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Hyannis Harbor is haute.
Written by Kathleen Szmit
Shanties lend creative air to seaside venue
Are you a collector of fine photographs, vibrant paintings, handmade jewelry or whimsical pottery? Are you in need of a gift for a special someone and know that a trinket from a national chain store just isn’t going to cut it? Do fresh air and the happy chatter of seagulls do you a world of good?
If you answered yes to any or all of these queries then Hyannis Harbor is the place to go, especially since it’s officially HyArts shanty time!
What’s a shanty? Stroll down the Walkway to the Sea to Bismore Park at Barnstable Harbor and you’ll see a collection of colorful little shacks clustered around a wide boardwalk. Inside each of the prismatic structures is a wealth of creativity that affirms the village’s Cultural District status.
In these tiny shops by the sea art aficionados will find glorious gicleé prints of stunning Cape seashore vistas, jewelry crafted from hand-blown glass, accessories and home décor made of nautical rope, tatted lace, and lovingly created pottery pieces in sgraffito style. You might even find yourself chatting with a Cape author.
At the Mitali shanty the artist of the same name is busily working on another piece of fused glass jewelry, created by firing different colors of glass together in a roaring kiln. Mitali also offers hand-blown glass pieces and “cold work” glass fashioned via cutting, sandblasting and polishing different types of glass.
On the walls hang splashy paintings in myriad colors, while on the tables alongside the glass works are intricately tatted lace runners and doilies. Those who appreciate color and how it can transform a room, an object, or a wearer must stop into Mitali.
In the shanty next door sits Roberta Schneiderman, author of Cape Cod, Murder at a Gated Community, a thrilling read about a shocking double murder within the confines of a fictional gated community on Cape Cod.
Schneiderman is one of several local authors who will sign copies of their works this summer. The idea to feature “literary artists” in the shanties was hers, and Schneiderman is thrilled to know that wordsmiths will be highlighted along with the Cape’s visual virtuosos.
At EML Jewelry Designs if the bead-on-a-key pendants don’t catch your eye, the stunning vibrancy of her hand crafted lampwork bead jewelry will. Be sure to watch her at work on another Kumihimo piece, created by carefully stringing and weaving together more than 300 beads in an intricate Japanese braided bracelet.
Bead and jewelry maker Eileen Lipkind is delighted to be back at Hyannis Harbor for another season.
“I love meeting everybody from around the world,” she said. “My jewelry went to India and Peru last year. What could be better than that?”
At the end of the boardwalk is the Mudlark Pottery shanty where mugs, plates and other home wares inspire a feeling of joy with their jolly renditions of suns, moons, and other fun faces.
Laurie Goldman is the woman behind the works, many of which are created using a style called sgraffito, which means that designs are scratched into finished pottery pieces before glazing. Goldman’s popular pieces include those adorned with cheerful yellow suns and wide smiling moons, along with happily dancing children, as well as whale tails, mermaids, and much more.
For Goldman, location is everything. “I love the location,” she said. “This is just a beautiful spot.”
Since Goldman works out of her home and doesn’t have a formal shop, the shanty serves as her summer venue.
“It’s a great opportunity to be able to set up my work for an extended period of time,” she said. “It’s a nice way to give yourself a little pop-up shop.”
For photographer Beth Higgins being at the Harbor also allows her to be especially hands-on with customers, and the Bismore Park locale is also a treasure.
“If I hired somebody to work with me or for me, they couldn’t answer the important questions,” Higgins said, alluding to her detailed explanation of the gicleé printing process. “If you have to go to work, wouldn’t you love to be here for the day?”
The HyArts Artist’s Shanties are open Friday to Sunday through June 28 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., then are open seven days a week from June 28-Sept. 1 from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. From Sept. 2-29 they will be open seven days from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Be sure to check out the free concerts at Aselton Park, as well. For more information visit hyartsdistrict.com.