Yuletide in the Country

We had the most fun last weekend at the Genesee Country Village and Museum in Mumford, New York. Our party of 24 (!) enjoyed all of these things:

“Enjoy reenactments of Yuletides past; sing along to joyful holiday songs; delight in merry instrumental music; catch the lingering aroma of wood smoke in the crisp, sparkling air; savor a refreshing drink and perhaps step to a lively tune, all the while discovering a little about the roots of our many favorite Christmas customs.”

Six families participated and it was such fun. Seeing the village lit by candlelight and hearing the stories of people during the early 19th century gave all of us a unique window into American history during the celebration of Christmas. The reenactors did a wonderful job as did our guide.

Who knew that celebrating Christmas was ever considered scandalous and controversial in our country. Those crazy Puritans! Shown below is the Mercantile. Isn’t it beautiful… I kept expecting Nelly Olson to walk out into the room!

I found the play based on the celebration of Christmas during the Civil War to be very moving. As the townspeople were dancing and making merry in the Town Hall, a messenger brought news of loved ones wounded and killed in the war. The people tried to combat their sorrow and grief with continuing in their holiday traditions.

The last house on the tour consisted of a Scottish family who invited us in to watch as they lit the candles on their Christmas tree. It was a beautiful sight. Our visit with them ended as they played the bagpipes and we danced around in the kitchen. I will pass on the lovely “boar’s head” they were having for dinner.

LaLa was struggling with a cold and by the end of the day she was completely exhausted and happy to be “toted”. I love the way this picture came out. So sweet.

If you live in the area be sure to visit the GCV&M. It is a local treasure. I remember visiting many years ago on the 4th of July- another special event at the Village & Museum. For more information and the event schedule visit their website.

Highlights from Clothesline

The weather was beautiful last weekend in Rochester and the crowds turned out for the festival. There were lots of clouds on Sunday but the rain held off for the most part. Yay. Being an artist that works primarily with paper can be quite challenging on a rainy day.

It was great to see my marvelous customers. One lady said that she had followed my work for the past 13 years! Since my debut at Clothesline. What an honor! I had to chance to meet alot of new faces even a Facebook Fan! How cool is that?

Here are a couple of highlights from the show. There was the beautiful gallery, of course…

the lovely atrium interior with a Henry Moore sculpture

a very interesting 4th Rochester Biennial exhibit. Loved this kinetic piece by Anne Havens.

There was music, food, and lots of artwork.

Sales were brisk. Yay. If you know me then you know I am a ceramics junkie. If I have a good show I am strongly inclined to purchase a new piece to celebrate. I thought it would be fun to introduce you to some of my favorite Upstate New York ceramicists.

Shown above are the pieces that I purchased this year. Aren’t they lovely. I can’t keep my hands off that mug. I feel very special drinking my coffee and tea from this earthy and contemporary cup. I can’t wait to use the bowl at our next family gathering or dinner club. The artist Renata Wadsworth is from Ithaca and her work is available online and at the MAG gallery store.

This raku tile piece is by my friend Peter Valenti from Syracuse. We have been neighbors at the show and have watched each others children grow up from year to year. Peter primarily does wall pieces but often has vessels in his booth. His work can be purchased at shows and Eureka Crafts in Syracuse.

One of my favorite ceramist is Hodaka Hasebe. I have many of his pieces and have given lots of them as gifts. The glazes, texture, shape and functionality of his vessels have always appealed to me. His work can be purchased directly at many Upstate New York art festivals or in his etsy shop.

If my life could spare the time I would love to do ceramics again. I have 2 kilns that are waiting to be used. An old gas studio kiln out in the barn and a small electric kiln. Unfortunately my weak wrist has a hard time manipulating clay these days but I sure gave it a whirl in college. The piece shown below I made in a class at RIT. It is based on Franz Marc’s  The Large Blue Horses painting. Farmboy and I carried it around for 10 years stowing it under beds and in the basement of whatever place we were renting before we were able to actually install it.

I love sitting at the wheel. The whole centering process. You know I’ve said before that I was the self-professed Mud-Pie Queen in Mississippi growing up. I’m certain that has something to do with my love of gardening and ceramics. The firing process is like magic. Everytime the kiln opens its like Christmas morning. Although I don’t create ceramics anymore, I certainly appreciate their beauty and craftsmanship. I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing some ceramics work from some very talented artists. Be sure to check out their websites!

Prepping for The Clothesline Festival

I love the Clothesline Festival. I remember walking the show years ago when I was in college at RIT and being so impressed with the work that I saw. This will be my 13th year of doing the show. The first year I was thrilled to be one of the Merit Award winners- it was just the encouragement that I needed at that time to continue with my painting.

The show is on the grounds of the Memorial Art Gallery in downtown Rochester. The gallery is open to the public during the show upon paying the entrance fee. One of the perks of winning the Merit Award is that you can choose to move to a different (more visible) location in the festival. For the past 12 years I have loved my location, my neighbors, my shade tree and knowing that my customers know where to find me. This year there is a proposed sculpture park that has caused all of the vendors in my section to be relocated to the back of the gallery. I’m kinda bummed to say the least.

#127-  is my new booth number. It’s in the nose bleed section. Please take the time to find me if you are attending the show.  I have lots of new work this year. Shown above is a painting that I just finished last night. I love the abstract quality of it. I took many photos this year at the Walnut Hill Carriage Competition in Pittsford- this is the first of many paintings in a series.

Of course there will also be new topiary designs! See you there!


Hi, I'm Michelle. I am an artist/designer specializing in unique topiary themed illustrations for the Home & Gardener. I live on a farm in Upstate New York with my husband, aka Farmboy, my two children affectionately known as "La La" and "the Bean" and a small petting zoo of other family members.


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Upcoming Shows

Philadelphia Flower Show
PA Convention Center
March 5th-13th
Booth #Z-1002

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