Fall Northampton • Directors’ Picks

The 220 artists who are accepted to participate in the Paradise City Arts Festival in Northampton on October 9, 10 & 11 are the “best-of-the-best” of America’s independent painters, sculptors, and craft makers from every corner of America. Each season, Paradise City introduces dozens of exciting new artists who will exhibit their work in the Northampton show for the first time. 

As Paradise City returns to holding live events, we are pleased to welcome a new crop of brand-new exhibitors to the show. From those artists making their Paradise City Northampton debuts, we have selected three as our Directors’ Picks. They include a New Jersey couple who collaborate on surreal, dreamlike paintings, a Philadelphia artist whose passion for knitting led to a totally new and unorthodox approach to jewelry-making, and a western Massachusetts woodworker whose skills in restoration and preservation have been a resource in her finely crafted furniture designs. Please welcome these three and four dozen more new artists to Paradise City Northampton this fall!

Dreamer, 16×20” oil on canvas

We often see collaboration between craft designers, but rarely between fine artists. JAMES AND LYNN LEMYRE of Mount Holly, NJ are two of that rare breed. Their collaboration started with long talks about art, philosophy and concepts for paintings. They explain, It is art as dialogue rather than monologue. Sometimes the painting is passed back and forth between us, and we paint in reaction to what the other has painted. We also work through sketches with this process, planning ahead what will go on the canvas and then creating the painting.” 

Working in oils, with meticulous attention to detail, the Lemyres paint landscapes of the imagination. The painting becomes a meeting place, a threshold between the worlds of imagination and reality, dream and consciousness. Unlikely scenarios create moments of visual poetry and reveal hidden meanings. The artists invite you to engage with their imagery, to discover your own interpretations, and to share your thoughts with this talented couple at their very first Paradise City show this October.

Do-Knots, silk thread; Japanese glass seed beads, agate beads; sterling silver

An enthusiastic knitter from the age of eight, BETSY HERSHBERG’s knitting world turned upside down and inside out when she learned how to bead knit. Hershberg creates acclaimed one-of-a-kind bead knitted jewelry. In addition to traditional knitted stitch making, most pieces include original techniques of her own invention, some unorthodox construction and occasional bead woven embellishment. She writes, “As a myriad of ideas for combining beads and fiber began to take over my knitting brain, I found myself on a completely unexpected journey which has forever altered the way I think about my ‘left-brained’ self and the creative process.” 

In every one of her pieces, the knitted stitches are visible somewhere. As long as she has the proverbial two sticks and a string, she’s happy. Hershberg is also happy to share her secrets. Her book, Betsy Beads: Confessions of a Left-brained Knitter, published by XRX Books in 2012, describes her journey and process, along with technical instruction and more than twenty-five design patterns for bead knitted jewelry and accessories. Hershberg lives and works in Philadelphia.

HEATHER TAUCK is a new artist, woodworker, and restorer with wide-ranging interests. She studied science, social justice, drawing, painting, bookbinding, animation, and printmaking in college, ultimately receiving her degree in printmaking. It was only after graduating that she began exploring woodworking. Driven to learn carpentry and restoration skills, she moved to Boston to pursue a degree in Preservation Carpentry from The North Bennet Street School. Upon completing her degree at NBSS, she worked for a prominent furniture conservation company in Boston, and a residential remodel company specializing in restoration and custom woodwork. 

Now living and working in western Massachusetts, Tauck still wears many hats. She is the sole owner, fabricator, restorer and designer at her company, HT Woodshop. Her furniture and home furnishing designs combine her deep knowledge of traditional design with a fresh and creative outlook. She writes, “I believe it is my responsibility to source lumber and materials locally. I am committed to a diligent work ethic, a high standard of craftsmanship, and authentic handmade objects. At the end of the day, I want my clients to love their furniture.”