Jenny Lee Fowler
Jenny Fowler was my gateway into the world of fine paper arts, and I was hooked after seeing some silhouette cuttings that she did in a leaf. Her art pieces are incredibly detailed. The images slow me down and invite me in: impossibly small shapes emerging from the paper like tiny whispers. When I look at the silhouettes that Jenny did of my kids a while back, somehow these flat, one-dimensional images hold the power to transport me back immediately to a specific place and time in their lives. I am moved by how much energy can come through a single piece of blank paper.
Best place for people to find your work:
This month, I will have original paper-cut vignettes from Hans Christian Andersen’s story of The Little Match Girl hanging in the windows (viewable from indoors or out) of Roos Arts in Rosendale and KMoCA in Kingston. I’m really excited about this work, and I want people to see it. And the pieces are part of lively group shows that are up this month:
KMoCA, “Cold Comfort”: www.facebook.com/events/212427055603670; Roos Arts, “Light Me Up”: www.facebook.com/roos.arts.
The Little Match Girl was one of my favorites when I was little, and it still holds power for me with the purity of her visions with each match: for warmth, nourishment, beauty and love. There’s a bleakness to the story, but it’s also affirming of what we have to share with each other.
I’m making space in the studio right now and will have original pieces there that don’t come out very often. Roos Arts also carries a small collection of my work in their gift shop in the back of the gallery. Throughout the year, the best place to buy my work is jennyleefowler.etsy.com. And I’m always happy to chat about special projects and commissions for original paper cuttings.
Any roles that your family plays in your business:
I love that you asked about the role that my family plays in my business. This year more than ever, and on these Match Girl pieces especially, my kids have lent their eyes to the work. When I yell down the hall and my 11-year-old son is willing to set down his Minecraft game, wander down and give me an art crit, it’s a very happy thing. And my 7-year-old daughter helped me to curate and hang my solo show this summer. I’m excited by their instincts for seeing – what they bring to the aesthetic and to solving technical issues as well. And I wouldn’t be doing this today if my husband hadn’t helpfully reminded me that you don’t need to make time for a hobby if it’s your work. He helped me to hone in on it as a calling and find a niche that works for our family’s economy.
Something that you wish that people knew about the impact of buying locally, from local artists:
I wish that more people understood that when they buy from local artists, that they’re not only purchasing objects, but patronizing the set of skills and the place in the world for artists to make art that they really care about. Like any other money, it puts food on tables, but it also lends to the broader cultural feast. Artists create experiences and connections and often provide reflections of what it means to be of this place we call home. And I think we all benefit from that.
Something that you have learned this holiday season:
My Poppy grew up in a farming community on the prairie. They worked very hard through the growing season, and then winter was a time when they would hitch up the sleigh and go visiting – play music or games, make things, eat! When he talked about it, you could feel the pause. For many of us, things don’t slow down in that kind of way with the seasons, and the year can feel more like it’s careening into the next. This year, I’ve been trying to keep an eye toward what I want the season to feel like, rather than a real or imaginary list of what I want to get done with our family time.
A favorite holiday tradition in your family:
My husband’s family has a tradition of finding a really big Yule log, strapping it with a red ribbon, taking turns (youngest to oldest) sitting on it and making a wish, then banking it for the night. Little red coals in the morning means your wishes will be granted. My husband and I also have a tradition of making our own cards. As my kids get older they also create our holidays in new ways: making up their own recipes in the kitchen, sewing a stocking for a dog, cleaning out the chocolate from their advent calendars, plotting surprises.
Perry Hill Farm
Vicki Harkness, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.perryhillfarm.com
My experience with Vicki Harkness’ Perry Hill Farm products began with some soap that I had purchased as gifts. But after I got them home, they just looked so gorgeous and smelled so good that I ended up keeping them for myself. When I got poison ivy, I ordered Vicki’s jewelweed salve, and now it’s such a staple in my healing basket that I have no idea how I ever lived without it: I use it for everything!
Best places for people to buy your work:
I sell holiday wreaths made from our evergreens and herbal products: salves, tinctures, healing balms, herbal soaps, dried and fresh herbs. Rhinebeck Farmers’ Market, https://rhinebeckfarmersmarket.com; the next market is December 22 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.;
Amenia Farmers’ Market, https://ameniafarmersmarket.com, from10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Saturday; www.perryhillfarm.com, “online custom made soap especially for you.” For salves, lotions et cetera, please e-mail email@example.com.
Something that you wish that people knew about the impact of buying locally:
In our case, you are helping a local farm preserve open space, ensure a local, fresh food supply, support a local family that’s paying local taxes and may employ other local people. Something may be cheaper from large manufacturer, but I can tell you exactly where my ingredients came from, ensure that the plants were grown without chemicals and were grown in toxin-free soil.
Any roles that your son and family play in your business:
My son helps me plant, cultivate and harvest our plants. He even has a side business: Joshua’s Trees. He sells potted tree saplings. My husband also helps provide the muscle for planting bed creation, fencing and more.
Something that you have especially appreciated this holiday season:
I always appreciate the opportunity for our entire family to work together to provide good stewardship on our farm. I feel very passionate about the environment, the importance of local food supplies and wildlife habitat.
A favorite holiday tradition in your family:
Cutting down our own Christmas tree from our farm and wishing all of our rescued/adopted animals a Merry Christmas.
A favorite holiday spot that you like in the Hudson Valley:
To us, trains seem to be a major part of our holiday. Of course we love the movie Polar Express, which had a local showing this year. We also have enjoyed the Catskill Mountain Railroad Holiday train: https://catskillmtrailroad.com. Lastly, for the holiday train enthusiasts like us, the New York Botanical Garden’s Train Show is a must: www.nybg.org/exhibitions/2013/holiday-train-show/index.php.
Erica Chase-Salerno is dreaming of days merry and bright. She lives in New Paltz with her husband Mike and their two children: the inspirations behind www.hudsonvalleyparents.com. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.