M/cloudy
89°
M/cloudy
Hi 87° | Lo 61°

Art Notes: From Italy to Vermont; WRJ's Scavenger Gallery Owner Has Made Her Own Niche

  • Much of jewelry artist’s Stacy Hopkins’ work is cast from natural objects. These are at her workspace. (Valley News - James M. Patterson)

    Much of jewelry artist’s Stacy Hopkins’ work is cast from natural objects. These are at her workspace. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Much of jewelry artist’s Stacy Hopkins’ work is cast from natural objects. These are at her workspace. (Valley News - James M. Patterson)

    Much of jewelry artist’s Stacy Hopkins’ work is cast from natural objects. These are at her workspace. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Stacy Hopkins, owner of Scavenger. (Valley News - James M. Patterson)

    Stacy Hopkins, owner of Scavenger. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Stacy Hopkins says owning a gallery is “kind of like a dream come true." (Valley News - James M. Patterson)

    Stacy Hopkins says owning a gallery is “kind of like a dream come true." (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Much of jewelry artist’s Stacy Hopkins’ work is cast from natural objects. These are at her workspace. (Valley News - James M. Patterson)
  • Much of jewelry artist’s Stacy Hopkins’ work is cast from natural objects. These are at her workspace. (Valley News - James M. Patterson)
  • Stacy Hopkins, owner of Scavenger. (Valley News - James M. Patterson)
  • Stacy Hopkins says owning a gallery is “kind of like a dream come true." (Valley News - James M. Patterson)

A fter spending most of her adult life in Europe, Stacy Hopkins came home to her native Hanover a little over four years ago, unsure of what she would do.

She had built a successful career as a jewelry designer in Florence, Italy, but didn’t know how to proceed further. Opening a shop there put her into more complicated legal terrain than she felt she could manage.

So almost a year ago, she opened Scavenger Gallery, in a postage-stamp storefront shared with a gift shop attached to White River Junction’s Hotel Coolidge. After a while, the gift shop closed, and Hopkins installed a small workshop in the gallery. “It’s evolved quite amazingly,” Hopkins said.

Those are the beginning of Hopkins’ plans for Scavenger, which she envisions as a social hub for Upper Valley artists.

Scavenger Gallery will host a reception for an exhibition of panels made by Jenny Lynn Hall and a tasting of hard-to-find wines provided by Artisanal Cellars, a White River Junction wine distributor, tomorrow evening, 5:30 to 8, as part of White River Junction’s First Friday.

The impending first anniversary of Scavenger finds Hopkins hitting her stride as an artist and gallerist. Her jewelry designs based on natural materials — everything from thin twigs to beetles and animal skulls — have been featured in Italian Vogue Jewelry , and displayed at La Specola, Florence’s museum of natural history. She’s planning to head back to Italy next month to meet with editors and shop owners interested in her work.

These are auspicious developments for someone who took up jewelry design after an earlier education in art left her uncertain about making a career.

After graduating from Hanover High School, Hopkins majored in biology at the University of New Hampshire. She worked at Boston’s Museum of Science before moving to Italy, where she had spent a semester at age 16. She studied painting and drawing, but felt the program she was in wasn’t sufficiently rigorous.

The jewelry school, Le Arti Orafe (The Art of Jewelry), seemed like the best way forward for someone who felt she had botched her initial art education but didn’t feel suited to a 9-to-5 job.

“I just thought, oh, it makes sense. I can express myself with the material, but also it’s a viable means of being an artist,” Hopkins said.

She started to show and sell her work during the jewelry program, and after finishing in 2001, she continued to live and work in Florence. She also sold work at Rosey Jekes in Hanover and through AVA Gallery and Art Center in Lebanon.

When she moved back to the Upper Valley, she was ready to open her own shop, and approached David Briggs, who owns the Hotel Coolidge and surrounding storefronts. He didn’t have space available, but contacted her about sharing the gift shop. Hopkins was uncertain of paying a set rent, so she and Briggs worked out an arrangement that allows her to pay a percentage of receipts. She said Briggs’ willingness to experiment was a source of Scavenger’s success.

“I’m surviving,” Hopkins said. “It’s the first time I’ve lived entirely off of my jewelry.” In Italy, she supplemented her income by working at a bakery, and also lived rent-free in France while teaching English.

Hopkins’ jewelry is Scavenger’s main event. Made in silver or bronze that Hopkins oxidizes to create a patina, bracelets are cast as delicate snakes or flowers, and spoons have handles made of metal twigs. The collection of her work shown at La Specola included pieces cast from beetles in the Main Street Museum’s trove of curiosities. Her latest work includes casts of specimens from La Specola itself, including pendants cast from tiny bird and bat skulls that combine the faintly macabre sensibilities of Georgia O’Keefe’s skull paintings with a talismanic quality that suggests dark magic. Her work is cast by a foundry in Arrezzo, Italy.

For the past two months, Scavenger has exhibited prints by Lois Beatty, and woodware by Ria Blaas has a regular place in the gallery. “Oceana,” the exhibition by Jenny Lynn Hall, features panels made with a fresco technique using Italian marble and pigments. The panels can be deployed as functional tiles or decorative wall hangings.

Hopkins is thinking of ways to expand the reach of Upper Valley artists. She has been collaborating with other artists and businesses, including Northern Stage. She’s considering arranging studio tours or weekend getaways for people in New York.

“I think people should realize, this is good stuff,” she said. For example, no one makes wooden vessels in the shapes that Blaas creates, Hopkins said. “What I’m enjoying from this whole thing is that I get to work with artists whose work actually moves me,” she said.

“I’m kind of excited about this because it’s kind of like a dream come true,” Hopkins said. “I never thought I’d have my own gallery.”

Scavenger Gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Of Note

People from all over Vermont, including cartoonist Ed Koren, former Gov. Madeleine Kunin and current Gov. Peter Shumlin, have decorated or made scarves to be auctioned off Saturday as a fundraiser for SafeArt. The Chelsea-based nonprofit uses expressive arts to address issues of bullying, dating violence, domestic violence and sexual assault. The silent auction is slated for Saturday evening, 5:30 to 8, in South Royalton at Vermont Law School’s Chace Center.

The Donald Claflin Jewelry Studio in the Hopkins Center for the Arts at Dartmouth College is bringing in three acclaimed jewelry artists and metalsmiths for three days of events later this month. The events include a free public slide lecture and exhibition on Friday evening, April 26, at 6:30 in the Hop’s Alumni Hall. On Saturday, April 27, the artists, Andy Cooperman of Seattle, Donald Friedlich of Madison, Wisc., and Deborah Lozier of Oakland, Calif., will teach a day-long workshop in the studio at a cost of $125 a person ($75 for Dartmouth students). For more information, call 603-646-3226.

Openings and Receptions

AVA Gallery and Art Center in Lebanon opens “AVA Beginnings: Work by Founding and Longtime AVA Artists,” part of AVA’s ongoing celebration of its 40th anniversary, and “Musings,” watercolors by Stephanie Reininger, with a reception tomorrow evening, 5 to 7.

∎ Dartmouth College’s Hood Museum of Art opens “The Women of Shin Hanga: The Judith and Joseph Barker Collection of Japanese Prints” with a lecture by Dartmouth art history professor Allen Hockley, who curated the exhibition, at 4:30 on Friday in the Hood Auditorium. A reception will follow.

Also at the Hood: “Evolving Perspectives: Highlights from the African Art Collection at the Hood Museum of Art; and “Word and Image in Contemporary Art,” which was curated in collaboration with 22 studio art majors.

∎ “Picture Show: As Seen Through My Eyes,” a solo show by Tunbridge photographer Fred Carty, opens at Tunbridge Public Library tomorrow. A reception will be held on Sunday afternoon, 2-4.

∎ “My Favorite Places,” mixed media on canvas by Christine Hauck, is on view at West Lebanon’s Kilton Public Library. A reception is planned for Saturday afternoon, 2:30-4:30.

∎ Spring art exhibitions at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center include oil paintings by Deborah Frankel Reese and Gillian Tyler and watercolors by Marlene Kramer and Lynn Hoeft.

∎ Two Rivers Printmaking Studio in White River Junction holds a second reception for a show of prints by the studio’s non-member faculty tomorrow evening.

Last Chance

Kimball Union Academy in Meriden continues its series of bicentennial art exhibitions with a show by graduates Emilie Bosworth-Clemmens, Tony Bragg and Nat Voss in the school’s Taylor Gallery. Through Saturday.

Ongoing

ArtisTree Gallery in Woodstock hosts “MUD (season): Viridian and Vermillion,” a group show that reflects on this messy time of year.

∎ Colby-Sawyer College in New London holds its annual Gladys Greenbaum Meyers Juried Student Art Exhibition in the college’s Marian Graves Mugar Art Gallery.

∎ Ledyard Gallery in Hanover’s Howe Library hosts “Capturing Nature,” work by Susan Bridge and Gail Barton.

∎ Dartmouth College’s Studio Art Exhibition Program hosts “no kill shelter,” art by Jodie Mack, a professor of film and media studies.

∎ Newport’s Library Arts Center opens an exhibition of art by Newport Middle School and High School students with a reception tomorrow evening, 4 to 6.

∎ Norwich Public Library hosts an exhibition of photographs by Elizabeth Dean Hermann and traditional and contemporary textiles from India.

∎ “Underwater,” an exhibition of recent large oil paintings by Strafford artist Micki Colbeck, is on view at the Vermont Supreme Court in Montpelier.

∎ Scavenger Gallery in White River Junction shows prints by Lois Beatty, jewelry by Scavenger owner Stacy Hopkins, and work by Toby Bartles, Ria Blaas, Ben Peberdy and David Powell.

∎ “How People Make Things,” an exhibition that looks at how all sorts of objects are made, is on view at the Montshire Museum of Science in Norwich through June 2. Admission to the Montshire is $12 for adults, $10 for children ages 2 to 17.

∎ Nuance Gallery in Windsor hosts “Resiliency,” featuring work by Joyce Harden and Nance Silliman.

∎ Cafe 232 in South Strafford is showing paintings by the late Harlow Lent through the winter.

∎ Hartland Library hosts “Sundrenched Color,” paintings by Katheryne B. Sharp.

Art Notes appears in the “Valley News” on Thursday. Send email to artnotes@vnews.com.