“From 2012 to 2013 Rhode Island Artist, Nora Rabins, with help from a grant from Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, researched and created colorful sails that would eventually be hoisted onto the 17th century Sherman Windmill at Newport Restoration Foundation’s Prescott Farm in Portsmouth Rhode Island. On May 19th 2013 with the public’s help, the beautifully painted sails were put in place onto the windmill which gave the mill the ability to run on wind power and grind corn for the first time since 1987.”
-History in Color Exhibit 2014
Nora Rabins was at the Meeting House in Tiverton Four Corners this past weekend for the opening of an exhibit showcasing the once aerial sails she conceptualized over year ago. The vibrant and graphic color blocks visually inspired by the Sherman Windmill represent, not only a dedicated artistic pursuit, but a an even longer history of a close relationship between man and machine.
The story of how the project came to be is a combination of serendipity, music, trial, error, hard work, and enthusiastic community support.
A background in furniture design and a M.F.A from RISD propelled this young artist into a world of big ideas, structures, materials, and space; some just as fantastical as the windmills she would soon adopt. “You have a vision that confronts reality. I knew this project was about not giving up,” she says.
Nora responded to an ad by the Newport Restoration Foundation looking for someone to make a sign for an upcoming exhibit. Being a “maker,” Nora, along with the help of a colleague, jumped into the project with eager eyes and able hands. That’s when she discovered the NRF’s windmill. “It was already its own thing. It had history. It was beautiful.” One thing led to another and pretty soon Nora had secured a residency with the NRF and had rigged up a loom inside the windmill that played music by stepping on the petals. No small feat.
Weaving song and history together soon gave rise to a new idea: Nora wanted to reenact the past in the present; she wanted to make this windmill turn. And so began Nora’s yearlong love affair with windmills. Her research went deep into their history and opened a world of colorful revelations about people past and present. “I fell in love with the ‘other’ Rhode Island,” she said referring to the more southern, “self-sustaining” cultures like Newport and Portsmouth.
Even more remarkable for Nora was the idea that windmills were a real means of communication. Wars, celebrations, messages, were all communicated through the turning of the mill. The disparity between modern technologies and the windmills was eye-opening, sobering, and enough to make Nora get out her paints.
Using airbrush paint, giant stencils, and sail cloth, Nora mimicked a windmill in the stencil design with the hopes they would bring to life the windmill that had been dormant since 1987. “We imagine the past was in black and white, but it was equally colorful as it is now,” she said of her choice to use bright yellows and blues for the design. “I wanted it to be modern. I didn’t want to just tell my story, it’s about real life.”
Nora overcame small bumps in the design process propelling her own artistic vision to one of maturity and perseverance, and an extra dose of artistic integrity. The windmill project received a lot of press and Nora did not shy away from the limelight, even through her most challenging days. “I wanted people to see the process. This is a problem to solve.”
Out of this display of history and dedication came a blossoming of connection and community support that Nora never saw coming, but nonetheless impacted her profoundly. Making friends was just the start; she now has invitations to build sails for real sail boats, and perhaps do an encore of the beautifully surreal windmill exhibit at Prescott Hall.
“Windmills were a gathering place. They brought people together,” she says. It is only fitting that the sails should now make their appearance in Tiverton’s The Meeting House. The cloth sails are hung magnificently inside the aptly named meeting place for an exhibit that Nora hopes will continue to unite people, communities, history, and time. “
We invite you to come gather for two more inspiring events featuring the work of Nora Rabins:
Wednesday March 5th 3 documentary short films reveal the process of Nora’s work; she will be present to answer questions.
Sunday March 9th celebrate the closing of the exhibit with a demonstration by Nora.
What’s on your list ToDo list this season? Getting a tree? Finding the right gift? Taking time to relax? Four Corners has you covered. Our small shops are brimming with ideas for you and your family this season, each to be accomplished at a leisurely pace.
If admiring Christmas lights is part of your holiday tradition, we invite you join Four Corners for an “up cycled” community event featuring non-traditional christmas trees all made from recycled materials. The free Re-Tree Event is December 14th from 4-6pm at the Meeting House in Tiverton Four Corners where they will announce contest winners! If you can’t make the date stop by anyway, the trees will stay up for viewing through January 4th.
Need some gift ideas? Tiffanny Peay was pictured with this beautiful necklace in the Herald News. Know someone who might like one? Any art lovers on your list? Galleries are a great place to go to find a beautiful and completely unexpected gift. Kathrine Lovell and Libby Gilpatric have open studios this month and the Donovan Gallery is having one last big sale before it closes its doors. Shopping online this year? Sue Freda Studios and other T4C boutiques now have on online retail stores!
photo by www.laurapreshong.com
A Holiday Sale for Tiverton Lovers! The Tiverton Historical Society will hold a gift sale on December 7th and 8th at the Chase-Cory House featuring jams, jellies, mugs, caps, collectable ornaments, and more.
The Winter Arts and Artisan Fair the 14th and 15th is a great excuse to get out with the girls and get inspired. This year you will find fine handmade clothing, sea glass jewelry, this lovely art made from old farmhouses, goodies to eat, and lots more!
Going to a party or having guests? Milk and Honey Bazaar make the holiday munchies worth it. Put your own basket of goodies together or have them make one for you!
Santa is coming to Four Corners! Cutie Curls consignment will host Santa himself from 10-2pm December 14th and 15th. Come by to take a picture with the big guy, do some free crafts, and look around at our favorite consignment store! You can even ride there in a horse and carriage!
Wherever your holiday season takes you, we hope you stop by our neighborhood to savor a community of relaxed and cheerful local shops.
From all of us at Tiverton Four Corners
Gallery owner Bob Smith got it right when he said the newest exhibit at Gallery4 is “a feast for the eyes.” The works featured at “6@4″ present a fascinating exploration of color, contrast, and form, palatable to the senses and pleasing to behold. The exhibit features six local artists: Joseph Edwards Alexander, Victoria McGeoch, Susan Strauss, Gedas Paskauskas, Mark Wholey, and Harry Nadler, each dynamic in their own right.
Harry Nadler –long represented at Gallery4, and nationally acclaimed– strikes a emotive chord as you enter left the exhibit with a wall-sized color abstraction, uncharacteristic of his usual geometric paintings, but equally, if not more, charged. Juxtaposed with more familiar geometric splices of color his paintings articulate strength, power, and mysticism entirely un-matched. Among his credits, Nadler’s work was showcased at the Louvre in 1972.
Tucked between canvases around the gallery is the sculpture work of Victoria McGeoch. Her bronze and iron figures capture familiar emotions with deep, muscular and poised human forms. Victoria combines an element of fashion into each sculpture, drawing on a combined passion for textiles and beauty of the natural landscape. Victoria is a resident of Little Compton.
Gedas Paskauskas likewise resides in Little Compton and makes his mark on the walls of Gallery4 with a series of stark and simplistic ink paintings, and a small selection of colorful oil paintings inspired by his travels. The paintings are clean, pure, and soothing.
Across the room, viewing the work of Joseph Edwards Alexander is like remembering a daydream; a surprise of vivid colors flood through acrylic brushstrokes with fervor and splendor. The gallery also represents a deviation from his bold abstractions, showcasing serene and light-filled New England scenes.
Sunny and spacious is the work of Susan Strauss. She masters the canvas with indefinite depth and lightness of color in a series of reflective oil paintings produced with a plain air technique. Her representation at this show has comes after a successful debut at Gallery4 last year and substantial involvement with important local arts communities.
But perhaps the most stunning is the work of Mark Wholey that greets visitors to this bold exhibit with a lighting bolt-like outdoor sculpture at the entrance to the gallery. “Hephastus” is a greek-inspired representation of the god of metallurgy, “composed, yet a bit spastic.” The work celebrates the capable emotion of metal and also of color; “violet is linked with the need to delve into hidden and obscure knowledge, it promotes the search into the meaning of life, ideals, and perfection.” Mark’s abstract sculpture work is also showcased indoors.
This summer 6@4 offers an exclusive chance to view powerful art amidst a tranquil rural landscape, and local art at that. 6@4 will be open July 5th through September 29th. For more information visit www.gallery4tiverton.com.
The Four Corners Arts Center has been busy this year, and their latest installment came boldly in the form of steel, making for a striking sculpture-park opening and offering poignant enthusiasm for the world of nature, sculpture, and poetry.
Staggered on the lawn of the Meeting House, muscular works of steel pose frozen amidst the trees in a deft combination of power and submission. A wolf, elk, deer, and porcupine stand juxtaposed in a shaded wood. These sculptures are the works of Wendy Klemperer, a Brooklyn based sculpture artist who has devoted her career to exploring the animal world and relationship of both beauty and beast. She found this most recent home for her work in the woodlands of Tiverton Four Corners where the landscape itself becomes part of the exhibit as it weaves through negative spaces in the work.
Wendy describes her animals as “raw, present, and absent,” all imagined with the potential for new life. But the process to create them begins in a junkyard. Wendy searches scraps for discarded pieces of workable metal to weld into sophisticated sculptures, transforming lifeless, tarnished metal into artistic splendor. Grand in posture and poise, her sculptures are both graceful and fierce and their presence is arresting.
Curator Kate Mullen found the space for this exhibit and likewise sparked the idea of mixing the sculpture with written word. She invited poet David O’Connell to create a poetic verse to accompany the exhibit. “It was my first on demand piece,” he said, but found a jolt of inspiration in the vocabulary of Wendy’s work. “Extricated,” he says was an unfamiliar word but eventually inspiring to his evocative poem. “Banished they Return to Us” weaves a story from multiple perspectives –the viewer and then eventually the animals themselves– capturing the essence of Wendy’s emotional art works: a transformation of something forgotten.
Kate Mullen wanted the exhibit to be accessible to children and adults alike, a vision come true as all ages gathered with fascination at the sculpture park opening. David O’Connell along with his wife will be offering a free poetry workshop for kids on August 6th.
You can view the sculpture exhibit anytime on the lawn of the Meeting House and also during the Four Corners Art’s Center’s 20th Anniversary Celebration this August 18th at the Meeting House. Kid friendly, teenager approved, and grownup favored, this exhibit is worth a trip to Four Corners this summer.
Tending to flowers, for some, conjures up visions of ease and leisure, grace, a slowed-pace, and long summer evenings spent arranging freshly cut roses while a cold glass of iced tea waits sweetly on the porch. Gardens can provide a relaxing pastime for amateurs and experts alike, but lets face it, when it comes to weeds, dirty fingernails, and scrawny perennials, they can send others running for the hills. And, when it comes to thinking about wedding flowers, it’s a whole different can of worms. Brides especially have a lot on their plate and little spare time for wistful days planting or planning bouquets. Tending to wedding flowers, then, becomes an expert’s job.
Sayles Livingston, the mother of Sayles Livingston Floral Design based in Tiverton Four Corners is an expert. She’s been sourcing and snipping bright, lush, and simply beautiful bouquets for weddings for over 20 years. Surrounded by wood-planked ceilings and tubs full of peonies, she laughs when recalling her own wedding; “It was sort of silly. I probably should have been mingling with guests,” she recalls. Instead she was busy tending to the flowers. That’s because flowers seem to be part of her being, Sayles Livingston is pretty serious about gorgeous flowers.
Arranging the flowers for her own wedding happened about the same time her expert eye and artistic compositions were beginning to draw crowds. While studying for a Masters in Plant Science at URI, Sayles’ home garden made an impression on her landlord who asked Sayles to arrange flowers for his daughter’s wedding. She began working out of her home as word spread about the outstanding arrangements. An outpouring of wedding offers ensued, and Sayles Livingston Flowers was born.
Twenty years after a stunning backyard garden awarded her with her first wedding gig, Sayles has opened her own shop in Tiverton and is receiving her fair share of publicity, appearing in high profile magazines like Vogue and Grace Ormonde. Most recently, her unique and glamorous flower-made flower girl dresses appeared in an article in the Huffington Post, but she doesn’t let the fame get to her head. A talk with Sayles is as relaxing as some might find the job of tending to the garden. A calm and cool Sayles is reassuring and confident about her work, bringing the stress of wedding planning all the way down to earth. That’s what keeps clients coming, she says.
The style of her arrangements is just as organic and even more enchanting, a perfect match to the beautiful rural location her Tiverton Four Corners shop. There, a generous range of work and repertoire of special events are on display in her loft space and give brides plenty of ideas to work with. Sayles and her homegrown team also provide full-service event design. Everything from linens to light fixtures can be coordinated into something spectacular.
With 20 years under her belt Sayles knows a thing or two about weddings and encourages brides to be choosy about selecting a floral designer; “Choose someone who will provide you with confidence, and then let the people who know what they’re doing do what they do best,” she says. Faith in your flowers means you have time to relax, mingle, and admire the beauty of one of the most important days, your wedding day. Sayles invites brides to come and meet her in the shop to see her work, get a sense of her style, and more importantly talk about the dirt of wedding flowers.
Learn more about Sayles Livingston Flowers at www.sayleslivingstonflowers.com.
With every ending comes a new beginning. So is the fashionable story at a first floor shop in Tiverton Four Corners where India Kenyon has transformed the once vacant space formerly occupied by Little Purls into something a little different: a little more glitzy, a little more global, and certainly just as cute.
Cutie Curls is a children’s consignment boutique infused with an impressive inventory of new items, locally-made accessories, baby blankets, toys, shoes and so much more all at consignment prices. A resident of Little Compton with 3 girls of her own, India sorely missed the well-loved children’s shop, Little Purls, after it closed but realized an even greater longing for affordable boutique-quality shopping in the Four Corners area. So was born Cutie Curls.
India hand-makes many of the colorful accessories you’ll find in the small shop. From flowery barrettes, to colorful hats and glittery headbands, are all the product of a crafty mom who spent years devoted to sewing dance costumes and sports uniforms for a small clientele (including her three girls). India’s “at home” business grew into a wholesale business which included statewide sales in 32 shops around Rhode Island before she finally opened Cutie Curls in the Mill Pond Shops of Four Corners this passed December.
Despite a passion for pink, India hopes to pass along more than just glamor and great prices to her shoppers. She describes the Cutie Curls motto as, ”you get back what you give,” and so, she gives a lot…to local charities, social workers, fire fighters, and other community support systems to provide clothing and toys to those in need. Most impressively she has passed on this love of philanthropy onto her own daughter who has become an active member of the non-profit organization Water for Cambodia. Along with installing water filters to provide clean water to villagers, India’s daughter Nina brings clothing from her mom’s shop to give to Cambodian residents. Now Cutie Curls has a piece of Cambodia on their shelves too. Beautiful handmade scarves and accessories are available for purchase with a portion of the proceeds directly funding this extraordinary charity.
So if you like to shop and like to give (and maybe get a little something too) stop by Cutie Curls at 3952 Main Road in Tiverton Four Corners. India welcomes new consigners who can receive 40% for their consignment sales or donate the 40% to a charity of their choice including Water for Cambodia. This summer the store also looks forward to hosting children’s authors, storytimes, and special events outside in the historic village. For this cutie consignment store, their story has just begun.
Cutie Curls is open Wednesdays through Saturdays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can also visit them on Facebook.
Reminiscent of ocean tides and sandy summer shorelines, Salt, the newest boutique to open in Four Corners, has more than a beachy name. It’s colorful and stylish assortment of clothing, beach bags, gifts, and more will have you yearning for a well-dressed day in the sand.
Opened just in time to perk up your wardrobe for the summer, the beautiful boutique carries a wide selection of apparel for both women and men. Think nautical strips, bold prints, and eco-minded wear like recycled wire bracelets and Adriano Goldschmied denim (made exclusively in the USA). Other popular accessories like Societe de Senteur –gorgeous fragrances with a euro flare– and locally made sea glass jewelry make for an entirely sensual shopping trip. Salt’s most sought after items include new Roberta Roller Rabbit patterned beach bags with India-inspired prints, and Jennywear Jewlery, the recently preferred alternative to Alex and Ani, personalized and made with real sterling silver.
Salt is the sister store to a popular Newport, RI boutique, Aqua, but as owner Emily Wheeler describes it, much more relaxed. Emily, a beach addict herself, lives just up the road from Four Corners and has always loved the quaint village shopping. She is excited to be a part of the local business community, and Four Corners is more than happy to have her. What’s not to love about fresh colors, cute and functional beach wear, and adorable jewelry?
Salt is located right next to The Cottage and across the street from Roseberry and Winn and plans to stay open year-round. So come grab a cookie at the Provender and dive into a day of local shopping starting at Salt!
For updates and more information you can visit Salt and Aqua on their Facebook page.
How does a painter paint, and paint well? What are the methods, the tricks, and techniques? These were questions answered for Libby Manchester Gilpatric–lover of light, contrast, and color– when she dove into an inspiring academic career at Lyme Academy. Before then she had been an avid calligrapher and dabbled in watercolors, but it wasn’t until her move to New England that she endeavored to fulfill her dream of becoming a skilled oil painter. Learning under precise and diligent “American masters” she accomplished something great: a wealth of oil paintings, numerous awards, and now, her own studio in Tiverton Four Corners.
The small second-floor room on the corner of Main Road is a place of wonder. Cultured, gentle, and sultry, her realist paintings live on hand-stretched linen canvases bringing a home to spirited scenes from her imagination. Having traveled widely in her career and lifetime landscapes dominate her inspiration although, for Libby, subjects are always the most interesting. “I love to paint figures, it’s always based on something real for me,” she says. In her studio overlooking the small village you will discover a world of fishermen, hydrangeas, bedrooms, and corn fields. Her paintings range in size and appear in galleries around the state. Most recently, her work has received the worthy title “Best in Show” at the Little Compton Art Show.
Of all painting practices mastered and spontaneous, the most tantalizing for Gilpatric is the color play. As she explains, fundamental oil painting technique limits the painter to four or so colors, the basic earth tones found in nature. “I love mixing color, I find it very satisfying to mix those colors and see how many you can make.” One look at Gilpatric’s studio and you will realize her success: a world of colors dark, deep, rich, light, fresh, fragrant, and wonderful.
“Oil paintings go through transitions; the coloring acts differently and you can’t always control exactly how it will change overtime; It’s so forgiving.”
Now beginning her own artistic transformation, Libby has the pleasure of working with the most natural light in her studio career at this new Tiverton setting. ”This is the purest light you can get,” she says motioning toward the natural light pouring from not two, but three large windows around the room. After spending the first weeks setting up the studio, she it ready to get to work, and visitors can be sure with this potent mixture of unblended light, experienced passion, and oil painting prowess they will find exceptional works of art here.
Libby is a member of the SouthCoast Artists Group. You can visit her in the studio at 3879 Main Rd. in Tiverton Four Corners anytime, or stop by her website or Facebook page for updates on her work. Libby is also offering private art lessons, call her at 401-440-3974 to make an appointment.
In this age of digital sharing it seems just about anyone can call themselves a photographer, but only a selective few of these camera-savvy folk stand out as true artists. As Sally Swart of Cantin Photography knows all too well, capturing beautiful images takes more than the just right camera or equipment.
Her canvas-printed, mantelpiece-quality portrait shots are instead a product of her vision and artistic process, “I use photography as my palette, the camera is secondary,” says Swart amidst the warmth of her Tiverton Four Corners studio. One meeting with Sally Swart and her passion for photography comes to light, mostly through her exuberant and sometimes eccentric personality, but more deeply through a genuinely heartfelt devotion to making a portrait shot into a masterpiece.
According to Swart, there is a method to her masterpieces, and the first step: getting to know you. “Portraits tell stories, pictures do not. If I’m going to photograph them, I have to get to know them first,” she says; making heirlooms is no easy business after all. But to clients that frequent Swart’s studio the experience is a breeze. Either she spends the day with you and your family, or an hour with you in the studio, but either way Swart shared with us how personalizing the experience is one of her most precious tricks of the trade. After a session, the magic comes through the combinations, blending the right canvas and colors to make a beautiful portraits.
For Swart the country setting for her studio in Tiverton Four Corners was an obvious choice; it offers a “wonderful location for photography,” and sits central to the big cities of Newport, Providence, and Boston. Big city appeal and small town feel and service make her perfect neighbors to the 20 surrounding shops in the modern village each sharing a similar respect for the beauty of land and it’s people.
And Sally Swart knows something beautiful when she sees it. Swart started out photographing while sailing on the water where she met her husband. Her business has unfolded as Swart’s own life has evolved.. from sailboats to weddings, weddings to families, families to pets. She has won numerous awards for her portraiture and is a member of the Professional Photographers of America while proudly holding the title Master Photographer, and Master Craftsman. We’re not surprised.
“Everything is a metamorphosis” says Swart looking through a group of new shots for her next project: a book of portraiture from her travels to Africa, something else spectacular to look forward to from Cantin Photography. To learn more about Sally Swart and how you can get an appointment at her countryside studio call Sally at 401-624-4777 or visit her online at www.cantinphoto.com.
There’s a new yarn shop in town! It’s Perfectly Twisted Yarn, a sweet and simple addition to the Four Corners Village happily stocking a colorful inventory of yarns and accessories for everyone’s knitting needs. After Sakonnet Pearls closed earlier this year a piece of village life was missing from the hearts of locals, luckily these three women banned together to bring back what they and many other yarn-lovers were sorely missing. They are Kate, Karen, and Maureen, a mother, daughter, and good friend with a combined mastermind of knowledge about all things knitting.
Not just a yarn shop the ladies hope to create a new community gathering space for folks to spend as long as their hearts desire to sit, learn, and knit. The women hope to commence classes in the fall, so check back at their website often for up to date information on products and class offerings. In the meantime, stop by and say hello to the newest members of four corners community and most delightful knitting shop around. From buttons to bags this shop will surely inspire your inner knitter.
Perfectly Twisted Yarn is open Tuesday-Sunday 12:30-5pm at 3879 Main Rd next to the Provender. Visit them online at perfectlytwistedyarn.com