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Art Studio Tour to Benefit Library

Rural Intelligence Road TripsNothing compares with seeing art and crafts in the environment in which they were produced.  Unlike galleries, which are intentionally sterile so as not to compete for attention with the work, artists’ studios are rife with clues.  Among the dozen-plus studios that will be open to the public this weekend in Ancram, Copake, and Hillsdale, NY to benefit the Roeliff Jansen Community Library is that of cabinet- and furniture-maker Joel Mark Kupperstein.

The first thing you notice about the studio, which is on a road so obscure it could aptly be named Unbeaten Path, are a pair of beautiful wood entry doors.  Inside an eye-grabbing network of dust-collection ducts nearly upstages his furniture, which is simple, sculptural and clean-lined. In his work, the wood, rather than any ornamentation or detailing, is the star.  He treats it with great reverence, often harvesting it himself, then designing around its idiosyncrasies. 

Rural Intelligence Road TripsEducated as an engineer, Mark (the surname he uses professionally) fell into woodworking after a post-grad stint in the Peace Corps.  “I started out repairing antiques,” he says, “then somebody gave me a book about Wendell Castle.” Then, as now, Castle makes the kind of furniture that ends up in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art.  Thus inspired, Mark turned himself into a topnotch craftsmen.  Soon architects and contractors were hiring him to execute their cabinetwork.  Eventually, he headed a workshop in Brooklyn that,  during peak periods, would employ as many as fifteen carpenters.  He was a success, but his business was based on realizing the designs of others. 

Now that Mark and his wife Lynda Brenner, a psychotherapist, have “semi-retired” to their weekend place in Hillsdale, he is finally free to turn his attention back to handcrafted furniture.  “If a furniture client asks me, as one recently did, I will still build the occasional kitchen. But now,” he adds with evident satisfaction, “it’s my own design.” 

Art Studio Tour
Saturday & Sunday, July 16 & 17; 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Tickets/$30 (includes Meet the Artists Reception at the library, Friday, July 15, 5 - 7 p.m.)
buy tickets on-line or at
Roeliff-Jansen Community Library
Route 22, Hillsdale; 518.325.4101

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Posted by Marilyn Bethany on 07/13/11 at 03:13 AM • Permalink