Thursday, December 29, 2011

Show the Love Valentine Competition 2012

Love is all around us in many shapes and forms, and this Valentine's Day a special competition will give local artists and budding artists-to-be a chance to show what love means to them in the way of the time-honored tradition of the Valentine.

"Show the Love Valentine Competition," sponsored by Think Long Island First, will give entrants the chance to win the heart of an admirer on this special day -- and maybe walk away with the grand prize in the contest as well.

The competition will be judged by an esteemed jury comprised of three Long Island artists: photographer Alan Henriksen, painter Susie Gach Peelle, and wood turner Harry Wicks. Like the game of love itself, each entry will be judged on creativity and execution – as long as it is from the heart, it qualifies.

"Show the Love Valentine Competition" will coincide with the first annual Valentine's Fair in Oyster Bay, Celebrating America's First Valentine, and all things love..., organized by Raynham Hall Museum, Oyster Bay Chamber of Commerce, and a group of other local businesses.

Participants can draw inspiration from the America's first Valentine, penned in Oyster Bay by British officer Lt. Col. Simcoe, stationed at the Townsend family's homestead (now Raynham Hall Museum) and given to the Townsends' daughter Sally. Although the original Valentine disappeared in the 19th century, the text captures his feelings for her:
Fairest Maid, where all is fair
Beauty's pride and Nature's care;
To you my heart I must resign
O choose me for your Valentine!

"Show the Love Valentine Competition" is open to students, competent amateurs and professional artists ages - 14-18 (Young Adults) and 18+ (Adults) for entries created on Long Island in varied media. Entry submission period is between January 1st and 31st, 2012.

In Young Adult section
1st Place - $25.00 and $25.00 Think Long Island First gift certificate
2nd Place - $15.00
3rd Place - $10.00
Popular Vote - $10.00

In Adult section
1st Place - $50.00 and $25.00 Think Long Island First gift certificate
2nd Place - $35.00
3rd Place - $20.00
Popular Vote - $20.00

Winners will be announced on February 9th (and not January 9th, like it was erroneously stated on our first newsletter announcement). Award ceremony takes place at Think Long Island First at 36 Audrey Avenue, Oyster Bay, NY, on Sunday, February 12th between 2-3 pm.

Please review the rules of the Show the Love Valentine Competition and submit your entries.

Best of luck and let love reign!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Season's Greetings

At this joyous time of year we wish you peace and happiness!

Snowman wood carving by Don Dailey, Huntington Station
Wood bowl in background by Harry Wicks, Cutchogue

We would like to take this opportunity to thank the Artists for allowing us to carry their creative items. We also want to thank our Visitors for their support of local arts and crafts. This would not have been such a thrilling year without you!

Sadly, three artists left us this year - wood carver Mike Denaro, graphic artist Gerhard Richter, and very recently, photographer Joan Imhof. We will remember them by their wonderful works.

Please note, the store will be closed in January to reopen in February. We are taking a little break.

Have a lovely holiday season filled with joy and meaning!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Photographer Joan Imhof of Bayville passed away

Long Island Sound
Photo by Joan Imhof
We are sorry to inform you that Joan Imhof, Bayville photographer and volunteer, passed away this week.

Her warmth, dedication to public service, and her volunteering activities touched many.

Our store carries Joan's note cards with beautiful photos of Oyster Bay, Bayville, Centre Island, and Long Island Sound.

Centre Island
Photo by Joan Imhof
Deep sympathy to the Family.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Thank you, Jewelers!

Big thank you to Long Island jewelers who joined us today at the Jewelry Extravaganza and also to all guests at the event.

It was gratifying to see the breadth of jewelry styles combined with so many different approaches to jewelry display. The variety was just wonderful, so much creativity under one roof!

Jewelry Extravaganza today!

It's today - our Jewelry Extravaganza!

10 jewelers will be joining us at Think Long Island First between 12 - 3 pm! They are bringing in new work and are eager to discuss the creative process and technique.

We hope to see you there.

Read more.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Eclectic jewelry by Gail Vassiliades

Gail Vassiliades in her studio
Photo by Ewa Rumprecht
The jewelry adventure of Gail Vassiliades, jeweler from Northport, started relatively recently. She bought a beautiful necklace with a key and crystals. It was expensive and Gail was mad with herself for spending money on something, she felt, she could make herself.

She was right. In addition to inheriting her father's toolbox filled with interesting looking items - gears, screws, metal parts of all colors and shapes, she also inherited his manual dexterity, her father was a machinist. From her seamstress aunt she inherited a collection of buttons going back years.

Bracelets by Gail Vassiliades
Photo by Ewa Rumprecht
Gail started looking for everyday objects, buckles, cloak clasps, dress clips, dominos, keys, watch parts, that could be incorporated into a piece of jewelry. She scavenged at yard sales, bought parts on Internet or at antique shows. Her nurse friends gave her some decommissioned surgical screws yet to be creatively re-purposed. Gail has an eye for objects - her parents collected pewter and landscape paintings, she collects furniture, pottery, hats, fabrics, and hand tinted photos by Wallace Nutting and his contemporaries, among many other things.

Gail has formal training in art, art history, and advertising design. She always wanted to do window displays and she got her wish partially answered. For the last 20 odd years she has worked at Macy's in visual merchandising which spans from arranging display color schemes and signs to the flow of items on display.

Her sensitivity to color is great and she uses it well in her work. Lately she tends to pick brighter hues with Bakelite elements fulfilling the need beautifully. Every piece she makes starts like a puzzle. She plays with the elements a lot to see if they work together. After a piece is finished she will wear it and monitor people's reactions to it.

Gail Vassiliades at work
Photo by Ewa Rumprecht
For Gail, jewelry making is a very enjoyable process, she works with interesting and pretty things. The process is also made pleasant by her choice of the studio, she designated a private upstairs alcove with a full window over her desk, it gives her not only the natural light within but also a view of trees outside.

You will get a chance to see more of her jewelry and meet Gail in person at the Jewelry Extravaganza on December 3rd, 12 - 3 pm at Think Long Island First in Oyster Bay.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Debra Warlan and her vintage jewelry of style

Debra Warlan at her studio
Photo by Ewa Rumprecht
Debra Warlan, jeweler from Huntington, created her first memorable jewelry for her own wedding. She still has the cherished pieces in her collection.

Jewelry by Debra Warlan
Photo by Ewa Rumprecht
Many years of various artistic endeavors followed - a degree in illustration from Fashion Institute of Technology, degree in art education, teaching engagements, commercial textile, trim and ribbon design, toy design, painting on furniture, a recurring, annual project of painting stage sets for a summer art camp. She is very fond of the art of assemblage, three-dimensional compositions of varied media, and has a number of her own framed works in the studio.

Debra turned to jewelry at another momentous occasion - a beautiful necklace, designed for her daughter's prom and greatly admired by all, inspired Debra to focus more on her jewelry making.

Debra Warlan at work
Photo by Ewa Rumprecht
In the last couple of years she experimented with various esthetic approaches and techniques until she developed her own, highly recognizable style. Debra's jewelry will usually have a brass chain, sparkling rhinestones and/or crystals, sometimes an element with a distinct green patina. She finds/buys older pieces or new items and 'antiques' them to a great effect. She frequently adds some nature related themes - birds, ferns, shells.

She starts with a central piece and then wires or links in additional matching elements. The effect is well balanced, meticulously executed and beautifully presented.

You will get a chance to see more of her jewelry and meet Debra in person at the Jewelry Extravaganza on December 3rd, 12 - 3 pm at Think Long Island First in Oyster Bay.

For more information about Debra visit her recently relaunched website

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Jewelry Extravaganza at Think Long Island First

Jewelry Extravaganza
Saturday, December 3rd
12 pm - 3 pm

A great chance not only to admire work of the very accomplished local jewelers but also to meet them in person. It's always interesting to learn about the creative process and technique chosen for a piece.

The jewelry represents many different styles, from sterling silver chain mail and vintage to fused glass and lampwork, with various esthetic approaches from the very classic to modern if not cheeky.

What is there not to like about jewelry? Particularly if it is both beautifully designed and executed with skill and care.

Please join us at Think Long Island First at 36 Audrey Avenue, Oyster Bay, NY, on December 3rd, 12 pm - 3 pm. It's a free event, open to public.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Mary Burke, knitter from Bethpage

Mary Burke
Photo by Ewa Rumprecht
Bethpage knitter Mary Burke was born and raised on a family farm in Kenmare county Kerry in Ireland, one of the westernmost places in Ireland, 'next stop Boston'. Her father was a deep sea fisherman in the scallop and lobster seasons and carpenter when not at sea. In the true spirit of self-reliance, the family made most of the things right on the farm. One of seven siblings, Mary remembers fondly some of her tasks - making butter and cheese, collecting and washing eggs for the market, even making fishing nets.

Baby sweater by Mary Burke
Photo by Ewa Rumprecht
Mary was six years old when her grandmother plucked two quills from a turkey, stripped them of feather, and gave the quill needles to Mary to start knitting; there was only one pair of metal knitting needles in the house and grandma was not willing to part with it. Also, grandma was dubious that Mary, who was left-handed, could master the craft. Just to prove her wrong Mary learned to knit, right-handed, and continues knitting to this day.

Shawl by Mary Burke
Photo by Ewa Rumprecht
Since commercial patterns were beyond her means, Mary relied on the word of mouth and on her observation and common sense to pick up stitches and patterns. It worked quite well for her. She learned from her family, friends, and colleagues. She returned her accumulated knowledge in equal measure to countless novice and experienced knitters.

At Think Long Island First we carry her baby sweaters, baby hats and headbands, and scarves for adults - a very small sample of the vast number of items she had made since the first sweaters she knitted to supplement her modest school wardrobe. She knitted out of necessity, out of curiosity, and out of the generosity of spirit.

Baby knits by Mary Burke
Photo by Ewa Rumprecht

Far removed from her first turkey quill needles, Mary now prefers bamboo needles - they are noiseless and more calming. She likes working with wool as it has a natural stretch to it. She finds cotton too rigid and does not use it at all.

Mary favors knitting over crocheting and other fiber arts, because, as she jokingly puts it: 'I can look at other things and gossip'. She exercises this merry employment every Monday when she joins a group of senior knitters at her clubhouse; 14 ladies get together to make clothes for premature babies from underprivileged families, clothes are distributed to local hospitals - a wonderful way to give back.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Knitting circle - potluck lunch

We are gearing toward another event - Knitting Circle - Potluck Lunch which takes place at the store on Saturday, November 5th, between 11 am - 2 pm.

A group of novice and expert knitters, weavers, fiber artists, and spinners meets at the store for a few hours of swapping patterns, exchanging ideas, and just pure fun.

We held a similar event last year to a great success. In addition to knitting and crocheting we got a chance to try our hands at spinning and weaving - Donna Lee Trunk brought her portable loom, Carrie Wood set up her spinning wheel.

It's a potluck event so please bring a small dish (really small) to share with other guests. We will have limited storage and heating abilities so make is something uncomplicated.

Updated 11/10/2011

Enjoy photos from the event.

Monday, October 10, 2011

One Year Anniversary with many thanks

We have celebrated our One Year Anniversary last Saturday with a gathering of artists and guests at the store. As always, it was a pleasure to meet the many talented Long Island artists, craftspeople, authors, and chefs and to welcome guests who appreciated their skill and creativity.

It was a beautiful day complemented by the generosity of our visitors - a local pantry benefits from the food items brought to the event. It is much appreciated.

Let us take this opportunity to express our gratitude to All who worked with us and supported us in the last year - from the artist community and the public to the members of our families. Many thanks!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Anthony Farah, woodworker craftsman

Maple Top Console Table
by Anthony Farah
Anthony Farah, Wantagh woodworker craftsman, got his first taste of hands-on work at 15 when he picked up a summer job at a frame shop. He enjoyed both the precision and the tactile aspect of fitting frames, cutting mat boards, glass and adding finishing components. He stayed there for 3 years.

Bubinga Console Table
by Anthony Farah
Having imagined himself a cattle rancher in Montanta, he studied animal husbandry at The State University of New York College of Agriculture and Technology at Cobleskill. His first venture into wood art happened in a woodshed at the college grounds - Tony made a jewelry box for a prospective girlfriend. Neither the cattle ranch nor the girlfriend came true.

Tony joined his cousin Charles at his carpentry business in Philadelphia. He had used his time there well - learned flooring, window making, trims, visited various museums and galleries in search of clever use of wood.

Little Round Table
by Anthony Farah
Throughout the years he had a number of other experiences from barn building to employment at a mirror shop at the time when mirror walls and ceilings were all the rage. A memorable and eye-opening experience was an on and off involvement with Filmways Studios in the Bronx where he built movie sets.

He started his own shop with just a handful of machines in his backyard, then moved through a succession of workshops of ever increasing footage and capacities. He is now comfortably set up in Uniondale, where he runs a woodworking shop Big Twig Woodworks. He makes custom cabinets in a variety of styles, creates sumptuous bars and paneled libraries, is well known for his railing work.

Glass Top Table
by Anthony Farah
In addition, Tony creates one of a kind furniture where he utilizes reclaimed and recovered wood. If he hears of or sees a fallen/felled tree of potential he will make sure it ends up stashed in his shop getting ready for a table/bookshelf/etc yet to be conceived.

Recently, Tony's interest and perseverance got an official recognition; he was a recipient of the Think Green Award given by Think Long Island First at The Long Island Fair, an annual event held on the grounds of the Old Bethpage Village Restoration. A console table of local maple and red oak was the winning piece.

Though Tony is a self-taught woodworker, he has gained his esthetic training and inspiration from the study of works by George Nakashima, Wendell Castle, Frank Pollaro, or Wharton Esherick whose staircase in Esherick's house/museum he considers one of the finest achievements of woodworking. Tony is a member of the Long Island Woodworkers Guild.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Think Long Island First celebrates One Year Anniversary

Think Long Island First logo
Please join us in the celebration of our One Year Anniversary!

We are marking the momentous event with an Open House on Saturday, October 8th, between 2 - 4 pm, at our recently expanded store at 36 Audrey Avenue in Oyster Bay.

We have opened our doors last year with the beautiful works of 28 artists, craftspeople, writers, and chefs. Throughout the months we have met with many other talented Long Islanders and we now have the pleasure of working with 109 of them.

We have been overwhelmed with the positive response and support from the public for items made locally on Long Island.

We hope the Open House event will be a great chance for artists and public to meet and to celebrate the skill, talent, and resourcefulness of their fellow Long Islanders.

We ask our guests to bring non-perishable food items that will be donated to a local food pantry.

For more information please refer to our Press Release:
Artists, Community Embrace Unique Shopping Experience

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Folk artist Regan Tausch paints peace, joy and hope

Regan Tausch in her studio
Photo by Ewa Rumprecht
There are many definitions of folk art. Regan Tausch, painter from Bayville, NY, subscribes to the one identifying folk art as self-taught.

Princess by Regan Tausch
Photo by Ewa Rumprecht
Regan was drawing quick sketches already in school, where her classmates used to line up for her pencil doodles of horses, castles, and princesses. The three remained recurring topics until this day, later joined in by houses, other animals, angels, hot air balloons, snow scenes, etc.

Cows in the Field by Regan Tausch
Photo by Ewa Rumprecht
Art teachers in the very few art classes she ever took, Drawing 101, Painting 101, were not able to convert Regan's style to the ones they taught. All she retained in her art she had learned on her own. Regan chose acrylic on canvas as her medium, found her favorite brushes (due to a lot of details in her work she goes through a lot brushes with very fine tips), and continued on experimenting and discovering easier ways to convey what she imagined.

Detail of Sea scene by Regan Tausch
Photo by Ewa Rumprecht
This is not to say she was immune to external influences. Regan was impressed by the charming works of folk artist Cate Mandigo, among others. She liked various traditional crafts and, as a stay at home mom, made ornaments, stuffed bears, dinosaurs, and dolls for her children. Some are still in her possession. Quilting was particularly significant for her artistic development, she now treats some of the areas in her paintings as patches of fabric.

There is peace, joy, tranquility, and hope in her paintings. There is no conflict in them of any kind. They make viewers happy. They make Regan happy. She is content with her current style and considers herself blessed as an artist. This is a wonderful place to be!

Asked how such an idyll could be improved, Regan painted yet another picture of perfect happiness - an art studio with live music jamming in the background (Regan is an amateur guitarist/singer and occasionally performs in public), and a small cafe on premises.