“I started with five patterns and have been adding more,” said Flood.
Flood takes photographs of textures and manipulates them in the computer to “build an image” of patterns that are digitally printed in a factory on canvas made from recycled plastic bottles. In addition to rolls of patterned fabric, Flood sells hand-sewn tote bags, pillows, and other home accessories.
“People come in here and get all happy. It’s like therapy in some way,” she said.
When ceramicists Gail and Phil Sellers moved from Ohio, they opened River Hill Pottery in the Eclipse Mill, a former textile mill that was redesigned into living and working spaces for artists in 2005.
Specializing in hand-woven clay baskets created for use in the kitchen, the Sellerses — married and working together for 42 years — make close to 2,000 baskets a year.
“We live here, we work here, and we sell here. We’re open most days, seven days a week,” said Gail Sellers. “We have people come in here from all over the world. It amazes me.”
Visitors can tour the studio and see the couple at work: extruding clay coils, weaving strips over foam molds, making glazes, and firing baskets in electric kilns.
“The community here, it percolates, so much is going on all the time,” Sellers said.
Jane Hudson, digital and video artist, photographer, and musician, presides over Hudson’s, a shop adjacent to Mass MoCA featuring a salon-type display of local artist works as well as antiques, collectibles, jewelry, and more. Look for artist Michael McKay’s “OK Used Cars,” a series of shaped automobile paintings hand-cut with a jigsaw (“a funny, wonderful sensibility,” said Hudson), the “outsider art” paintings of Karl Mullen, and the elegant folded-screen dodecahedron sculptures by Richard Harrington.
Back in Rockwell’s studio, I learned the artist acquires many of his action figures “from the 50-cent machine in Price Chopper.”
“It’s interesting that we do this [manufacture figurines] as a human race. It has to do with the idea of the common man, something my father was interested in,” Rockwell said.
The artist also exhibits paintings and works on paper, some old and some new. He pointed to his newest work in progress, a drawing with glued-on colored disks that spanned the entire rear wall.
“Doing this picture here, I’m asking, What happens when you die? Souls move into space and are disembodied. The souls learn and become one with the whole thing. I’m not religious. I’m just interested in what happens.”
Most days Rockwell works in the studio in the morning, and again in the afternoon. “I try and be here every day,” he said. “If I’m out, go into the gallery next door. They’ll let you in.”
Necee Regis can be reached at email@example.com.