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Handcrafted Beauty

Local Artisans Present Their Designs



Kari Lonning, Rainbow Carrots basket

In the open doorway of Fairfield’s Hotspot Glass Studio stand large fans, providing small relief from the heat of refractory furnaces burning constantly at over 2,000 degrees. Inside the studio, owners Dylan Cotton and Chris DeMott are leading a private lesson in glass blowing to a rapt audience. “It’s a small world,” says DeMott, on the scarcity of glass blowers in the area. “There aren’t many of us, but it’s a tight community.” 

Along with Cotton and DeMott, Fairfield and neighboring Bridgeport are home to an elite group of local craftspeople. This small but vital group of artisans is enjoying a renewed interest in their respective arts—weaving, metalwork, woodwork, quilting, glassblowing, and more. They are also reaping the benefits of a new era of consumers, decorators, and collectors with discerning tastes who seek out hand-made items of a high quality, with aesthetic—as well as utilitarian—value.

To celebrate this trend and showcase unique creations from local talent, “Handcrafted: Artisans Past & Present,” opens October 25, 2015 at the Fairfield Museum and History Center. Techniques and materials of the past inspire many artists, according to Museum’s Interim Exhibition Curator Tanya Pohrt.

“These artisans employ aesthetics that draw on a wide range of influences, blurring traditional boundaries separating craft from fine art,” she explains. “In displaying contemporary craft alongside historic decorative arts objects, the issue of use also comes into play. Whereas 18th and 19th century tables, quilts, and ceramics tell fascinating stories about their owners and how these objects functioned over time, newly made pieces elicit questions about how they will be used and what meaning will they acquire.”

But Fairfielders Michael Michaud, a jewelry designer, and woodworker Edward Pirnik-Mauriz say their work is influenced primarily by natural elements. Pirnik-Mauriz was inspired to make humidors (pictured left)—decorative cigar cases that maintain a constant humidity in order to keep tobacco fresh—when he happened upon Spanish cedar while visiting family in Cuba. The wood’s durability and resistance to warping make it an ideal choice but it also has an added benefit.

“Spanish cedar has a really nice aroma, and it imparts that aroma to the cigars it stores,” explains Pirnik-Mauriz. “The sweet-smoky fragrance of the wood makes for better tasting cigars, and provides a pleasurable sensory experience for smokers.”

Michaud’s inspiration also comes from nature. The internationally renowned jeweler, whose work has been shown at the Victoria & Albert Museum, the National Gallery of Art, and the Chateau de Versailles, incorporates botanical elements into his designs. By doing so, Michaud captures a plant’s natural beauty and then transforms it into earrings, bracelets, and other jewelry using eucalyptus leaves, blueberries, and lilies. (Pictured right: Irish Thorn Pin.)

Marnie Smith, a Fairfield native, creates 17th century textiles for Plimoth Plantation in Plymouth, Massachusetts and is a recent graduate of the Artisanry program at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, where she studied textile design and fiber arts. 

Two representatives of neighboring Bridgeport, quilter Denyse Schmidt and textile designer, weaver, and visual artist Ruben Marroquin, took meandering roads through the fine arts before settling into their current pursuits. Schmidt, a RISD grad, dabbled in graphic design and theater before discovering a passion for quilting. She has made a name for herself with a series of quilts—some couture, some improvisational—with whimsical titles like Drunk Love in a Log Cabin and What a Bunch of Squares. Schmidt’s work is capturing the public’s attention and has been featured extensively in publications like The New York Times Magazine and People Magazine.

Marroquin’s roots are in painting, which he studied while at college in Venezuela, before trading in his oils and acrylics for a bag of rags. 

In our consumerist culture dominated by superstores and online outlets, is there a place for handcrafted arts? Absolutely says Schmidt. “The decorative arts are an antidote to our fast-paced, instant information lifestyles. They serve as a balm to our technological world.”


Pictured below: Patricia Burling, Concerto

Pictured below: Thomas Throop, Series Chair

Amos Denison Allen (1774-1855), Tablet Arm Windsor Chair, FMHC

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January 2018

In this exhibition of vintage postcards, holiday literature and caroling music, dating from 1848-1996, you can experience the magical and memorable role holidays play in the lives of all readers,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Pequot Library
720 Pequot Avenue
Southport, CT  06890
View map »


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346 ext.115
Contact Name: Front Desk
Website »

More information

Bruce Museum, Greenwich, Connecticut December 2, 2017 – March 4, 2018 The early 1960s marked a significant turning point in American printmaking: the rise of communal studios provided...

Cost: $10 adult, $8 senior/student, under 5 and member free

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

In this exhibition of vintage postcards, holiday literature and caroling music, dating from 1848-1996, you can experience the magical and memorable role holidays play in the lives of all readers,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Pequot Library
720 Pequot Avenue
Southport, CT  06890
View map »


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346 ext.115
Contact Name: Front Desk
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

In this exhibition of vintage postcards, holiday literature and caroling music, dating from 1848-1996, you can experience the magical and memorable role holidays play in the lives of all readers,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Pequot Library
720 Pequot Avenue
Southport, CT  06890
View map »


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346 ext.115
Contact Name: Front Desk
Website »

More information

Bruce Museum, Greenwich, Connecticut December 2, 2017 – March 4, 2018 The early 1960s marked a significant turning point in American printmaking: the rise of communal studios provided...

Cost: $10 adult, $8 senior/student, under 5 and member free

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

In this exhibition of vintage postcards, holiday literature and caroling music, dating from 1848-1996, you can experience the magical and memorable role holidays play in the lives of all readers,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Pequot Library
720 Pequot Avenue
Southport, CT  06890
View map »


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346 ext.115
Contact Name: Front Desk
Website »

More information

Join Bob and Deb Rice, Essential Oil Educators, at Children's Therapy and Learning Center in Fairfield, as they provide information on replacing toxins in your home with healthy...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Children's Therapy and Learning Center
2228 Black Rock Turnpike, Suite 201
Fairfield, CT  06825
View map »


Sponsor: Children'sTherapy and Learning Center
Telephone: 203-908-4433
Contact Name: Maybette
Website »

More information

The band behind the hits 'The Freshmen', 'Photograph', and 'Colorful' are still making music after twenty-four years. From hitting the charts in 1997 with Best Alternative...

Cost: Price:$32 Members Save:$3 /tckt

Where:
Fairfield Theatre Company StageOne
70 Sanford Street
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Website »

More information

Bruce Museum, Greenwich, Connecticut December 2, 2017 – March 4, 2018 The early 1960s marked a significant turning point in American printmaking: the rise of communal studios provided...

Cost: $10 adult, $8 senior/student, under 5 and member free

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

In this exhibition of vintage postcards, holiday literature and caroling music, dating from 1848-1996, you can experience the magical and memorable role holidays play in the lives of all readers,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Pequot Library
720 Pequot Avenue
Southport, CT  06890
View map »


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346 ext.115
Contact Name: Front Desk
Website »

More information

Life can be hard. How we treat ourselves either leads us to be resilient, happy and have healthy relationships or leads us to be filled with worry, ‘should haves’ and a ‘what...

Cost: Free

Where:
Fairfield Library
1080 Old Post Road
Fairfield, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Bruce Museum, Greenwich, Connecticut December 2, 2017 – March 4, 2018 The early 1960s marked a significant turning point in American printmaking: the rise of communal studios provided...

Cost: $10 adult, $8 senior/student, under 5 and member free

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

In this exhibition of vintage postcards, holiday literature and caroling music, dating from 1848-1996, you can experience the magical and memorable role holidays play in the lives of all readers,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Pequot Library
720 Pequot Avenue
Southport, CT  06890
View map »


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346 ext.115
Contact Name: Front Desk
Website »

More information

FEATURING: Jim Weider (The Band), G.E. Smith (SNL Musical Director / Bob Dylan / Hall & Oates), Snowy White (Pink Floyd / Thin Lizzy) With three of the most prolific rock...

Cost: Price:$48 Members Save:$5 /tckt

Where:
Fairfield Theatre Company StageOne
70 Sanford Street
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Website »

More information

The highly anticipated release from the Bermuda native showcases his vocal range and signature melodies over a wide array of island rhythms, serving as the follow-up to his 2007 critically...

Cost: Price:$25 / $30 Day Of - Limited Seating First Come First Serve No Member Disco

Where:
The Warehouse at Fairfield Theatre Company
70 Sanford Street
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Website »

More information

Bruce Museum, Greenwich, Connecticut December 2, 2017 – March 4, 2018 The early 1960s marked a significant turning point in American printmaking: the rise of communal studios provided...

Cost: $10 adult, $8 senior/student, under 5 and member free

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

In this exhibition of vintage postcards, holiday literature and caroling music, dating from 1848-1996, you can experience the magical and memorable role holidays play in the lives of all readers,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Pequot Library
720 Pequot Avenue
Southport, CT  06890
View map »


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346 ext.115
Contact Name: Front Desk
Website »

More information

Westchester Community is in need of more than 40 foster homes to provide the county’s most vulnerable children with housing in a safe and stable environment. For more information and to...

Cost: Free

Where:
United Way of Westchester and Putnam
336 Central Avenue
White Plains, NY  10530
View map »


Sponsor: United Way of Westchester and Putnam
Telephone: (914) 997-6700
Contact Name: Toyae Liverpool
Website »

More information

Saturday, Jan. 20 Mini Golf in the Stacks at Wilton Library, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Wilton Library will hold its first mini golf fundraising event, presented by Bankwell. There will be 18 hole of...

Cost: $5 per player

Where:
Wilton Library
137 Old Ridgefield Road
Wilton, CT  06897
View map »


Sponsor: Bankwell
Telephone: 203-762-3950
Website »

More information

The opening reception is on January 20 from 4-6pm at the Carriage Barn Arts Center. This is a juried exhibition of student, amateur and professional photographers. The exhibition will be on view...

Cost: Free

Where:
Carriage Barn Arts Center
681 South Ave.
Waveny Park
New Canaan , CT  06840
View map »


Website »

More information

We kick off the new FTC Comedy Presents series with the energetic, loud, never understated and always funny, Nathan Macintosh. The Canadian has performed at major comedy festivals, been on late...

Cost: Price:$29 No Member Discount

Where:
Fairfield Theatre Company StageOne
70 Sanford Street
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Website »

More information

The Westport Arts Center continues its tradition of bringing the best of international talent to Fairfield County with a special concert by the acclaimed Juilliard String Quartet on Saturday,...

Cost: Advance: $40 Members/$50 Non-Members; $60 At Door

Where:
Westport Arts Center
51 Riverside Avenue
Westport, CT  06880
View map »


Sponsor: Joyce Pauker
Telephone: 203-222-7070
Website »

More information

Bruce Museum, Greenwich, Connecticut December 2, 2017 – March 4, 2018 The early 1960s marked a significant turning point in American printmaking: the rise of communal studios provided...

Cost: $10 adult, $8 senior/student, under 5 and member free

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
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