Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Gourdlania Comes to Skaneateles

Graham Ottoson will be at Gallery 54 on Friday,
November 4, from 5 - 8 pm.

“I start with a gourd, a gourd is in the middle and I end up with a gourd. And, I try not to mess it up.” So says gourd artist Graham Ottoson by way of describing the artwork that will be featured by Gallery 54, here, beginning on the First Friday of November, November 4.

It's safe to say that Graham isn't overstating her creative efforts. It's equally save to say that those who visit Gallery 54 for November's First Friday opening of Graham's Gourdlandia show will likely find themselves standing in wonder at the creativity of a unique artist.

Graham was introduced to gourd-crafting by a fellow midwife who was dabbling in guard art. “Then, one day,” she recalls, “some gourds at a roadside stand caught my eye. I had to have them.” The very next year she was growing her own gourds and the rest is history. “The way my husband tells it, 'I came home one day and she was making a lamp out of a gourd,' “ she says.

Graham was attracted to gourd art by what she calls “the compelling shapeliness of gourds.” Some are perfectly round, others somewhat elongated, some pear-shaped, and some can only be described as irregular in shape. While the shape is certainly a key element in the design of the final work, how Graham adds her creative instincts to achieve the final product is really the soul of each presentation.

I get a particular joy out of creating lamps with my gourds,” she says. The special collaboration between her and each unique gourd is where the beauty of each creation is to be found. “To my knowledge, I'm the only person who is persistently making lamps where gourds are both the base and the shade of the lamp,” says Graham.

The work is so interesting,” she adds, “. . . growing, designing, waxing, scraping, carving, beading, etc. etc... I get to use skills that I've developed over a lifetime of dabbling, all in one medium. They (the gourds themselves, keep me interested. And then, there is the moment of turning on a lamp for the first time . . .”

Graham will be on hand at Gallery 54 to meet guests and discuss her work from 5-8 pm on Friday, November 4. Her work will be featured throughout the month of November.

Light refreshments will be served. Gallery 54 is located at 54 E. Genesee St., Skaneateles, NY.

November gallery hours are Sunday through Thursday, 10-5 and Friday and Saturday, 10-6. 315-685-5470.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Gallery 54 artist makes it BIG

Jay Seaman and his eagle
There's more than one way someone can interpret the phrase "making it big" and, when applied to the latest piece of metal sculpted Jay Seaman, both are appropos. Jay, whose work has long been exhibited and available for purchase at Gallery 54 in Skaneateles, not only sculpts very large pieces of various metals, his work is fast becoming a cause celebre as evidenced in the newly landed American Bald Eagle at the Montezuma Wildlife Refuge, near Seneca Falls, NY.

On Tuesday, October 11, with the assistance of the refuge staff, the eagle "landed"  and Jay's reputation as a fine art metal sculptor took off . . . to even greater heights than before. Now Jay's bald eagle overlooks New York State's "main street," the Thomas E. Dewey Thruway, from its perch in the refuge.
The Eagle, just before "landing" at Montezuma
Wildlife Refuge
With a wingspan of 22-feet and weighing in at 1,300 pounds, Jay's eagle stands as a tribute to the efforts the refuge has made in the recovery of "America's bird" from near extinction in Upstate New York.

Jay began work on his large masterpiece early in Spring this year and was on hand to secure his creation into position in the wildlife refuge.  "We started out," recalls Seaman, "planning to sculpt a 10-foot eagle." Behind his home in Trumansburg, NY, he admits to having taken "some artist's license." As the individually hand-cut and hand-forged feathers began to pile up, he finally arrived at the point where each feather would be welded to the sculpture. That's when the eagle really spread its wings.
The Eagle lands at Montezuma 
An American Bald Eagle sculpted by Jay Seaman
To see more of Jay's creations visit Gallery 54, at 54 E. Genesee St. in Skaneateles, NY. The gallery is open Sunday through Thursday from 10 am to 5 pm and Fridays and Saturdays from 10 am to 6 pm.