Back by popular demand, for Gallery Night August 2016, we have Dolores Rovnack leading our collector’s tour.
Dolores is a patron of the arts in its many forms. While she hails from the corporate milieu of Los Angeles, her interests shifted to arts and culture when she relocated to Providence nearly two decades ago to further her education at Brown University. She began her passion of collecting works of local artists at the Laguna Beach Festival of the Arts, of which she focused upon California coastal scenes in watercolors. Preferring unique characteristics inherent to handmade goods, she spent several years acquiring African basketry; South American and Southeast Asian pottery; Persian and Tibetan hand-knotted rugs; antique Chinese and Japanese furnishings; and, Central Asian tribal textiles. On one occasion she visited The Peaceable Kingdom on Ives and was delighted to find exquisite ethnic tribal textiles to add to her growing collection. She stumbled upon a little boutique shop on Wickenden well over a decade ago and began collecting stunning ceramic pieces from Dwo Wen Chen of Three Wheel Studio and continues to do so to this day. Her special love for art glass led her to Chris Belleau of Gallery Belleau, from whom she had collected quite a number of pieces with an eye on additional future acquisitions including custom orders.
With a corporate background in procurement at a Fortune 100 company coupled with art acquisition spanning over twenty years, Dolores has a keen eye with tremendous appreciation, and, is quite knowledgeable in purchasing the unique, creative, top-tiered quality work handcrafted by local artisans. More importantly, Dolores states:
In the realm of acquiring art, I made the surprising discovery that the most accessible, friendly, gifted, knowledgeable, and, humble artisans are right here in Providence. These people create art out of their love for their craft. They continue to grow as artists, explore outside their comfort zones, and, expand their range of offerings. These artisans use top-quality materials, hand-craft every single piece one-by-one – which makes each piece unique unto itself. While there are similar pieces, they are not identical. These are not your mass-produced products using materials of unknown origin. These are top-shelf artisan-produced goods made of the best materials available on the market today. Often time, the artist produces many pieces before choosing the best-of-the-best to offer to their clientele. They represent their own work, stand behind it, and, typically make little profit, if any, as they need to cover their operating expenses while supporting themselves. For many, it is not unusual for these highly creative folks to simply break even, if that. Aside from my personal passion for their artisanal goods, I choose to support Rhode Island local artists to help ensure they continue their awesome crafts, their survival in the market place, and, to grow my collection to even greater heights.
Last evening I had the tremendous pleasure of meeting both Ben Giguere and Matt Stone at their studio, Gather, located at 521 Atwells Ave — my visit was exceptionally sublime!!! Riz, of whom I already have the pleasure of knowing, was also present — it was great to see her and reconnect — it’s simply wonderful to see good friends again!!! Their artisan handblown glass pieces are absolutely gorgeous — I spied several stunning works of handmade art that I wanted to take with me, right there on the spot!!! Ben, Matt and Riz are incredibly gracious hosts and extraordinary happy folk — their passion for their craft and the broader scheme of local art is beyond compare. They’re making their hopes and dreams come true before my very eyes — I fully support them; their studio; their hopes and dreams; and, cannot wait to see it all GATHER into fruition!!!
Ben showed me the equipment they use to produce their beautiful handblown glass work. There’s an annealing oven, a kiln and an amazingly hot piece of equipment where the “gather” awaits their fabulous handblown creations!!! Both Ben and Riz explained the complete process of handcrafting a handblown ornament and demonstrated all the necessary physical maneuvers involved. Admittedly, I was thrilled with excitement and anticipation, as well as a bit nervous — could I make a glass ornament? Could I pull this off? A resounding YES — I could — I did — with their terrific help, guidance and patience. My experience with them handcrafting a handblown ornament was TOTAL NIRVANA — I discovered that I too can be artistic!!!
As I created my own special, personalized ornament with gather, powder and frit, I thought about what Gather offers. This is a most excellent studio for classes — to take one for oneself; to give as a special gift; or, to hold workshops for team-building. Folks may order custom pieces for countless special occasions like weddings, anniversaries, the holidays — pretty much anything and everything!!! One is only limited by one’s imagination — bring your ideas to Gather and make it happen!!!
My visit with the good folks of Gather was awe-inspiring — I left feeling fantastic about their hopes and dreams — I’m so pleased and honored I get to play a small role in this by leading the very first Gallery Night Providence Collectors Tour at their studio on August 18th, a Thursday evening — where we will GATHER to experience what I was so blessed to share with Ben, Matt and Riz last night. This is definitely a tour one should not miss — I very much look forward to seeing our Gallery Night patrons next week!!!
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