Celtic Art; the local tradition, exhibit at Walker Metalsmiths.
I am pleased to announce an exhibit in Andover NY this September 21 to 29 will display locally produced Celtic art and design from the past fifty years. This special event honors the local tradition of Celtic art as lived by my teachers, students, my friends and apprentices.
“We were Celtic before Celtic was cool!” said my teacher William “Scotty MacCrea. Mr. MacCrea was the art teacher at Andover Central School from the 1958 until 1990. His influence is responsible for introducing me and several generations of Andover students to Celtic art. Some of his students have pursued professional careers as artists, but hundreds of his students gained an understanding and appreciation of Celtic art from his classes.
Since the 1980s there has been a worldwide Renaissance of Celtic art and design. In recent decades, the style, with its roots in the medieval and ancient traditions of Scot and Ireland has become mainstream in the fields of jewelry, tattoo art, monumental art, clothing and other applications. But in the 1960s and 70s a local tradition was already emerging in rural Andover, NY.
Dick Lang was in third grade when MacCrea started teaching in 1958. He recalls the teacher carving on wooden components of his elaborate “assemblage” sculptures during class. Lang went on to study ceramic art at Alfred University and has had a lifelong career as a ceramic artist. A Celtic design plate he made in 1968 as a freshman will be on display at the exhibit.
I am hosting the exhibit at my workshop on Main Street. When people ask me how I became interested in Celtic art, the answer is “bagpipes!” I am originally from Syracuse from a Scottish and Irish family. My mother played bagpipes and my grandmother gave me a little book about Celtic art in the summer of 1968 when I was 11 years old. My family moved to Andover in 1969 while I was in 6th grade I learned to play bagpipes and began to make Celtic jewelry originally as regalia for the bagpipe band. My Celtic jewelry has been a full time business in Andover since 1984.
Outsiders are often puzzled about why my business is in Andover. As I was explaining it this summer I realized that it had been fifty years. In fact the opening reception for this exhibit is on the 50th anniversary of the day I met Mr. MacCrea. The year before we moved to Andover I became friends with Kevin MacCrea. I met his father “Scotty” at Kevin’s birthday party on September 21 1968.
Several of MacCrea’s sculpture will be displayed along with work by his son Kevin, daughter in-law Debora and grandsons Colin and Alex. Andover Alumni featured include Dick and John Lang, Jerry Brown, Greg Hardy, Eric MacMichael, Terry Scott and some of my own older works
Other artists featured are Jennifer Slocum, Sean Hyland, John McHenry, Roxanne Friend, Lyndsay Burr, Lindsey Thurber and Shelby Sullivan.
An opening reception is planned for Friday September 21, from 4 to 7 PM. Many of the artists expect to be present. The exhibit will be at 1 Main Street, at the workshop and former showroom of Walker Metalsmiths,