Berryville groups offer CSA for gifts

Posted: November 29, 2012

The Winchester Star

Diane Artz Furlong of Strasburg shows tiles from impressions of her paintings. She is participating in the CSA at the Fire House Gallery in Berryville. (Photo by Ginger Perry/The Winchester Star)
This is one of the baskets of art for sale as part of the CSA project at the Fire House Gallery in Berryville.

Berryville — Art is once again taking an important lesson from agriculture in Berryville.

Berryville Main Street and its Fire House Gallery and Shop are following up on the success of last year’s CSA — Community Supported Art — program to showcase a variety of local artwork, said Kate Petranech, gallery co-director.

The CSA program, which is designed to showcase and promote art in the region, is modeled on the Community Support Agriculture movement, which encourages consumers to buy seasonal foods directly from local farms.

But instead of produce or meat, people who buy one of the 25 shares of art will receive a basket full of the works of six artists — three feature and three bonus items, she said.

“The community supported art introduces the community to local artists,” Petranech said. “It demonstrates that art has a place in our everyday lives.”

The shares, at $65 each, are for sale on a first-come, first-served basis at the gallery, 23 E. Main St. The baskets will be available to pick up at a reception for the program from 6 to 8 p.m. Dec. 7 at the gallery.

The feature items shareholders will receive include a hand-built pottery bowl from Lori Linthicum; a ready-to-hang ceramic tile featuring original artwork by pastel artist Diane Artz Furlong, and an abstract glass and metal window ornament from stained glass artist Trish Alizad.

Also included in the basket are an original design pair of earrings by Samantha Gauldin; a signed and mounted photograph of Berryville’s gazebo by Jo Russell, and a whimsical fiber art ornament from Norma Colman.

The program was funded from part of a $5,000 matching grant the town of Berryville received in August from the Virginia Commission for the Arts, Petranech said. The grant is meant to support using the arts to foster economic development in the town.

A committee chose three main artists to receive $500 to produce 25 items to be placed in the baskets, she said. The other three artists received lesser amounts to help offset their costs.

The stained glass window ornaments made by Alizad of Berryville are a combination of tinned copper wire, zinc and glass.

Alizad said she has worked with stained glass for 15 years and loves the growth she has experienced as she tried new techniques or materials. “It is just an evolving art.”

Being chosen as one of the CSA participants was a surprise and thrill for her. When artists get together, there is a great potential for new ideas and concepts. Plus, the acknowledgement that “somebody else likes what you do” is always appreciated, she said.

Furlong, 62, of Strasburg had a similar reaction when she learned her tiles would be one of the featured items. She has been doing the tiles about three years as an offshoot of her big passion, pastel painting.

The original paintings Furlong creates are pastel landscapes of the Shenandoah Valley, especially the region around her home. About three years ago, she was introduced to a procedure that could take an image (in her case photos of her paintings) and impress them into the tiles.

“It actually becomes part of the tiles. It is not glued on,” she said.

The 4-inch-square tiles are a way people can have a piece of Furlong’s art, even if they can’t afford an original painting, she said.

For her submission, Linthicum, 52, of Myersville, Md. made seasonal hand-built pottery plates. Her plates are seasonal, botanical, and “verge on sculptural.”

All 25 plates represent one of the seasons, she said. Fall is represented with items such as leaves and acorns; summer has grapes; spring has dogwood, and winter has holly. The plates combine Linthicum’s love of pottery with her other passion — gardening.

“I am creating flowers out of the mud as opposed to growing them out of the mud,” she said with a laugh.

It is fun watching artwork go from a 2-D concept in your head or on paper to a 3-D creation, said Gauldin, 24, of Middletown. Having her earrings as one of the bonus items in the CSA was her first breakthrough with making metal work jewelry since she started in 2011.

The earrings are a combination of either brass, nickel and copper she makes mainly using an acetylene torch and drill press.

“I think it really brings out my creativity,” she said. “You can make really unique things.”

The benefit the artists get out of the CSA is obvious — recognition and exposure, Linthicum said. But the CSA program also is wonderful for people buying the baskets because “they get exposed to art they are not aware of.”

Since the value of the basket far exceeds what people would pay for the items individually, many buyers see it as an opportunity to knock out some Christmas shopping, Petranech said. Several have said they bought a share so they could give the different artwork as individual gifts.

“It becomes an economical way to give handmade items to friends and family,” she said.

Information

CSA Holiday Baskets are on sale for $65 at the Fire House Gallery, 23 E. Main St., Berryville. For more information, call 540-955-4001 or go to firehousegalleryandshop.com.

— Contact Laura McFarland at lmcfarland@winchesterstar.com