Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIII, No. 40
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
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It’s New to Us by Jean Stratton

ARTISTIC TOUR: “The idea is ‘Let’s show people what’s in their own backyard.’ Hopewell has always had a tremendous number of artists.” Jewelry designer Beth Judge and designer/craftsman Sean Mannix hold the banner announcing the upcoming Hopewell Tour Des Arts.
FINDING YOUR WAY: This map gives visitors a self-guided tour for the Hopewell Tour Des Art, the second annual artisans studio tour, to be held Saturday, October 10.

Hopewell Tour Des Art, Artisans Studio Tour, Has Scheduled Second Annual Event, October 10

After its successful Hopewell art tour last year, the Hopewell Economic Development Council has sponsored a second tour, Hopewell Tour Des Art, set for Saturday, October 10.

“Thirty-five artists took part last year, and 250 people attended,” says artist Beth Judge, who serves on the Hopewell Economic Development Committee, and who with artist Ruth Morpeth, came up with the art tour idea.

“The community is very interested in art, and last year, people came from all over the area. They were able to visit the galleries and artists’ studios, and see all the different kinds of work the artists do,” explains Ms. Judge, who is also co-owner of the Brothers Moon restaurant in Hopewell.

“Hopewell and its surroundings are home to a diverse and accomplished arts community,” adds Ruth Morpeth.

This year, 30 to 35 artists, representing work in painting, photography, jewelry, stonework, woodwork, ceramics, lamp-making, and industrial design, will participate.

The self-guided tour begins at the historic Hopewell Train Station on Railroad Place, where complimentary maps can be obtained. “There is no charge for the tour,” points out Ms. Judge. “We hope people will enjoy the tour and also spend some time in Hopewell. Food will be available from the Brothers Moon, Nomad Pizza, and other local vendors at the train station. And maps can also be picked up at Boro Bean, the coffee shop on East Broad Street.”

On Display

Among the artists participating are painter Ruth Morpeth, whose gallery is on Broad Street, jewelry designer Beth Judge, industrial engineer Sean Mannix, painter and sculptor Arlene Smith, painter Ellie Wyeth, lamp-maker Jim Webb, wood turner Ric Stang, painter John Plummer, and painter Alex Goldberg.

In addition, the metal work of Francois Guilleian, the ceramics of Connie-Bracci McIndoe, the stonework of Ayami Aoyama, the pastels of Nancy Staub Laughlin, the woodwork of Dieter Lique, and the paintings of Janet Laughlin will be on display.

A number of galleries and studios can be visited by walking in town, while others are farther afield, more easily reached by car. Galleries are located on Broad Street, Mercer Street, Burton Avenue, Van Dyke Road, Hopewell-Wertsville Road, Hopewell-Amwell Road, and Freight Shed/Train Station in Hopewell; also Route 518 and Bedens Brook Road in Skillman; and Trenton-Harbourton Road in Pennington.

Highland Design Farm on Van Dyke Road houses the studios of several artists, including Beth Judge and Sean Mannix. Formerly the Highland Poultry Farm (with 10,000 chickens), its chicken coops were converted into artists’ studios in the 1960s.

“It’s a really nice atmosphere here, a great place to work,” says Mr. Mannix, who is known for his top tier metal work, including spiral staircases, trellises, and railings, featuring intriguing, innovative designs both for new houses and renovations.

“I also enjoy making tables, using very hard wood, and including metal bases,” he adds.

“After Party”

He is very pleased with the ample studio space of Highland Design Farm. “There’s plenty of room, and it’s a very good way for people to see my work. We had a great ‘After Party’ following the tour last year, and I see this as a meeting place for the artists to share ideas.”

Award-winning jewelry designer Beth Judge is also pleased with her Highland Design Farm studio and its rural setting. “Location is important. It’s very inspiring to my work.”

The three-time DeBeers award-winner and graduate gemologist works with all kinds of metals and stones, from gold and diamonds to whimsical beach glass combined with sterling silver. She does custom design work, one-of-a-kind pieces (earrings, bracelets, pendants, etc.), and limited production pieces.

Redesign of vintage pieces, repair, and appraisals are also part of her work.

“I love this work,” she says. “I find inspiration from them every day, whether it’s the feeling and touch of a new stone in my hand, meeting customers and working with them, or all the gifts that a new day brings. Most of all, the stones talk to me. It’s whatever the stones say.”

Another artist on the tour is painter Ellie Wyeth, headquartered in Skillman, who focuses on oils, acrylic, and gouache, with a specialty in still life and landscapes.

Wonderful Benefit

“I’ve recently been doing a lot of still life and oil on canvas,” she notes, adding that the upcoming tour is a wonderful benefit to artists in the area. “This is such a great opportunity to show our work, and it’s exciting that there are so many artists in the area, and that so many are participating.”

Ms. Wyeth is also a member of Transformations, which will show a variety of artwork at the Hopewell Train Station in November, and she has also exhibited at Small World Coffee Shop, The Chapin School Gallery, and many other locations in the area.

In addition, she does a variety of illustrating work for such diverse clients as Nick Hilton Princeton, the Eagleton Institute, and author John McPhee.

Ms. Wyeth is a member of the Prince Street Gallery, a co-op gallery in Manhattan, where her work will be shown in February. She also works in Italy, where she travels twice a year to oversee the residency program of the International School of Painting, Drawing and Sculpture.

Lamp-maker Jim Webb’s work will also be featured on the tour, with his creations on display at the Hopewell Train Station.

Mr. Webb creates one-of-a-kind ceramic lamps, with shades made of natural materials, such as hand-made paper or mica. He also makes plates, vessels, and boxes.

Incredible Diversity

His unique lamps are much admired in the area and beyond. They appear in galleries around the country, especially in the west. Several are in the library at the University of California, Berkeley, and one was used on the set of the 1995 movie, Jade.

Mr. Webb is an enthusiastic supporter of the Hopewell Art Tour. “It is a wonderful opportunity for Hopewell to celebrate the incredible diversity of artistic talent in our community, encompassing all art media. Also, it’s a chance for surrounding communities to get to know the range of artistic talent in Hopewell and for visitors to see new work from both the artists they know, and get acquainted with those they may not have been aware of. In addition, the tour shines a light on Hopewell, which is full of wonderful small businesses, including top-notch restaurants and art galleries, all of which contribute to making this town a fabulous place in which to live.”

He adds that the Hopewell/Princeton area is an excellent location for artists. “There is a community of artists that support each other and art enthusiasts who are well-informed and interested in buying art. And, personally, my ceramic pieces, particularly, my lamps, have found a home in a number of private collections in Princeton and Hopewell.

Beth Judge and Sean Mannix agree that the artists and the community recognize the value of this special tour. “The artists are all committed to the tour, and everyone is very friendly, and also very kid-friendly,” says Mr. Mannix. “Lots of families come on the tour.”

“It is a real mix of people who come to see the art,” points out Ms. Judge. “A real variety — middle class, affluent people, art collectors. They like to see what the different artists are doing. We’re really excited to get the word out for people to see the art here. And it’s also part of the ‘Go Local’ movement. Come and see what’s right here!”

The tour will be held Saturday, October 10 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., rain or shine.

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