Woodworkers celebrated

Jim Lanthier splits a stick of wood with a miter saw as he works on a rustic Adirondack-style dresser. (Enterprise photo — Aaron Cerbone)

TUPPER LAKE — Wood, it is well known, is plentiful in Tupper Lake, which makes it a popular medium for artists and craftspeople to build, sculpt and experiment with.

On Saturday, the creations of 25 Adirondack wood artists will be on display at the Tupper Arts center. The dressers, carvings and boats that will be featured at the art gallery come from professionals who have sold their handiwork all around the world, as well as from hobbyists who may have never brought much attention to their craft.

“I think some of them are artists who, if people follow rustic furniture or woodcraft shows … perhaps you’ve seen their work,” Tupper Arts Director Louise McNally said. “And I think many of them are people who have never shown their work. … They share them with friends … but they don’t market themselves.”

McNally said Tupper Arts sent a request for artists to submit their work through social media and word of mouth.

“If you talk to anyone who lives here, it seems like most everyone knows someone who is creative and makes something,” McNally said.

This work space in the basement of Tupper Arts is where Jim Lanthier is making a rustic Adirondack-style dresser. (Enterprise photo — Aaron Cerbone)

Susan Delehanty, who helped organize the woodcarvers, said pieces range from delicate sculptures of animals to heavy bowls carved from individual burls. McNally also thanked Theresa Mitrowitz, Paul Chartier and Ed Donnelly for organizing it.

In the middle of the gallery sits a large guideboat built by Rob Davidson and Allison Warner of Adirondack Wooden Guideboats who live in Lake Clear. This is the one creation not for sale, but all the other picture frames, clocks and Adirondack chairs are for sale.

McNally said she hopes this show is the first of many of its kind. She enjoys giving people who are creating and carving for the love of it the opportunity to have their work on display for others to enjoy.

You might have seen Jim Lanthier’s work before, perhaps the large beams decorating the Whiteface Lodge, or a piece of furniture on display at Adirondack Experience, the Museum on Blue Mountain Lake. The Tupper Lake resident said he has not built a dresser in a while but enjoyed the chance to do it again.

“I hadn’t forgotten a thing,” Lanthier said. “It’s like riding a bike.”

This is the original dresser Jim Lanthier is converting to rustic Adirondack style. (Provided photo — Jim Lanthier)

Lanthier is working in the basement of the arts center preparing a rustic birch bark dresser for the show. He found the original dresser at an antique shop in Plattsburgh, making sure it was just right. It has smooth drawers and is flat enough to act as a blank canvas for him to create on.

He is using twigs, cut branches and bark to create patterns of diamonds, fronds and lines. He topped it off with deer antler handles and a brand-new mirror on the back.

The room downstairs is full of wood. Piles of bark lie in the corners, cut branches litter the floors, and a layer of sawdust covers everything. Lanthier has been woodworking for years, even teaching classes at Adirondack Experience.

At the opening day on Saturday, which coincides with the Party on Park Street, there will be wood and music related events throughout the afternoon. From 1 to 3 p.m. Charlie Marshall of Vermontville will play a psaltery — a lute-like stringed instrument — that he built himself.

From 3 to 4 p.m. 18 kids from L.P. Quinn Elementary School’s Junior Jacks will perform an open mic with their vocal coach Karin Ryan.

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