Artists share work during annual market at Artsplace in Cheshire

Artists share work during annual market at Artsplace in Cheshire

CHESHIRE — Every piece of art has a story behind it, and local artists working in all genres had an opportunity to share their handiwork and those stories this weekend at Artsplace’s annual market.

Artsplace, located on Waterbury Road, held the second consecutive day of its annual market Sunday.  Approximately 30 artists were on hand to sell a wide array of creations, from painting and crafts to jewelry and clothing.

Artist Mally DeSomma, a Waterbury painter, was pleased with the amount of patronage the market received.

“I am really impressed with how many people have come through. It’s a fun thing,” she said.

One of 85-year-old Cheshire resident Nina White’s creations was a plein air – outdoor – painting of a picturesque farm house in Semonza, Italy. She lived near that house for a time and was drawn to committing it to canvas.

“I’m just trying to capture something that creates a little excitement in me, like a scene, something I feel I want to document, something I see. I’ll want to remember that place,” White said.

White has been painting for over 60 years, beginning with a more photographic style and evolving into more impressionistic work.

“It was always just a passion for me, even when I was young,” White said.

When the time came for her to go to college, her parents told her that they expected that if they were paying for school she would major in something that would offer immediate employment. Now, she said, she is finally doing what she wants.

Clinton resident Keelin Brett, 33, designs jewelry inspired by what she sees in nature and near her home by the sea. She essentially hand sews tiny glass beads into tiny branches that resemble coral, creating elaborately detailed pieces.

She came to art from a circuitous route: “I wanted to be a paleontologist,” said Brett, who double majored in art and political science in college.

She changed her mind after watching a jewelry designer work shortly after she graduated.

“I thought, how does he do that? I was fascinated by it,” Brett said. “I am trying to make a more natural form, something with texture and color. Jewelry is usually just all metal. It’s a little cold. I like to change the texture, making it more light and airy.”

Of all of the vendors, Alex Whatton, a 33-year-old West Hartford resident, had the widest array of original creations, a mix of quilting, pottery, and painting.

“I’m a dabbler,” she said.

She grew up around Artsplace  –  her mother Joan Pilarczyk is director of the organization. She majored in animal behavior at the University of Connecticut, but three months working in a laboratory cured her of that interest. A move to a New York City suburb prompted her to rethink her career path and through a bit of good luck a temp job led to enrollment in the Parsons School of Design.

She created Dirt Studio, named for the amount of clutter and houseplants in her studio.

For 20 hours a week, the amount of time her two young children at day care, Whatton works on her projects. Some of her more interesting pieces are quilts featuring colorful designs.

“I look at the colors of the fabric in my studio and I mix them together so that it looks less like fabric and more like a painting,” Whatton said.

While all the work might be unique and the artists’ perspective and motivations different, there is one common element to everyone’s story: “There is so much beauty where I live,” said North Branford painter Patty Meglio.


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