2013-12-05 / News

Open studios at Shady Lea Mill this weekend

Left, a portrait by Edwin Roach titled “All Washed Up.” It is a 16-by-20-inch oil painting on display at Shady Lea Mill. 
Courtesy/Lynn Krim Left, a portrait by Edwin Roach titled “All Washed Up.” It is a 16-by-20-inch oil painting on display at Shady Lea Mill. Courtesy/Lynn Krim The Mill at Shady Lea is getting ready for its biggest event yet when award-winning artists and craftspeople open their doors to celebrate the mill’s 16th anniversary.

The historic Shady Lea Mill, situated on the scenic Mattatuxet River in North Kingstown, houses more than 40 artists. This weekend the mill will host an open house so the artists can showcase their skills. The doors will be open on Saturday, Dec. 7, and Sunday, Dec. 8, from noon to 5 p.m.

Just in time for holiday shopping, some of Rhode Island’s many talented residents will open their studio doors and offer a wide array of handmade local gifts, including pottery, sculptures, paintings, collages, photographs, woodwork, jewelry and music.

There are several Jamestown residents who are part of the Shady Lea community. Edwin Roche is a self-taught artist who began painting seriously when he retired from a career in publishing and advertising. He has had a studio at the mill for more than 15 years. A “painterly realist,” his work is influenced by Diego Velazquez, Dean Cornwell and N.C. Wyeth.

Julie Munafo has created art her entire life, and has been at the Shady Lea Mill since 1996. She primarily works in metal, making jewelry and heirloom-quality picture frames. Her work has been featured in magazines, mansions and motion pictures.

Munafo works in only the purest lead-free pewter. She hand polishes each piece to reveal the softness and warmth that is unique to the material. Her attention to oldfashioned quality is hard to find these days.

Jamestown resident and ceramicist Connie Payne has worked out of Studio 109 at Shady Lea Mill since moving to Rhode Island from American Samoa six years ago. She holds a fine arts degree from Brescia University in Kentucky. Her inventive and whimsical pieces have appeared in invitational shows and galleries in South County, Newport, Wickford and Jamestown.

Payne shares Studio 109 with her partners in clay, fellow Jamestowner Sue Greene and Donna Thompson of North Kingstown. Her husband is author John Enright.

“I truly look forward to the annual open studios at Shady Lea,” Payne said. “There is so much energy and good feeling in the air, so much fine art on display and for sale. It makes me proud to be part of such a gifted community of artists and artisans.”

Admission is free, but visitors are asked to bring a donation for the North Kingstown Food Pantry.

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