For the past ten years, Four Storms Artists Galley has been a showcase for local and regional artists. The Gallery is owned and operated by Becky Wilson and Caroline Blizzard and is located in a charming cottage nestled in the woods at Swallow Falls. Though the space is small, the Gallery features the work of 35 different vendors who produce everything from hand carved wood products, nature inspired landscapes and prints, hand blown glass, knitted items, handmade soaps and so much more.
Caroline is a well-known nature photographer so she and Becky purchased the cottage ten years ago to house Caroline’s Hawk’s Flight Studio and to use the space as a gallery to sell her work along with pieces from friends and family. The name Four Storms refers to the Blizzard family: Caroline, her sister Karina and parents Neal and Karin, all accomplished artists in their own right.
Explains Caroline, “when we opened here 10 years ago, there weren’t a lot of opportunities for artists to showcase their work.” So they opened the space to friends and within the first year were representing 18 different artists. Over the past decade, they have represented the work of over 50 artisans.
Today, the Four Storm Artists Gallery is a co-op of local artists representing 35 unique talents whose art includes photography by Caroline and Neal Blizzard, pottery by Deep Creek Pottery and Josh Brown, jewelry by Karina Stonesifer, knitting by Ardi Puclher and Nancy Doran, woodwork by Pleasant Valley Woodworks and Gene Gillespie and Karl Hummer and soaps by Sky Valley Bees. You’ll find local jams from Grandma’s Jam House, handmade baskets by Georgia Johnson, unique bottles by Terri Stonesifer, fused and dichroic Glass by Julie Turrentine, and watercolors by Ann Lee.
All pieces in the gallery are inspired by nature and each of the artists represented here uses nature and landscape in their own unique way, whether it’s using reeds for background, a potter who imprints hemlock on his pieces for texture or using recycled barnwood to frame their landscape prints. Says Becky, “Environment and art go hand in hand.” Each piece is unique and beautifully made and is a perfect gift or remembrance of your trip to our lovely area. “By supporting our artists, you make it sustainable for them to continue with their work,” says Becky.
The Audubon Society has proclaimed 2018 as the “Year of the Bird”, commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, between the United States and Great Britain (on behalf of Canada). In honor of that designation and fueled by their own love of birds, Caroline and Becky have asked each of the artists at Four Storms to create work to celebrate birds. Some of the most unique pieces are those of fused glassmaker Julie Turrentine, who has created fused glass birds set on a gorgeous background of wood.
Because of their ever-changing inventory and themes, the Four Storms Artists Gallery always features something different. “If you think you’ve seen us,” says Caroline, “you haven’t. There is always something new to discover here.”
You’ll also find a space dedicated to Caroline’s latest passion which is cast iron. Named “Rust and Recovery”, Caroline finds old vintage pieces and lovingly restores them to beautiful and functional pieces for your kitchen. “I have friends and family scouring flea markets and antique shops for me to find the right pieces which I then restore, season and sell. It’s the best method of cooking and we have some truly unique pieces here.”
In addition to the permanent vendors, Four Storms has also been home to rotating guest artists as well. This summer they will once again host German artist Peter Schweifel, well known for his stunning work with glass.
Schweifel will be at the Gallery from August 17th through Labor Day and demonstrating Wednesday – Sunday for those three weeks. They clear out a large space for Peter and have chairs set up so people can watch him create his unique pieces. Swhweifel’s singular approach of blowing glass from a tube and using a torch makes his work a completely different art form. “Peter is a big deal in Europe. He makes glass components for high end medical equipment. Coming here gives Peter a creative break and he enjoys demonstrating his craft to our visitors,” explains Caroline.
Four Storms is located at 2107 Swallow Falls Road (on the way to the park) and is open Saturdays from 10 AM through 5 PM and Sunday from Noon to 4 PM. They will be one of the stops on the Garrett County Arts Council Open House weekend on July 28 & 29 and are also open by appointment.
For more information, check out their page on Facebook or visit their website at http://www.hawksflightstudio.com/four-storm-artists-gallery/