WELLSVILLE — Allegany County artisans have been busy preparing for the 32nd annual Allegany County Artisans Tour, and with 32 artisans across the county, it’s not to be missed.
On Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 19-20, artisans will have the opportunity to show their work, and the general public to be introduced to a myriad of different artisans working in a variety of mediums.
This year, 32 artisans in 26 locations across Allegany County will offer refreshments and free raffles for art work. Most studios will display works including, but not be limited to, clay; wood; metal; fiber; jewelry; paint; glass; and paper.
The talented artisans that have participated in the event include everyone from artists that are self-taught and who have won national and international acclaim to those who are masters of their creative genre.
Several artisans will preview their wares in select studios on Friday, Oct. 18, from 5 to 8 p.m.
One of those preview artisans will be Sherry Herdman of Angelica, owner of 3 Dog Quilts. Herdman first participated in the tour in 2018 and has been quilting for 19 years.
“It really went well,” said Herdman. “I had just a wonderful time.”
Herdman considers herself a “contemporary artist” and the fact that she works with Tyvek – yes, the house wrap that you see on some buildings under construction – lends credence to her claim.
She cuts the Tyvek material into shapes and applies heat to it, which makes it bubble, crack, shrink and sometime disappear altogether, is then transferred by photo to fabric.
She will have two pieces, one silver and one gold imprinted on burgundy-colored fabric, that say “I love you from the moon and back,” because after treatment, the Tyvek formed the shape of a moon.
She will have quilts; table runners; wall hangings; couch quilts; and more available during the preview and the tour this year. Unfortunately, she has had to increase her prices this year, which only recoup her material costs as she makes no profit on any of her wares. Good quality cotton sells for $11.75 per yard, she explained, a king-size quilt can cost between $400 and $500 just in material.
She’ll also have potholders and the opportunity for patrons to support girl’s empowerment as well.
“I make the potholders as a de-stresser,” Herdman said. “I sell them at $4 a piece and the money goes into the sewing program in the Dominican Republic … I think if somebody supports one program for one nonprofit, they’re hooked. It helps your soul.”
The sewing program she referred to is Mariposa DR Foundation, whose vision is “to create a model that can be adapted around the world for a holistic girls’ education and empowerment program to end generational poverty.”
Like last year, Herdman will offer a 50 cent coupon off a beverage at the Angelica Sweet Shop at 44 Main St. and she is currently exhibiting at the Steuben Trust bank in Hornell.
The complete list of preview studios can be found at alleganyartisans.com/friday-pretour.
Another artisan this year is Bill Banker of Almond, owner of Sundance Forge. He will display two antique life-size horse head sculptures which he restored.
The horseheads were damaged in a windstorm when they got loose from the barn they were attached to and cartwheeled down the owner’s driveway. One ear was hanging by a thread and there were tears in the body as well as many holes.
Believed to be trade signs from the 1800s, the sculptures are delicate because they were made out of many pieces of thin metal soldered together. They are “of the type used outside French restaurants and butcher shops that sold horse meat for human consumption,” said Banker.
“A sample of the material was analyzed and is believed to be ‘white metal’. It is mostly zinc with some lead and cadmium and a similar one was featured in the popular TV program “Storage Wars.” The sculpture is very detailed from the long flowing mane to its nostrils, eyebrows and ears.
The restoration included stabilizing by adding internal structure, remounting the ear, repairing tears, and patching the holes. The new internal structure will allow the sculptures to be firmly mounted to prevent another windstorm disaster. The project was completed with the horseheads ready to be mounted on the customer’s barn.
DRIVING ALONG the picturesque Genesee River and seeing the Allegany plateau in all its Fall glory out your window is another reason to plan your excursion to include several stops across the Allegany County venues.
“It’s in every corner of the county,” said Curran. “And it’s a large county as well. We have a proximity to each other so people can get to another site easily.”
Both an interactive Google map and a printable (color is best) pdf map can be found at alleganyartisans.com for downloading before the tour, but there’s a new option in 2019.
“This year we did a booklet instead of a map area,” said Len Curran. “It’s so easy to follow.
The booklet is available by contacting the Allegany Artisans at AlleganyArtisans@gmail.com or going to any Allegany Artisan studio. Some studios have regular hours and others will meet you by appointment or at shows.
“If the artist is able, they’re more than willing to demonstrate,” said Curran. “There’s a chance that some of the studios will be demonstrating their craft.”
Shopping is not only on about as local level as you can get, but tour-goers can “talk with the artisans and shop in their homes and studios amid their private inspirations,” as the artisan’s website points out.
This year the Allegany Artisans are developing a scholarship fund that was gifted them by the family of Jaunita Barrone-Detrich. Donations to the fund, which will provide an annual scholarship to an Allegany County art student, are greatly appreciated.
The next opportunity to support the Allegany Artisans will be the “Together with Friends” Art and Craft Sale taking place on June 13 with expanded hours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the campus of Alfred University, Alfred.