Fish Tales

The Local Colors Artists' Cooperative, now in its 25th year on Main St, celebrates its annual FISH event from June 1 to July 4th with a special art exhibit titled FISH TALES. This annual event, which also coincides with St. Peter's Fiesta, celebrates the fishing community and natural beauty of Cape Ann. The highlight of this celebration is a reception at Local Colors, 121 Main St. in Gloucester on Friday, June 21st from 6 - 9 pm with refreshments that is open and free to the public.

This year's theme FISH TALES captures a broad view of our fishing community and Cape Ann's natural and manmade resources. Each of the 18 artists is free to interpret the theme according to their artistic calling. For special events as this, the artists are encouraged to create works outside their usual media to allow for growth and expansion of their creative talents. The members installing the exhibit never know for sure what to expect until the actual installation. All the work for this event is displayed on the featured wall and in the front windows of Local Colors.

"This event is so meaningful to me on many levels" says Kathy Bucholska, a mixed media artist and jewelry designer at Local Colors for 24 years. "Not only is it a celebration of the fishing industry and way of life, but the fish symbol brings special meaning to me. In my work I use the fish to represent abundance and spiritual nourishment." She submitted a 3 strand amethyst necklace with schools of fish beads. "Not only do I feel abundance and spiritual nourishment from the fish, but amethyst brings peace, protection and contentment."

Kate Webster who does jewelry, fiber art and mixed media expresses a similar sentiment. "When I make something fish related, I feel that I am honoring and celebrating the community that I live in and love so much."

Virginia Townsend was inspired by the biggest "fish tale" ever told by Herman Melville celebrating man versus nature here in New England. "I would like to honor this history by painting whales on a large platter representing the huge part whales play in the New England culture."

A few of the other pieces already submitted are:

· Bonnie Gray painted a dynamic surf fishing scene. "Surf fishing for striped bass is a popular sport here on Cape Ann. Fishermen can often be spotted along the Back Shore of Gloucester, all hoping to catch the big one. In my painting, I have tried to capture the thrill and excitement of the first cast of the day for that elusive striped bass. "

· Jim Sousa submitted some unique photographs. "Wood and rope were two of most used materials that were used in the early days of the Gloucester Fisherman. This has inspired me to use these in my prints where the Fisherman and the dolphin/mermaid were printed on birch plywood and used manila rope in the framing" says Jim.

· Ann Schlecht created a brand new charm of St. Peter, the Patron Saint of fishermen. Schlecht created the charm in celebration of the Fiesta and Gloucester's fishermen. "Each charm comes with a small picture of the iconic statue as well as a brief history and is available in silver or bronze. There is just one more of many other charms available."

· Lois Hertzler has included a unique photograph. She says "Every year, the members of Local Colors look forward to celebrating St. Peter's Fiesta with our community. I couldn't resist photographing the corner of an old gate that reminded me of a fish!"

· A longtime member, Sally Seamans, aka Tin Can Sally, supports the fishing industry by using recycled sardine, tuna and anchovy cans to make whimsical, fish wall ornaments.

· Patricia Doherty hand painted a fish and anchor on mirrors that were decorated using sea glass and pottery pieces we found on local Gloucester beaches with each piece being one of a kind.

Each member is asked to submit 2 or 3 pieces for the exhibit, so there will be much more on display. Other members displaying work are Donna Amero, the remaining founding member, known for her seashells imbedded in stained glass art; Stephanie Bowens for her fiber art; Bob Kulchuk for his wheel thrown pottery, wood turning and fused glass; Darren Taylor for his woodworking and functional art furniture, Ian Commissiong for his fiber art and fish skin framed pieces, Joe Higgins for his fish prints, Dave Katz for his creative photography, Rusty Kinnunen for his screen and linoleum block printing and our newest member, Teri Scott Ludwig for her wearable art made from upcycled sweaters and tee shirts.

he current hours are 10am to 6pm, Sunday through Thursday and 10am to 8pm on Friday and Saturday. The members will be identified with name tags and look forward to meeting the public at the June 21st reception, but the exhibit can be viewed beginning June 1 through July 4.