CRAFT Gallery opens “In Bloom”

     Nature is the subject of CRAFT Gallery’s opening show to celebrate the beginning of summer, presenting Susan Van Campen’s watercolors of flowers. She explores their forms and colors in all stages of bud, full bloom and final faded beauty. Her compositions of a single drooping  stem or a lush bouquet take on a formal subject and present it in a fresh contemporary way, using spatial relationships in negative space. This master of the watercolor medium uses restraint and taste, taking inspiration from her gardens in South Thomaston.

     Nature in bloom inspires artists in many diverse craft mediums. Fiona Washburn’s interest in flora and fauna design translates into a combination of hand painting and silk screen on silk for scarves and shawls. They become a natural tapestry of color, light and texture to wear. Rug weaver Sara Hotchkiss draws upon early 17th century England’s Jacobean era, taking traditional flower shapes and reinterpreting them in geometric form. The weaving format of warp and weft dictates the geometry of her designs, working them out on graph paper beforehand. Jeweler Christine Peters meticulously works shiny and reticulated silver into ever-blooming hydrangeas and daisies, combining them with gems into a collection of jewelry for the “In Bloom" show. Her strong classical background in sculpture  and design allows her to experiment in patinas and textures that attract a faithful following of collectors.

     CRAFT Gallery introduces jeweler Nisa Smiley to its collection of fine craft. She works in precious metal clay (PMC) in silver and gold and semi precious stones to make jewelry inspired by nature. Chrysalis, rosemary pods and other botanicals form earrings, bracelets, rings and necklaces. This one of a kind collection at CRAFT  draws on the nature-inspired styles of Japanese culture and Art Nouveau. PMC originated in Japan in 1990; its clay-like nature allows extrusions and stamping to create jewelry and sculpture  which is ultimately kiln-fired. Nisa Smiley’s very personal approach to jewelry making is functional and practical, using color, pattern and texture that is compatible with the human body.

     Joining these nature inspired artists are Lissa Hunter. David Jacobson, Hanako Nakazato and George Pearlman who have created vessels of clay and glass to hold nature in bloom. CRAFT Gallery opens on May 20th for the season and “In Bloom” will be on view until June 28th and during the June 3rd First Friday Rockland Artwork.

CRAFT Gallery is in the courtyard at 12 Elm Street in Rockland. Early summer hours are 11 am to 5pm Wednesday to Saturday, by chance and by appointment. FMI call 207 594 0167 and visit


Rug by Sara Hotchkiss - Watercolor by Susan Van Campen - Hand painted silk shawl by Fiona Washburn