Marcia Merrins participating in Chautauqua-Lake Erie Art Trail

North Shore Arts Alliance is a not-for-profit cooperative marketing, promotional, and membership organization working on behalf of artists in Chautauqua County. The organization seeks to foster an environment where art strengthens our County’s image, economic vitality, and quality of life.

To that end, the North Shore Arts Alliance offers juried membership to local artists as well as membership opportunities for individuals and businesses who want to support our efforts to promote and integrate the arts into everyday life in the community.

Its signature event is the Chautauqua-Lake Erie Art Trail, a free open-studio tour in northern Chautauqua County. The Open Studio Tour is May 27 and 28. To see the specific stops, visit The art trail incorporates 22 professional artists whose work represents a variety of media: painting, photography, sculpture, pottery, jewelry, fiber arts, wood, and mixed media.

One of the artists participating is Marcia Merrins, President of North Shore Arts Alliance (NSAA) and owner of Kniti Griti Works:

When discussing her works, she stated, “Kniti Griti Works reflects my imagination. Since I began working in clay, my goal has been to make unique forms that bring as much joy and merriment to its owner as it does when I am creating them.

“‘Footed Bowls’ are created from stoneware clay slabs and hand built. They are thematically based on interpretations of popular footwear designs or well known characters. If there is an idea that intrigues me, I plow through the kinks until it meets my satisfaction. This is the impetus for these whimsical bowls as they become beloved personalities. They express attitude without a face. They can be functional, holding practical things, yet quirky. They are created with love and care with glaze applied with careful detail.

“For me, raku firing is one of the most exciting processes in ceramics. I am attracted to the random action of fire on clay, or what has been termed “the gift of the flame.”

“After I place a sculpted piece into my small kiln outdoors, I anticipate the final moments when the glazes are glossy. I remove it, feeling the heat and hearing the pings of the rapid cooling. I toss it into the dried leaves. Smoke and flame erupt as I close the lid. The surprises are the pleasant or sometimes unpleasant results discovered once the fire has cooled. Occasionally one doesn’t survive this process. After the fire has cooled, I clean off the ravages of fire and smile.

Merrins art schedule is as follows:

May 27- 28 — Chautauqua Lake Erie Art Trail – Juried

June 2-4 — 100 American Craftsmen, Kenan Ctr. Lockport – Juried

July 2 — Art in the Park, Chautauqua Institution

July 6-8 — Craft Alliance, Chautauqua Institution – Juried

July 29-30 — Wildwood Festival Panama Rocks – Juried

August 6 — Art in the Park, Chautauqua Institution

August 11-13 — Craft Alliance, Chautauqua Institution – Juried

September 9-10 — Clothesline Festival, Rochester–Juried