May 212016

Artists' RowWhat is so unique & challenging about the small stretch of land known as Artists’ Row at 24 New Derby St. is that each of the four creative storefront owners design, make and sell their wares right there. Even before your eyes. That is what makes Artists’ Row so special. And it is now open.

Originally built as a market place, this pedestrian walkway is intersected by Front St. on one side and New Derby St. on the other. It is across from Town Hall.

The Public Art Commission, working with Deborah Greel, the Public Art Planner, have this year invited the following “Creative Entrepreneurs” to create handcrafted items including pottery, fabric arts, glass art, and wood turned products in their retail/maker spaces.

  • Boston Woodturning creates one-of-a-kind handcrafted fine art, as well as usable utilitarian pieces, from a variety of local wood. Discover demonstrations in Woodturning and various workshops throughout the season in the working studio. Learn and observe the process of Woodturning or book a lesson. In the gallery space find practical and sculptural works of art created from wood.
  • Ceramics by Sibel is the working pottery studio & gallery of Sibel Alpaslan. Sibel is a Turkish ceramic artist who loves the organic feeling of clay, knowing that it comes from the earth. Lately, she has been focusing on creating amphora, vases, and covered dishes that are inspired by ancient forms, and then combining them with modern whimsical surprises. Sibel will also host pottery wheel demonstrations and workshops.
  • Grace and Diggs founder Linda Joy Mullen, while an architect, has always loved to sew, knit, draw, and glue things together.  Architecture has been a study in building big things, while Grace and Diggs became an outlet to make little things. From paper-bag hats and burlap wreaths, to aprons and throw-pillows, Grace and Diggs’ workshops and pre-made works invite the public to experiment in design of small things.
  • Kay’s Stained Glass Studio is the locally owned and operated glass studio of Kay and Aleksandra Nowak with a mission to create high quality original glass products. With years of experience in stained glass industry, Kay’s Stained Glass Studio offers unique designs and quality craftsmanship with great attention to details. Their work can be seen in various locations throughout Europe as well as the United States. They also provide many services for their customers including consultation, design, restoration, renovation, repair, and fabrication.

As an added extra, joining Sibel in her stall is Karen Scalia of Salem Food Tours. With a passion for fresh local foods and cooking, and a background in event planning as well as the performing arts Karen knew that sharing Salem’s past with a ‘taste’ of the culinary present was the perfect way to understand and appreciate this much-loved city. Take a tour with Karen and learn more about the local food scene in Salem!

This year the creative entrepreneurs are also participating in “Watch Art Grow on the Row” bringing an educational component to Artists’ Row. The artisans will host classes in ceramics, woodturning, hat and wreath making, demonstrations and fine art classes for adults and children. Please contact the individual artisans for their class, workshop and demonstration schedules.

Artists’ Row is a seasonal program (end of May to beginning of November) that provides space for artisans interested in building their audience through daily engagement with residents and visitors to Salem. Artists’ Row is open Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday, noon – 6pm and Thursdays, 11am – 7pm.

Oct 112015

Can you better appreciate the creation of a piece of art when you understand the process, the time invested, the devotion behind it, as well as the artist’s vision? That is the goal for Tommy Gagnon of Salem-based Boston Woodturning Gallery, located on Artists’ Row.

Bostopn Wood Gagnon“What sets my gallery’s content apart from others is the medium itself, ‘woodturning’ was rarely shown as an art form until the recent exhibit at the Peabody Essex Museum called Audacious. The PEM did a fantastic job of showcasing woodturning as an art form, opening the public’s eyes to the possibilities,”states Gagnon.

Woodturning is conceived using a lathe and varies from most other forms of woodworking in that the wood is moving. The lathe is stationary to give support to the piece wood that’s turning at a high rotation per minute (RPM); wood turners then use various chisels to carve out the designs in the wood, somewhat like sculpting but faster. This in turn leads to diverse shapes & designs.

Gagnon continues, “One of my goals is to further these efforts showcasing the art of woodturning by uniquely offering the public a woodturning gallery and working studio that the public can watch a practical commissioned piece being made or an artistic creation.”

The piece in left is the other half of the log on right made from maple

Piece on left is other half of log on right, made from maple

Additionally, he adds “wood is the main theme in the Boston Woodturning Gallery so that there is room for many other wood-themed creations, keeping the gallery fresh with new woodturning weekly as well as incorporating other local artisans work in the gallery in a complimentary way.”

Speaking of other artisans, why is Gagnon among the current crop staking a claim to physical space on Artists’ Row?

He explains, “The rich history and sense of community are unique to this venue. There is an unwavering support for the arts on the Row. It is one of those ‘grassroots’ historical Salem community spaces that has always supported the growing of artists. I selected this place because of my familiarity of the area, my connection to Salem as an artist and the opportunity to show my artwork/medium to the public.”

It’s quite possible that his is one of the few woodturning galleries & open studios on the North Shore that has presented the craft in such a way to the public.

Boston woodturningAnd not just to adults.

Every Thursday, Boston Woodturning offers activities for families and kids to enjoy during the weekly Farmers’ Market. These include games that educate kids about wood, uses of wood, recycling/ up cycling, guessing the type of wood, guessing what shavings the wood is from, as well as introducing information by sight, smell, and touch. Gagnon also offers demonstrations during that 3-6pm time frame.

“There is something about wood in its finished form that whispers softly its artistic natural beauty,” reflects Gagnon.

You can visit his store website to explore the extensive photo collection of woodturning as well as general woodworking, paintings and sculptures. Or just carve time in your day to go to the Boston Woodturning Gallery which is located at 24 New Derby St., Salem MA. Hours are TuesdaySunday 11-6pm and on Thursday 11-7pm.