Brooklyn Daily Eagle
This holiday season, the American Fine Craft Show Brooklyn will, for the first time, fill the Brooklyn Museum with 90 exhibits of handmade fine crafts and art for sale from Brooklyn artisans and artists, as well as from others from around the country. The exhibition will take place in the landmark Brooklyn Museum Beaux-Arts Court from Dec. 13-14, and will feature, from Brooklyn, three jewelers, two artists and a fashion designer who join five artisans in home décor: two glassmakers, two ceramists and one who embroiders decorative pillows.
Among the exhibiting Brooklyn artists is Alicia Degener, who hails from Detroit. She finds Brooklyn to be a visual feast and subject of most of her work. Currently a Bay Ridge resident, she first “fell in love with Sunset Park, which was full of rusting industrial landscapes, empty lots, boarded up warehouses in Bush Terminal which reminded me much of Detroit. I especially loved the green, rusty arches of the Gowanus expressway and spent my free time with my sketchbook down along Hamilton Avenue.
“In addition to the Gowanus expressway I fell in love with Coney Island,” says Degener, “I brought my artwork of the Parachute Jump & The Wonder Wheel to an April fundraiser at MoMA for Save Coney Island. Stories of love and fun revolve around Coney Island and people like to have images in their homes to remind them."
Degener also finds inspiration in Brooklyn Bridge Park. “The Brooklyn Bridge is the most recognizable image associated with the borough. I make a print of it in all different colors and then draw in the buildings on the Brooklyn side. People buy my artwork to take a piece of Brooklyn with them especially when they move away."
Also among the Brooklyn-based artists are jewelers Christine Mackellar and Louise Fischer Cozzi. Mackellar’s studio is in Gowanus, and she is grateful to live and work in Brooklyn, she says, because “so many interesting and surprising things float past me to jump-start my imagination and refocus a direction. Creative people and so much going on, not necessarily jewelry-related. I might see how to assemble something in a new way by looking at the props of the dance company next door.”
Born in Brooklyn, Cozzi, the jeweler whose studio is in her brownstone, said speed is what first attracted her to working in polymer. That was in 1991. “I can think of a piece in the morning and have the result that night.” Cozzi, who used to design and sew quilts—that by comparison take far longer from conception to completion—also makes boxes and ornaments.
Master stained glass artisan Ernest Porcelli is another of the featured artists. He has maintained his artglass studio in Brooklyn since 1978, when he opened his first studio in Park Slope. “Brooklyn, known as the Borough of Churches, was the ideal place for a fledgling artisan of stained glass to launch a business,” said Porcelli.
He began by restoring his neighbor’s stained glass windows in a neighborhood that was being revitalized. “I learned to pull apart broken stained glass windows and put them back together. I can make a window look old—I’ve learned about the right glass to use in all these years.” While he receives commissions throughout the tri-state area, he has restored windows in such historic places in Brooklyn as the Montauk Club on 8th Avenue and currently, the Union Temple on Eastern Parkway.
Glassmaker Nick Leonoff will also be featured at the Brooklyn Museum craft show. Leonoff moved to New York from California just a few year ago and works in an industrial space in Bushwick. “I’m influenced by my environment and look for inspiration wherever I am,” says Leonoff. “Coming from a rural town, I was struck by the complexity of life in the city as well as the urban landscape. In my Urban Series, I wanted to capture the feeling of a modern city. I use wheel cuts to evoke impressions of architecture, movement, continuity and balance, with hints of conflict and disorder.”
Richard Rothbard, owner of American Art Marketing, founded the show with his wife Joanna. The Rothbards have directed craft shows for over 30 years and produce two annual Berkshires Arts Festivals in July, the American Fine Craft Show NYC and Contemporary Art Fair NYC in October and the Sarasota Craft Show in December. In addition, they own An American Craftsman Galleries with three Manhattan locations.
For information visit American Fine Craft Show Brooklyn, http://www.americanartmarketing.com/.
The exhibition will be on view on Saturday, Dec. 14 and Sunday, Dec. 15 from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. The Brooklyn Museum is located at 200 Eastern Parkway. For directions, visit https://www.brooklynmuseum.org/visit/directions.php
Tickets: Adults - $12.00; Seniors -$11.00; Students - $6.00; Children under 10 -Free.