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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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!

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.

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!

Artists Pick the President

In a year like this one it should come as no surprise that the “Primped Out Pumpkin Contest,” one of the annual events at ARToberfest, had it’s share of political commentary. Shanna Thompson, of studio 210, took things a step further and let ARToberfest visitors vote for their choice for President.

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The results of this pre-election by artists and art-lovers followed national polls. Hillary took the lead over the Trumpkin – but not by as much as you’d think (or hope depending on your political bent.) So take that as a warning, when it comes to elections nothing is ever for certain. In keeping in this spirit, Western Avenue Studios is an early voting location this year. Lowell residents are invited to skip the long election day lines and cast their vote early on Sunday October 30th, from 10:00 to 2:00, at Western Avenue Studios, located at 122 Western Ave, in Lowell, MA.

Also on the ballot is your chance to voice your opinion on your Representative in Congress, the Governor’s Councilor, the State Senator, State Representative, and Sheriff. You’ll also have your chance to weigh in on ballot Question One (an additional slot parlor), Question Two (expanding charter schools), Three (quality of life rights for farm animals) and Question Four (legalizing recreational marijuana.)

And don’t fret- early voters still get nifty “I voted” stickers!

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WAS this Weekend – March 18th Edition

Dogs rule at Western Avenue Studios. Check out the pampered life of a studio dog and how the furry visitors in the building have inspired some of our artists.


The Loading Dock Gallery at Western Avenue Studios is featuring “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird,” an exhibit of work by three different visual artists who were inspired by the Wallace Stevens’ poem of the same name. The exhibit ends March 27th so be sure to check out this great show before it’s gone.

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“Swarmed,” the new experimental novel by author Renee Mallett in studio A411, will be released this week. The book is fully illustrated by Michael Crockett, with cover art by Adam Miller. “Swarmed” will be debuting at the 3rd annual Beverly Comic Con on April 2nd. Renee most recently had artwork and a story included in the “Alice Anthology,” a collection of art and writing inspired by Lewis Caroll’s children’s classic.

Tickets are now on sale for the third annual LoveCraft Wedding Event to be held March 20th in downtown Providence. Amaranth and Rue Handmade Soaps, studio #A411, will be part of this wedding expo that features elegant and unique vintage and handmade items from local makers. Tickets are $10 in advance and the first 50 couples through the door will recieve a swag bag.

The Tewksbury Public Library will be showing “Landscapes,” an exhibit featuring artwork by local artists, including Western Avenue Studios artists Tom Borgal (studio 504), Val Borgal (studio 504), and Robert Crooker (studio 120. The exhibit begins March 3rd and will be on display through April 5th. There will be a reception for the event at the library on March 22.

WAS this Weekend – March 11th edition

Among the talented artists at Western Avenue Studios there are several who do custom house portraits. Check out this blog with a quick overview of these artists online here.


The Loading Dock Gallery at Western Avenue Studios is featuring “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird,” an exhibit of work by three different visual artists who were inspired by the Wallace Stevens’ poem of the same name.

Katherine DuBose Fuerst is offering 3 day “Introduction to Paperclay” workshops in her loft for $135. Classes fill up fast so reserve your spot by contacting Katherine through her website here.

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Cheryl Polcaro, studio #323, has two pieces in the First Annual Juried Exhibition at The Milton Arts Center. This show was juried by Kaveh Mojtabai, the founder and director of Artscope magazine. The show runs from March 11th to April 1st with an opening reception on Friday March 11th from 7-9pm. One of her pieces, “Lepidoptera,” won a blue ribbon.


Tickets are now on sale for the third annual LoveCraft Wedding Event to be held March 20th in downtown Providence. Amaranth and Rue Handmade Soaps, studio #A411, will be part of this wedding expo that features elegant and unique vintage and handmade items from local makers. Tickets are $10 in advance and the first 50 couples through the door will recieve a swag bag.

Jacki Robichaud of Jack Attack Clothing, studio 223, will be debuting a 28 look collection at the 7th annual Finding Hope With Fashion Show. The show begins at 6;00 on March 13th at the Wyndham Boston Adover Hotel in Andover, MA. Tickets are $20 and 100% of the proceeds from this show will be donated to Into Action Recovery, Inc.

WAS this Weekend – March 5th Edition

Come visit the largest artist studio building of it’s kind on the east coast during March Open Studios at Western Avenue Studios  Open Studios is March 5th from 12:00 to 5:00 and is free to park and attend.


The Loading Dock Gallery at Western Avenue Studios will be having an opening night reception for it’s latest exhibit. “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird” features three different visual artists work inspired by the Wallace Stevens’ poem of the same name.

Amaranth and Rue Handmade Soaps, in studio #A411, will have several items from their new line of petcare items for sale in their studio. Dog shampoos and pet nose & paw balms will be debuting this weekend.

October’s Tale Candlewicks, part of Walk on the Moon studio in #A206, is featuring their new Gentlemen’s Candle Collection. The handpoured, small batch soy candles come in manly scents like Elementary (Hints of Tobacco & Cherry), Sparrow (Clean Bay Leaf and a spike of Caribbean Rum), Johnny, Jack & Jim (Bourbon Whiskey & Vanilla), Barbershop (like a real old time Barbershop)!


The Tewksbury Public Library will be showing “Landscapes,” an exhibit featuring artwork by local artists, including Western Avenue Studios artists Tom Borgal (studio 504), Val Borgal (studio 504), and Robert Crooker. The exhibit begins March 3rd and will be on display through April 5th.

 


Take a trip to Maine’s Monhegan Island without ever leaving Western Ave Studios. Val Borgal will be showcasing six years worth of watercolors of this beautiful Maine island in studio #504 for the next two months. Unable to make the Open Studio event? Contact
vjb@valeriejeannesart.com or call 978-658-4693 to make an appointment.