By Amelia Tarallo
Hometown Weekly Staff
This year, there have been countless cancellations of seasonal events around the country. Among them are the numerous craft and artist fairs that can no longer take place due to COVID-19 and gathering restrictions. A few organizations, though, have figured out how to organize and successfully put on an artist fair amid the ongoing chaos. On Saturday, November 11, members of the Westwood Artists took part in an outdoor sale on the lawn of the Patricia Carty-Larkin Senior Center.
The sunny and warm Saturday weather gave artists the perfect day for their market, and they were more than ready to sell their goods. “It wasn’t too hard to put on. We always meet to talk about things,” said Karen Flowers Cagan. After sending out an email to see if anyone was interested, the group began planning. “We had to keep things in place for what was going on in the state of Massachusetts and what Governor Baker said,” Cagan explained. All attendees and artists had to keep their masks on for the entirety of their time there and were encouraged to sanitize their hands as they moved between artist booths.
Crowds came to the sale in earnest, ready to get a head start on holiday shopping. Visitors could purchase pottery pieces made by Lisa WB Walker or Jane Wojick. Karen Flower Cagan featured her photography in different sized prints. Carol Ahearn, Maureen Obey, and Mike Robrish sold their paintings. Kathy O'Donnell promoted her origami earrings, while Rima Bechara sold her mixed-media pieces that prominently used recycled materials.
While COVID-19 has affected some aspects of their usual sale, many of the Westwood Artists found inspiration for their artwork during the pandemic. “I just came to a crashing halt. I could not create at all. So, I started doing things like pit-fired pottery,” explained Jane Wojick, one of the potters at the sale. “I just used a chop saw to make sawdust. I just got really busy doing different things that were really exciting that I normally don’t have time to do.”
Fellow potter Lisa WB Walker was excited to showcase her products and meet art lovers during the outdoor market. “Interacting with people has been great. I’m so happy to talk about my work, because it’s really changed over the time of being by myself,” explained Walker. During the ongoing pandemic, Walker has started to experiment with different types of glazes and trying out some new combinations. Her artworks mainly feature shades of green, blue, and now pink, purple, and gray. “It’s been really fun to experiment with that.”
Mike Robrish was new to the Westwood Artists market scene. He paints primarily with watercolor, and his numerous paintings of buildings and landscapes covered the table he bought just for the event. “I’ve become a professional painter today,” said Robrish. When asked what it’s been like to have the event during the COVID-19, Robrish had nothing but positive things to say. “No problem. Outdoors, masks, absolutely perfect temperature. It’s excellent."
While COVID-19 has forced them to change a few things, the Westwood Artists' sale went off without a hitch. Aside from a beautiful day out, it gave patrons a perfect opportunity to appreciate some of the work that's been created as a result of the pandemic.