Area artists from a Clinton artist co-op are donating funds from artwork sold to various places in the community.
Artisans’ Corner on College Street sells the work of local makers. Items for sale at the shop include clothing, photography, illustrations, jewelry, wooden decorations and other handmade work.
Like other area businesses, Artisans’ Corner was closed for weeks in the spring due to the spread of Covid-19 in New York.
During that time off, owner of the village shop Linda McHarris had time on her hands. She noticed more people walking outside, getting fresh air from being stuck in their homes.
As a way to brighten up a person’s day during the pandemic, McHarris painted rocks with inspirational words and phrases. She took those rocks and placed them under the newly planted trees on the Williams Street side of her building.
Her hope was, and still is today, that if someone sees a rock they like, they’ll take it home with them. “If a rock talks to you and you feel that you can use it, take it,” she said.
“Everybody was going through so much that they needed to have some positive words to try to make their day, something to inspire them to keep plugging through another day,” she said of her rock painting hobby.
Leftover paint from an inspirational Covid-19 window banner that displayed the word “STRENGTH” was used to paint many of the rocks.
McHarris estimates she’s painted over 100 rocks with inspirational words. Once it was safe for Artisans’ Corner to open after state regulations relaxed in June, three artists from the shop also wanted to give back to the community.
Waterville artist Colleen Bogan sells various handmade, baby-related apparel and toys at the Clinton artist co-op. Since the start of the pandemic, Bogan has been making facemasks; to date well over 700 masks.
Proceeds from her handmade facemasks are being donated to Cole Campbell and Matt Weeks. Campbell is a seventh grader at Waterville Central School who has been diagnosed with leukemia. Weeks is an Oriskany Falls resident who has brain cancer and a WCS graduate.
Franklin Springs artist Tim Pryputniewicz sells his drawings at Artisans’ Corner. He’s known for his portrayals of local landmarks and various animals.
In April of this year while Pryputniewicz was on a walk, he sat on a bench in front of the central fountain on Clinton’s Village Green. He noticed someone had tied a facemask to the face of the fountain’s statue.
“That inspired me to go home to my studio. I already had a print of the ‘fountain girl’ that was pretty popular, and I painted a mask on her, and turned it into prints,” he said.
He thought it could be a way to document this time in history. In addition to the prints of the fountain statue with a mask, he added facemasks to his popular animal drawings.
He said he’s been getting positive feedback from his masked animals and statue. “Kids love it,” he added.
A portion of the proceeds from the mask-inspired prints goes to the Clinton Fire Department.
He said when he took care of his mother for 16 years at his house, “there were many times that she had bad falls and the fire department was there in a heartbeat.”
“They were just phenomenal,” Pryputniewicz said of the CFD, “so I just want to give back.”
Richard Stricker sells his unique, handmade birdhouses at Artisans’ Corner. His birdhouses are on display in front of the shop. Stricker has also started selling fairy houses inside the shop.
Stricker is donating proceeds from the sale of his make-your-own fairy houses to The Country Pantry in Clark Mills.
“The food pantry has been doing so much more since the pandemic, and he realized that there was a need for more food,” McHarris said of Stricker.
A recent Facebook post on the Artisans’ Corner page showed Pryputniewicz and Stricker teaming up to create landmark birdhouses. The two artists have created birdhouses to look like the Clinton firehouse, the Clinton Cider Mill and the Deansboro Superette.
McHarris said Artisans’ Corner has always tried to be a business that helps the community. “These individual artists decided to do something a little bit more,” she said.
McHarris said she’s grateful for the community continuing to shop at the artist co-op.
“We are very appreciative of local people who have come in to support us because they know that we were shut down for so many months. They’ve definitely come in to show their support, and we’re so grateful for that,” she said.
Artisans’ Corner is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sundays 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and they’re open Mondays by chance.