Artoberfest at Western Avenue Studios and Lofts

Letting go of summer can be difficult especially in New England.  But, there is an incredible silver lining that comes with this annual change: the Fall.  For most of us, Fall brings forth an array of exciting stimuli such as: the crisp autumn air, aromas of all things apple, spectacular leaf displays, the soaring cheers of football fans, and all kinds of pumpkin flavored treats.  For Western Avenue artists, fall is also a very special time because we hold our annual Artoberfest!

Here’s what’s happening during Artoberfest this year…

  • Artists open up their studios and lofts to the public for two days ─ October 6th and 7th from 12-5 p.m.
  • Our historic mill buildings are the home of over 300 artists and have many corridors you can weave your way through – embark on your own art maze adventure.
  • Artist demonstrations will be held in a range of mediums so you can see how art is made.
  • Our artist designed pumpkin contest will once again delight visitors with the unusual and unexpected.  In addition, you can vote for your favorite pumpkin and be entered in for a chance to win a gift certificate.
  • The Loading Dock Gallery will be hosting a New England Regional Juried Show with Annual Poetry Convergence ─ not to be missed.
  • Navigation Brewery and Food Trucks (Phoenix Rising Pizza – October 6th; Chicks and Dogs – October 7th) will be onsite ─ enjoy a tasty snack and a handcrafted cold one.
  • The Onyx Room will be open for viewing if you are looking to rent a venue for an upcoming event.

Bring your family and friends ─ there is something for everyone to love!

Because our artists use a variety of mediums, there is bound to be something in our complex that will speak to every member of your family.  Both admission and parking for this event are free.  So, save the date for this awesome autumn celebration and join us for an artful experience your senses will surely not forget!

Check out our Facebook Event Page for further details!

The Art of Bookbinding: Learn More at Artoberfest. Featured Artist Todd Davis Western Avenue Studio: A314

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Our previous featured artist is not the only Western Avenue Studios Artist Association (WASAA) member gearing up to go back to school.  Book binder, Todd Davis, doubles as a receptionist at the North Bennet Street School, his alma mater.

Hands-on and Technically Challenging – A lover of history and old crusty books, Todd became interested in how books work during the many hours he spent among the stacks while pursuing his undergraduate degree in history at the University of Massachusetts Boston.  A former software consultant of 30 plus years, he likes that book binding is a technically challenging, hands-on process that doesn’t require a keyboard or computer.

Nomadic – Todd was born in Texas, raised in Ohio, and lived in Florida before moving to New England to work for Wang Laboratories in 1982.  After living in Nashua, NH, he moved to Medford, MA, then finally settled in the South End of Boston.  Each time he comes to work at Western Avenue Studios, he commutes an hour and a half by commuter rail.

Right Place at the Right Time – Establishing a bindery can be very costly and time consuming.  However, fate was hard at work the day Todd came across a mailing list announcement about a binder in Norwich, VT who was looking to sell his entire bindery before he retired.  It was an all or nothing acquisition.  So, Todd plunged head first into his new mid-life career.  After a good deal of searching, he decided to set up shop here at Western Avenue a little over two years ago.  Getting the equipment into his studio was a great feat, as some of his equipment fully assembled weighs 1000 lbs or more.

Restoration & Repairs – Besides commissions and workshops, Todd provides book repair services.  Each repair project presents various obstacles, but Todd loves the challenge as well as the mystery and history involved in taking a book a part.  He usually has an old time radio show playing in the background when he’s dissecting book structures, except in July when he faithfully watches the Tour de France.  Some of his past repair projects include: a family bible, a Roman Missal, a 50-year-old wedding photo album, and a private library’s circulating collection.

Visiting Western Avenue Studios During Artoberfest – Like several other Western Avenue artists, Todd will be conducting demonstrations on his latest projects during Artoberfest (10/6, 10/7). In addition, you can find Todd in his studio sometime between 9am-6pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays during a typical week.  Walk-ins are always welcome.

For more information on the Middlesex Bindery, check out Todd’s website: https://middlesexbindery.com/ and his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MiddlesexBindery.

Check out our Artoberfest Facebook Event Page for further details!

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Back to School Featured Artist: Susan Drennan. Western Avenue Studio: 221

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Resilient, Determined, Competitive, and Disciplined – Western Avenue Studios Artist Association (WASAA) member Susan Drennan is diligently getting ready to go back to school on August 29th.  A non-traditional student, Susan is a retired mother of four from Danvers who is currently a junior (majoring in painting and minoring in curatorial studies) at Montserrat College of Art in Beverly, MA.  This semester, she will be enrolled in a painting class, an art history course on Greek and Roman Art, and an independent study.

A Love of Painting – Susan started painting when she was 20 years old and enjoys the “different state of mind” she reaches when she’s focused on painting.  She usually has multiple projects going at once and she likes to work in the following four mediums: oil, acrylic, pastel, and watercolor.  A lover of the outdoors, she often engages in plein air painting and when the weather doesn’t cooperate, she retreats to her quiet studio.  Because she believes in using her God-given talent, Susan paints every day.  As a goal-oriented person who likes a challenge, she hopes to get into a plein air art festival as well as teach painting classes one day.  Lately, she’s been working on loosening up her style by engaging in timed painting exercises.  This lover of cartoons, color, and coffee provided the following advice for young artists: “Practice drawing (perspective, value, composition) as much as you can.  Paint what you want, and don’t be afraid to fail because every time you paint you learn.”

Varied Work and Life Experiences – Susan has been a homeschooler, a technical illustrator, a cake shop owner, a clown, a metal chipper and grinder, a New England School of Art & Design (NESAD) student, a kitchen worker at Gordon College, a personal trainer, a competitive body builder, and a portrait artist.  She moved into Western Avenue Studios approximately 18 months ago.  Her first studio was located on the fourth floor, but she recently moved down to the second floor C/D mill.  An advocate for repurposing and reusing, Susan often checks out Western Avenue’s Free Cycle area for materials she can put to good use.  For example, the beautiful wood portion of her studio floor came from Free Cycle as did her work space cabinet and table top.

Visiting Western Avenue Studios and Lofts – If you come by to visit Susan, a comfy chair awaits you on the far side of her studio, and provides a great view of her salon-style gallery.  Her fine art is also visible on her website: susandrennanart.com and her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/susandrennan.finearts/.  In addition, Susan plans to have a 20% sale in her studio during Artoberfest (10/6, 10/7) and Holiday Open Studios (12/1, 12/2, 12/8, 12/9).

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Enhance Your Back to School Experience at Western Avenue Studios and Lofts

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It’s that time of year again.  Stores are awash with families preparing for the upcoming school year.   Don’t forget to put Western Avenue Studios and Lofts on your shopping itinerary.  Here are 11 ways you can leverage our next Open Studios event on September 1st (Noon – 5 p.m.) to enhance your Back to School experience:

  1. Spruce up this year’s wardrobe with a new wearable handmade piece.
  2. Find colorful artwork for dorm rooms, homes, offices, or apartments.
  3. Treat a favorite teacher or coworker to something unique.
  4. Get inspired – see over 50,000 works of art in our complex and attend the Loading Dock Gallery’s Of Earth and Air show (4 – 6 p.m.).
  5. Learn some tips and tricks by watching demonstrations or chatting with a fun mix of friendly creative people.
  6. Find a photographer to capture your special family moments.
  7. Have a favorite book that’s falling apart rebound.
  8. Check out the Onyx Room if you are looking to rent a venue for an upcoming event.
  9. Freshen up every bedroom with a cozy quilt.
  10. Enhance family meal prep with a handcrafted cutting board from one of our talented woodworkers.
  11. Tell us how you heard about us on an Orange Survey Card and you will be entered in for a chance to win a gift certificate.

These are just a few reasons for attending our September event.  However, don’t take our word for it.  Come and check it out for yourself!  Admission and parking for this event are free.  Navigation Brewery will be open and Chicks and Dogs food truck will be on site that day.

Check out our Facebook Event Page for further details!

Spring Art Thing at Western Avenue Studios

Join the artists of Western Avenue Studios for Open Studios the first Saturday in May- and don’t forget to take part in the Spring Art Thing, our free drawing for a Western Ave gift certificate!

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Creaticity: Lowell Art & Maker Festival

The Cultural Organization of Lowell (COOL) is excited to announce Lowell’s first Art & Maker Festival will be happening this weekend, September 16-17, 2017 in downtown Lowell. CREATICITY will fill Market Street with art and culture of all types – artists and makers, writers, performers, music, interactive public art, and so much more.

Many of the artists, writers, and makers of Western Avenue Studios will be featured at this event. WAS artists vending on Market Street will be:

WAS artist Lisa Hertel will also be doing a free workshop, “Grow Your Own Wire Tree,” on Saturday at 4:30. Stephan Anstey is doing a workshop at 4:30 on Sunday entitled, “Coming Unstuck through Poetry.”

Creaticity is free and open to the public.Visitors can expect to see over 50 booths lining Market Street exhibiting fine art and artisan goods for sale, featuring works by local artists. Makers will showcase their creations or projects promoting science, technology and art. Stage and street performers will delight young and old alike, with music, theater, and dance. Free interactive workshops and demos will be held throughout the two-day festival, allowing visitors to learn and create their own art. Visit the writers corner to speak with local authors and listen to their works. The Revolving Museum will be creating a large public art piece, where the public can join in making the artwork over the course of the weekend. Walking tours will be led by members of the community, allowing visitors to learn more about Lowell’s public art scene, dance in Lowell, and innovation & invention.

A New Look for the Old Ball Game

Sports fans and art lovers unite! Western Avenue Studios and the Lowell Spinners continue their partnership this August 11th with “Art in the Park,” a unique chance to browse and purchase creative works by Western Ave Artists at LeLacheur Park, and with a Silent Auction, the proceeds of which will go towards Spinners charities and Loading Dock Arts, a  501(c)3 charity that supports art education and resources in Lowell.

Up for auction will be original works of art created using Spinners baseballs and other gaming equipment. Check out a sneak preview below of some of the works of baseball art that will be for auction at the August 11th game at LeLacheur Park, and get your tickets to the game online here to be part of the action! The game will be followed by fireworks.

Featured Artist – Bruce Wood – Studio 427

You’ve seen Bruce Wood’s creations all over Western Ave & even outside our walls, now find out what makes him tick!


Q:  Tell us a little bit about your background. Where are you from? Where did you study? How long have you been an artist?

A: I grew up in Massachusetts. After graduating High School I attended Arizona Western College on an athletic scholarship. Then transferred to Northern Arizona University to study art. I have received a Bachelor of Science with an extended major in ceramics. I transitioned directly in to graduate school and received a Master of Arts in art education. Creativity has always been in my life. I have expressed it through building furniture, making pottery, fabricating jewelry, designing digital imagery, photography, and now through found object sculpture.

Q: What is the first thing you remember making/creating by hand?

A: As a kid I remember building tree houses and forts. I once found an out-cropping of raw clay and turned it into pottery.

Q: What do you love most about your art?

A: I love the challenge of putting things together that don’t belong together and making them look like they go together naturally. I also enjoy using everyday objects in a design and hiding them in plain view.

Q:  What is your biggest obstacle with your art?

A: Time. I have a multitude of ideas that I want to attempt, and not enough time to tackle them all.

Q:  Describe a typical art creativity session. What is it like? For example, do you work in silence, or do you work to music? Do you prefer to be alone, or do you need people around?

A: I work on several ideas at once. Each project spins off ideas for something new. I am torn between finishing an existing project or starting a new one. I jump from one thing to another and am always challenged to make my next piece better than the last.
When I am in the zone all existence is blocked out except the tasks at hand.

Q:  How does your personality translate into your art?

A: I like to make things that please me. I like to continually improve my skills and talents. The thought of failure rarely enters into the equations.
I am comfortable spending time by myself, living inside my head.

Q:  Did you always know you wanted to make the art you make today? Did you start out in a different medium in the early days?

A: I never imagined making the art I do today. I always believed I would be a potter. I like trying new things which has lead me to new art, media and skills.

Q:  What advice do you have for someone just starting out as an artist?

A: Make a lot of art and always try to improve. Don’t worry about the opinions of others. We are all in a growth process with our art.

Q: What is your favorite thing about the arts community?

A: I love being around a community of artists. For a long time I made art by myself. I learned that using myself as my own inspiration eventually stifled my artwork. My art has grown exponentially since I have moved into Western Avenue Studios.

You can visit Bruce in his Studio #427 on the First Saturday of each month at Western Avenue Open Studios!

 

Create More

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Create more love. Create more understanding. Create more peace.

Create more ART.

Best wishes from all of us at Western Avenue Studios to all of you, and yours, in the coming new year.

The Art of Gift Giving

Special events like Holiday Open Studios may be over with for 2016 but there’s still time to get thoughtful, unique, local, handmade gifts for everyone on your list. Many of our artists will have their studios open for shopping in the days leading up to Christmas. Check the board by the elevator as you walk into the building to see what studios are open that day.

Also the Loading Dock Gallery, which features many artists throughout the building and the local arts community is featuring extended hours this week for your shopping needs!
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Don’t forget to come back January 7th for our first Open Studios event of 2017!