Gloucester-based artist Jacqueline Ganim-DeFalco—one of 23 artists who participated in the recent Cape Ann Artisans Open Studio Tour—specializes in wearable art made of sea glass. During tour hours, Ganim-DeFalco saw approximately 200 people come through her doors to delight in the gigantic sea glass collection she has amassed over the last 15 years. The majority of that glass was culled from beaches throughout Cape Ann, where she searches during the quiet off-season. “It is not about where [you look],” says Ganim-DeFalco, “but when.”
Using an organic approach to her art, she says the glass leads her through a process that is much like putting together a big puzzle. Employing a method similar to the one used by famed sculptor Alexander Calder, Ganim-DeFalco creates her pieces using “cold connections” made with wire, epoxy, and drills, rather than soldering techniques. By adding pearls, beads, and wires, she attempts to “maximize the beauty of the natural material.”
Ganim-DeFalco began her career as an artist following a hunt for a high-quality barrette and coming up short. Believing necessity is the mother of invention, she set about crafting and selling what she couldn’t find. Nowadays, her work includes necklaces, bracelets, brooches, and all manner of artful accessories. With works so intricately tied to the area, Ganim-DeFalco’s pieces are small reminders of the North Shore’s allure.
Another Cape Ann artisan, Rockport-based mosaic artist Pam Stratton, also welcomed close to 200 tour goers into her studio. They were met with a multitude of fine art mosaics, which are not all that commonly found in this region. Visitors had many questions about her technique, and carefully examined the details of her work. So interested were they that a few signed up for Stratton’s upcoming daylong workshops.
Eight years ago, during a visit to Italy, she fell in love with the mosaics covering the walls of so many cathedrals. Upon her return, she embarked on her first piece: a patio mosaic made of slate and brick. After completing that work, she signed up for a course at MassArt, and has been learning about the art form ever since.
Particularly inspired by the mosaics of the Byzantine era, Stratton works with a steel hammer and a hardy, both of which were tools used to break glass and stone in Roman times. The process is time consuming, and follows what she calls the “flow of the pattern.” She says that creating a mosaic can take days, weeks, or months, depending on the intricacy of the pattern and the materials used. Stratton is greatly inspired by her environs, looking to nearby locales like Halibut Point, which influenced a recent piece titled “Impressions”—a work that reflects the tidal lines of Cape Ann beaches and incorporates granite pebbles found along the shoreline.
To learn more about the artists who comprise Cape Ann Artisans, join the fall tour, which will run from October 11 through 13. For more information visit, capeanndesigns.com