, Salem, MA

November 7, 2013

2 arts, crafts shows just in time for the holidays

By Will Broaddus
Staff writer

---- — Art lovers — and shoppers — have two big shows opening this weekend, just in time for the holiday season.

The Crane Estate holds its 10th annual show and sale in Ipswich, and the Danvers Art Association hosts the grand opening of its annual Arts-A-Glow crafts sale. Both have become holiday traditions on the North Shore.

For the Crane Estate show, Julia Purinton is going to try something a little different.

Though her paintings will still focus on the natural beauty of the North Shore, and the Crane Estate in particular, Purinton will look at these landscapes through some new angles.

“I would say the larger of the two pieces I have has a longer view looking out over the marsh than I typically do,” she said. “It’s a broader view, from a higher vantage point.

“The other piece is more of a forced perspective. It’s close to a low level, down below, looking at a boardwalk that recedes dramatically and forcefully into the background.”

Purinton has exhibited work in the nine previous Crane Estate shows and won Best in Show twice, an award that is voted by visitors.

Her unique takes on some familiar, but always breathtaking, views at the Crane Estate are in line with the theme of this year’s show, “Shifting Perspectives.”

“You’ll be seeing some landscapes from a different viewpoint,” said Trina Schell, a public programs and volunteer manager for the Trustees of Reservations. “We don’t require artists to focus on Trustees properties, but we do have a good number that focus on Crane Beach and Castle Hill and Appleton Farms.”

More than 70 artists will exhibit photography, sculpture, furniture and paintings.

“We’ve never had as much three-dimensional art work as we do this year, some really exciting stuff,” Schell said. “We have some very large floor pieces. We have works in the Great House, and we have outdoor sculpture on the grand allee. We also have some chairs that are absolute works of art, created from antique woods or a root structure.”

Photographer Ben Staples of Ipswich, who has also participated in the Crane show from the beginning, will be showing landscapes with a unique perspective.

“One of the things I’ve been working on for a long time is stitching images,” Staples said. “For some reason, I seem to see in a wider view, or I’m not satisfied with the view I see through a camera.”

A wide-angle lens could capture this wider perspective, but it would add a fish-eyed distortion to the image, which Staples doesn’t want.

“I traditionally have shot with film, and I still do,” said Staples, whose images often feature the salt marsh and other local settings. “But I scan those images with a scanner into a computer, and work with them in Photoshop.”

Aside from joining series of images into one picture, he limits the manipulation of photos to things he could do in a darkroom, like concentrating extra light onto photographic paper.

“It’s a typical darkroom photography trick to get what I consider to be a pretty realistic and honest representation of what I see,” Staples said.

Most of the works on view will also be on sale, with half of the proceeds going to the Trustees of Reservations, a nonprofit organization that maintains historic properties throughout Massachusetts.

Crafts in Danvers

This weekend will also feature the grand opening of the Danvers Art Association’s Arts-A-Glow Craft Fair.

The show will include original artwork by members, including paintings, photography, mixed media and graphics, but the emphasis will be on crafts, ranging from jewelry, ornaments, candlesticks and pottery to wooden toys for children.

“There will be lots of mittens, sweaters and even dog sweaters, beautiful handmade scarves, table runners and placemats,” said Rebecca Prescott, chairwoman of the fair.

Prescott will display watercolors and photographs but has also created a calendar for men that features photos of antique cars, and a “gent’s valet box, which is a gentleman’s jewelry box. “

“There was never anything for men at the fair. That was my idea, to have something there for the guys,” she said.

The fair will feature free art workshops and activities that children can enjoy while their parents shop, and plenty of baked goods will be for sale.

The fair will continue every weekend until Dec. 22, when a raffle drawing will be held.

“The big item is a Christmas tree loaded with lottery tickets,” Prescott said, “and one individual wins it.”

CRANE ESTATE ART SHOW & SALE When: Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 9 and 10, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Where: Castle Hill on the Crane Estate, Argilla Road, Ipswich Admission: Free Information: 978-356-4351 or ARTS-A-GLOW CRAFT FAIR When: Friday, Nov. 8, 5 to 9 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 9 and 10, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fair continues every Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. through Dec. 22 Where: Danvers Art Association, 105 Elliott St., Danvers Admission: Free Information: 978-777-8501 or