What happened when eight talented artisans got together and brain stormed? A new business was formed which gave local artists a venue to show their hand-made talents. That business is the Bay House Artisans Regional Artists Gallery, located in one of the oldest houses in Alexandria Bay.
Tom Roberts and Mary and Tom Mitchell, gave us a tour in April and told of how they formed the eight-member LLC. Joined by Phyllis Roberts, Sue-Ryn Burns, Kylie Hebert, Lisa LaRue and Ceclia Thompson.
Last summer was their first season, and it did not take long to fill the small rooms, so much so, that more space was renovated for this coming season.
By mid summer there were 30 artisans producing work in a range of media including wood, fiber, metal, glass, clay, watercolor, and jewelry.
There is an emphasis on local artists or artists who reside in the North Country, thus their work captures the unique atmosphere of the Thousand Islands and the Adirondacks.
In addition to an entry fee for space there are two business models which ensures that the gallery is staffed. Artists can retain 85% of each sale by committing to working sales shifts thus the store is staffed throughout the season or they may keep 65% of their sales and are not required to be on hand.
30 Artisans and room for more …
A jury of peers makes the final selection of Artisans with 30 participating last year – all chosen on the basis of their work’s originality, composition, and the appropriateness of the theme and subject matter. Each artist sets his or her own price of goods. The application process is well described on their website and they assured us that the group is always looking for good quality hand-made work that complements the current stock.
Artists and their stories
Certainly perusing the gallery and choosing a unique art piece is not unusual, but learning about the artists can be a bridge between the artist and the customer. Below is a partial biographical list and there are some wonderful stories to be told. (Alpha order)
Joan Applebaum– Windy Hill Studio Arts, Syracuse NY and Indian River Lakes. Joan is a Visual Arts Instructor for youth, teens and adults at the East Area Family YMCA in Fayetteville, NY and an active professional artist who has exhibited her work throughout New York State. She holds memberships in the Central New York Branch of the National League of American Pen Women, Associated Artists of Syracuse, North Country Arts Council, The Arts Association of Northern New York and Bay House Artisans in Alexandria Bay.
Wayne Brown, Tired Iron Sculptures, Heuvelton, NY. Sculptor Wayne Brown constructs an entire world of whimsical creatures out of found metal objects. With a keen eye for creative possibilities and a generous dose of good humor, he transforms forgotten farm machinery and obsolete tools into fanciful sculpture.
Sue-Ryn Burns – Hill Women Productions, Wellesley Island, NY. Sue is well known in the region as the NY State Wildlife Rehabilitaror and/or the Herb Lady of the Thousand Islands for many years. She is also the NY State Wildlife Rehabilitator and author of the Hill Women’s Kitchen Herbal Recipes which was illustrated by Paula Towne. Her Hill Women website has a long explanations about her products. Her aromatherapy oils are her own blend of high quality pure essential oils. She makes her own blended perfume oils as well.
Mary Cathryn Catherman – Fused Art Glass Artist - Cape Vincent, NY
Mary started her art career by taking a beginner’s glass class at More Fire Studio in Rochester, NY. In 2006 she purchased her first kiln and continued taking courses. Her basement studio, in Cape Vincent, now contains several kilns, grinders, and cutting tools. Her work is appreciated near and far.
Sally Crews, Photographer, Rochester, NY and Alexandria Bay. Sally’s photos are popular in the gallery. Several of her photographs are used in promotional brochures in the region and she has helped organize the Alexandria Bay Fall Craft Fair.
Catherine DePasquale, Sedona Arizona and Alexandria Bay. Catherine began designing crystal jewelry about a decade ago. Recently she has gravitated to copper work. She is thrilled with the interplay between copper, hammer an torch. Her jewelry is displayed a the Bay House Artisans and in The Local Artists Gallery in Sedona, Arizona. (Photo below)
Ann Donovan, Dragonfly Pottery, Redwood, NY. Ann works with Dragonfly Pottery, a small clay studio located in the beautiful lake country in Redwood near Alexandria Ba. In addition to producing stoneware, porcelain and raku work, Dragonfly Pottery also offers classes in wheel-thrown pottery and hand-building techniques.
Doug Drumm, Doug Drumm Creations – Lafayette NY and Indian Point. Doug creates one-of-a-kind artwork from wood, steel, copper, ceramic, and clay. Some of the items are created from reclaimed products. The inspiration from much of his art comes from nature. He is a captain and avid fisherman, and fish are one of the subjects that appear in much of his art.
Kylie Hebert – Educator and Artist, Alexandria Bay. Kylie holds an undergraduate degree from Syracuse University and a masters in art education from Florida Atlantic University. Kylie has a passion for art, creativity and personal expression. She joined the group as a way to work with the community. She works with ceramics, fiber and painting.
Foster Holcombe and Theda Hansen, Art Glass from Art of Fire. Laytonsville MD and Chaumont, NY. Foster Holcombe’s interest in glass began in 1976 with his stained glass studio in Denver, Colorado. While attending a summer seminar in enameling techniques at Pilchuck in 1978, Foster became interested in hot glass. In 1980-81 he studied glassblowing, decorating and technology in the Stourbridge area of England, the heart of England’s glass industry. In 1985, Theda Hansen joined Foster and together they have designed a line of glass uniquely their own. Between them, Foster and Theda offer more than 30 years of art experience.
Lisa LaRue - Fiber Art and Jewelry, Alexandria Bay. Lisa’s fascination with looms and spinning wheels began as a child. She has since accumulated numerous looms and has woven rugs, clothing, scarves, and table runners. She is also a spinner and incorporates handspun yarns into her weaving and knitting. Her current focus is felting. She needle felts hand-dyed wool fleece and hand-dyed wool fabric designs onto repurposed wool fabrics, which are then made into hats, brooches, and bags. These are then embellished with a variety of beads, antique buttons, found objects, and embroidery to create interesting, beautiful, and useful objects.
Brian Lister, Fine Art, Chaumont, NY. Brian was born and raised in the North Country, taking full advantage of the landscape views and sunsets of the Thousand Islands and the Adirondack Mountains. He last show was the Celebration of Fine Art Show in Scottsdale, Arizona. Be sure to visit his webpage to see examples of his work.
Ursula Mickle, Schloss Studio, Ceramics and Pottery, Watertown, NY. Ursula received her training for ceramics and pottery in Germany. Before settling in Watertown, N. Y., she came to the U.S. via England, Belgium and Canada. Her studio (Schloss Studio) is located in Watertown after being at Boldt Castle, 1000 Is. for 14 years with her late husband, Anatol Mickle. Ursula is a member of the Arts Association of Northern N. Y.; the Handweaving Museum and Art Center, Clayton; Thousand Islands Museum, Clayton; Munson Williams Proctor Art Association, Utica; Jefferson Co. Historical Society, Watertown and Nikolai Feshin Institute, New Mexico. She has taught classes in London, Germany and the North Country.
Mary Mitchell – Alexandria Bay. Mary is a 7th grade science and chemistry teacher at Alexandria Central School. One day she discovered a trunk belonging to her husband’s great-great Aunt who was a milliner (hat maker) at the turn of the century. It was loaded with seed beads and her interest in jewelry began. In the past 20 years this has morphed into working with beads, fossils, copper, brass, gems incorporated into her jewelry. But like many artists she has several interests. When her daughters got sheep as a 4H project and the flock grew to 40, her interest in knitting began. Today she makes hats of many fibers: wool, llama, alpaca, bamboo, and cotton.Today she makes hats of many fibers: wool, llama, alpaca, bamboo, and cotton.
Deb Monteith , Twisted by Choice Jewelry, Morristown, NY. Deb began painting in the early 1990s, in a town called Rocky Harbor, Newfoundland and then switched to creating unique pieces of jewelry described as follows: “Mirror Yourself” is recycled glass, “Somewhere in Time” has a a vintage feel, “Metal Madness” is recycled copper and aluminum, and “Fallen Bark” is driftwood and hand-dyed ribbon.
Louise Psarras-Bly, Les Savons de Loulou. Carthage NY. Louise started making soap back in 2000, when she moved to the United States from Belgium. This led to her business and her success. Once she mastered making soap and new products using beeswax, she announced “she was hooked!” She now has a soap making studio and retail space in Carthage, NY. You can find more information at LES SAVONS DE LOULOU (web link)!
Lynne Reichhart, Lynn Reichhart Fine Art, Westernville, NY. Lynn began her career as a corporate computer analyst but says she has nor “found my bliss.” “Being an artist is not what I am, but who I am. I love to create vibrant paintings from scenes that I enjoy.” She has won many awards over the years and her work has been published in several books including ‘Art on a Plate – The ACEO cookbook’ and ‘Create, Collect, Trade, a Collection of Artist Trading Cards Created by Artists and Students’.
Tom and Phyllis Roberts – Wildbirds.net, Theresa, NY. Tom and Phyllis Roberts have been making stoneware and porcelain wind chimes for more than 30 years. Their first design, with an autumn leaf chime, is still sold today. Today they work from a 30’ by 45’ two story building to house their studio. Many look forward to seeing their 2013 collection of bird feeders, wind chimes and wild bird feeds at the Bay House Artisan Gallery.
Jane Rue, CJ Custom Creations, Richville, NY. Jane creates custom made creation using her skills as a seamstress and artist. One of her unique items is a bottle holder she designed. “The laced up design allows for a customized fit for any size bottles.” Her facebook page has photographs of her unique products.
Lauren Snow-Evans, Pottery, Redwood, NY. Lauren has participated in several North Country art shows over the years.
Wendell Amisimak Stalker, Ivory, Bone and Baleen Carver, Rossie, NY. Wendell is an Inupiat Eskimo originally from Kotzbue Alaska located 150 miles north of the Arctic Circle. He presently lives in Rossie NY and has work represented in museums in Anchorage and Fairbanks Alaska. He learned his craft from his father and uncles and has been carving since 1981. He also plays guitar and has played with artists such as B.B. King and Muddy Waters.
John Scarlett, Little Tree Farm Rossie NY. John produces maple syrup in the old fashioned way using oxen to pull the sleigh. He is also an ornamental blacksmith having worked at Colonial Williamsburgh. In May, 2012 North Country Public Radio conducted an interview with John which is fascinating listening. That day he was working on a sculpture of Asian poppies, forged out of steel and copper.
Greg Trombley, Pastels, Baldwinsville NY. Greg has been painting for over 20 years. He has won numerous awards at juried shows and his work can be found in a number of private collections in several states. He works on location or in his studio, from his photographs.
Paul Taylor, Watercolor Artist, Rochester, NY. Paul is a self-taught waercolorist recognized for his fresh use of color and impressionistic style. Besides the St. Lawrence River, you will find paintings from Cape Cod, the Adirondack Mountains, and the Chesapeake Bay among other places. He regularly attends the French Festival - Cape Vincent, Antique Boat Show - Clayton and the Alexandria Bay Arts and Crafts show. He also Taylor teaches watercolor for the Rush Henrietta Schools Adult Education program, The Creative Workshop at the Memorial Art Gallery, and the Artstore at Southtown Plaza in Rochester.
Guy Zoller, River Water Art Works, Reston, VA, and Shady Nook Island, St. Lawrence County. Guy Zoller is a sculptor and potter, he emphasizes figures and portraiture. His pottery is meant to be used but he also creates decorative wares. In a recent interview he explained that he was an English major first, but took art courses in the summer and thus changed his major.
Other artists include Clela Cooley, Alexandria Bay; Kate Daniels, Pittsford, NY; Anne Donavan, Redwood, NY; Catherine Ellsworth, Watertown (Pottery and clay sculpture); Martha Grimes, Alexandria Bay (Sewing creations); Liz Halpin, Ogdensburg; Steve Harrington, Clayton, NY. Fireitupglassworks, Clayton, NY; Christina Roberts, Black River; Lauren Snow-Evans, Redwood, NY; Loretta Seibert, Alexandria Bay and Laura Yehle, Thousand Island Park.
Events and more…
The Bay House Gallery opened on May 11 this year. We recommend a visit soon and keep watch as they plan to hold workshops and special events throughout the summer.
The day I visited in late April the rooms were freshly painted but empty, now, I look forward to returning to see each filed to the brim with lovely creations.
By Susan W. Smith, email@example.com
Bay House Artisans
May 25 th 7:00 p.m.
Refreshments, Special Art Displays Music by “Beautiful Wreck” Dan and Jessica Pierce of Alexandria Bay
Everyone is invited