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Woodworking weekend coming soon in Northville

Thursday, July 03, 2014 - Updated: 9:33 AM

NORTHVILLE -- The July 18-20 Woodworking and Fine Arts Weekend sponsored by the Northville Rotary includes more than 50 talented artists from areas near and far. The two featured artists this year are Peter Schoonmaker of Gloversville, who builds Adirondack Westport chairs, and Cheryl Gutmaker of Scotia, who creates fused glass pieces.

Schoonmaker grew up in Gloversville and graduated from the State University of New York at Alfred in 1975 where he studied architectural technology that included construction, design and cabinet-making.

After college, he worked with his father, Robert Schoonmaker, in the family carpentry and contracting business that was established in 1955. Peter continues that business today, having worked as a carpenter and artisan in the Fulton County area for 39 years.

In 2003, he became interested in the design of the Westport chair, and began building historically correct reproductions of the original chairs in a variety of woods. Westport chairs were designed in Westport, N.Y., by Thomas Lee and were later built by a local carpenter, Henry Bunnell, from 1904 to 1930.

The broad-armed chair made from wide plank lumber was made with what is described as exactly comfortable angles. Schoonmaker builds various forms of the chair, including the bungalow chair, the tete-a-tete (conversation chair) and the convertible rocker that has rockers that can be lowered to create a rocking chair from a stationary chair.

Schoonmaker has participated in shows throughout the Adirondack region, and photographs of his chairs were used in the PBS special on the Adirondacks, as well as on the cover of Fulton County's Images magazine. He was also featured in an article in Hudson Valley Home magazine about outdoor furniture.

He has built chairs for private camp owners to supplement their collections of original Westport chairs and has shipped chairs to destinations from Long Island to Colorado, as well as the Adirondack region. Each chair is created in his studio in Gloversville.

Gutmaker has been working with glass since 2004, and has been fortunate enough to enjoy the educational enrichment opportunities offered by The Studio at the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, as well as Oatka Glass Studio in Batavia.

Roger Thomas, Loren Stump, Caitlin Hyde, Suellen Fowler, Margaret Neher, Miriam De Fiore and Kathleen Sheard, as well as the work of Klaus Moje, are only a few of the glass masters whose work has influenced her development as a glass artisan. Cheryl uses fusing, flameworking, glassblowing, cold working and cold assembly to create her art.

The inspiration for her designs is born out of a passion for the interplay of light with the myriad combinations of color and shape that are possible in this medium. She enjoys manipulating natural and geometric shapes to translate her designs to glass. The natural luster of glass, which is liquid even in its "solid" state, is a melding of science and aesthetics.

Many of her pieces incorporate two or more methods of working the glass. Some of her fused pieces go through the kiln process two or three times at temperature up to 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit. Each firing involves the controlled raising and subsequent lowering of the temperature over many hours, and in some cases, days. Since each item is handmade, no two are exactly alike.

Gutmaker has been a featured artist in The Small Gallery at Valley Artisans Market (Cambridge), Sow's Ear Gallery and Studios (Schenectady), Desolation Road Gallery (Altamont), and part of group exhibitions at the Iron Spring Gallery (Ballston Spa), Mimosa Gallery (Saratoga Springs), Fulton Street Gallery (Troy) and 3 Pears Gallery (Dorset, Vt).

Pieces of her glass art can be found on display in public buildings in Saga City, Japan, and in private collections throughout the world. You can view her work at the show and on her website:

The Northville Rotary's sixth annual Woodworking and Fine Arts Weekend will be held in Northville at the Bradt Building and Town Park on Main Street Friday, July 18, from 5 to 8 p.m., Saturday, July 19, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, July 20, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

In addition to the two featured artists, more than 50 artists including woodworkers, painters, jewelers, photographers, weavers, basket makers, leather workers, potters, batik artists, and more will display their unique talents along with items for sale. There will also be a silent auction of artist-donated items and raffles including a Cannondale bicycle donated by "The Bike Works" in Johnstown and a kayak and gas card donated by Fuel and Food in Mayfield.

Opening ceremonies will begin at 5 p.m. Friday, July 18. Meet all the artists and purchase artwork until 8 p.m.

Many pieces of the artists' work will go to the highest bidder at a silent auction. There will be woodturning demonstrations by Rotarian Mike Kratky throughout the weekend.

Other sponsors of the show include Nationwide Insurance, Brown's Ford and NBTBank. The Sacandaga Valley Arts Network ( has scheduled Brad Vickers and the Vestapolitans Saturday evening at the Village Park. In addition, the Sacandaga Task Force for Senior Living is holding a chicken barbecue that evening.


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