Ted Sokolowski began woodturning 17 years ago after the internet pushed him out of illustrating by hand.
“Believe it or not, there are a lot of similarities,” Sokolowski said in comparing illustrating and woodturning, in which wood is shaped while spinning on a lathe. “Drawing translates into just about every other art form — sculpting, painting and photography. With woodturning, I’m just drawing with a chisel as opposed to drawing with pencil and paper.”
Sokolowski, who now owns Peppermills Studios in Pennsylvania, demonstrated his craft at Woodstock/New Paltz Art and Craft Fair at the Ulster County Fairgrounds Sunday by turning red cedar blocks into rounded wine stoppers within minutes. Each of his pepper-and-salt-mills on display have "unique flair," he said. Some are ingrained with actual peppercorns on the outside, others with salt, which adds color and texture to the wood.
Like an art show, vendors for the fair are selected by a jury, meaning artists and artisans submit photos of their work in advance and are accepted into the fair based on the quality of their art, co-director Scott Rubenstein said.
“My brother and I grew up as woodworkers," Rubenstein said. "That’s pretty much our passion, so we pride ourselves on one-of-a-kind furnishings in the show."
More than 215 artists from all over the country, including Florida and California, were selected, Rubenstein said. One requirement of the show is that the artist or craftsman must be on hand to answer questions about their work.
“It’s important because the foundation of the show is that the visitors will meet the artists,” Rubenstein said. “That’s been the formula since we began the fair in 1981. Whether the artist is buying something or there to learn, artists are here to make a connection with the buyer.”
From wooden bowls to wind chimes made from wine bottles, art at the festival ranges from practical to whimsical.
Artist Amalia Flaisher creates whimsical designs onBuy Photo
Artist Amalia Flaisher creates whimsical designs on wine bottles recycled as wind chimes. The wind chimes were among many of the unique offerings at the Woodstock/ New Paltz Art and Crafts Fair Sunday. (Photo: Amanda J. Purcell/Poughkeepsie Journal)
Artist Amalia Flaisher, whose studio Sand and Water Creations in Glass is based in New Hampshire, has been attending the show for five years. She showed off her unique wind chimes-made wine glasses. Each wine glass had a painted scene. She also creates jewelry from glass pendants.
“I love working with glass because it is very fragile but can be very strong, too,” she said. “I can relate to that.”