Open Studio Event in Cohoes This Weekend

Open Art StudioChoose Cohoes for Arts: Open Studios 2011

This weekend (Friday August 5 and Saturday August 6), Choose Cohoes is hosting an Open Studio event that spotlights all forms of visual art. The event starts with an opening reception Friday evening from 4 to 10pm at the old Woolworth’s building at 109 Remsen Street. One piece of work from each of the approximately 35 artists participating in the event will be displayed at 109 Remsen for the Opening Reception. All artists either live, work, take classes in, or were born in Cohoes. This event is Cohoes’ attempt to show Remsen Street and Cohoes in general is a thriving arts community. Considering the diversity and range of artists who will be on display, it seems they can make a good case for it!


From 10am to 4pm on Saturday, the Woolworth’s will be open as the central location for the event, with information and art on display, but artists’ studios throughout Cohoes will also be open for the public to visit. Additionally, work will be on display at 130 Remsen , Ragged Edge Print Studio at 137 Remsen (whose co-owner Kathy Klompas is one of the artists and Cohoes business women organizing the event), and BeauKnits* at 182 Remsen St. All mediums of art, from fiber to printmaking to photography to sculpture will be on display.

Juan Ramos will be showcasing his artisan copper wire work at Ragged Edge Print Studio (137 Remsen Street) Friday August 5, 4-9.  Also be sure to check out the Cohoes Farmer’s Market with live music Friday night while you are downtown.

Yarn bombed Cohoes

*BeauKnits is doing one of my favorite things: making fiber arts in public. Last weekend they yarn bombed Cohoes (not sure what that is? Click here.). So if you are a knitter, crocheter, quilter, spinner, etc, stop by BeauKnits and join them for an Open Knitting/Fiber Arts Session Friday night. If the weather is nice, they will be outside on the street, so bring your lawn chair.


Artist Spotlight: Jessica Ross

Jessica Ross, owner and creator of Livvy Lou’s Boutique, says her business is all about family. Her boutique began as a way to bring in money while staying home with her daughters, and includes several members of her family, from her Mom who attends craft fairs with her, to her husband who helps her with her bottle cap pieces, to her little girls who model everything she makes. Jessica creates affordable hair accessories for little girls because she thinks every little girl should have something lovely to shine in. Also be sure to check out Jessica’s new line called Chic Charlotte, named for her second daughter, which has hair goodies for kids and adults.

Studio/Business Name: Livvy Lou’s Boutique

Set of TWO New York NY Mets Custom Bottle Cap Boutique Baseball Team Bows in Orange, Blue, and WhiteArtist/Owner’s Name: Jessica Ross

Where is your studio based? In my living room in Niskayuna, NY.

How long have you been creating? I have been an artistic and creative person forever, but specifically I have been creating children’s items since 2009.

Briefly describe what you make & your process.  I make hair accessories for children mainly, but am branching out into other products and accessories for adults.  I use all different fabrics, ribbon, and embellishments, including antique jewelry.  Most  pieces are sewn,  tied, and glued together to make sure they last for as long as possible.

Why do you create?  It’s fun!  I love the appreciation I get from customers when they see what I have made for them.

NEW Chic Charlotte Set of TWO Small Sophia Flowers on Bobby Pins in Hot Pink and Leopard PrintWhat inspires you?  Everything.  Right now I am particularly into fabrics and can’t get enough.  I have an idea for just about every medium I see.

What are your long-term art goals?   The ultimate goal is to be able to financially support my family comfortably with my business.  I want my girls to be able to participate in all the fun sports activities and extra curricular programs at school that they want to.  I want to be a household name.

Do you sell your work, and if so, where?

NEW Chic Charlotte Soft Pink Olivia Hair Piece in Chiffon Shabby Chic on White Elastic Headband

I have a website I also sell my wipes cases wholesale  to In stores I have wipes cases at a consignment store in Massachusettes, Bear-ly used consignments.  I have bows at the Katbird Shop in Schenectady NY, custom hair pieces at Lark Vegas Piercing/ Red Garter Gallery in Albany, NY, and am working on a custom line for La Moda Lisa vintage shop in Schenectady NY.

Advice for other beginning artists/artisans?  Do what you love!

Favorite thing about being an artist?  I love that I am able to be at home with my girls to watch them grow.  I love the satisfaction I get from working all night on something and then waking up in the morning still in love with what I made.

All photos are the property of Livvy Lou’s Boutique and its photographer(s).

Little Beau Bow Tie on Elastic in Brown and Blue Paisley All Sizes AvailableJessica also has a line of bow ties for little guys!

Summertime! A crafty summer round-up

She Sells Sea Shells - Lovely Freshwater Coin and Biwa Pearls with Sterling Silver

It’s summer, as the steamy weather this week has made evident. So I thought I would check out some local Etsy shops and see what summer themed offerings they have. I wasn’t disappointed with my findings, and I don’t think you will be either!

Take this bracelet by Albany based Jems by JB and Company called “She Sells Sea Shells.” Made of Freshwater Coin and Biwa Pearls with Sterling Silver, this piece screams summer afternoons at the beach and elegant evening parties wearing frilly sundresses and sipping lemonade. I love the different shades of white and the textures of the pearls.

Colors of Summer

One of my favorite local artists Ali Herrmann has a “Colors of Summer” original encaustic painting that uses both collage and oil painting in its creation.  I am a big fan of encaustic work (it’s in my blood, my Mom is a gifted encaustic artist). Encaustic, in simple terms, means encasing or layering artwork with beeswax. It gives it a warm yellowish or creamy color, a great smell, and an ethereal quality. This piece by Ali Herrmann is like a dream of summer, due to the wax, colors, and shapes she uses.

Summer Afternoon, Provincetown - Fine Art PrintWhat about a summery print for your walls? I love this print of a painting by David Hinchen Design called “Summer Afternoon, Provincetown.”  Nothing says a Northeast  summer like Cape Cod.

Lemon Quartz  Blossom Earrings

These sweet little silver flower and quartz earrings by Jewels by Jaime Lynn are so delicate and lovely. They would be equally nice with shorts and a tee or a dress.

This scarf or sarong by Polkadot786 makes me think of late August with its mustard yellows and rich warm tones. It would look great wrapped around one’s waist, hanging out poolside while the kids jump and splash.

Multi-Purpose Mustard Yellow Scarf, Sarong, Cover-up for Summer Fabric Accessory

There are lots of other great summery finds, so take a few minutes and browse the local shops on Etsy, or head over to Lark Street Albany, Jay Street Schenectady, or River Street Troy and pick yourself up a beautiful handmade piece to make your summer really sizzle.

(All photos are copyright of the artists who created them.)

Make your own jewelry!

Do you have a unique style? Are you hard to please or just like to wearP1000250.JPG accessories no one else is wearing? Why not make your own jewelry! (Hmm, that sounds  a little infomercial-ish.) It’s summer, so get your creative vibe on and check out the numerous jewelry class options in the Capital District. Christine O’Connor is teaching felted beads at the Arts Center this summer (a couple different dates, check their website). You can use felted beads for necklaces, bracelets, or earrings, or use them to embellish art quilts or other artsy things. (The Arts Center has other jewelry classes, too.) I love fiber and beads, so this class sounds great!

P1000313.JPGOr join Juan at Ragged Edge Print Studio this week and learn Mexican artisan copper wirework. Don’t let the name intimidate you, this class is open to everyone from beginners to experienced jewelry artists. Juan will teach all the basics to make intricate rings, bracelets, and pendants. You can start with recycled copper wire, and then move on to sterling silver. At only $35/class, it is a very affordable way to make something stunning.  There is a class tomorrow July 14, Thursday from 6:30pm-8:30pm, one on July 15, Friday 6:30pm-8:30pm, and again one on August 5, Friday 6:30-8:30pm. Call 817-3054 for registration. You can also meet Juan and see his work at the Cohoes Farmer’s Market this Friday from 4 to 6pm.

P1000277.JPG  P1000257.JPG

Artist Spotlight: Lise Winne

One wonders if there is something artist Lise Winne can’t do: to name a few, she creates pottery, paints, draws, makes her own line of greeting cards, is a musician, and used to be an art teacher and a curator. She says she is inspired by dreams and haunted by muses, and one lifetime is not enough time to make all of the creations she has flowing in her brain. Her work often has a Celtic feeling about it, and regardless of the medium, Lise Winne’s work shows skill, talent, beauty, and an ethereal grace many would envy.

Studio/Business Name: I have several businesses. Most of my art is made under my own name (my greeting cards and some of my digital art is made under Lilac/Grove Graphics). Here is a list of my businesses (registered DBAs except for my personal name): Lise Winne; Lilac/Grove Graphics (greeting cards and some digital art). Owners: Lise Winne and James Lestrange; Lilac/Goldenrod Records (CD company with some art); Saratoga Faire (music band). Owners: Lise Winne and James Lestrange, with Jeff Belding and Frank Orsini as subcontractors.

Sepia Dragonfly with Border, OSWOA, mini 4 x 6 original ink drawing

Where is your studio based? I work in many mediums, including wheel thrown pottery, so I usually work out of at least two studios. I have had pottery studios all overthe Capital District over the years. I had a pottery studio in Troy, NY for many years, overlooking the Hudson River (a wonderful view to look at day in and day out). Right now I have a pottery studio in the woods in Middle Grove, NY, but will be moving it at the end of June. My painting and drawing is done at home mostly. I tend to work on drawings and paintings in the colder, snowiest months when I don’t feel like going out of the house and wrangling with cold clay (or chapped hands!).

How long have you been creating? I have been creating since I was a child, but started making money at my art in 1988, the year of my graduation from Skidmore College. I graduated from Skidmore with a B.S. in Studio Art and then got my Master’s Degree in Art Education from College of Saint Rose.

Briefly describe what you make & your process. I make so many kinds of art that it won’t be easy to describe my process. Painting, drawing, digital art, wheel thrown pottery, sculpture, costume-making, stained glass art and graphic design are my main mediums at the present. When you are trained as an art teacher you have to know how to work in a lot of meduims to be able to teach these mediums to students. I always made what I expected my students to make and I tried to make everything well. Wheel thrown pottery-making is the most challanging medium and you have to learn from a master potter to be able to do it well. The master that I learned from was Regis Brodie with some instruction from other potters over the years. Regis always taught that it is very important to get drawing, sculpting and painting expertise as this is what adds to making great museum-worthy pottery. Pottery is not just about throwing a pot and trimming it on the wheel. There is an art to decoration, making glazes, making various clay bodies and making underglazes. There is also an art to firing and cooling a kiln. It is a very deep subject that incorporates many mediums into one medium.

Why do you create? I have to. There are always more ideas brewing in my head than I can ever create in a life time and these inspirations keep bothering me. I am literally haunted by muses.

What inspires you? Dreams, mainly. I have so many dreams where I am making something I have never made before. When I awake, I often head into the studio and make it. As much as I would like to make everytthing that pops into my head, I have to say “no” to a lot of it. I am trying (sometimes more or less successfully) to keep to the same kinds of genres that are in my music: Celtic inspired, Renaissance inspired, relationship-inspired, “Pull Me to the Sky” inspired (based on my own song lyrics — a series in art and pottery about birds and trees). There is also a little girl named Kiersten (now a bigger girl) who is a budding violinist. Like many children, she goes through phases of liking certain kinds of subject matter in her art and I follow along. My father has been a muse for my art too and accounts for my making a series of owl greeting card designs.

What are your long-term art goals? Finishing the many greeting card designs I have started but never finished because I got side-tracked by another more pressing inspiration, finishing up the clothing designs, pen and ink illustrations and watercolor paintings I started because I got sidetracked by greeting cards, and then there is also firing pots that have been sitting around for a decade because I got sidetracked by the two former activities. Sheesh! But aside from finishing projects, I’d also like to make and publish books, design some board games, do a series based on master artworks in a variety of mediums, get into more prestigious galleries and finish up CDs that have been waiting in the wings for a decade or more. Can I do it all and not run out of time (or steam)?

Do you sell your work, and if so, where? I sell my work in juried shows, invitational solo and group exhibits, holiday art shows, at gigs and gift shops. I also used to be a curator at Fulton Street Gallery in Troy, NY (where I was very active in showing during the years I was a curator there). Presently I have work at Lower Adirondack Regional Art Council (in the members’ show as well as in the gift shop); Celtic Treasures in Sartatoga Springs, NY; Valley Artisans Market in Cambridge, NY; Brookside Museum in Ballston Spa, NY; Shaker Heritage Society in Albany, NY; and many other shops in the capital District (listed on my website). I also have a minimal on-line shop on ( and a more extensive shop on ( Currently these on-line shops only have greeting cards and small paintings, but I will be adding folk art pieces and small pottery to my Artfire shop soon.

Raven in Autumn, archival giclee print, 8.5 x 11, limited editionAdvice for other beginning artists/artisans? 
First, if you take the path of artist (or musician) you will be out of the mainstream and people who are in the mainstream will not be able to understand you and you won’t be able to understand them. However, my opinion is that it is important not to get too out of touch with the mainstream, at least in some part of your art-making (I learned this by being a musician and looking at the immediate reactions of an audience – where doing a few pieces that are recognizable, will win people over to your more wild, creative work).
Second, since the economy does not favor studio artists, you may have to do some other kinds of things in the field to ensure that you are making enough to live on, while not going too far astray: like teaching art in schools, camps and art centers; working for a well known artist; working for a gallery; working as a tour guide in a museum; working as a curator; working as a set designer, costume maker or doing the theatrical lighting for an acting troupe, theatre or opera; working in the field of art conservation; writing about art or art shows for periodicals or newspapers; taking on commissions; producing posters and CD covers for bands; producing websites; making plug-in graphics for website applications; photographing weddings and family portraits. Or if you are a studio hermit, you may find that you have to make the so-called “bread and butter items” like Christmas ornaments, mugs, $20 earrings; handmade paper; wedding invitations; small stained glass window hangings; painted birdhouses; greeting cards; candles; soap dishes; pot holders; small toys; painted and printed teeshirts; soap. I worked in many of the former professions and made all of the latter items (except soap).Exotic Bird III in emerald green and orange, archival print, 5 x 7Third, get your own website. A website is taken more seriously by the better brick and mortar businesses. Get good relationships going with shops (or galleries) in your area and then spread out from there. If you sell through an on-line venue such as Etsy or Artfire, it is always best to have your own website in case the selling venue gets a bad reputation, gets too expensive or if you want to transfer items to another selling site or you are cutting down on listings. A website works best to direct traffic to your other selling venues, on-line and off, and also displaying all of your work, even pieces that have sold or that just don’t fit in with the venue you are in.

(Lise has some personal opinions and thoughts about selling online, too:  They each have their pluses and minuses. E-Bay has the most traffic and the highest fees. On E-Bay you are also competing with a lot of manufactured goods and you can get buried because of that. Etsy’s fees are a bit lower over-all and so is the traffic. You won’t have to compete as much with manufactured items. Etsy relies on internal traffic and a search that puts renewed and relisted items first, which means that in order to sell effectively on the site, you may have to be at the computer all day or at least several times a day. Artfire works like a website in that it has a monthly fee, but it has excellent (i.e. top) google rankings for each of your items. It has less internal traffic than Etsy, but higher traffic from outside sources. At the moment, my preference is Artfire because of its google rankings, for its ease of listing, for the fact that listings don’t time-out (the way they do on Etsy, for instance), for buyers who don’t want to sign up on a site in order to purchase and for the fact that I don’t have to be tethered to a computer as often. I get more of my art done and I can tend to my brick and mortar stores and art shows more effectively too. The Artfire forums are also much more positive than I have found at other selling venues, attesting to the fact that it is a happy place for sellers. Some items sell better on these selling sites than others. For instance, jewelry, fine art and most paper goods are too saturated to count on for consistent sales. If you are willing to take a lot of time to get a following, then it may be worth it. There are other categories which aren’t too saturated like woodworking, handmade furnature, children’s toys, custom wedding invites, custom party goods and handmade plantable paper: if you are in fields like these, on-line selling can be a great asset to your business.)

Favorite thing about being an artist? Inspirations, visions and ideas that seem to come out of nowhere, but which make for a fulfilled life when implemented effectively.

All images are copyright Lise Winne.

Artist Spotlight: Bonnie Lee

Recycled 1930's  Steampunk Key NecklaceMeet Bonnie Lee. Bonnie is a painter, wire sculptor, and jewelry maker. She thrives as a jewelry artist because the medium allows her to express herself like no other medium does. Her work combines found pieces with wire and gem stones, resulting in pieces that will be family heirlooms. This is completely appropriate since her jewelry business, The FamiLee Jewels, is a true family affair involving three generations of Lees. 

Pressed penny Copper bangle bracelet: Fruit Bat

Studio/Business Name: The FamiLee Jewels

Artist/Owner’s Name: Bonnie Lee
Where is your studio based? Malta, New York

How long have you been creating? I have always been a creative sort. Cooking, crocheting, knitting, scrapbooking, and decorative painting are among the things that I enjoy doing. In 2006 I took a jewelry class at our local community center and fell in love with beads. I took 2 more classes, devoured every book, DVD, and magazine that I could find and couldn’t stop making jewelry. I was possessed. Using this art form, for the first time, I am able to express my own ideas rather than follow someone elses directions.

Briefly describe what you make & your process. I create jewelry using recycled objects, fossils, agate slices, antique cabinet hardware, and broken vintage jewelry. Tarnish, rust and blemishes are all welcome in my studio. We call that dirt and grime patina in this household! I combine these found objects with brass, copper or sterling silver wire and findings using only cold connections such as wire wrapping, riveting, staples and prongs.

Why do you create? It is impossible for me not to create. My brain is wired that way. Whether at work, in the garden, or in the studio I am always looking for a way to make something better.

What inspires you? Finding a great piece of salvage, an unusual button or a lonely earring. I scour garage sales, salvage yards, flea markets and antique stores looking for tiny raw materials. My latest line of jewelry is made from pressed pennies. We were visiting the Intrepid Museum in NYC and making the pennies as souvenirs when it struck me how perfect they were for jewelry. I have turned them into rings, bracelets and necklaces. One of my pressed penny bracelet designs is featured in the June/July issue of Step by Step Wire Jewelry. It showcases pennies from Cooperstown.

What are your long-term art goals? I want to continue grow in my craft. Developing my own unique style has been one of the greatest pleasures of my life.

Do you sell your work, and if so, where? I sell my work on etsy  I also sell at local art and craft shows including the new Sunday Malta Market. There is a schedule of our appearances on our website at

Advice for other beginning artists/artisans? Keep doing what makes you happy. Working at your craft will improve your skills and you will develop your own style. If you plan to turn your art into a business be prepared to work hard at it.

Favorite thing about being an artist? Losing myself in the process.

Call For Art

Calling all Cohoes Artists

If you live, work or attend high school in Cohoes, the Choose Cohoes Arts committee invites you to participate in the first annual  Cohoes Open Studios event on August 5th and 6th, 2011. This is hoped to become a regular series spotlighting artists living and/or working in Cohoes.

Whether you are a full time, part time or just dabbling artist, Choose Cohoes wants to give you an opportunity to share your work with the public. All mediums and genres of art are acceptable for entry: Photography, graphic art, fiber art, performance art, painting, drawing, sculpture, carving, etc. are all welcome. This is a non-juried show.  You can show your work in your own Cohoes space or in satellite studio spaces that will be set up around the city.

Entry deadline: July 15th 5pm

You must submit a finished sample of your work to be displayed at the opening reception August 5th by July 30th.

Please visit August events calendar for a registration form or click the “entry” link above. Contact Fred Neudoerffer at for more info or to email your entry form. To mail entry forms, send them to Choose Cohoes Arts Committee c/o CLDC, 97 Mohawk Street, Cohoes NY 12047.