I am currently in a post St. Valentine’s Day love affair with the home goods/home decorating/interior design firm and store Fringed Benefits. It is a manifestation of clever, inspirational design and good taste.
The brainchild of Interior Designer Amy Burns, who has established herself in the business locally for over twenty-years, and her partners Michelle O’Connor (business) and Kate Burns (designer), this venture is a stunning array of home decoration brilliance.
The store is located in the plaza adjacent to Wegman’s DeWitt (6825 E. Genesee Street, Fayetteville, New York 13066). It is closed on Sundays but operates every other day of the week. (Check their website for more information)
The venue is set up like a one-bedroom studio apartment with living-room, bedroom, office and dining-room decor supplemented by areas of small accessories, art, floral arrangements, gifts, candles and plenty of pillow options.
Retailer Glory took me on a tour including the back room, which is Burns’ design studio and offers personal assistance in home decorating including selecting fabrics and wallpapers. Glory’s enthusiasm for the products and budding business acumen made me want to make a purchase. It was a wooden heart ornament (pictured below) that I will cherish.
I had been a Facebook “Top Fan” of this place, but had never wandered in until today. It is an amazing store! You must go to there. Bonus if you tell them I sent you. <3
The collection of contemporary Japanese ceramics, displayed in the Everson Museum of Art (lower level) is a breathtaking representation of experimentation and whimsy in clay.
The beautiful thing about this exhibition, as with the previous one in this space, is the circle of trust – trust that visitors will not touch; trust that nothing will break. Some pieces are behind glass, like caged animals and others roam free on mirrored and lighted shelves, allowing patrons to appreciate the details up-close-and-personal-like.
It is incredibly inspiring to view the concepts unfolding within decades, the mastery of cut, shape, form and glaze application.
For many years, the Everson Museum of Art was known for its ceramics collection, the largest in the nation. Now they are going forward with American art, I think, although maybe that is just with regard to the upstairs holdings.
My sister owns two businesses: Syracuse Yoga (6181 Thompson Road, Suite 803, Syracuse, New York 13206) and Soflea, a small store operating in the basement of Wildflowers (217 S. Salina Street, Syracuse, New York 13203).
Sophia Tashkovski is part of the McCarthy Mercantile. Her collection of flea-market finds and antiques includes her signature horseshoes, brass trays, statuettes and wicker baskets, as well as furniture and rugs.
Items are one-of-a-kind gems and so, there are always new finds to covet, which always makes the shopping experience a fun adventure.
Hours of operation: 11:00 am – 7:00 pm Tuesday through Sunday. It’s open today!!! (you’re welcome <3) Enter Wildflowers then head to the basement where the collective of shoppes is housed.
The Erie Canal Museum (318 Erie Blvd. East, Syracuse, New York 13202) is host to a ceramics exhibition, one installed in February 2020. The museum is currently closed due to the world-wide health crisis – that makes interacting with the clay vessels (created as site-specific art) nearly impossible.
This is an irony because the idea behind the work envelopes the scope of human life, as it interacts with the forces of nature, the forces of water and the history of the man-made canal. The humans in question are every socio-economic level of local and regional society. All races of people who, in some way, have interacted with, associated with or had some understanding of what the Erie Canal has meant in our history, as well as those who have no idea but in fact, have been, inadvertently, affected by the legendary waterway.
Artist Linda Zhang was the 2017-2018 Boghosian Fellow in the School of Architecture at Syracuse University. She came to Syracuse from Europe and knowing no one, she spent time meditating (think deep thought) on designing the curriculum for this relatively new fellowship. She proceeded to think about and create strategies for the design of her position, ideas that would ultimately catapult her educational journey to include making art and teaching electives at the college, which led to philosophical-infused artwork and the idea of making meaning in terms of one’s personal vortex. This path included an interdisciplinary union with Errol Willet, Associate Professor of Art (ceramics) and Biko Mandela Gray, Assistant Professor of American Religion.
Although Zhang is currently a professor at Ryerson University in Toronto, The Story of Water pairs the artist with her SU educational cohorts. The clay vessels in this exhibition were slip cast and formatted utilizing water from the canal. There is a transformation – water crafts and the art is manipulated to create a phenomenological transcendence – art as symbolism.
Taking an idea and moving it through time, so that the result is present while encompassing a larger whole – this is incredibly interesting on so many levels. Fortunately for all, nothing is truly impossible. This exhibition can be viewed remotely. Zhang will be offering a lecture on her process via an on-line Zoom meeting. This event takes place on Saturday, April 18, 2020 at 1:00 PM. Click on the link above to join the party or check out the same link by way of the event’s Facebook page.
The event is free, however; donations to the museum are welcome. <3
*from the Erie Canal Museum web-site
February 3-April 16, 2020:The Story of Water: The Erie Canal as a Site of Untold Stories
“The Story of Water” is a collaborative project between Linda Zhang, Assistant Professor of Architecture at Ryerson University, and Biko Gray, Assistant Professor of Religion at Syracuse University. This exhibit features clay vessels based on 3-D drone scans of Erie Canal structures, transformed by the introduction of Canal water before the firing process. The resulting clay models symbolize the transformative effects, positive and negative, that the Erie Canal had on the lives of those who built it, used it, and lived near it.
Zhang will discuss the artwork, her creative process, and what inspired her and collaborator Biko Gray to develop this exhibit. “The Story of Water” features clay vessels based on 3-D drone scans of Erie Canal structures in Central New York. The artist introduced Canal water to the pieces before the firing process, creating models that symbolize the transformative character of water and the Erie Canal.
The Museum is currently closed to the public to protect visitors, volunteers, and staff from Covid-19. We’re working diligently to serve you by offering programs by alternative means, and greatly appreciate your help. You can make a donation to the Museum through the link in the “Get Tickets” box below,
We look forward to seeing you on April 18 for this thought-provoking talk!
Two of my classes used hand-building skills to create these adorable clay lizards. We used the Sax Colorburst glazes. I love the colors, especially the Firecracker!!! The projects remain in the glass case in the Chittenango Middle School atrium.
We looked at the work of the Aboriginals of Australia for inspiration. Different patterns were added to the body, head, limbs and tail using a variety of techniques.
My B-day Art-8 students (Chittenango Middle School) created these clay masks. We used Sax Colorburst glazes. They have silica flakes that pop in the kiln creating confetti-like effects.
I offered students thirteen different colors and asked that they use at least six, making sure to place three coats of glaze on the mask for each color. It was tricky because the glazes transform in the kiln – there is that allowance for serendipity that doesn’t work if you are a control freak, but totally does if you are experimental.
I added a wire to the back so they can hang on the wall. Students took them home today. I miss them already!
Terry Askey-Cole was in charge today at Gallery 54 (54 E. Genesee St., Skaneateles, New York 13152). She is one of the artists represented by the gallery. Fifteen years ago, Askey-Cole took courses in ceramics. Now she has her own home studio complete with kiln where she creates decorative pieces, like these whimsical floral garden sculptures (below), as well as slab and wheel thrown pottery and mosaics.
According to the gallery’s website:
Opened July 2009, Gallery 54 is an artist owned and operated gallery located in the scenic Finger Lakes village of Skaneateles. Most of our artists are local to the Finger Lakes/Central NY area and offer our customers a wide variety of high-quality and unique fine art and fine craft, including paintings, mosaics, pottery, art quilts, jewelry, photography, stained glass, handbags, scarves, and more.
In addition to the artwork our owners have on display, we also represent many additional local artists, whose mediums include paintings, jewelry, metal, glass, wood boxes, sculpture, tiles, silk wearables, ceramic clocks, illustrations and more. Be sure to visit our artist’s pages for more information about our artists and to see photographs of their work.
Askey-Cole said there are eight artist owners. Other artists may submit their work for jury – they can sell it on commission or sometimes items are purchased wholesale, so working the cash register is optional. It is an interesting model for business – and quite successful. Askey-Cole has played a part here for the past eleven years (since its inception)!
Traffic consists mainly of day trippers, like me. People from outside the Skaneateles area who venture in exploration and leave with a wooden bowl, jewelry, painted glass, knitwear and/or artwork. Gallery 54 makes use of every available space and when there are several people inside, it’s tight. There were a bunch of excuse-mes and sorrys today as I guided my way around every nook and cranny.
My friend Nella Joseph does well here. She hand-paints glassware. I am in love with the cardinal pieces (below).
Richell Castellon is the featured artist. His original paintings are cityscapes with one of the groupings done in black and white on burlap. Castellon is also currently exhibiting (until March 30, 2020) in a solo show (From Cuba to Syracuse) at the Wilson Art Gallery in the library at LeMoyne College.
Eventually I will purchase one of these amazing ceramic slab wall hangings by Peter Valenti. His work is so incredibly well-crafted. I love the Arts & Crafts feel with the ginkgo leaf and dragonfly motifs and the copper finishes. They are so distinctive in style! They are raku-fired, which is the method where the ceramics are removed from the hot kiln and placed in sawdust, salt or another smothering effect to starve the artworks of oxygen thereby affecting the glazing process. Valenti’s pieces offer rich texture and color.
Other artists represented by Gallery 54 include Lisa Maffiore, Liz and Rich Micho, Donna Smith, Sallie Thompson, Fred Weisskopf, and Judi Witkin. The gallery is open 10 AM – 5 PM daily.
The four upstairs galleries at the Everson Museum of Art (401 Harrison Street, Syracuse, New York 13202) are filled with treasures, some of which I have seen many times over the decades – but not like this. Elizabeth Dunbar, director and CEO, has a way of pairing paintings and ceramics with a keen eye that makes everything come alive and feel fresh again.
It is this new perspective that breathes love into the exhibition, A Legacy of Firsts: The Everson Collects. It showcases the museums over one hundred year history, presenting the cohesion via an American thread. The exhibition honors the museum’s legacy and in turn reveres the decisions made by previous curators and directors. I love this credence to respect. It feels welcoming. It feels like family. It feels like home. As she says in her message in the winter 2020 Everson Bulletin, [the museum is] “For artists. For community. For everyone.”
This is an historical trek that begins at the top of the spiral staircase with pieces purchased around 1911 when the museum was known as the Syracuse Museum of Fine Arts – impressionistic landscapes, portraits and still-lifes displayed in ornate golden frames coupled with the ceramic pieces of the day. Adelaide Alsop Robineau was a local potter who corresponded with and met the museum’s director at that time, Fernando Carter, as she frequented the facility back then – her intricately carved vessels were the first pieces purchased for what became a premier ceramics collection.
There are over 11,000 items in the Everson’s collection! As the show progresses into the second chamber, you are jolted by bold colors. This room is filled with large-scale abstractions and colorful pottery to mix and match. Lee Krasner’s painting is displayed above her husband’s, an early Jackson Pollack. I love the similarity in their styles.