All posts by Karen Tashkovski

Karen Tashkovski is an artist and teacher from Syracuse, NY. She is a graduate of Syracuse University (BFA-Fashion Design & Studio Arts, MS-Art Education).

Big Bulbous Thingys

Experimenting with a technique has its rewards, just ask Rebecca Hutchinson. And you can ask her yourself tomorrow – Saturday, September 10, 2022 during her gallery walk (the work is in the Robineau and Malzman Galleries) from 11:00 am – noon at the Everson Museum of Art, 401 Harrison Street, Syracuse, New York 13202.

I met her last night at the art reception and I was delighted to make the acquaintance of such a spirited human being. She spoke of developing a technique where her large scale vessels are hand built upside-down using a series of paper strips dipped in clay slip, which is surprisingly strong. The pieces are not kiln fired and yet ,not fragile, which is intriguing.

Some of these enormous pods are decorated in botanical gestural paintings and drawings, like those on the long strips of rice paper located in the adjacent gallery. They are meant to represent the ebb and flow resilience of nature. This mark-making is what elevates this work from experimentally friendly bulbous thingys to big bulbous thingys with a meaningful message.

So cool!

Professor Hutchinson teaches ceramics at the University of Massachusetts – Dartmouth in addition to her role as a working professional artist and all-around art trailblazer .

Rebecca Hutchinson – Regeneration will be up through December 31, 2022. There will also be a workshop scheduled to learn her techniques. Call the Everson at (315) 474-6064 for more information or visit their web-site. www.everson.org

Antique Wonderland

Soflea has added a second location for antique shopping fun. Antiques at Railway Commons is located at the corner of Burnet Avenue and Catherine Street, at 400 Burnet Avenue, Syracuse, NY. They are open from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM every day!

Soflea is a play on her name – Sophia Tashkovski, who has a specific eye when it comes to her found object finds. Her shop contains an array of vintage denim clothing and patterned shirts, bar carts, glassware, pottery, brass goods and so much more in the category of chic bric-a-brac treasures, Oh, and Adirondack-style furniture and Americana accessories that would look great as camp decor or in a rustic family room.

Her prices are very reasonable, I think. I bought this little sheepskin rug (below). Pablo loves it!

There are several other vendors in the store. Their areas are delineated by bookshelves and larger pieces of furniture, Each vendor uses different price tags so that the cashier can document sales.

An art gallery is housed upstairs, as well, run by Peter Svoboda. His former location was in Shoppingtown Mall in Dewitt.

You will love this place!

Sophie is my sister, so that is how I found out about it. But this old building has always been in my dreams. It is called Railway Commons because there is an old railway station platform on the Erie Blvd side of the building, elevated to run parallel with 690West. Life-size plaster figures have been posed to greet highway cars for as long as I can remember and I have secretly always wished to stand on that platform. I mean, it is a part of Syracuse history!

Wish granted, as I was fortunate enough to receive a tour of the facility. When I walked out on the platform, my legs were shaking and for a minute I swear I had time -traveled, which, as you know, is a recurring theme in my mind. This is not part of the deal, just so you know – so please don’t visit and expect to go up there, although there is another rooftop space that soon will be available to rent out for parties. It has a grill and other stuff – very NYC vibe-ish, and that was super cool too.

I know. You’re welcome. <3

Time Traveling in da Nook

Last year when I attended the Madison-Bouckville Antique Fest, I spent two additional hours looking for my car. I don’t know how I became so mixed up that day. Too much to see, really.

This year I stuck to one area. I parked in the location called Butternut Hill and just walked around and through those tents – for three hours! The whole thing is a time vortex. In the search for the old stuff of yesteryear, you can conceivably lose all track of time.

You still have three more days to take that drive on Route 20. From Syracuse, New York, head to Manlius, which will take you through Cazenovia and Morrisville to Madison.

I paid $5.00 to park but there is a possibility of finding free parking. And it is free to attend. Dealers are on both sides of the road (over 2,000!) set up in tents and there are also several antique shops along the route. There’s lots to see and plenty of food vendors too.

Before you go, set your intention to the universe in regard to what you are hoping to find. Then let yourself be guided to it. I purchased a bag of found object items to use in my artwork. I also enjoyed seeing old money, glass containers, and plenty of nostalgia. In addition, I stumbled upon lots of things my mother likes – porcelain figurines, crochet goods, teddy bears and baubles.

The best part was conversing with the vendors, all lovely people from here, there and every where. One man brought his antique store goods in from Louisiana. Another was from Fulton, NY. One lady from Pennsylvania told me that vendors pick the same or similar locations year after year. The Butternut Hill spot had excellent facilities for dining, showering and other aspects, she said.

Even if you don’t particularly like shopping, this festival is good exercise. It’s open 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM through Sunday. You can hike around for miles while time traveling. Now doesn’t that sound like a magical way to spend your day?

For more information go to www.madison-bouckville.com.

ISO Fish Fry – Brian’s Landing

I had a work-related late lunch with my friend Dee at Brian’s Landing last Friday. I’ve been wanting to go for a while now. I follow them on Facebook and give a love to just about everything they post.

Presentation: The haddock is Panko breaded and comes with a cute bun, french fries, slaw and a pickle with tartar sauce and a lemon on the side. Everything on one large plate. My friend ordered a burger. My fish dinner looked so good that she decided to order one to go for later. It was $18.00.

Taste: There was not an option to have the fish broiled, unfortunately. It wasn’t my favorite – kinda dry and the breading was like what you put on fried chicken. I did not like the coleslaw. French fries were very salty but super tasty. I didn’t love it.

Restaurant Experience: I do love this restaurant. They have live music in the evenings in the bar area. We ate in the dining room. They also have a new porch/deck area. The waitress was friendly and super quick. It was quiet in there at 3:00 PM. No wait, no need for reservations.

Location: Brian’s Landing is located at 6523 E.Seneca Turnpike, Jamesville, New York.

Hours 

& Contact

Regular Hours

Tues – Thu: 4pm – 9pm

Thurs – Sat: 11:30am – 9pm

Sun: 10am – 4pm

Mon: Closed

Email

info@BriansLanding.com

6523 E Seneca Turnpike Jamesville, NY 13078

 (315) 299-5242

Parking: There is a parking lot in the back – some of the spaces are on a slope. From the back, you must climb a flight of stairs. There is a front door too (no stairs) but it faces the street so no parking there.

The A & C

The AmeriCU Syracuse Arts & Crafts Festival has returned to Columbus Circle and surrounding roads in Syracuse, NY. It began on Friday and continues tomorrow from 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM.

Here is a sampling of the artisans represented this year. I was there today and mainly walked through the circle and down Montgomery Street.

Susan Shannon is a potter from Vermont. She had an incredibly cohesive display. All of her porcelain ceramics are handmade on the potter’s wheel – no molds! She said there is a beauty to the zen of creating a familiar shape and it never gets boring. The glaze is a type of high fire stain and the colors are wonderfully rich. This is the type of functional art that must be purchased in multiples.

It is all microwaveable and dishwasher safe. Really great! She is located in front of the church on the circle.

Her website is suchipottery.com. For more information call (970) 529-3029.

Charlie Sam has really upped his game since I first met him several years ago. Again, the word is cohesive. He creates these original graphic characters and represents them on T-shirts, sweatshirts, glassware, mugs and buttons.

He is from Syracuse. His booth is on Montgomery Street. Find him on Instagram and Facebook.

So great!

I enjoyed meeting the Hadfields of CH Woodcraft. Craig Hadfield creates these Americana paintings on pine. I love the flag motif! And of course, I work in “bear country”, which is what we call Chittenango. Love!

They are from Syracuse. The booth is on Montgomery Street. If you don’t make it out tomorrow, you can call (315) 558-0201. They also do custom projects.

Joelle’s Dolls are so full of whimsy. Joelle McAndrew from Lewiston, NY creates her own designs and patterns. Each doll has a backstory, which is so delightful. There is so much detail in the clothing! Everything is original.

This is another example of needing more than one. Someone should buy her whole collection.

Again, this booth is on Montgomery Street. Also find her at joellesdolls.etsy.com.

Johanna Wall is a lovely person! She is a retired teacher from Syracuse. She and her husband worked the booth today, which is located on Montgomery Street. Her collection includes jewelry and decoupage items – birdhouses, canisters, coasters and wreaths.

Call (315)382-5262 for more information.

John Oneal Heard is a man of many hats – professor, model, musician, art teacher and artist. He had a small collection of original paintings (I believe they are abstract paintings on glass mounted on canvas). He literally paints music. He said his favorite thing about meeting the public as an artist with a business is answering questions from children – it is rewarding to share his work with an audience.

Call (315) 992-3267 for more information.

And that is what this festival truly embodies – the spirit of the collective creative energies flowing through these business men and women and fusing with the community in such a joy-filled positive way. Hurray for the artists and art patrons of Syracuse, New York!

Really, really soooooo great!

The Thirty Dollar Ridlon

Jim Ridlon has donated these amazing prints to the Everson Museum of Art. They are located in the museum gift shoppe – for sale – and they are priced between $30 and $50. They are embossed. I’m not sure if this is true but the young man at the sales desk said he’d created them when he was a student and since he is not known for etchings or prints he decided to price them low.

I mean, they are a steal, really. They are created on a thick archival paper, probably Arches, not sure. You’d have to get them framed, but wow!

This is incredibly cool.

In Scale

I’ve been reminiscing about Dawn Dolls. They were manufactured for only three years in the early ’70s by Topper. Dawn, Angie, Gary, and company. they were only six-and-a-half inches tall, so they were incompatible with Barbies because they were so small. But they were so pretty with silky long hair and “real” eyelashes, and of course, with very awesome 1970s fashions. I loved them and I love them still.

I’ve been stalking them on the Internet – Ebay, Etsy and Mercari mainly. I don’t really want to buy them, do I? I want to be the Dawn doll. Haven’t I always? So funny that my hair resembles hers now. All I need is an Alice & Olivia dress and I am good to go.

What struck me as I viewed Sharif Bey’s art exhibit at the Everson Museum of Art is that he too seems to be enamored with doll collections albeit his are quite large scale especially the necklaces!

Like Vanessa German’s work and Vanessa Johnson’s too, Bey has added his take on the African experience by way of the doll.

This show is housed in two of the four upstairs galleries and spans the artist’s thirty-year career. I mean, he’s only forty-eight, which indicates that some of the pieces in this collection of works were created when he was only eighteen. It is a lot of work – from functional ceramics to these large figurative pieces and finally the accessory wall. It is incredibly impressive for sure.

These necklaces in particular are really something. In the accompanying pamphlet prepared for a Junteenth visitation, it is revealed that he used toilet paper over glaze in the kiln to manifest the charred pattern on the “beadwork”. It is genius.

The scale speaks volumes about who this man is as an artist and as a human. It is a combo of continued visual exploration and ethnic pride coupled with a desire to both learn and teach.

Bey is a professor at Syracuse University in the Art Education department. The brochure professes to take children on a journey to discover themselves as he serves to explore ideas to carry him on his own path.

The exhibition is titled “Facets”. It works so well here because the Everson has always been first and foremost a ceramics museum. Knowing that these massive pieces are also fragile lends itself well to that idea that we are all fragile beings in a way, always seeking that strength of character in our true identities while harboring thoughts of doubt, worry and stupid fears that can easily break our spirits.

I wonder if that thought crossed his mind? No matter what doll one identifies with – big or small, black or white, etc., etc., we are all that creative spirit looking for a way to connect and feel that blessed feeling of validation as we develop our crafts/psyches in order to continue the ascent through life.

The Everson Museum of Art is located at 401 Harrison Street, Syracuse, NY, 13202. Call (315) 474-6064 for more information or find them at www.everson.org.

Sharif Bey: Facets continues through August 14, 2022.

ISO Fish Fry – Swifty’s

After viewing the Norman Rockwell exhibit at Munson-Williams-Proctor Art Institute yesterday, Penny Santy and I had lunch down the street at Swifty’s Restaurant & Pub.

Since it was Friday, I decided to try their fish fry.

Presentation: Pub style beer-battered fish fry is always welcome! It arrived in a basket with homemade hot potato chips, coleslaw and a big helping of tartar sauce.

Taste: In the ’90s I used to love the beer-battered haddock at the Empire Brewing Company in Armory Square in Syracuse. This fish tasted exactly like it – OMG, it was so familiar and wonderful. I didn’t have many of the chips because I wasn’t that hungry and I loved that it was such a small portion of coleslaw. Everything was delish!

Restaurant Experience: We picked the restaurant because it was close to the museum and it was open. There wasn’t anyone sitting in the outdoor seating section and no one was dining in the restaurant. A handful of regulars were seated in the bar area. So – this is not often a good sign, lol, that the food would be good. But, it was around 3:30 PM, which is that in between time, between lunch and dinner. We sat inside near the front windows. It was very clean and comfortable. The waitress was extremely welcoming and friendly. It was such a positive place!

The food came rather quickly. It was an excellent restaurant experience.

Location: Swifty’s Restaurant & Pub is located at 257 Genesee Street, Utica, NY 13501. Call (315) 733-6611 for reservations and hours of operation or visit their web-site. They offer catered parties, take-out orders, live music and a children’s menu. They also have locations in Delmar, NY and Albany, New York!

Parking: We parked on the street in front of the building. It was one of those easy parking manifestations, the way it always seems to happen in movies, so that was nice. There is no parking lot.

Norman

There is an art exhibition of original paintings, posters and magazine covers representing the career of illustrator Norman Rockwell at Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute, 310 Genesee Street, Utica, NY 13502. This show was organized by the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

All of the Saturday Evening Post covers are represented here! It is amazing to see them all together like this – they hold court in two of the three gallery rooms on the second floor of the museum.

I won tickets to see this show. Thank you, Sullivan Library, Chittenango, NY for this wonderful gift. And thank you, Penny, for accompanying me on this wonderful summer art excursion. So fun!

Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute is open Tuesday-Saturday 10:00 AM -5:00 PM and Sunday noon-5:00 PM. They have guided tours of the exhibit – call (315) 797-0000 for more information.

P.S. They are having an arts festival through Sunday, July 17, 2022. There are outdoor events including a music stage, local art display and food trucks!

Sweet Salvage Gift Shoppe

This is a house turned into a store full of treasures both inside and outside. It is Sweet Salvage Gift Shoppe, 6483 E. Seneca Turnpike, Jamesville, NY 13078. Proprietor Kathy Hastings certainly has the gift of merchandising. She’s created a series of vignettes in each room of the house, combining old and new products for that rustic charm that speaks of nostalgia, as though you could take something home and claim it as your own personal heirloom.

Outside, you can find a multitude of objects for your yard – tables, birdhouses, birdbaths and objects d’arte for the garden.

Her eye for placement is impeccable! I love this store!

This is the perfect place to photograph a grouping to use in a still life assignment at school (and maybe it will be!). It’s all about the layering, the texture and the repetition of elements, I think.

There are several of these affirmation blocks (above). This place is filled with positivity!

And you can even find a bathroom sink! Yes, it is for sale!

They are open Monday-Friday 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM and Saturday-Sunday 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM. For inquiries call (315) 492-1266 or email info@ssalvage.com.

They are also on Facebook. I’ve been following them for years and I finally stopped in for a visit! So fun! <3