Silver Willow Gallery, Winterport, ME

Silver Willow Gallery was established in May 2011 – not the most auspicious time for a new business, in terms of the economy.  Still, some things must be tried, and we believed – and still believe – in what we are doing.Our major reason for founding the Gallery was to have a place to showcase and sell Maine arts and crafts.  Maine has many talented artists and artisans, and in southern and coastal Maine there are a number of craft galleries and co-ops.  In our area of eastern Maine, however, there are not so many.  We felt that our Gallery could be unique among them.  We look for well-made, creative arts and crafts, including books and CDs by Maine authors and musicians.  We seek a balance in our selection, both in type of art or craft and style, and in price range.

Some of the people represented in our gallery are experienced and well-established, but we also want to provide a place for those who are just beginning to sell their work.  If we can help them learn more and establish themselves as artisans, so much the better.

One of our goals is to give back to the community, to do good for others.  To that end, we’ve held fund-raising events for Forgotten Felines, an organization that educates the public about free-roaming cats, helps to care for feral cats including a “trap-neuter-release” (TNR) program to reduce overpopulation, and places adoptable cats in new homes; Winterport Fuel Fund; Winterport Neighbor’s Cupboard (food pantry); and the Patient Fund of the Heart Center, Eastern Maine Medical Center, Bangor.  We also contribute items for fund-raising auctions for different groups or causes.

It is not easy to be a small business in a poor economy.  People are uncertain about the future and spend their money very carefully.  When someone buys at Silver Willow Gallery, they are purchasing a quality product handmade in Maine, supporting a local small business as well as the individual artist or artisan.  Research has shown that only 13 cents of every dollar spent in the large chain stores stay in the local community, but 45 cents of every dollar spent at the local small businesses stay local.  By shopping at your local small businesses, you not only support and help them continue in business, but you also help your local community by adding more dollars to its economy.



Musician John Tercyak is one of the consignors at Silver Willow Gallery.  He is a singer and guitarist, and had made several CDs which are available to buy at Silver Willow.  His music is varied, from folk music-type to 70’s hits, children’s songs, Celtic style, and more.  He played at a craft show I was at several years ago, and I really enjoyed his music.
In the next several weeks he’ll be performing around Maine and New Hampshire.
Crafter Fair at Cobb Field, Lincoln, ME, Fri. 7/20 8am-5pm
Kingfield Festival Days, Main St., Kingfield, ME, Sat. 7/21 10am-4pm
MCA Craft Market, Kennebunk Southbound Travel Plaza (I-95), ME, Sun. 7/22 10am-4pm
Freedom Community Club Arts and Crafts Fair, …Freedom Elem. School, Loon Lake Rd., Freedom, NH, Fri. 8/10 9:30am-3pm
Cafe de Bangkok, 232 Water St., Hallowell, ME, Tues. 8/14 6-9pm (usually 2nd Tues. of every month)
Machias Blueberry Festival Craftfest, Center St., Machias, ME, Sat. 8/18 9am-5pm & Sun. 8/19 9am-4pm
If you happen to be in any of those areas on those dates, I recommend going to hear him!

People have been adorning themselves with jewelry for 135,000 years – archaeologists have found shell beads dating from that time period, the Middle Stone Age.  Jewelry fashions have changed throughout the ages for both men and women, but the desire to adorn ourselves has been constant.

In the present day we can choose from a huge variety of jewelry styles, for many occasions. Most jewelry falls into one of a few general categories: fine, bridge, costume or fashion, and art.  I don’t believe that these categories are hard and fast, some pieces fall between categories and could fit in either.  Price isn’t a good guideline, either, as I’ve seen some jewelry that I consider “costume”, that costs as much as some “bridge” or even “fine” jewelry!

I hope my descriptions of the different categories will increase your appreciation of jewelry.  I welcome your comments, especially if you have additional knowledge to share or if your opinions differ from mine.  Learning is a good thing!

The highest category of jewelry is “fine jewelry,” made of precious metals and gemstones, such as 14 karat gold, platinum, diamonds, sapphires, rubies, and so on.  Fine jewelry may be mass-produced, made by artisans,  one of a kind or limited edition.  The materials used are the key point in defining fine jewelry.

The next category is “bridge jewelry,” probably a new term for some of you.  It “bridges” the gap or lies between fine jewelry and costume or fashion jewelry (the next category we will discuss).  Bridge jewelry can be an affordable alternate for fine jewelry, since it is made of higher-quality materials than fashion jewelry, such as sterling silver and gold-filled for the metals, and semi-precious gemstones.  The designs of bridge jewelry range from classic and timeless to more fashionable than those of fine jewelry, but generally do not go out of style as quickly as those of fashion jewelry.  Frequently bridge jewelry is made by artisans, though it may also be mass-produced.

Costume or “fashion” jewelry (the current term) is the most common type.  This is the jewelry that goes in and out of fashion with the season, generally made of base metals, perhaps plated with silver or gold, glass, plastic, resin, or wood beads, and leather.  The prices range widely, but for the most part are more affordable than bridge and especially fine jewelry.  Often mass-produced, fashion jewelry is also handcrafted by artisans – you’ll get more unique pieces that are still affordable and fashionable.  “Steampunk” jewelry, a style currently in vogue combining watch or other mechanical parts with vintage and modern components, falls into this category.  Although less expensive, some costume jewelry has enduring value – collectible vintage jewelry is mostly costume, like Sarah Coventry, Coro, Vendome, Florenza, Trifari, Miriam Haskell.

“Art jewelry” is a category that spans the previous three.  Usually one of a kind or limited edition, this jewelry is wearable art that expresses the artist’s unique concept.  It may be made from any material, from precious metals to cloth and paper.  For me, as a jewelry artisan, this is the most fun to make since there are no constraints on what I can do except what the materials impose.

In Silver Willow Gallery, you’ll find bridge, costume or fashion, and art jewelry, something for all tastes, even some for men.  Stop in at the gallery, if you live or visit in the area, or look through the catalog on our web site, and look at the jewelry not only for what you like, but also with an analytical eye to style and materials.  Become a “connoisseur” of jewelry, one more way to enjoy it!

the blog of the Silver Willow Gallery in Winterport.  The Gallery, if you don’t know of it already, is a fine crafts and art gallery and gift shop, all items made by Maine people.  We have a wide variety of crafts and art, as well as books by Maine authors and music CDs by a Maine musician.  You can go to our web site, http://silverwillowgallery.com, for a complete list of those who sell their products in our shop, as well as photos of the products.  You can even purchase from the catalog on our web site.

But this blog is not just to advertise Silver Willow Gallery — we want it to be far more useful than that.  Some of our ideas for future articles are the care of jewelry, information on metals used in jewelry, (I am a jewelry artisan, after all!), the benefits of the handmade soaps we carry, different types and styles of pottery, the care of wooden items used in cooking (like cutting boards).  We’ll introduce the new artisans who join us and their work, and the not-so-shy among those who have been with us longer!  And, because one of our major goals for the Gallery is to be a positive influence and contributor to the community, we’ll let you know about the people and programs around Maine who are doing good things, and often need help to reach their goals, whether monetary or volunteers.

I’ll end this initial post with just a bit about the two of us who own and operate the Gallery.  Lisa Taylor is the lesser-seen of the two.  She has the tremendous job of creating and maintaining our web site (all from scratch!), photographing the products shown there, formatting and sending out the newsletter — all the technical and computer stuff.  I’m Sue Berryhill, the more visible owner.  I work the store 2-3 days a week, keep the books, do the paperwork stuff.  And we would be lost without our Associate, Betty Hauger, who works at the store 1 day a week, usually Fridays.  She is a very talented woman who raises her own sheep, llamas and alpacas on her farm, spins their wool into yarn which she sells or knits into socks, hats and such.

If you have questions, suggestions or anything else, please email us at silverwillowgallery@gmail.com.  And if you live or visit in the Bangor area, I hope you will stop in to see us at the Gallery!

Silver Willow Gallery

115 Main Street (Rte 1A)

Winterport, ME

telephone 207-223-1075

Thanks for stopping by Under the Silver Willow, and hope you will come back again!


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