Participating artists for our November 28th, 2020 Virtual Show: Sheila Bentley
Each artist is a vessel for a story. A story that is captured inside and seeks to find it's way out into the world. Please enjoy stories and inspirations from our artists.
Allen Cunningham If you collect fine Halloween art you probably already know Allen Cunningham. But if you are not familiar with Allen and his work, you are in for a real treat at Bewitching Peddlers of Halloween. When I first met Allen at Ghoultide Gathering many years ago, it was a haunted dollhouse that drew me into his space. The house was so detailed and perfectly alive with black cats, ghouls, and a tiny jack-o-lantern tea set. Later, I was enchanted to know that Allen collects antique dolls, toys, and children’s books. He finds great inspiration from a by-gone era. Each piece Allen brings to life is like a story being born. Allen has artistic mastery in many mediums and whether he is creating a spellbinding vignette of memories or a delightfully haunted trick-or-treater, Allen’s vibrant imagination and keen attention to detail make each work a masterpiece. Allen joins us from Ohio with a collection of Halloween characters that are sought after by collectors all over the world. One of the wonderful things about Bewitching Peddlers is that you get to see many world class artisans in one location for one magical day. Throughout the years, Allen has worked with the very best in the business, offering his work at Ghoultide Gathering, Rogers Gardens, Collins Gifts, The Best We Can Do, and Bethany Lowe designs. We are so pleased to introduce you to the work of Allen Cunningham.
Carolee Clark Bewitching Peddlers of Halloween is pleased to announce the painterly magic of Carolee Clark for our 2018 show. Her paint brush serves as a wand as she creates her very own style of magical merriment. Carolee is known for combining striking pattern with bold painted stories that unfold before your very eyes. With a background in both fine and decorative art, and a youth steeped in fairy tales and legends, Carolee Clark now spends her days paintbrush in hand, as a full time... artist capturing the magic of Halloween in functional, contemporary folk art pieces. Inspired by all things wicked and whimsical, she delights in creating one of a kind, future heirlooms that remind collectors of childhood Halloweens; of black cats and witches, trick-or-treating, and Things that Go Bump in the Night. "The absolute best part about this job is knowing I've created something that may bring a smile, or spark a fond memory", says Carolee, "and it's so touching to know my work will become treasured part of someone's celebration". Carolee began exhibiting at the first Ghoultide Gathering, after exhibiting at the Halloween Opera for two years prior. Her work has been published in national magazines, and is widely collected. She lives and works in beautiful Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, with a much loved family of fur-kids.
Avery Applegate Have you ever looked at a piece of jewelry and found yourself hopelessly pulled into the story of the piece? This is a commonplace occurrence with the work of Avery Applegate. She is a teller of stories using the medium of wearable art to weave her web! Bewitching Peddlers of Halloween is pleased to announce Avery Applegate as a participating artist for our 2017 show. During Avery Applegate’s lengthy career of teaching art in elementary schools, high schools, and mental institutions, she gave her creative side whole heartedly to her students. Now retired, she is able to focus on the artist she is and the art she creates. Avery has always been a collector of wonderful whatnots and thingamajigs. In childhood, her mother would empty her pockets on laundry day, only to find sparkling stones, rumpled feathers, shriveled earthworms, and bones left behind by a now songless bird. These treasures were lovingly placed in the boxes, jars, and tins that housed her precious collection. This affinity for honoring the old, the odd, the dead, and the cast offs of others led her to an assemblage style of jewelry making. Add to that her love of old photos veiled in mystery, and you have the formula behind Avery’s Mourning Glory Jewelry. So, with a curtsy, a nod, and an occasional wink, Avery memorializes long lost souls by joyfully pairing them with odds and ends to create unique pieces of wearable art that tend to spark conversation, compliments and coveting looks where ever they are worn. Avery will travel to Bewitching Peddlers from Hillsboro, Ohio.
Sheila Bentley There is a reason Bewitching Peddlers of Halloween is highly anticipated all the year through. We are a highly-juried show and we offer an artful curation of the very best in the genre. The artists featured have a magic about them. They create from a place of bliss and their creations are captured in a medium of which they have a spell over. Sheila Bentley creates ...each piece using a slow process, honoring her background in fine art and sculpture design while savoring the creative journey. She is known for her witches, who are affectionally referred to as “hags”. Sheila coaxes each face through the clay as if holding on to their tiny hands and pulling them into existence. They emerge on her worktable completely one of a kind and never mass produced. For the past ten years Sheila, has bewitched collectors of Ghoultide Gathering as an original participating artist. Sometimes she creates a horde of lovely zombies, while other times she enchants us with witches and their kindred.
Audrey Swarz Audrey spins a web of imagination with her wonderful art dolls. She has been featured in Doll magazine, Contemporary Doll, and worked as a writer for Dolls UK. Our paths first crossed at Ghoultide Gathering several years ago. I was so enchanted by her work, and so were other collectors! Her pieces were so well done and beautifully presented that they were snapped ...up very fast. Her art dolls are all one of a kind and her clothing designs are unique as well. Each piece is clothed in a combination of antique, imported and new fabric. Audrey hand knits the sweaters and designs and tailors all the clothing, which completes the unique individual characteristics of her work. Audrey began her doll making journey over 35 years ago. She is self-taught and has captured a unique style that is all her own. Audrey creates in an old-world tradition, employing her years of doll making wisdom into each piece. Each year she presents a collection that is nothing short of bewitching. We are so proud to include Audrey in this magical show.
Nina Vivian Huryn I am more pleased than you know to tell you about my friend Nina Vivian Huryn who will be joining us as a participating artist at Bewitching Peddlers of Halloween for our 2017 show. Nina has magic pulsing through her person and you can see glimpses of it just by speaking to her. She is an authentic talent and will be a wonderful addition to our 2017 season. Ever since childhood Nina has taken delight in the macabre. Today the fascination still holds and her work is filled with skeletons, usually acting as guides or storytellers. Skulls and skeletons are often thought of as negative symbols of death. Menacing? Yes. We'd like to live forever and sometimes we resent being reminded of our own mortality, but the skeletons in her work are far from dead. Representing humans in their most structural form they guide you through an ongoing narrative Nina Vivian Huryn grew up in Cleveland, Ohio and graduated from The Cleveland Institute of Art. Early in her career she moved to New York City where she lived in a small studio/apartment painting and constructing wearable art of leather, fabrics, and objects found in the streets. Her work was exhibited nationally and internationally –Tokyo, Rio de Janiero, and Lisbon. Her work has been worn by flamboyant rock stars – Elton John, Freddie Mercury, and Brian May. Her wearable art was also purchased by movie stars – Dustin Hoffman, Billy Dee Williams, and Candace Bergman. Roy Horn (Las Vegas animal trainer) chose a tooled leather jacket festooned with rusted cleats, bottle caps and fishing tackle, pictorial panels told a tale of skeletons searching for the Holy Grail. Elton John’s kimono was covered in flying skeletons, their wings made of crushed matchbooks. In 1986 gallery owner Julie Schafler Dale featured several pieces by Nina in her book “Art to Wear”. This year from March 2 until August 20, 2017 a painted leather jacket Nina created in 1971 will be part of the exhibit “Counter-Couture: Handmade Fashion in an American Counterculture” in New York City at the Museum of Art and Design. Nina currently lives in Cleveland, creating and exhibiting art-occasionally wearable but almost always featuring skeletons and a chunk of something found on the street. Her work includes large fabric and mixed media quilts, multi panel leather and trash assemblages, tabards, collars, bags large and small, and tiny one piece leather/trash “collages” on wood. Nina’s work has left show goers in awe for many years at Ghoultide Gathering and we are so happy that she will bring a wonderful collection to Bewitching Peddlers!
Scott Smith Behind the facade of a rather ordinary home in Southwest Michigan, lies an underground space brimming with Halloween figures that could provide the basis for many movies. A box of witch heads sits next to a grinning jack-o-lantern. A skeleton attempts to climb out of a violin case while a bat raises a glass of wine, or is it blood? This mysterious space is actually the basement studio of Scott Smith, creator, and mastermind of Rucus Studio.Scott spends countless hours in his studio creating and working to look beyond the obvious. Searching out that hidden idea to bring a new character into play. Some of his most successful and unexpected works have been created by just letting his imagination play and not over-thinking. Making up stories and giving life to inanimate objects was a childhood pastime for Smith, which turned into a successful career. He admits to an overactive imagination resulting in a cast of curious creatures featured in several books and magazines. Though it may sound a bit crazy, his spirited characters have become his day-to-day friends in the studio. Smith no longer views them as relating to a particular season or holiday, but more as just a very diverse group of playmates...some are pushy, while others are shy. Either way, he keeps his eyes peeled, as these eccentric companions are mischievous and can cause quite a "ruckus" in the studio. Halloween is a year-round business for Rucus Studio. Even in the dead of winter, you can find Scott sketching or sculpting new works for the coming fall. His studio is an organized sort of chaos; figures clustered on the work table, bins overflowing with parts to be added to characters, and fabrics somewhat sorted by colors. It can be overwhelming for most, but Smith claims that working amongst all the materials helps to keep the ideas flowing. "I work slow and easily fall prey to getting caught up in the smallest of details. I enjoy the process and couldn't imagine working any other way." For the last 15 years, Scott's work life has also included the role of promoter for many artful shows. His dedication in promoting Ghoultide Gathering along with his fellow artisans has helped raise an awareness of Halloween art among collectors and set a standard for future shows to follow. Now retired from show promoting, Smith returns his focus to Rucus Studio and looks forward to sharing new works at Bewitching Peddlers of Halloween.
Melissa Belanger There is something magical about Melissa Belanger. Speaking with her is akin to wandering into one of her paintings for a brief stay. Vibrant yet mysterious Melissa brings us into her vision of Halloween with a cheerful simplicity and retro-modern edge. She lulls us into a luscious spell and her magic wand is her paintbrush! Her background is in Art Education & Graphic Design with an emphasis in figurative sculpture. A few years ago, her sculptures started turning into colorful, textural paintings. Paintings are now her main focus, but she still occasionally makes figures based on them. Melissa brings her paintings to life in her converted 1914 carriage house. She has designed projects for "Better Homes & Gardens Holiday Crafts Magazine" & has done demonstrations of her art for HGTV's "Crafters Coast to Coast". Over the years, she has exhibited her work in galleries, juried shows, & boutiques throughout the Midwest and has participated in Ghoultide Gathering in years past. Please mark your calendar for an exciting chance to meet a fabulous artist in person at Bewitching Peddlers of Halloween.
The Gravestone girls Brenda Sullivan Cemeteries are so much more that a resting place for our loved ones. They keenly allow us to reflect on our mortality while letting us look over our shoulders into another time. For some, a cemetery may seem a bit Macabre, but for Brenda Sullivan of the Gravestone Girls, a cemetery is an intriguing box of stories waiting to be devoured. Each era holds a certain charm for Brenda and by listening to the gravestones, she is keeping the dead alive. Her Grandmother took her to family cemeteries to take care of the grounds when she was a child. She was completely taken with the art on the gravestones. Her small hands traced over the letters and numbers. She practiced reading the epitaphs, but they spoke to her in a way that resonated with her deeply and would become her passion. Cemeteries have been a constant in her life since childhood, that is something that we both have in common. I too traveled gleefully to the cemetery with my Grandmother, taking in the massive and enchanting funerary monuments. Brenda is from Central Massachusetts, there you can find some of the oldest English colonial settlements in North America and centuries-old cemeteries. Educated in art history and antique restoration, Brenda devised a process that she could take with her into cemeteries and create replicas of beautiful and haunting gravestone artwork. She is a member of the Association for Gravestone Studies, an organization that promotes the artistic and historical preservation and study of gravestones. The group is infused with headstone aficionados who approach the subject from the perspectives of “art, history, genealogy, archaeology, anthropology, conservation, or material culture.” According to Sullivan, “membership of the AGS is vast. Everything from hobbyists to educators with PhDs. There’s conservators and artists and everybody in between. You’d be amazed at how many niches there are in that genre.” Brenda will be on hand at Bewitching Peddlers of Halloween offering her decorative artwork. This collection is derived from 17th-21st century gravestones found in cemeteries throughout the New England region. All the pieces offered by The Gravestone Girls are hand-formed and finished in a process developed specifically to never harm historical gravestones. Preservation is always the primary concern.
Susan Bartolucci Art maven and matron of one of Napa Valley’s oldest wine producing families, Susan Bartolucci begins each day tuning into the serendipitous whispers of life. She was born in Hollywood California, but as a child moved to Northern California where she was raised. Susan met Andrea while attending California State University, Fresno, and moved to the Napa Valley after their marriage in 1968. She lived in Oakville California on the family vineyard and taught kindergarten in Yountville when it was still a sleepy little town. Living on the vineyard she also began her internship as a “vineyard” wife and an occasional helper at the family winery in Oakville. She often says that in those early days, in order to spend time with “Buck,” on the weekends especially, she had to work alongside him. Things have not changed much. That is still true today only now, however, it is the weekdays, as well as the weekends at Madonna Estate Winery. Susan has lived many lives, but art has been a constant. She loves to unearth bits and fragment of the past and recombobulate them into a magical assemblage, each having the Susan Bartolucci fingerprint of pun and humor. For Susan, the journey of creating art is as important as the resulting works. She is constantly reinventing herself and is always on a new trip somewhere, most often without any preconceived notion of where she is going. Her creations may take the form of figurative sculpture, ornamentation, collage, assemblage, or acetylene torched tin. Susan has been published in many national publications and her work is collected internationally. She is inspired by the theatrical vintage circus and Halloween themes; you will see the two cross over as if they are dancing a brilliant dance. Susan listens to her muse and never plays to her critics, she is a true creator of the layered character, combining anything that takes her whim. No matter what she dreams up, all of her work speaks to her serendipitous way of living. She uses a variety of materials and tools such as found object or objects, fabric, clay, papier mache, paper, wire, tin, paint, etc. Nothing is held sacred. Anything can become a material to be used to create art, or as a whole used in an artistic way. She draws the inspiration for each creation from the raw materials that she gathers around herself. She tries to see the potential in everything to become something else, or a version, or best version of itself. She most always tries to combine materials in a new way which usually results as previously said, in a humorous tale. The art of Halloween is her passion. She does it year-round in addition to other themes, and seasonal work. Some people say she likes to exercise her demons in her work, but she prefers to call it unknown inspiration from the hulk of a muse that lingers nearby. Susan hosts the wildly popular America Folk Art HOLIDAY Festival in Napa California. We are honored to announce Susan’s participation in our 2018 Bewitching Peddlers of Halloween.
Alycia Matthews Living in historic Massachusetts has brought a healthy dose of enchantment to Alycia Matthews. There has never been a season that she doesn’t recall the brave satisfaction she feels from being a creative. The New England stars whisper in her ear a bewitching tale of a sweet Halloween. Calling Newburyport her home, Alycia infuses her work with whimsy, magic and the feeling of nostalgia. Each piece awakens on her work table with sweet little grins and gleeful faces. She begins her creative process by hand drawing each piece and then expertly creating the sculptures using papier mache. As she works, a story unfurls before her eyes. Alycia’s whimsical style and hand painted Halloween flair has gained her national acclaim within the Halloween art community. Each of her unique characters are adorned with delicate details and artful attire. We are sure you will be charmed by sweetness.