Friday, June 15, 2012

Forge Festival of Arts & Crafts

Dean White is a familiar face at the Forge Festival of Arts & Crafts

On June 30, Old Forge will welcome more than 60 venders from across five states for the annual Forge Festival of Arts and Crafts. The festival will be held on June 30th to July 1st at the North Street Recreation Center. Hours are Saturday, 9am – 5pm, and Sunday, 10am – 4pm.

While the festival is always offering new attractions, one vender will offer a familiar face: Dean White. White, a ceramic artist, has been participating in the craft festival since its inception, only missing the event once or twice during the last 40 years. He began his career after attending art school at Munson Williams School of Art and, soon after, established his retail shop, White's Pottery and Gifts, in Deansboro, N.Y. All of White's pottery is designed to be functional as well as beautiful. He will be bringing a wide variety of ceramics for sale to the festival as well a wheel for demonstrations. White has been demonstrating at the festival for the past few years. "I like to share with people what I do and how it’s done," he said.

All of his pieces are hand-thrown on a pottery wheel, one piece at a time. White creates his own glazes, each formulated so that they are all food-safe and contain no lead. All of his pottery is ovenproof, as well as dishwasher- and microwave-safe. White, a long time summer resident of the area, has a group of loyal supporters who purchase his work at the festival every year, looking to add to their collections.

"My parents used to have a camp on First Lake, so I was aware of the arts center when I originally got involved," said White. He is a firm supporter of View.  "This craft fair represents the art center. It's important to support the local arts and to let the public know this craft festival exists," he said.

White emphasizes the benefit of a juried craft fair, like this one. "When I started in the 70's and 80's you could depend on the artist to make 100% of the items." Now, says White, many vendors often buy foreign products and re-sell them at festivals. "Thankfully, this fair is juried so that doesn't happen," he said. “The public really does appreciate it when they come to an arts and craft festival and there is real quality."

All 60 venders at the Forge Festival are selected to ensure high quality merchandise and a wide variety of products. Venders will be offering everything from woodworking and paintings to quilts and candles. Maple syrup, jam, popcorn and old fashion fudge will also be some of the delicious treats available at this year's Forge Festival of Arts and Crafts. Enjoy music, concessions provided by Walt’s Dinner, and cold beer and wine. A  Chinese raffle will feature unique items donated from select festival vendors. Tickets will be sold for $1 each or 10 for $5.

Families are encouraged to join in on the fun! Children 12 and under are free, and there will be interactive activities including face painting and pillow case tie dying. There is a $5 admission at the door for adults, good for both days. There is also free parking.  The craft Fair supports View, the arts center in Old Forge.

Visit for a coupon for $1 off admission and a list of participating vendors. For more information, please call View at (315) 369-6411. For further information about Dean White, visit his website at .

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

View readies for Bryden installation

View is undergoing a transformation as its parking lot island is re-designed in preparation for a permanent outdoor sculpture installation by artist Lewis Bryden.

The sculpture, titled “Nature as Muse,” is a life-size, cast bronze figure of a girl with her hand reaching up to a bird. The statue will reside next to a small reflecting pool surrounded by lawn. The island will also have shade trees and evergreens, benches, boulders, and a walkway.

“Nature is the inspiration for art, and the sculpture personifies this with the young girl making contact with a wild bird,” says Bryden. “More than most sculptures, this work is about nature, and so it seemed important to surround it with a natural setting.“

The entire installation is a gift to View from Lewis and Betsy Bryden, to commemorate the lives of Betsy’s grandparents, Elizabeth Elliot and Edward Mallinckrodt, Jr., who were longtime summer residents of Old Forge and avid art collectors. Betsy’s grandmother introduced her to Miriam Kashiwa, founder of the arts center that is now called View, more than 50 years ago.

“Our hope is that people will feel inspired by the statue and the setting, and that they will reflect on art and nature,” say Betsy and Lewis. “We envision children playing around the shallow pool while parents pass time on the nearby benches.”

The process of casting bronze is thousands of years old, says Bryden, who has been a professional artist for 30 years, most of them as a painter. “I chose the lost wax method, in which the finished clay sculpture is remolded in wax, coated with ceramic material, and then poured with molten bronze. Everywhere the wax was, the bronze now takes its place,” he said.

As part of the process, Bryden created a maquette, or small scale model of the sculpture. “It helps the artist and others to visualize the sculpture and to identify problems early,” he said. He also did a portrait study as an exercise to explore the character of the young girl.

The maquette and portrait study for “Nature as Muse” are currently on display at View. The portrait has been donated to View’s permanent collection, and the maquette will be raffled to raise money for View.  

The sculpture installation will be completed by early July. A dedication will take place at View’s annual gala on July 6 and then will be open to the public starting Saturday, July 7.

-- Leslie Bailey, View Staff