An open canvas: Creativity to be focus of countywide Art Trail event

Editor’s note: This is the first of four articles highlighting the Chautauqua Lake Erie Art Trail Hub Crawl, which takes place in late May.

As artists, we do work that is personal. The annual Chautauqua Lake Erie Art Trail Open Studio and Gallery Tour is an opportunity to visit places where we live and create during the Memorial Day weekend of May 27 and 28. We find inspiration in one of the most beautiful, picturesque regions of New York State. As you travel to visit us, see what we see every day — verdant vineyards and fields, lush forests, rolling hills, and spectacular shorelines along Lake Erie and Chautauqua Lake.

Using your cell phone camera, take a picture of this QR code to find our website with an Interactive map and artists.

This code will help to plot a course around the county for the Hub Crawl.

There are 24 artists on North Shore Arts Alliance’s Art Trail Hub Crawl.

Art Trail QR code

Today, we will feature six artists. Look for us in next weekend’s edition.

¯ Sherry Nugent (Wayfaring Potter Hub in Fredonia) — I am the creator at Wildfire Pottery. By trade, I am a restaurateur and chef, so I naturally gravitate towards kitchenware. I have a collection of spices, procured from my travels, which inspire me to create dishes that deserve a beautiful vessel for serving. Much like food, clay is a medium that I can create anything my imagination desires.

I love the idea that my hands create a vessel that comes from soil, just like the spices and food I plant and prepare. Therefore, the pot provides a place to honor the gifts of Earth’s bounty. It comes full circle and brings me great joy.

Much of my work is shaped by nature. I may use stones or wood for shaping. I might memorialize a found object brought back from a trip. If you look closely, you will often find something of personal significance-an imprint, a fingerprint, a shell.

Most of my work is wood-fired. I fire at Scott Creek Fire Place in Sheridan, New York with an incredible group of potters from around Chautauqua. We have an anagama, a soda kiln, and a fast-fire kiln that we fondly call, “The Rocket”. I prefer to wood-fire because this keeps me rooted in nature. I love the way the fire licks the clay and makes its own mark. From the beginning to the end, it is always about the natural aspect. It keeps me grounded and focused.

Work by Sherry Nugent.

¯ Tim Sivertsen (Portage Hill Gallery Hub in Westfield) — I’ve been working on several different tangents of late. There is a developing series of monochromatic pastel/charcoal landscapes on paper.

There is also an ongoing series of fanciful figures in motion (pastel and acrylic). I’ve also pulled up a number of older, unfinished (unresolved) pieces out of my past and am attempting to rework them. It’s very interesting to pick up a piece put to the side years ago and revisit my thought processes at the time. I also have an ongoing series of monocromatic pastel portraits of females in the works.

¯ Jim and Pat Reno (Reno Pottery, Dewittville) — Jim and Pat Reno have been making pottery for more than 40 years at their location at 6007 Centralia-Hartfield Road, Dewittville.

They are open daily by chance or appointment, and can be reached at 716-753-7551 or preno@fairpoint.net. Their website is www.renopottery.com. Stop by to see their new, highly decorated designs, which include Woodpeckers, Dragons and Rhinos.

¯ Susan B. Barnes (Spirit Art Gallery in Lily Dale) — Dr. Susan B. Barnes originally received a degree in art from the Pratt Institute and became a professional graphic designer in New York City. She later studied at New York University and obtained her Ph.D. in the Media Ecology Department. As a communication professor, she taught at several universities, including the Rochester Institute of Technology and Fordham University. She is the author of nine books on the topics of internet relationships and visual communication. In 2019 she wrote her first mediumship book called: Unfolding Physical Mediumship. Her mediumship studies led her to become a spirit artist. Her artwork has been exhibited in New York City, Jamestown, San Antonio, Virginia, Rhode Island, Great Britain, and Switzerland. She opened the Spirit Art Gallery in Cassadaga, New York, to run classes and display spirit-inspired creative images. Currently Susan is the host of Spiritual Support with Dr. Sue, Tuesday nights on the Bold Brave Media Network, where she frequently discusses spirit art.

Tim Sivertson

¯ Kirsten Engstrom (Kirsten Engstrom Sculptures, Mayville) — Evidence of Kirsten Engstrom’s sculptural work can be seen on the grounds of Chautauqua Institution and throughout the area. Stop by her studio in Mayville to meet Kirsten and ask about her creative process. I tell my sculptures as I create them, that they are not finished until they stimulate joy, hope and community in myself and all who observe them.

¯ Peter Hamilton (LMNOP Gallery Hub in Sherman, featuring Woodworking/Repurposed materials/Kinetic sculpture/Deco-functional fixtures/Eclectic furniture/Usable handheld items) — A long time ago, I was an apprentice to a stout and sturdy German craftsman/carpenter. I learned to set and file a handsaw, the thin sheer of a chisel, to unfurl and close a wooden ruler. Many of my wood pieces have been made from found materials: discarded cherry headboards; table parts; cabinet doors. Of course, various wood species from a kiln-dried lumber company nearby. A Chautauqua Transfer Station is ¢ mile from my shop/studio and it is there I retrieve items for my work. 8-cylinder exhaust pipes become the arms of a chair. Salvaged lamp parts. For the carpentry, selection, and keen attention to the grain color of wood is utmost: the tawny swirls of Rock Maple; the purple hue in Walnut; the vanilla thread in Ash; the avocado and white of Poplar. I like including steam-bent components to the work. Much of my work reflects a mood at the time, or a particular detail that carries onto another piece, or a frivolous impulse to make mock sticks of butter, or a representative subject in sculpture. Often vintage hardware is incorporated. Brass, copper. Some themes express present-day circumstances symbolically–wood disks escape confinement. I abstain from using the word “abstract”, but viewed inversely, some works could be that. I have works with motion, they spin and turn. All are three-dimensional. The furniture is operable with inventive features: offsets; comfortable angles.

Jim and Pat Reno

Susan Barnes

Kirsten Engstrom

Peter Hamilton


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