wood for a very grand wedding. If you would like to have your own beautiful custom piece made (like some of these people did), just let us know or stop by to see Jim in person on most Saturday mornings 10-12:30.

New photograph by John Geesink

Every month or so Newburyport photographer John Geesink comes by the shop to bring me new photographs. This beautiful one is called "Team Flying" and was taken late one afternoon on Nelson Island in Rowley (part of the Federal Wildlife Refuge of Plum Island). The Canada Geese look powerful, and beautiful against the blurred soft colors of the background.