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Open studios offer one-of-a-kind finds, holiday gifts

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MORRISTOWN – Artisans are opening their studios this holiday season to offer one-of-a-kind gifts and a behind-the-scenes look into the creative process.

Artisans of the River Valley and friends are hosting open studios from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on shop local day, Nov. 30.

Mary Ann Evans, owner of Mare’s Wares Pottery, 3939 Route 37, said open studios are an opportunity for holiday shoppers to support their communities.

“Our goal is to give people an opportunity to shop 10 or 15 miles away instead of going to Watertown or Massena,” Ms. Evans said. “We wanted to showcase the work of artists in Morristown and the immediate area who don’t normally show their stuff.”

From stained glass and leaf and acorn ornaments to painted ice skates, artisans will offer unique items not found in big box stores, Ms. Evans said.

“You always get something unique - functional gifts that are keepsakes for the rest of your life,” she said.

The artists will offer a range of priced items.

“From $5 to $700 – we fit everyone’s budget,” Ms. Evans said.

Painter and jewelry maker Debra Monteith said open studios offer a glimpse into the creative process.

“Art to artists is like giving a piece of yourself,” she said. “There’s an emotional connection. Everyone shows their personality though their art.”

Ms. Monteith’s studio, located at 200 Gouverneur St., will feature painted skates, decorated snowshoes and jewelry from recyclable and eco-friendly materials, including vinyl records, sheet music and copper.

Mare’s Wares Pottery will have music, hors d’oeuvres and door prizes. Ms. Evans will show functional stoneware and raku ware. Fresh Fraser fir wreaths and trees will also be on sale. Several artists will also be showing their work at Mare’s Wares:

n Gary Pierce of Chipman Woodworks will showcase handcrafted wooden bowls and rolling pins made from locally grown hardwoods, most of which he harvests from his own property.

n The works of Edward M. Basta and Peter J. Basta, which feature hand-turned, wood base oil lamps and ready-made or special order alphabet posters, respectively, will be displayed.

n Claudia Loomis Chandler of Completely Claudia will show baskets, rugs, and hand-woven functional and wearable textile arts.

n Karan Marie of Cross of The Wild Inside will offer upscale and traditional jewelry; wire-wrapped, strung, knotted and otherwise connected pieces in silver gold, pearls, and stones, lampwork glass, polymer clay, Swarovski crystals and ancient trade beads.

n Melanie Kimbler-Lago of Cat House Designs will show off her fiber artists featuring full and wall-sized artistic quilts and old chairs. Mrs. Kimbler-Lago is a photographer for Northern New York Newspapers.

Open studios include:

n Debra Monteith, 200 Gouverneur St., Morristown, across from Morristown Fuel & Supply, will feature jewelry, painted skates, and wood carvings from Jack Taylor.

n Melanie Connor, 347B River Road East, Morristown, will show off jewelry, leaf pottery bowls, leaf and acorn ornaments.

n Scott Ouderkirk Studio, 281 River Road, Hammond, will feature functional and decorative stained glass, and pen and ink illustrations.

Blue balloons will mark studios for travelers. For more information, contact Ms. Monteith at 375-4869 or Ms. Evans at 375-8214.

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