Tags Posts tagged with "April Artisan of the Month"

April Artisan of the Month

A ceramic bowl by Kathy Larocca

For the month of April, the Reboli Center for Art and History is showcasing the extraordinary ceramics of Kathy Larocca inspired by nature, especially botanicals, shells and fossils.

Artist Kathy Larocca

Larocca’s passion for ceramics started more than a decade ago.  “Forming art from a mound of clay got me hooked immediately on creating ceramics. I love the tactile quality of clay, whether it is made on a wheel or hand built. Each method has its own challenges and never-ending possibilities. I have taken many classes at local studios on Long Island and attended multiple workshops, both in person and virtually. I belong to several art groups and get inspiration from their creativity,” she explains.

Lois Reboli, president and a founder of The Reboli Center, said, “I find Kathy’s work a perfect fit for The Reboli Center, since we are located by Stony Brook Harbor and her work is so soothing and beautiful. Her designs are just exquisite.”

For her ceramics, Larocca uses mostly B-mix clay to create her pieces because of its porcelaneous quality and creamy color. In addition, she notes that it works well with the glazes she uses.  The artist elaborated on her process by stating, “As I develop an idea for a piece, I decide whether to create it on the wheel or by hand. Occasionally I sketch a draft of what the envisioned piece should look like. With ceramics, timing the drying work is essential, since the process involves multiple steps. Much of my work is carved (sgraffito) and the clay needs to be the correct dryness for this process to be successful. Once the piece is out of the kiln for the first firing, it is then glazed and put back in the kiln to vitrify.”

A ceramic vase by Kathy Larocca

Larocca notes that she doesn’t count the number of hours it takes to make something as there are many steps involved and it depends on the intricacy of her work. “When I work with clay or any form of art, the time melts away as I am completely engaged in the process,” she said.

Ever since she was a young girl, Larocca nurtured her creative side by exploring and enjoying art, especially sketching and painting. She continued her love of art by attending the New York Institute of Technology and discovered a fascination with animation. Upon graduation, she worked at several studios in Manhattan and on a variety of projects including movies, television commercials and animation shorts. She relocated to California where she worked in the inking department of Hanna-Barbera Studios, a major television animation and production company. Its shows included such classic cartoons as The Flintstones, The Jetsons, Huckleberry Finn,  Scooby Doo, and The Smurfs. 

Larocca eventually moved back to New York and started a business called “Wrap It Up” where she personalized gifts for people of all ages. In addition, she continued to explore her creative side by designing and making jewelry.

In addition to exhibiting at the Reboli Center, the artist has shown her work at the Bayard Arboretum, Islip Art Museum, Suffolk County Historical Society, fine art shows and numerous libraries. “I am ecstatic to have the opportunity to be the Artisan of the Month at the acclaimed Reboli Center,” she said. 

The Reboli Center for Art and History is located at 64 Main Street in Stony Brook, and is open Tuesday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m.  Admission is free. For more information, please call 631-751-7707 or visit www.rebolicenter.org.

Artist Keith Lewis in his studio. Photo from Reboli Center

During the month of April, the Reboli Center for Art and History in Stony Brook will showcase the art of jeweler Keith Lewis.

Lewis was not like your average six year old. At that age, he began collecting corn silk from the family garden and bits of broken glass. He imagined them to be like gold and diamonds. Growing up in Europe and Asia, he continued to be enthralled by jewelry, so much so that at 12 years old, he learned to cut gems in South Korea at a lapidary shop and to cast and construct jewelry shortly afterwards.

Heart Earrings by Keith Lewis

Lewis studied art at several universities and graduated with a Masters of Fine Arts in Goldsmithing from SUNY New Paltz in New York. Shortly after graduation, he participated in his first craft show and hasn’t stopped. In fact, Lewis has had the opportunity to show his work in nearly every major craft exhibition in the United States. His Mica Pod earrings were chosen to be the logo for the 2010 Smithsonian Craft2Wear exhibition.

According to Lewis, his process for creating jewelry entails incorporating, “the materials, textures and surprises found in nature. I am currently using amber Mica which I layer with 23K gold-leaf, carving volcanic stone and Anthracite, which I inset with natural pearls and precious stones.

Recycled earrings by Keith Lewis

“In addition,  I create my copper finishes using a Japanese technique called Hiirodo where I heat the finished copper shape until brightly glowing, then plunge it into boiling water to achieve a plum red appearance. In what I call the ‘Raku’ version of this patina, variations in the surface coloration are created by pressing the white-hot copper onto wood, causing flames and smoke which change what would have been an even, plum red finish into more organic tan and dark brown colors. The diverse materials I work with require a combination of goldsmithing techniques to turn them into a piece of finished jewelry.” 

“At the Reboli Center, we not only admire Keith’s beautiful designs and unique materials, but also that for more than 20 years he has been donating a portion of the sales for his ‘heart’ earrings to the Family of Woodstock. This organization provides shelter and services for victims of domestic violence. At shows, buyers of ‘heart’ earrings are given a SASE to send the full cost of the earrings directly to the shelter. He truly is a gem,” said Lois Reboli, founder and president of The Reboli Center.

The Reboli Center is located at 64 Main Street in Stony Brook. Operating hours are Tuesday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m.  Admission is free, and for more information, call 631-751-7707.