The Potter & Woodsmith – Nature Inspires Handmade Art

A small budget and an empty new home fostered the birth of “The Potter & Woodsmith” – a duo of artists who, while filling their own home with handmade art, decided to turn their passion into a full time business. Sara and Steve Kozak (the couple behind the business) renovated their tiny garage into a ceramic studio to begin creating their on-of-a-kind pieces.

Potter and Woodsmith MugsUsing reclaimed wood and ceramics, their art takes on a personality all its own. Many of their pieces begin with a stoneware clay body. Then elements of different wood types are added in to create the handles of a coffee mug or roof of a birdhouse, to name a few.

The inspiration for their craft and tools of their trade can often be found right in their own backyard. Much of the wood used in their pieces comes from nearby tree trimmers or local businesses that throw pallet wood away. And while nature helps supply their craft, it also is one of their greatest muses, Sara says.

 “Nature reminds us that perfection can be found in imperfection. We love looking at our work and being able to tell by an asymmetrical edge or slight variation between two like pieces that they were made by the human hand.”

Potter and Woodsmith Birdhouse

In addition to their passion for ceramics and woodworking, the Kozaks love seeing how their work grows throughout the years. They welcome feedback from customers, as they recognize that each piece is a part “lifelong artistic journey” and that they will always have more to learn.

The Potter & Woodsmith will be displaying their pieces at the Canandaigua Art & Music Festival, July 18-20. Their work can also be found on Etsy at their personal address: www.etsy.com/shop/potterandwoodsmith.

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“inSpiraled” Pieces Play with Color and Texture

Becky Blair loves color and texture, and plays with both while creating beautiful jewelry pieces under her business name “inSpiraled.”  The seasoned artist will be joining us this year at the Canandaigua Art & Music Festival, to showcase and sell her jewelry during the 3-day festival.

Working in a studio in her 16th floor condo, Becky uses the eclectic pieces in her workspace, including repurposed furniture and artwork collected from her travels, to inspire the pieces she creates. In the past, Becky has worked on paintings, art dolls, and fiber arts. It is jewelry, however, where she truly shines.

inSpiraled Leather Necklace(Pyrographed floral pattern has 7 yellow & red flowers with leaves; beaded dangles.) inSpiraled Earrings(Gold-filled spiraling earrings with sterling silver Balinese cylindrical bead and hammered dangle. 2″)

Recently, a drive through Pennsylvania and parts of New York inspired Becky to create a red leather collar with blue leather flowers. Drawing from the blue skies, green hills, and red barns she saw on her trip, the piece was finished within just a few days and sold before even making it to a show!

“Over the years, I have learned to stay true myself and to make pieces that I feel will stand the test of time.  I have no interest in following trends, or creating a trendy body of work. I don’t want to wear what everyone else is wearing.” – Becky Blair

We at the art festival are excited to see what Becky plans to showcase at our event in July. Working with a variety of sterling silver, patterned leather, gemstones, and found objects, every piece of wearable artwork from inSpiraled is a unique treasure.

Patrick J. O’Connor: Lifelong Passion

Patrick J. O’Connor has been painting for 45 years. Be sure to stop by and see his unique and vibrant watercolor paintings.

When did you realize you wanted to be an artist?
The exact moment I knew I wanted to be an artist was in the 5th grade when I was doing a project using clay.

What inspired you to pursue your passion for art?
I was inspired by a watercolor demonstration in downtown Ithaca, New York.

Describe your art.
I think my art grabs people. I think it puts you in a place and time that you have been before. And I think my watercolors separate me from other watercolorists. If you see one of my paintings along with 100 other paintings, you would be able to pick mine out without a signature on it.

What feedback have you received from showcasing your work?
I have received nothing but positive feedback, mostly with a question of “How did you do that?”

What should attendees expect to see from you at this year’s Festival?
People should expect top-quality work.

What’s one thing that people may not already know about you?
I would like people to know that I have been painting for 45 years to get to the point that I am currently at and I am 57 years old. That is a long time.

Where/how can people purchase your work?
You can purchase paintings at the “Patrick J. O’Connor” gallery at 231 West Water Street in Elmira, New York or online at www.pjogallery.com. The telephone number is 607-483-4640.