“Making” Good in NNY

Garrett McCarthy, Henderson Harbor artist

Garrett McCarthy, Henderson Harbor

Contributor: Kari Zelson Robertson

When I taught elementary art, I was inspired and astounded by the energy with which children, natural ‘makers’ or artists approached their work.

As a teacher, when a parent told me that she herself had no artistic ability (which I think is impossible, but I diverge) and wanted to encourage her child’s artistic expression, I suggested she start by making materials easy for her son to reach, allowing him find his own way. Also, importantly, to teach him to clean up and put things away!

While it has been many years since I have greeted those bright and curious faces, I sense the same feeling from committed artists of all ages everywhere I go. I think that “making” brings good things and I, for one, want more of it.

Kari Zelson Robertson

Kari Zelson Robertson

Over Columbus Day Weekend, about 50 adult artists in the tri-county region opened their studios and galleries to the public as part of the NNY Art Trail Open Studio Weekend. These people have held onto and nurtured their “creative spirit”.  They are entrepreneurs, each following his or her respective muse, who now derive some portion of their income from the work.

While each artist on the NNY Art Trail is unique, they are all ‘makers’ and perceive what being a ‘maker’ is differently.

Lisa Nortz, Silver Bench Jewelry, Croghan, considers being an artist an undeniable part of who she is. “I make because I can’t not make things. I have ideas that are aching to be fulfilled and the process makes me happy,” Mrs. Nortz said. “It makes me feel like my full self. Even when I struggle, I am happy because I am learning and discovering!”

Henderson Harbor artist, Garrett McCarthy, is known throughout the United States for his murals and paintings believes it is his natural outlet. “I do it because I can, and it is also self-discovery,” Mr. McCarthy said. “I challenge myself to see if materials can be handled for a desired outcome.” As a child he was provided art supplies starting in second grade by teachers who say he had a natural knack for ‘making’.

The art of ‘making’ is frequently inspired by materials. Nancey Bracket, My Corner Studio, Canton, creates with rocks and gems. ”I am connected to working with things from the earth and the spectacular colors that are found in nature. Inlay is so magical, you never know just what you are going to get as you grind the surfaces to meet the silver. I guess I create to feel a connection to something bigger, something deeper, and something beautiful,” Ms. Bracket said.

Kathy Sturr, The Violet Fern, Clayton, is a painter and Master Gardener. Her content and motivation in both venues is directed towards the same idea. “We are running out of space and killing habitat all around the world. We have to realize that nature is all around us. It’s the moth that comes to your porch light, the frog that will live in a healthy environment. I want to create artwork about the importance of nature,” Mrs. Sturr said.

“Art has always been about therapy,” said Greg Lago, Clayton, a printer and sculptor and owner of Winged Bull Studio. “The way that I deal with tragedy is to make things. My grandma said that when something in the world goes wrong, you have to go out there and do something right, make it right, put something good in the world.”

When I look around at The Makers in NNY, I see people who are putting “good” into the world. They astound and inspire. To learn more about the artists featured here along with many others, see www.NNYArtTrail.com.