Vineyard Haven’s Night Heron Gallery offers an abundant variety of work by some of the Island’s best local artists and craftsmen. They include jeweler Diana Stewart, ceramicist Lisa Strachan, jeweler Kathleen Tackabury, folk artist Washington Ledesma, book designer Ingrid Goff-Maidoff, painter Carolyn Warren, bag creator Sylvie Farrington, and collage and upcycled sweaters artist Beldan Radcliffe. New this year to the gallery are three more artists: oil painter Elizabeth R. Whelan, tile artist Heather Goff, and wood craftsman Paul Farrington. September is one of the gallery’s most successful months.
The only artist-owned and -operated cooperative gallery on the Island, Night Heron is now celebrating its ninth year. Gallery members take turns shop-sitting at the Main Street locale, and they share a history as friends and colleagues.
A Stamford, Conn., native, jeweler Diana Stewart has made the Vineyard her home for upwards of 30 years. She is trained as a metalsmith and a gemologist. Lately she has become obsessed with java opal from Indonesia for her jewelry, a relatively new find for her. “I sell them as fast as I can make them,” she says.
After growing up on the Vineyard, then leaving, ceramicist Lisa Strachan returned to make it her home in 1995. Her vases, bowls, and trays often feature the Island’s marine creatures like gastropods and conch in brilliant blues. Each handmade porcelain or stoneware piece is unique and made to order. Strachan also makes tiles for kitchens, baths, and fireplace frames, as well as plates and lamps.
A West Tisbury resident, jeweler Kathleen Tackabury is particularly well known for her skate fish pod pendants in silver, also known as mermaid purses, as well as horseshoe crab pendants. This year she has included earrings in those forms.
Washington Ledesma was born in Uruguay, emigrated to the U.S., and eventually landed on Martha’s Vineyard in the late 1980s, where he has become well known for his brightly colored folk art. He creates both terracotta vessels and tiles, as well as paintings, and has described himself as inspired by marine light.
The titles of Ingrid Goff-Maidoff’s books — “The Bliss of Being,” “The Joy Book,” “Befriending the Soul” — reflect the subjects that have inspired her and appeared in her poetry over the past 20 years. She also makes cards and gifts, and offers an email site that provides monthly joy cards. The evocative landscapes, flowers, and barns of Vineyard Haven’s Carolyn Warren reflect the Vineyard and the ocean that surrounds it. The bags fashioned by Sylvie Farrington, known as Sylviebags, are all one-of-a-kind and made from vintage fabrics. This craftsman learned to sew in Germany. She made her first in 1997, using 1940s barkcloth, a cotton so named because of its rough, tree-like texture.
An Islander since 1996, Beldan Radcliffe makes copper plate etchings, and once the plates are printed, she collages them with handmade paper. She is also known for her unique “upcycled sweaters.” As a form of wearable art, she takes recycled sweaters or shawls and recombines them to make new creations, which, she points out, is good for the environment.
Painter Elizabeth Whelan, born in the U.K., once lived aboard a Bristol sailboat, an experience that no doubt has influenced her love of marine subjects. Now based on Chappaquiddick, she is exhibiting two Vineyard-inspired paintings, “Race Morning,” and “Winter Seat Beside the Mill Pond,” among others. An artist with many facets, she has worked in graphic design, illustration, and web design, among other media. She also has linoleum and woodcut prints on display.
Chilmark’s Heather Goff joins her sister Ingrid at the gallery this year with her earthenware tiles in a variety of designs. The colorful and textured tiles are all handmade, fashioned from press molds on their ceramic bases. Woodworker Paul Farrington this year joins his wife, longtime Night Heron artist Sylvie, at the gallery. He came to the Island in 1989 as a boatbuilding apprentice, and that experience helped inspire his love of working with wood. Initially he made his woodwork out of scraps from boatbuilding, and he looks for unusual grain patterns and colors. Sometimes his tables have driftwood tops, and they all are made with Island wood.
The Night Heron Gallery, 58 Main St., Vineyard Haven, will remain open until Christmas, then reopen in April. 508-696-9500; nightherongallery.com. Open daily, 10 am to 6 pm.