The tour was amazing…
Went to the Octagon Gallery in Westfield… lovely little gallery in the basement of the Patterson Library, showing a range of regional artists’ work… fell in love with some pedestal ceramic bowls with feet, fun, brightly coloured… easily pleased, me!
Then Chautauqua Institution community, which reminded me of Portmeirion. Although its conception more organic than that place, it had a claustrophobia about it, small cottages that had been gradually built in place of tents originally for a methodist camp, now totally ecumenical, but economically exclusive now. Visiting it out of season was interesting, some of the houses open and beautiful, brightly painted with lovely fret work, wood clad exteriors, open porches. Others, being protected from the weather blowing in off the partially still frozen Chautauqua lake, are tented, reminiscent of their beginnings. Tailor-made closely fitted canvas, covering just porches, just the lake facing frontage, or in some cases the entire cottage. Thomas Edison’s cottage was entirely covered. Any construction work has to be done off-season, so it was a hive of industry. The institution itself now hosts all manner of community activity, courses, arts etc. Interesting place….
Also, holding the sign outside to its word we pulled into the drive of the Portage Hill art gallery, off season open by appointment or chance! Good to see a high quality selection of regional arts and crafts of all varieties… chatted for ages to the owner and artist Audrey Dowling… I say chatted… I whispered occasionally… my voice still rubbish, and being nursed carefully in the hope I can actually do more than whisper at the artist talk this evening!
We also visited Sharon Bartoo, a weaver… An amazing woman, showing obsession in artists and craftspeople the world over knows no bounds. We all say to each other, “are you mad?” as one artists obsession and attention to detail seems ridiculous and unreasonable, yet our own perfectly normal!