Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Birds at Think Long Island First

Today is the 226th birthday of John James Audubon. This prompted us to look for works represending birds in our store. We found quite a few.

Rooster by Christina Kneer.
Matted photograph on paper.
Kingfisher by Bob Schiff.
Wood carving.
Hello Spring by Cathy Nichols.
Print on wood panel.
Sand Pipers by Don Dailey.
Wood carving.
Feather pins by Mike Denaro.
Wood carving.
Bird by Mollie Eckelberry.
Printed card, hand colored.
Rooster by Jewelry 10.
Ceramic pin.
Shovel bird by Tom Malloy.
Metal sculpture.
Bird feeder by Sue Adler.
Clay feeder with leather hanger.
Chicks by Gerry Corrigan.
Matted photograph on paper.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Mollie Eckelberry, author and illustrator

Photo by Ewa Rumprecht
Mollie Eckelberry of Muttontown, NY, author and illustrator, draws almost exclusively animals. She draws some animals because their expressions or poses strike her interest, some as illustrations to her books. Mollie avoids anthropomorphism, her portrayals reflect years of discovery, first-hand experience, and keen observation. 

Photo by Ewa Rumprecht
Mollie's love of the animal world started rather dangerously at a tender age of three: "... a seventeen-hand horse named Buster careened rider-less down a narrow farm path straight toward ... me. ... I never moved - just stood there in awe of this wondrous creature that somehow managed not to trample me into hamburger as he went by. ... Horses were never to be far from my mind from that moment to this. I solemnly crayoned red dots on every one of my dolls, told my mother they had measles and that I couldn't play with them any more and I didn't. I made little stables out of shoeboxes, and when my parents gave up on the dolls and gave me toy horses, I bandaged their legs with adhesive tape and made little halters and bridles our of thread and saddles out of bits of cloth."

An avid equestrienne and nature lover, she retained the childlike awe for the smart, amazing creatures surrounding her. She devotes a good portion of her day to the animals in her care.

Photo by Ewa Rumprecht
Her creative pursuits get their fair share of attention, as well. Mollie draws almost every day, always with Mozart's music in the background. The studio is her sanctuary where time plays tricks, it usually passes too fast.

Mollie's mother, Louise Stark Wolf Arnold, an oil, pastel, and watercolor painter, encouraged her young children to experiment with drawing on butcher's paper available by the roll in her studio. Mollie covered miles of that paper with stick horses, eventually progressing to more advanced depictions. In time Mollie signed up for live drawing and anatomy sessions at Art Students League of New York where she took classes with Bill Barnet, Robert Beverly Hale, and Louis Bosa, among others. She was advised to follow her instincts and concentrate her work on things she loved most, the animals. Mollie's brother, Robert Warbrick Stark Jr., became a renown luminist painter of Nantucket landscapes and marines. Until this day Mollie seeks his advice and critique.

Photo by Ewa Rumprecht
Mollie published four books: 'Vest Pocket Farm' from which the above quote was taken - an equestrian memoir full of captivating stories in her own vivid language, 'The Foxes of Kirby Hill' - an eulogy to the beloved Kirby Hill estate where she rode surrounded by the wild life of the area, 'Willa' - part introduction to the seeing guide dogs, part love affair with her dog Willa, and 'The Cat Burglar of Castor Bay' - a mystery book for children with the cat at the center stage.

She is invited to read the last three books at schools or nurseries. She appreciates when children laugh at the right places, but, even more so when they grasp her message of the animal care, appreciation for nature, and importance of land conservation. 

Think Long Island First carries her interesting books, her very popular notecards and paper weights.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Mike Denaro, in memoriam

With great sadness we inform you of the sudden passing of our friend and colleague, Mike Denaro.

Many of you have met Mike at the Introduction to Wood Carving or the Artist Appreciation Day events and remember him as a talented wood carver with a lively personality and a great sense of humor. Mike considered himself a folk artist and pursued various crafts to a great success.

Mike granted us an interview, Mike Denaro, wood carver, and allowed us to film him a few weeks back.

Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to Mike's family.

Services will be held at Mother Teresa Tribute Center at 123 Ronkonkoma Avenue, Lake Ronkonkoma, NY, on Thursday, April 21st at 12 noon.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Sherry Phelps - utilitarian quilts of lasting beauty

Photo by Ewa Rumprecht
Sherry Phelps, quilter from Glen Cove, is proud to follow in the path of generations of women before her. She believes that the utility of a quilt is as important as its beauty. She hopes the quilts she makes will brighten a day. And she also hopes the quilts will go along on a picnic, and dry off a wet dog, and tag along with a toddler, and give a hug, and be used.

As far back as Sherry can remember there were homemade quilts around her house. Her grandmother was an accomplished quilter whose work was done entirely by hand. Her grandmother’s depression quilts were made from flour sacks and scrap fabrics, pieced by individuals and then quilted by sisters and neighbors joining together to create an item of utility and beauty. They were made of cotton, used for many years, washed often, and remain vibrant to this day.

Photo by Ewa Rumprecht
Sherry makes traditional quilts under the whimsical name Nana’s Quilted Hugs. Her inspiration comes from fabric colors and print combinations as well as traditional quilt block designs. She uses only cotton materials, from top pieced fabrics and muslin backing to unbleached batting. She uses only cotton thread, regardless of its tricky nature. She binds the finished quilt by hand. All quilts are machine washable and dryable.

For the uninitiated, there is a price one pays for working with cotton. It absorbs oil from the hands and makes them very dry. A good healing lotion is a must. Cotton dust released when preparing fabric is another occupational hazard and must be well controlled.

Sherry grew up in the Rocky Mountain west. She taught middle school English and history in Wyoming for 20 years. Her last teaching assignment was in southern China teaching English to international students. She took every opportunity to explore Asia, including trips to Singapore, Shanghai, Beijing and X’ian. She eventually settled on Long Island to be near her daughter and her family.


Friday, April 8, 2011

Quilts by Jane Pearlson - celebration of life events

Photo by Ewa Rumprecht
If necessity is the mother of all inventions, an important family event may uncover an artist in you. About 10 years ago Jane Pearlson's daughter was getting married. To celebrate this momentous occasion the closest family members and friends were asked to contribute a square each with either a poem, memory, kind wishes, etc. Jane incorporated the squares into a chuppah, a canopy hanging over a couple during a traditional Jewish wedding ceremony. And thus a quilter was born.

Jane was only partially prepared for this discovery. There were no quilters in her family - her mother knitted angora sweaters, grandmother crocheted. Jane had acquired basic sewing skills in home economics classes, made some clothes for her daughter and herself, tried her hand at needlepoint, macramé, stone sculpture. After completing her first chuppah she delved into quilt making with a passion - she took classes, workshops, attended shows, joined art and craft guilds.

Photo by Ewa Rumprecht
Her quilts are non-traditional, have eclectic themes frequently inspired by nature, most are intended for wall hanging. Jane likes making pieces which expand her technique, explore patterns and color combinations. She gravitates toward earthy or bright tones and likes to combine remote colors. She uses a sewing machine both for piecing and for quilting; banding and appliqué - flowers, leaves, beads, are sewn by hand. Her stitching is decorative, sometimes done with multicolor or metallic threads. Jane uses mostly cotton, batiks are her favorite, but will also use silk or upholstery fabrics for texture if a piece calls for it. She currently experiments with 3 dimensional objects that can be attached to a quilt. Painting on fabric is another area beckoning her interests.

She particularly enjoys making custom quilts which display family history or family tree, immortalize a lost loved one, commemorate an important event - birth, graduation, wedding. Jane may include photos printed on fabric, cherished pieces of clothing - baby clothes, ties, shirts, or other significant items provided for that purpose by the customers.

Jane Pearlson's website Quilts of Distinction provides additional information about the artist and more photos of her work.