We are excited to finally announce our newest cohort of artists from Rhode Island! This year we partnered with Rhode Island State Council on the Arts and the United States Department of Agriculture to offer matched saving grants to artists living or working in rural Rhode Island.
Whether immersed in the intricacy of macrame, drawing in space with steel or writing a screenplay, this impressive cohort of artists from across the state is really heating things up, some of them quite literally in the glass shop! Drawing inspiration from Rhode Island's natural and coastal surroundings is another common thread linking this group of artists and taking the forms of stained glass, painting, wood-carving and metalsmithing.
For Michael Gabrielle, making art has always been a meditative process and ultimately a way of taking care of himself. While his work has taken many forms over the years, he has recently found himself immersed in the world of macrame. Creating the thousands of knots necessary to complete a macrame piece is an exercise in patience and passion. He is drawn to the calmness and rest he finds in the intricacy of this process. Michael also shares his passion for art and healing though his work as the Program Director of PeaceLove, an expressive arts studio focused on mental health and mental wellness. He helps people find personal fulfillment by using creativity for authentic, imaginative and spontaneous expression.
Hannah Purcell Martin is a painter and glassblower from Smithfeild, RI. Both mediums present the opportunity for her to create brightly colored, saturated and organic shapes and forms. Her paintings start by applying a spontaneous layer of dark stain. These inky black brush strokes influence colorful and free-flowing layers to follow. While her paintings are rooted in the natural landscape, she allows her imagination to transform reality into abstraction, creating scenes that suggest fantastical space-scapes, whimsical dwellings, mythical creatures or strange biology. Her glass creations also seem to be artifacts of her imaginary lands. She enjoys making glass jars because they have an implied use that can only be fulfilled by their future owners, only complete when a jar is filled.
Andrew Haviland grew up on the coast of Maine, but currently resides in Cranston, RI, where he operates Andrew Haviland Original Works. His pieces are hand carved, cast, and finished locally in the small ocean state of Rhode Island. Needless to say, Andrew’s jewelry and metalwork are nautical by nature. Andrew has always been interested in the natural world, especially exoskeletons and shells. He is particularly inspired by the natural defense mechanisms of these small, fragile ocean creatures and how they can thrive in such harsh environments. This story of resilience has taken root in all of his work, making his wearables also function as reminders of survival and adaptation.
Since 2012, Jennifer Weeden-Black has owned and operated Islandesign Glass out of her home studio in Jamestown, RI. She owes much of the inspiration behind her stained glass creations to her beloved hometown. The beaches, farms, two bridges and lighthouses of Jamestown are frequently depicted in her glass work. She also integrates found and re-purposed glass into her pieces, such as vintage glass bottles that serve the dual purpose of holding a flower. Using found sea glass from local beaches further connects her work to a sense of place and home. Jennifer also enjoys opportunities to teach youth and adults the art of stained glass.
Isabel Mattia takes the practice of sketching to the next level, often in the form of welded steel. The sketchbook, she believes, is a proving ground or test lab for artists “where we jot a quick idea in the middle of the night, draw the woman’s ear in front of us on the train, draw a form, trace it, retrace it, erase it”. Her sculptures become drawings in space that three-dimensionally engage viewers in the function and experience of drawing. This process is a way for Isabel to celebrate the explorative marks that accumulate in the pages of a sketchbook, whether they be quick doodles or labored drafting. Isabel lives on a nascent Farm in Little Compton Rhode Island and is an MFA candidate at Rhode Island School of Design.
Lynne DeBeer has been making art since she was old enough to hold a crayon. Her early creative musings led to an impressive 40 year career dedicated to the arts in a variety of different capacities. Now Lynne is picking up that crayon once again and transitioning from a life of full-time consulting/teaching work to finally focusing her own painting career. This time, oil crayon is her material of choice, used in combination with beeswax, natural materials and acrylic. Ranging from realistic to abstract, her work is about the physical process of building and excavating materials on canvas. She is currently creating a series of canvasses which are autobiographical in nature. Lynne is based in Tiverton, RI and has a studio in Bristol.
Mark Perry's contemporary works are inspired and informed by early American folk art sculpture. He is drawn to the passionate spirit present in these early works, the naive expressions of day-to-day themes and their natural patinas created from time and weather. He carves both animal and figurative wood sculptures using a variety of tools, including power and traditional hand tools such as knives, gouges and a mallet. Once carved, the sculpture is finished with paint. He often adds found metal or antique elements into his work to help define a narrative. Mark hopes his carvings will become heirloom works of art that have a place in today’s contemporary world but that will continue to be appreciated from one generation to the next. Mark is based in Westerly, RI.
Kristen Falso-Capaldi is dedicated to the craft of creative writing. Since 2013, she has written two novels, several screenplays, a stage play and numerous short stories and essays. She’s accomplished all of this while juggling a career as a full time public school teacher. Her recent work can be found in Good Housekeeping, Volume 1 Brooklyn and Joyland. Kristen is based in Chepachet, RI and is currently working on the production of a full length stage play.
For Paige Vargo-Willeford, painting is a way to capture energy and find a place of stillness. Paige has Tourette’s syndrome, which for her involves a series of up to thousands of involuntary movements a day. While painting, she finds that she can be entirely still. Because of this, the confluence between movement and stillness and between outer and inner experience has become the foundation of her work. Using watercolors and oils, she seeks to bring the experience of feeling and sensation into a visual field. She draws deep inspiration from nature and her South County home in rural Rhode Island. Paige also works with wildlife and nature centers to develop and teaching watercolor workshops that emphasize the experience of feeling rather than seeing. She hopes to encourage participants to focus on those elements of nature which speak to them on a deeper physical level.
Adam Waimon is a glass artist from North Kingstown, RI whose work consists of blown, sculpted and carved glass. At times he will incorporate wood, metal and stone into his glass works. Though many of the works are abstract, his initial inspiration comes from nature. His Carved Series for example, is inspired by growth and the cycles of seasons and is comprised of forms influenced by seeds, leaves and flowers. His use of subtle monochromatic and transparent color allows the delicately engraved surface to refract and transmit light, creating strong elegant forms with a minimalist approach.