Tag Archives: Festival

Festival Focus: Meet Natalie

23 Jun
Image

The artist, Natalie Squillante, with her usual smile and some pieces from a recent Anagama firing.

Last Spring, I dropped my then 7-year-old and rather timid daughter off at the Jamestown Arts Center to begin a series of after school pottery classes. By the time the first class was over and I returned, she was hugging her instructor, Natalie, goodbye and smiling widely. With a very real warmth and overall positivity, Natalie, a highly practiced ceramicist, encouraged my daughter — and countless others before and since —  to feel completely at home in her classroom. Though she is dedicated to teaching, lately Natalie has been turning a lot of energy, time and focus towards her own art. She finds the time to paint, draw and make pots at any opportunity of each day. Under a new brand she has created called Nautaleye, her pottery is as distinct and genuine as the artist herself.

Festival Fete: What were you up to this past winter/off-season?

Natalie: I’ve made all sorts of funky connections through the Jamestown Arts Center. And I’ve had the opportunity to work with one of my favorite ceramicists, Chris Gustin, using his amazing hand-built kiln, in South Dartmouth, MA. One of the three chambers is Anagama, a Japanese-style kiln, and is fueled by hand with firewood. I prepare and create work for the kiln throughout the year. Along with a group of talented, dedicated ceramicists, we fired one back in October/November and we’re currently firing another. It’s one of the experiences in my life that I look forward to, build up work for, and put a lot of energy into. Loading the large kiln is truly a communal effort and the firing is about a seven-day process. We continually stoke the fire in eight-hour shifts each. It has really grabbed me by the heart. What happens inside can reflect what’s going on in the atmosphere outside. We fired during Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and the ash blew just beautifully. I may initially throw the pieces on the wheel — the pots, the cups, the bowls — but I think the true beauty really comes from the kiln itself and in the natural ash glaze that forms on each unique piece.

FF: What’s inspired your most recent work?

N: My inspirations have never really changed; they’ve been staples throughout my life. The things that shine in my mind are nature, plants, the ocean and elephants. I have a deep respect and admiration for elephants: their wisdom, their memory and their spirituality. Love, wonder, beauty, joy and meditation inspire me, too.  Each finds a way onto a canvas, a piece of ceramics, on a piece of paper or a wall on a very regular and daily basis. I’ll be donating a percentage of my sales to Hope Elephants, a small organization in Maine dedicated to the preservation and protection of elephants. It’s a lofty goal but I would love to have an elephant of my own in the future. Since I was a child, I’ve been sort of obsessed with them, but learning of a vet who was able to rescue elephants from harmful environments makes me want to have the space and resources to care for one myself someday.

FF: Does your work with children influence your creations? 

N: Working with kids will always be a part of my life and work because I’m not sure I’ll ever not be a kid myself! It’s a part of who I am. I love every moment of learning, growing, sharing, and creating with them. I share a similar joy, willingness, and enthusiasm to create and learn, with students and children, and that is something that I savor and find inspiring in itself. That energy and process is most influential.

FF: Can you share a bit about your process?

N: One of my favorite and frequently used surface treatments is called Sgraffito. After using this process while I attended Maine College of Art, I found out that it’s Italian for graffiti.  Basically, once I’ve thrown a set  of whatever it is I’m making (a few bowls, planters, cups, serving bowls) I let them dry to a very specific dryness in order to foot them. The foot is at the bottom of a pot and is a sweet, pedestal like feature at the base. Some are ornate and complex, while others are simple or without.  I then apply a stain or underglaze. Here’s where the Sgraffito comes into play.  Using carving tools, I then begin to draw onto the surface carving away the stain or underglaze and some of the clay underneath it. I find Sgraffito creates a playful yet informative and beautiful use of positive/negative, foreground/background, history, and expression. It’s the way I enjoy getting information, a story or image that I may be painting or drawing, onto a ceramic piece.

FF: Have you got a favorite piece?

N: I love each piece for one reason or another. Even if it’s just for whatever phrase or word I’ve written on the bottom, the happy mistake or magic that occurred in the kiln or the memory attached to the carving.  They’re all my favorites; they’re like people to me. Maybe I’ll have a favorite come out of the Anagama soon!

FF: What are your aspirations?

N: I’m attracted to clay, partly, because everything I make is functional. The Anagama kiln was used in the Japanese culture to make pieces to be used by the whole community, since it allows for large amounts of pottery to be loaded and stacked inside. I would love to get people to the point that they can throw their own pottery, so they can start to replace a lot of the junk — for lack of a better word — that we consume and accumulate. I’d like to sort of ‘mass produce’ in a handmade way, making pieces quickly and simply, yet beautifully so that they can be accessible and affordable.

Image

FF: What do you look forward to most about participating in the Newport Art Festival? 

N: This is my first Festival Fete selling work.  I was working with Art Is Smart creating and working with kids at the Creation Stations for past Festivals and I’ll be facilitating crafts at the next Festival Fete (at Emerald Square), which I’m totally looking forward to! I’m stoked to see how my work is received by the public. I love the energy of Festival Fete so I’m also looking forward to the overall feeling that it brings and seeing all the beautiful work that will be there. I hope it’s a huge success for everyone and for Newport.

With artists like this one, how can it not be? Natalie can be contacted through the Jamestown Arts Center for group and private lessons and for arts and crafts based birthday parties. She can be found at the Newport Art Festival this weekend as well as future Festival Fete shows. She can be reached on Facebook, as well. Natalie’s work is displayed at the Art Market at the JAC and she currently has beautiful soap dishes and mixing bowls for sale at Farmaesthetics flagship apothecary on Bellevue Ave. in Newport.

Advertisements

Venetian Sea Glass from Murano, Italy

2 Apr

Do you collect sea glass? If you do, you know what a special and rare treat it is to find one of those gems from the sea. Imagine having a business that requires you to comb some of the most beautiful beaches in the world…

Gary de Blois is a graphic designer, amateur photographer, jewelry maker, and a lifelong beachcomber. His sea glass collecting hobby weaves together all these passions and he now gets to plan “business trips” to places like California, Bermuda, Florida and Puerto Rico.

Gary DeBlois collecting sea glass in Cayucos, CA

Gary DeBlois collecting sea glass in Cayucos, CA

We featured Gary and his sea glass business, Just Beachy Keen on our blog almost two years ago and it continues to be on of our most popular blog posts today. Sea glass collecting is a hot topic! So I thought I would check in with Gary to see what he has been up to lately…

Gary's pendants made from Murano sea glass!

Gary’s pendants made from Murano sea glass!

Gary works with genuine sea glass found on beaches around the world. While he does travel to collect sea glass, he also purchases from other collectors that he has met at various sea glass festivals. Most recently, he has been working with Murano sea glass from Italy.

Lately, I have been making pendants using glass found by a scuba diver off the island of Murano, in Venice, Italy. Murano has been known as the glass making capital of the world for hundreds of years!

We meet people from around the world who have amazing sea glass, and we now have friends in England, France, Italy and Greece just to name a few. Now we just need to find time to visit them all! – Gary DeBlois

seaglass-sample

In his youth, Gary began sea glass collecting while spending summers on the coast.  This is where his passion for beach combing began. Those zen moments spent strolling the beach, enjoying the sights, sounds and scent of the ocean… ahhhh… tonic for the soul. Finding sea glass, in its myriad of shapes and colors, was like treasure hunting to Gary. At days end, these beachy gems were brought home, and placed in jars as keepsakes, colorful reminders of all the fun times spent playing in the sand.

pendants

Now, he explores the coastal regions of the US as well as the world for sea glass, collecting it, photographing it and making jewelry and other whimsical objects with it. Only the most genuine sea glass is used, collected by Gary himself or his sea glass collecting cohorts. He works with sea glass as it is found on the beach, never grinding or reshaping the glass, only occasionally drilling as required. The result is a unique, one-of-a-kind, sea glass pendant, earring pair, etc.

de Blois1

You can read much more about Gary’s other pursuits and even find one of his recipes in the blog article Sea Glass Journal. But be sure to stop by the Just Beachy Keen booth at the Garden City Art Festival on June 8th and 9th to see his genuine sea glass jewelry and other works using sea glass. They will also have t-shirts, note cards and photography that follows the sea glass collecting theme.

The Sea Glass Stoop in Cayucos

The Sea Glass Stoop in Cayucos

Check out Gary’s online magazine for sea glass collectors at www.seaglassjournal.com and his Etsy store for sea glass jewelry at http://www.etsy.com/shop/SeaGlassJournal

Garden City Art Festival 2013

Garden City Art Festival 2013

Festival Fete would like to thank our sponsor:

Yelp logo

Support Your Garden City Center Art Festival Artists!

16 May

Cha Cha’s Charms   Theresita Design

This June 9th & 10th, Festival Fete will be at the Garden City Center  with Cha Cha’s Charms, Theresita Design and more fabulous local artists for the 2nd annual Garden City Center Art Festival!

Come join us for days full of beautiful local art work, entertainment, food, free kids activities and MORE!

Live entertainment by The Toe Jam Band & The Big Nazo!

“Like” Festival Fete on Facebook to receive important updates regarding our upcoming art festivals!

COMING SOON…

The East Greenwich Art Festival

Happening September 1st & 2nd at the new NE Tech Campus located on Division Road in East Greenwich

You won’t want to miss this!

We would love to take this opportunity to thank our wonderful sponsors!

 

Come Out and Support Local Art!

4 May

Coletta Craft by Eddy Murray      Transitions Jewelry by Kathleen Barris

This June 9th & 10th, Festival Fete will be at the Garden City Center  with Eddy Murray, Kathleen Barris and more fabulous local artists for the 2nd annual Garden City Center Art Festival!

Come join us for days full of beautiful local art work, entertainment, food, free kids activities and MORE!

Live entertainment by The Toe Jam Band & The Big Nazo!

“Like” Festival Fete on Facebook to receive important updates regarding our upcoming art festivals!

COMING SOON…

The East Greenwich Art Festival

Happening September 1st & 2nd at the new NE Tech Campus located on Division Road in East Greenwich

You won’t want to miss this!

We would love to take this opportunity to thank our wonderful sponsors!

Our Upcoming Festivities!

20 Apr

Gerbs Pumpkin Seeds     Mad Knits by Kaitlin Juarez

Check out these Festival Fete featured artsits online!

Looking forward to seeing you all at the Garden City Center Art Festival on June 9th and 10th at the Garden City Center in Cranston, Rhode Island

There will also be tons of free kids activities, live entertainment by The Big Nazo and The Toe Jam Band and of course, even more wonderful local art work

You won’t want to miss out on this special event!

 

Can’t make it in June? Don’t worry about it! The East Greenwich Art Festival will take place at the new New England Tech campus on Division Rd. in East Greenwich, RI on September 1st and 2nd!

Stay tuned to our blog and Facebook page to learn more exciting news about this upcoming festival!

And of course, none of our festivals would be possible without the help of our wonderful sponsors!

Do Your Part, Support Local Art!

28 Mar

Samantha Pidel     Ellen Sullivan

Love what you see? Come out to the Garden City Center Art Festival on June 9th & 10th at the Garden City Center in Cranston, Rhode Island to see Samantha Pidel, Ellen Sullivan and tons of other fabulous artists’ work in person!

Join us for beautiful local art work, free kids activities and live entertainment by The Toe Jam Band & The Big Nazo!

“Like” Festival Fete on Facebook to receive important updates regarding our upcoming art festivals!

In other exciting news…

Make sure to put the East Greenwich Art Festival on your radar, happening September 1st & 2nd at the new NE Tech Campus located on Division Road in East Greenwich

We would love to take this opportunity to thank our wonderful sponsors!

Support Local Art!

14 Mar

Neal Drobnis     Transtition Jewelry by Kathleen Barris

Support your local Garden City Center Art Festival featured artists today by visiting their personal websites and checking out their beautiful art work!

Neal Drobnis and Kathleen Barris are just two of our many unique Garden City Center Art Festival featured artists. Come out to the Garden City Center Art Festival on June 9th and 10th to see what all the fuss is about

And remeber to “like” Festival Fete on Facebook in order to receive the latest updates and special opportunities regarding our upcoming festivals!

Join us for live entertainment by The Toe Jam Band and The Big Nazo as well as free kids activities and fun for the entire family!

We would like to thank our wonderful sponsors!