Open Studios: Artists, craftspeople invite public in for a look-see

Last modified: Thursday, January 15, 2015
Every year around this time many of the area’s artist studios open their doors to the public, inviting them in to interact with artists as they work, view demonstrations, and purchase work directly from the creators.

Arts & Industry and Zea Mays Printmaking in Florence, Eastworks and Cottage Street studios in Easthampton, and Leverett Crafts & Arts in Leverett are just some of the studios holding open studios. Others include Gallery A3 in Amherst and the pop-up Makers Market at the Parlor Room in Northampton.

Participating artists say that inviting the public into their work spaces is an important aspect of running a studio.

Evelyn Snyder, one of the organizers of the open-door event at Cottage Street Studios, says many of the artists do not have a retail store, so most of the year, if someone wants to buy from the artist, he or she must make an appointment. Open studios, she says, allow customers and artists to interact in an informal setting, while also inviting the general public to see demonstrations of how artists work.

“We are a big part of the community and open studios are a way of inviting the community to come see what we do,” Snyder said.

For some of the artists, open studios are a tradition with which they are well familiar, but for others, this is a whole new way of showing their art. Case in point: Kathryn Fanelli, 46, of Amherst, who is one of the newer artists at Eastworks, which will hold its open studios Nov. 15 and 16.

Fanelli, a painter, moved to the artists’ cooperative two months ago. She works with traditional Japanese suminagoshi (“floating ink”) techniques — dropping pigments onto the surface of water and mixing them into designs before lifting the image from the water using paper.

Fanelli says she began using the technique five years ago after she experienced something similar in a dream. The Eastern approach to art, she adds, allows her to slow down her pace and work in a “relaxed but aware state.” Slowing down to “the speed of one’s breath,” Fanelli says, allows her to pay attention to her thoughts and what is happening with her hands, opening up a new level of awareness.

“It’s like a microscopic study of how your mind works so you have to slow down,” she said.

Fanelli grew up traveling the state with a carnival that was owned and operated by her parents, and she says that has influenced her work. A carnival includes aspects of illusion and she is interested in “looking behind the curtain, so to speak.” By utilizing contemplative practices in her art, Fanelli says, she can cultivate her mind and a heightened level of awareness.

“The work makes me, I don’t make the work” Fanelli said.

With over 500,000 square feet, the former mill that houses Fanelli’s new studio also boasts 100 other commercial tenants, as well as 46 residential units. Some 50 artists will participate in the site’s first fully coordinated open studios in more than five years.

Kim Carlino, one of the artists and the event’s marketing and outreach coordinator, said she began planning the event in August and that she wanted the open studios be all-inclusive with workshops and demonstrations, as well as holiday shopping.

“I didn’t want it to be just the artists, I wanted it to be everybody.” Carlino said.

Work for sale and viewing includes photography, fine art, illustrations, candles and clothing, along with live performances from Corina Miller, Claudia Malibu, and John Landino and GLOVE as well as several small yoga classes and dance installations.

The Eastworks open studios will take place Nov. 15 and 16 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. There will be a happy hour on Nov. 15 from 5 to 6:30 p.m.

For information, visit eastworks.com/site/our-community/events/.

Here’s a round-up of some of the other open studio events happening in the coming days and weeks:

Arts & Industry

A former toothbrush factory, the Arts & Industry Building is home to some 40 studios, and more than 50 artists who will participate in the Open Studios & Holiday Sale on Nov. 8 and 9. Works will include jewelry, pottery, woodwork, paintings, sculptures, upcycled/recycled and repurposed clothing.

Artist Caitlin Bosco, 46, of Northampton, creates upcycled and repurposed clothing, and will have clothing and drawings for sale. Bosco moved to Arts & Industry studios five years ago but has been working with recycled clothing, especially shirts, for the past seven years. Bosco says she has always been conscious of repurposing items and has previously worked with repurposed jewelry and made sweaters into purses.

“There’s so much stuff in the world — I don’t want to add to that.” Bosco said.

Bosco hand-sews all the waistbands of her skirts in order to maintain a personal aspect to her work as well as add to the aesthetic; the recycled materials also make each skirt one-of-a-kind as she cannot replicate any of them exactly.

Kate Jenkins, the principal organizer for Arts & Industry, says she hopes the open studios will inspire visitors to try their own hands at art projects, even if they don’t have a formal education in the field.

“You don’t have to be Picasso,” Jenkins said.

Arts & Industry Open Studios and Holiday Sale will be held Nov. 8 and 9, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Arts & Industry Building at 221 Pines St. in Florence. Live entertainment and catered cuisine will be available. For information visit artsindustryopenstudios.blogspot.com.

Zea Mays Printmaking

Zea Mays Printmaking, founded in 2000, will host “Print Fair North,” its 10th annual open studio and sale, Nov. 8 and 9, with over 37 participating artists. Liz Chalfin, the director and a resident artist of Zea Mays, says their open studios allow artists to sell directly to the public while also demystifying what printmaking is and informing the public about Zea Mays environmentally safe and non-toxic practices.

“[Zea Mays is] where we could research and promote safer processes, and show that you don’t have to compromise in the art work and that you can make beautiful artwork in safer ways,” Chalfin said.

Live demonstrations are an important way to show this, and both Tekla McInerney and Joyce Silverstone will demonstrate monotype and Larinda Meade will demonstrate intaglio etching during the open studios weekend.

There will be a raffle to benefit the Ruth Chalfin Memorial Scholarship Fund, which assist artists with costs of studio workshops. Prizes include art supplies, private lessons and critique session with Zea Mays Printmaking faculty, and a book of Kurt Vonnegut drawings signed by artist Nanette Vonnegut, Kurt Vonnegut’s daughter, who wrote the introduction. Chanterelle To Go, a farm-to-table food truck, will also be onsite to provide refreshments and seasonal food.

Zea Mays Printmaking open studios and sale will take place Nov. 8 and 9, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 320 Riverside Drive in Florence. Original fine art prints, artists’ books, cards, clothing, and other print ephemera will be available for purchase. For information, or to purchase raffle tickets, visit zeamaysprintmaking.com.

Makers Market

More than 15 artists will participate in Makers Market, a craft show of contemporary, one-of-a-kind goods and gifts, at the Parlor Room in Northampton. Works shown at this pop-up event will include jewelry, pottery, apparel, home décor, belt buckles, paintings, glassware, and more. There will be an evening reception on Nov. 22, with beverage tasting.

Makers Market will take place at the Parlor Room at Signature Sounds, 32 Masonic St. on Nov. 22, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Nov. 23 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For information visit parlorroommusic.com/makersmarket.

Gallery A3

Amherst’s Gallery A3 will host an exhibit, “Small Wonders,” incorporating more than 50 small works created by local artists. Works of art include painting, photography and mixed media. Special events include the opening reception on Dec. 4 at 5 p.m., in conjunction with the Amherst Art Walk, and on Dec. 18, Circa 1620 will perform an Early Music concert of songs sacred and secular, reverent and bawdy.

“Small Wonders” will run from Dec. 4 to 27, at Gallery A3 at 28 Amity Street, Amherst. For information visit gallerya3.com.

Cottage Street Studios

Cottage Street Studios has held an annual open studio and holiday ever since it opened in 1986. The first one featured just five artists and craftspeople; this year there will be 57 exhibitors showing their works of photography, furniture, paintings, prints, hand crafted soap, mosaics, sculpture, glass, textiles, ceramics, fine woodworking, lighting, and jewelry.

Snyder, the co-organizer, says this year’s open studios event has paired with local businesses to provide food and wine for the public while they shop and interact with artists. Various studios also plan to offer samples from such places as Grace Hill Farm Dairy, Mount Tom’s Sweets, Big E’s Supermarket, and Small Oven Bakery, among others. Also new this year, Bill Muller of Big Wheel Press will offer demonstrations throughout the day of letterpress, type casting using Ludlow and intertype line casters, and demos on his flat and cylinder presses.

Cottage Street Studios open studios will take place Dec. 5 and 7 from noon to 5 p.m., and Dec. 6 and 13, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 1 Cottage Street in Easthampton. For information visit cottagestreetstudios.com/index.html.

Leverett Crafts & Arts

Founded in 1966, the Leverett Crafts & Arts studio hosts a gallery space along with 20 studios and will have 17 artists selling pottery, sculptures, glassworks, botanical prints, ceramics, silk stories, weaving, and much more during its open studios and holiday store.

Leverett Crafts & Arts open studios will be held Dec. 13 and 14 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 13 Montague Road in Leverett. For more information visit leverettcrafts.org.