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Local artists coming to Francestown’s Labor Day celebration Monday

  • ”Blue Pottery Vase” by Maryann Mullett shows a ceramic vase that she spotted at the Wilton Hilltop Cafe. —Courtesy image

  • ”Green Heron,” a 6”-by-6” painting by Maryann Mullett. —Courtesy image

  • ”Still Life with Eggplant,” is an example of Maryann Mullett’s fruit and vegetable still lifes.  —Courtesy image

  • ”Baby Cakes” by Maryann Mullet shows a cow that is wintering at Mike Johnson’s farm in Swanzey.  —Courtesy image

  • Pashya White of Peterborough pieces together a scarf to sew as she prepares for the upcoming Juried Arts and Crafts fair at Francestown's Labor Day celebrations. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Pashya White of Peterborough pieces together a scarf to sew as she prepares for the upcoming Juried Arts and Crafts fair at Francestown's Labor Day celebrations. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Pashya White of Peterborough pieces together a scarf to sew as she prepares for the upcoming Juried Arts and Crafts fair at Francestown's Labor Day celebrations. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Pashya White of Peterborough pieces together a scarf to sew as she prepares for the upcoming Juried Arts and Crafts fair at Francestown's Labor Day celebrations. Staff photo by Ashley Saari

  • Pashya White of Peterborough pieces together a scarf to sew as she prepares for the upcoming Juried Arts and Crafts fair at Francestown's Labor Day celebrations. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Thursday, August 30, 2018 10:4AM

Pashya White’s sewing room is lined neatly with racks of jackets, scarves and cloth bags. Dominating the room is a large table filled with scraps of velvet and silk, bits left over from previous projects.

Hanging from one rack are scarves, each unique, made from those scraps, which White is preparing for the Francestown Juried Arts and Crafts show, one of the centerpieces of the town’s 101st Labor Day celebrations.

“I specialize in silk and velvet, which are hard fabrics to sew. I must be a masochist,” White, a Peterborough resident, said during an interview at her home and studio last week.

White will be one of 30 artisans selling her work. It’s her first time exhibiting there, she said. She got her start in sewing making cloth bags for keeping crystals in the 1980s, when she would sell them wholesale to metaphysical bookstores which were all the rage at the time.

Today, she still likes to sew cloth bags, White said, using patterns of her own making. One of her designs looks more like a sculpture than a bag, one she calls the “double lotus,” which folds out like the lotus flower. Another uses old silk ties as the fabric.

“I like containers,” White said. “When I started making them, there was not a zillion cloth bags on the market. They’re more common, now.”

White favors luxurious fabrics, she said, because for one, “It feels delicious.”

But she also has a mission to make utilitarian things out of luxury fabrics – one reason she so highly favors bags and purses – because these fabrics shouldn’t be reserved just for special occasions, White said.

“I like making things that you don’t have to save for something special, something you can wear or use every day if you like. Why not? It’s yummy,” she said.

Another artist who will be featured during this year’s fair is Maryann Mullett, a longtime Dublin resident who now lives in Fitzwilliam. Mullet has a background in graphic arts, but fell in love with pastel painting after taking a class in Antrim with a friend. She works exclusively in pastels and specializes in still-lifes and animals.

“I’ve just fallen in love with the medium,” she said in an interview last week. “It’s immediate. I can travel anywhere with them.”

Mullett is never without her cell phone or digital camera, ready to snap a picture of whatever might draw her eye. She prefers to work from photographs, she said, because one of her favorite parts of constructing a painting is creating an interesting composition. She can manipulate her photographed images on the computer to achieve her desired composition before starting her piece. She put that down to her graphic background.

Sometimes, she said, something will just catch her eye and inspire her.

“Perhaps it’s a little cliche, but I’m drawn to the light,” she said.

She rarely will set up a still life to paint, preferring to find things that catch her eye as they are.

One of her favorite paintings is a depiction of a blue ceramic vase that caught her eye at the Hilltop Cafe in Wilton, when the vase was struck by a square of sunlight from a nearby window.

“As we were leaving, the vase caught my eye as the afternoon sun shone through the door illuminating the vase and casting shapes on the wall in an interesting composition,” Mullett said.

She is currently working on a series painting the details on antique cars, inspired by a car show at The Big E, also known as The Eastern States Exposition, a regional fair held in Massachusetts every September.

“I just saw the light hitting a grill, the patterns it made, and thought, ‘This will be fun,’” Mullett said.

Sometimes it will take a special trip to gather material. Farmers’ Markets are prime territory for her, she said, as fruits and vegetables are one of her favorite things to paint.

Most of the pieces she will be selling at Francestown will be a series of small paintings that she’s done over the past year, no bigger than 6-inch by 6-inch. Because of their size, they’re less expensive than a large painting, Mullett said, but still an example of fine art that people can purchase for their homes.

Mullett and White will be among 30 artists contributing to the Labor Day Juried Arts and Crafts fair during the Francestown Labor Day Celebrations. Artists booths will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Between visiting the area’s artists, there’s also a variety of other activities to visit. On Main Street, along with the artists, you will find the book booth at the Francestown Improvement and Historical Society Lodge. Baked goods, plants and the white elephant booth are located in the horse sheds on the common.

R.P. Hale will perform colonial music on his hand-made harpsichord in the Old Meeting House at 11 a.m.

The centerpiece of the celebrations, the annual parade, will take place at 2 p.m., with the theme “Labor of Love.” Featured will be Gordon Holey and his life-sized “Puppet Brigade.” Holey will also give a performance at noon.

Most Francestown Labor Day events take place Monday, but begin Saturday with a tennis tournament and a rock and roll dance and continue Sunday with the annual Mud Volley Ball game in the morning and Vespers Sunday evening. Labor Day events are sponsored by the Francestown Improvement and Historical Society. For a full schedule or events, visit www.francetownhistory.info.

For more information on Mullett’s art, visit maryannmullettart.weebly.com. If you are interested in purchasing or commissioning a piece from White, contact pashya@myfairpoint.net.