Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween! (October Recap)

We hope everyone enjoys and safe and fun  Halloween this weekend! Stay away from any ghouls and freaks, though a little fright never hurt anyone.

In case you missed it, here's a recap of our month on the blog for you to go back and check out!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Have You Ever Thought of Facilitating a Workshop?

I became an Art Teacher in the NYC Public School System because when I got in front of a classroom and saw that I could stimulate imaginations and encourage creativity, that sparked something in me; something that is hard to define, but that I knew felt wonderful. I love Teaching, but also found that when I came home from a day of classes, I rarely had the energy left to pursue my own artistic expression. Since I incorporated RG Clay Creations in 2006, I have been making functional ceramics and more recently, a ceramic jewelry line that continues to evolve and never leaves me wanting for new ideas to experiment with.

However, actually creating an income making ceramic objects is, as any potter will tell you, a huge challenge. Unless you start mass producing using molds (which is not the way I like to work) the amount of time that goes into making our pieces makes it difficult. So one of the things I do to supplement my income is to organize workshops and classes. Any of us on the Hudson Valley Etsy Team who enjoy teaching can easily do this. All it takes is an appropriate space, multiple tools, a slightly larger inventory of supplies, and the ability to reach people who might be interested in attending them (advertising, word of mouth, social media networking).

Occasionally people contact me about the prospect of teaching classes. This happened with the person who every year in my community arranges for a group of Foreign Exchange students to come from Europe for a few weeks, staying with local host families. She organizes activities for them and visiting my studio was one of these. The Exchange Students (usually in a group of about 20) get a tour my studio, learn about the process I go through piece of jewelry themselves.

For other workshops I have applied to the persons in charge of organizing Educational programs. This happened with the Youth Coordinator at the Greenwood Lake Public Library where I have done workshops. And I have taught several at the Albert Wisner Public Library in Warwick as well. The fees are usually negotiated individually depending on the number of hours and size of the groups. At other times, a few individuals have hired me to do workshops with people they have gotten together to do a different, fun activity on an evening out. I even participated in a Team Building Activity for the Whole Foods/Whole Body Paramus Team, who drove up to Warwick to do a workshop here, and of course got to take in the beauty of the Hudson Valley on their drive up.

I used to fear that people would learn all my “secrets” and start creating RG Look Alike items, but have come to realize that the possibilities of creativity are so limitless, that the works people create in my studio may be based on techniques I show them, but are always uniquely their own. For many, it can be an experience they will not forget, whether the participants are 6 or 60 years old. And it just might spark a new passion for them, a greater appreciation of handmade items, and that is sheer joy.

Roberta - RG Clay Designs

Monday, October 27, 2014

Finding Artistic Inspiration in the Hudson Valley

In northern Dutchess county there are several locations that offer breathtaking scenery. To find serenity, solitude, and artistic inspiration, here are a few suggestions;

  1. Poets Walk, River Road, Red Hook, NY

    This park has 2 miles of trails through the woods and meadows, and offers scenic views of the 
    Hudson River. Along the trails you will find rustic cedar pavilions, footbridges, and benches.
    Bring a camera, a sketch pad, or paints, to capture the beautiful scenery. 

2. Mills Mansion, Staatsburgh, NY
A Greek revival mansion sits on the top of a grassy hill offering stunning views of the Hudson River. Tours of the mansion are only available through November. The miles of trails are open year round. You can choose to walk along trails in the woods, or a narrow trail that winds along the Hudson. Both trails provide views of the river, and you can find much inspiration.

3. Vanderbilt Mansion, Rt. 9, Hyde Park, NY

The mansion is surrounded by 200 preserved acres from the original mansion. There is an     extensive rose garden which is magnificent in season. There are wooden trails, and a paved road that leads right to the Hudson River. There are benches, where you can sit, ponder, dream, and gain inspiration.

There is inspiration to be found in any season, here in northern Dutchess county.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Where To Find The Hudson Valley Etsy Team This Weekend

We habe two events for you this weekend.

It's time for the last Warwick Makers Market of the season, so get out after all this soggy weather, it's supposed to be a gorgeous Sunday! The market will be at the Railroad Green Park in Warwick this Sunday, October 26, from 9AM-3PM. Among the wonderful makers will be three of our team members: Get Glassy, Huzzah Handmade and Stone & Fiber are excited to show you their newest creations!
Get Glassy
Get Glassy
Huzzah Handmade
Huzzah Handmade
Stone &Fiber
Stone & Fiber
If you're planning to spend some time in the Lower Hudson Valley, stop by the Arts & Craft Fair German International School New York in White Plains, NY, this Sunday, October 26, from 11AM-5PM.  Don't miss Frau Lammli's gorgeous bags, pouches, advent calendars, ornaments and much much more!
Frau Lammli
Frau Lammli
 Happy shopping!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Sheep and Wool Festival Last Weekend

My friend Kelli asked for company to go to the 
Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck this past Saturday.
It started off a bit cloudy but that did not keep the crowds away.
Over by the lamp post there was a vendor selling some type of artichoke goodness
that had a major crowd the whole time we were there.
Kelli is a hat person and this looked lovely on her! It is entirely made from wool and a 
few unusually striped black and white feathers.
There is as plethora of hand knitted, crocheted, woven and beautifully created
woolen goods everywhere!
I purchased a few quarters of wool from this charming lady. I want to try to
rug hook some of my art this winter.
As the day progressed, so did the crowd....
a quick trip up to livestock hill for a black sheep selfie and our day was done!

The artichoke crowd was even worse on the way out so I never did get to try it :(

Monday, October 20, 2014

Imaginative Realism

Jeff Jones
Imaginative Realism is the new name for fantasy art.  That covers all the genres of science fiction, fantasy, horror and gaming art that took realistic painting or sculpture in the direction of things only seen in the imagination.  I do crafts, but my main employment has been as an artist working in the publishing industry, making paintings that will grace the covers of fantasy books.  

In September I was lucky to attend Illuxcon7, the premier convention for Imaginative Realism, created by Patrick and Jeannie Wilshire.  The Allentown Museum of Art is inundated every September with artists, collectors, and students of the fantastic from all over the world.  Only non-digital work is allowed, so the galleries are filled with the most amazing work in traditional methods - oils, watercolors, graphite, and the three dimensional work is beyond description, especially because I haven't the faintest idea what they are using to create their strange and lifelike beings.  There are also wonderful classes and discussions going on in the nearby Baum Education Center, and a stream of students getting their portfolios reviewed by professionals.

Allentown Museum of Art

Here are some of the artists I met and the work that I saw at Illuxcon7.

Stephen Hickman

John Jude Palencar
Bob Eggleton

Marianne Plumridge

Bob Eggleton & Marianne Plumridge

Richard Hescox

Annie Stegg

Travis Lewis

Rebecca Guay

My art display
Mermaid: Blue Eyes

I only have photos of a small part of the show, but more and larger views of the artists' work can be seen at:

Illuxcon is thoroughly inspiring for me.  I love seeing work this good, and find it gets the creative juices flowing in ways that just working alone does not.  It's a pleasure to meet the artists, the collectors, and the fans in an intimate and low key setting.  We all wander around talking and chatting and having a great time.  We also sell some art, which is always good too.


a Studio by the Sea

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Where To Find The Hudson Valley Etsy Team This Weekend

Feeling like hitting the road this weekend? How about going to visit Huzzah Handmade at the Fall Fine Art & Crafts at Brookdale Park in Bloomfield/Montclair, New Jersey, this Saturday and Sunday, October 18 and 19, from 10AM - 5PM. Bloomfield and Montclair are located west of New York City, so you can drive through beautiful north Jersey and enjoy the Fall colors.
Huzzah Handmade will have you covered for all your cozy Fall and Winter needs with her wonderful felted and/or knitted bags, vases, hats, caps, gloves, scarves and more.
Huzzah Handmade
Huzzah Handmade
Huzzah Handmade
Huzzah Handmade
Happy shopping!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Stickley Museum

Some times you head off the beaten path and you discover little unknown treasures.  In the summer I was looking for inexpensive flooring for a room I was finishing, and found I could get some at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in New Jersey.  On the drive to Morris, New Jersey, I passed a sign that said "STICKLEY MUSEUM."  My head turned, as any one who loves the Arts and Crafts Movement in the United States knows the wonderful furniture made by Gustav Stickley.  Of course I had to find out what this museum could be. 

It turns out that there was a beautiful property in New Jersey that Stickley bought, and then built as a school for boys to learn a trade.  The school never took off, but he lived there with his family for a short time as his country estate when he was at his most successful, furnishing every room with pieces designed especially for himself and to his specifications.  I took a tour of the lovely grounds and the building with an agreeable and knowledgeable old docent. 

Below is the main building, called the Log House, which is filled with many of his original pieces, wall hangings and decor.  Every room has been loving restored, right down to an old Cornell pennant on the wall of his daughters' room, as it was seen in photographs.  Inside, the fireplaces are of brass with typical arts and crafts style mottos beaten into the metal.  Everywhere are small soft golden electrical lamps hanging from posts or the ceilings, lighting the dark rooms.  It's like stepping into an illustration for a proper home from the Arts and Crafts Magazines of the time.  I was so pleased to come upon this hidden gem!

The Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms
The tour entry
A box of the beautiful joinery used by the Stickley craftsmen.  No nails!
The gift shop is in the old kitchens.  There was a giant stove and ice room because he thought he would have a school here.
I wasn't allowed to take photographs inside so you can get a better idea of the treasures within by visiting their website: 

What a treat that was!  I love the design and craftsmanship, it was so lovely!


a Studio by the Sea