Friday, October 26, 2018

Skaneateles Artist Demonstrates How She Creates Beauty from Broken Ceramics

Skaneateles Artist Demonstrates How
She Creates Beauty from Broken Ceramics

Perhaps it's her gift of being an artist that allows noted Skaneateles ceramicist Terry Askey-Cole to see the potential for a special beauty to be created from the remains of ceramic pieces that either didn't measure up to her expectations out of her kiln or were otherwise broken in production. Either way, Terry sees new life in broken pieces or shards . . . a vision she will demonstrate November 2 from 5 to 8 pm at Gallery 54.

Her artistic bent isn't new. “My mother would paint over my childhood drawings on my bedroom walls to give me fresh surfaces to draw and paint on, she recalled recently.” With a fine arts degree from University of Akron and a career as a graphic designer and illustrator she credits her lifelong interest in art for her initial motivation to create a mosaic as the centerpiece of the kitchen she and husband Larry were remodeling in there Skaneateles home in the late 1990s.
Terry had collected ceramics and studied under the late Central New York ceramic artist Lauren Richie for several years at that point. Her kitchen remodeling seemed a natural opportunity to put her education, her passion and the bags and boxes of ceramic shards she had collected to good use. A new interest in the creation of ceramic mosaics was born.

When Gallery 54 was first opened in July of 2009 she immediately began showcasing her work in ceramics and mosaics. “I love creating something from nothing,” she says adding, “and hopefully something that will survive me.”

Besides getting to see how Terry creates her beautiful mosaics, visitors to Gallery 54 will enjoy seeing (and maybe even purchasing) mosaic creations that typically incorporate elements of a ceramic pot, a garden motif and the lake her home overlooks. Her demonstration will cover the process and techniques she has developed through years of experience as a mosaic artist.

As is the tradition at Gallery 54, the evening will also offer visitors light refreshments along with music by Jane Zell.

Gallery 54 is situated at 54 E. Genesee St., Skaneateles.

Regular gallery hours are 10 am to 5 pm Sunday through Thursday and 10 am to 6 pm Friday and Saturday.

The gallery also offers an online store at

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Right before our eyes

"I've driven by this spot a hundred times and never seen that before." How many times have we all said something like that?

I know I've said it . . .more times than I can count. It was with this thought in mind that it recently occurred to me that one of the reasons I enjoy landscape photography so much is that I see things I never took note of before. Of course that may not include the new building going up somewhere or the house that's been torn down on a route I drive regularly, but that's another story.

I'm pleased to say that today, thanks to my photography I see that collection of river rocks framing an autumn reflection or the textures of a dead tree at the edge of a marsh. Or, I notice the single leaf floating in a little eddy in a local stream, or the contrast of the corn stalks against the summer sky. I could go on, but I think you get the picture (no pun intended).

All this thinking (something I'm not necessarily noted for) resulted recently in a desire to exhibit some images of subjects I believe many, if not most, of us walk past and don't really see. Such an exhibit, Right Before Our Eyes is currently on display at Gallery 54. I hope you'll take a moment to stop by and let us know what you think

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

From Bling to Vintage Flair

October guest artists Kerry Nolan, left, and Cathy Elmore

Fresh, romantic, unique and vintage are just a few words that describe the work of October's guest artists at Gallery 54 in Skaneateles, NY. It could be said that this exhibit of Filigree Fine Crafts has taken nearly 50 years to come together with contributions from coast to coast.

The opening for this unique showing will be held at Skaneateles' Gallery 54 from 5 to 8 pm, October 5. The show will run through November 25.

Sisters Cathy Elmore, representing the west coast contribution from Agoura Hills, CA, recalls beginning to create her art as early as 1972 and Kerry Nolan, the shows east coast and “local” contribution, hailing from Rochester, NY allows that she has “crafted all my life.” Both credit their mother and her crocheting, knitting, and sewing as providing the foundation for their work.

With that foundation, Kerry notes she only started creating her handbags and rose jewelry with its “fresh designs and a vintage flair” about five years ago. “All my pieces,” she says,” are crafted by hand and each takes several days to complete. Like real flowers, they grow into unique pieces as I add found items to a base flower.”

Cathy, from her west coast home, describes her work with beautiful yarns as “creating art that is romantic, unique and wearable.” Her scarves and cowls are both fun and novel at the same time. One example that will be included in the October showing at Gallery 54, is titled Sunset Boulevard Cowls. The cowls are “extra large and elegant,” featuring “lovely trim and a little bling”
says Cathy. Visitors to Gallery 54 will want to take note of the way Cathy blends an assortment of yarns to create each piece.

Kerry emphasizes her desire to create flowers that will “last forever. I love romantic, vintage and unique things,” she says adding, “many of my corsage pins feature old advertising buttons,” such as pins used to promote candidates for political office. “I want to give these various elements new life in a new form,” she said recently. “

Gallery 54 is an upscale gallery of locally produced art and fine crafts. The October opening will feature wine tastings presented by Anyela's Vineyards, light refreshments, and music by guitarist/singer Jane Zell.

Check out Gallery 54's online store at

Monday, August 13, 2018

Gallery 54's Thompson selected for Artist in Residence program

The Kingsbrae International Residence for the Arts (KIRA) in the famous Kingsbrae Gardens of St. Andrews, New Brunswick, Canada will be home for Sallie Thompson, a founding member of Gallery 54, here, for the month of August.

Overlooking the Bay of Fundy in the Canadian Maritimes, Thompson will spend the month working directly in the Kingsbrae Gardens “for observational and inspirational purposes,” she said recently. As she readied recently to depart her Skaneateles home she was looking forward to the “gardens as my studio.” She anticipates “the public viewing the world famous gardens will be observing my process and offering their responses and feedback.\,” she added.

Thompson applied for the KIRA program in late 2017, one of 220 applicants. Only 15 were selected for the one month residencies.

Thompson isn't new to the experience of being an Artist in Residence. In 2006 she was an Artist in Residence at the “oldest continually running colony for the arts,” the Byrdcliffe Arts Colony in Woodstock, NY where she resided and worked on her pottery from May through October as one of three ceramic artists in residence. “During that time,” says Thompson, “I started creating the hanging sculptures that are now a major component of my work and expression.”

I look forward to the opportunity to work from my direct observation of the flora in the 27 berautiful acres that comprise the horticultural Kingsbrae Gardens,” she said recently. While Thompson has specific things she wants to work on developing during her residency she notes that she looks forward to “having time to follow where the work/process leads. It's a time for exploration and discovery,” she adds.

An important part of the residency that Thompson is looking forward to is the opportunity to engage the community in her work. “I expect to interact with visitors in completing a clay flower garden that will be set up at the end of the residency,” she noted.

For certain, as anxious as she is to have her month-long residency begin, it's not a vacation. “It will occupy every waking moment,” she said, “I want to make the most of it possible.”

One of the greatest benefits to my residency,” says Thompson, “is the opportunity to have uninterrupted time to focus on my work and the influence of working in a unique setting with artists from other disciplines.” Each artist has his or her own studio space but will be sharing meals and experiences.

KIRA is the only residency of it type in the Canadian Maritime Provinces. Thompson, along with four other artists will reside in this historic property, part of the beautiful seaside town of St. Andrews. Each artist has a private studio, furnished and equipped with basic tools and located on the property. “For the artists it's an opportunity to engage with the community, share thoughts, and present our work with other like minded individuals,” said Thompson.

As potter and a founding member of Gallery 54 Thompson creates soda fired pottery and sculptures which are currently available for purchase at Gallery 54 and select shows in the Syracuse area.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

“Rooted in Dreams” Featured at Gallery 54

Skaneateles, NY's Claudia Lambdin has a unique approach to the art she creates. She calls it “Ahj-nae” deliberately spelling it the way it sounds to make it easier to communicate.

For anyone wishing to get a glimpse of where art comes from, the opening of her show, “Rooted in Dreams” at Gallery 54, August 3 from 5 to 8 pm, is a great place to begin looking. You'll find a broad selection of the ancient art of collage on display and Lambdin will be there to explore not only her dream-like creations but where she believes they come from. Perhaps even more enticing is her ability and willingness to help guests at this show opening explore the dramatically colorful pieces she has created.

She selected “Ahj-nae Collage by Claudia” as the name for her business because it means “the third eye or the gate that leads to one's inner realm or space of consciousness,” says Lambdin who has been creating art since she was in high school. Though she only re-engaged with the art of collage last fall, after raising a family, she's done so with a dramatic verve, creating some 130 collage pictures already.

Her love for collage “is rooted in its ability to take many different colors, shapes, and patterns and mix them into something unique,” she says. “A side benefit,” she notes as a recycler, “is its ability to reuse old books and magazine rather than relegating them to a landfill.”

When Claudia is creating a new collage she freely allows distractions by others. “This way,” says Lambdin, “I'm able to let my soul put it all together. It's kind of like looking at a dream when I'm done and I often have an 'ah-ha' moment as I recognize things within my work that I wasn't even conscious of creating.” She associates the experience as like when we sometimes see something during our day that reminds us of a piece of a recent dream. She is anxious to be able to look at her art with other people, encouraging them to look, listen, and “maybe they too will have an “ah-ha” moment,” she adds.

Lambdin's formal training comes from the Historical Society of Early American Decoration, a national group dedicated to documenting and preserving the historical arts.

Chris Molloy will entertain with his blue electric harp and Gallery 54 will provide light refreshments and wine.
Gallery 54 is situated at 54 E. Genesee St., Skaneateles.

Regular gallery hours are 10 am to 5 pm Sunday through Thursday and 10 am to 6 pm Friday and Saturday.

The gallery also offers an online store at

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Award Winning Beading Artist to Demonstrate at Gallery 54

July's First Friday celebration at Gallery 54 in Skaneateles promises to be magical. Titled Beading Beyond Jewelry beading artist Judi Witkin will be demonstrating one of the world's oldest of arts as she creates a “kaleidocycle” between 5 and 8 pm on July 6. While Judi creates her intricate, colorful and magnificently detailed beaded wonder visitors will be able to enjoy several additional examples of her award-winning creations.

A Judi Witkin Kakeidocycle
Known throughout Central New York for her beaded jewelry, her demonstration is designed to go well beyond jewelry. Judi tried her hand at several artistic endeavors while serving the Syracuse City School District as a special education and pre-kindergarten teacher. It wasn't until she retired in 2010 that her passion for beading truly blossomed.
A beaded ornament

Showing all the angles
I've found beading to be very seductive,” she says of the ancient art. “It's an art that, while practiced for centuries all over the world, is always new.” She notes that while it's not difficult, it is challenging with an element of math that she enjoys as well. “It is the only medium that I feel expresses my creative energy and ideas,” she says. Besides an uncountable variety of stitches to be employed, Judi hastens to note that “new kinds of beads are being invented all the time.”

She opened her first studio in Syracuse's Delavan Center shortly after retiring from teaching and became one of the owners of Gallery 54 in Skaneateles, NY in 2014, where a wide selection of her jewelry as well as other decorative beaded pieces are regularly available for viewing as well as purchase.
Employing every twist and turn

The Syracuse based artist lists such renowned beaders as Marcia DeCoster, Laura McCabe, Sherry Serafini and Mikki Ferrugiaro as both her inspiration and her mentors.

An active member of the Bead Society of Central New York her work recently captured first prize at the 2018 International Bead Expo.

In addition to this demonstration visitors will be able to enter a raffle to win a free pet portrait to be painted by another Gallery 54 artist, Kathleen Schneider. One dollar tickets will gain entry to the raffle and be donated to Spay and Neuter Syracuse.

Judi's demonstration will be from 5-8 pm Friday, July 6 and the evening will also feature music by Jane Zell along with light refreshments.

Gallery 54 is an upscale, artist owned and operated gallery and gift store. It was recently recognized by the Post Standard as one of the thirteen best gift shops in Upstate New York.

The gallery is open Sunday-Thursday from 10 am to 5 pm and Friday and Saturday from 10 am to 6 pm. It also is open 24/7/365 at:

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Judi Wins

First Place for Judi's creations
The International  Bead Expo came to Central New York recently and was held at the Liverpool Holiday Inn. Crowds from throughout the region converged on the expo and the many vendors there to address the needs of beaders throughout the area.

An important part of Expo was a contest for beaders with the theme of "Ultra Violet" based on Pantone's color of the year. The contest was sponsored by the Bead Society of CNY. Gallery 54's own Judi Witkin came out on top taking home First Place in the contest.