By Nancy Doniger
Anyone who spends time walking along the beach knows the joy of collecting seashells. Artist Holly Hawthorn calls them “the bounty we live with.”
“The seashell is a timeless symbol that for me evokes playfulness of time spent on the beach,” Hawthorn said in her artist statement. “The illustrative works I create are titled to amuse the viewer. I especially enjoy using plays on words to title them. They are little celebrations of art.”
“She Shells,” “Happy as a Clam,” “Happy as a Clameo,” “Jingle Shell Mingle,” are a few of the playful names she has given to her art work.
Greiser’s Coffee & Market invited patrons to an art opening for Hawthorn’s porcelain sculptures Sept. 6. Adrienne Burke, proprietor, made clams casino to complement the exhibit which will remain on display at the store through September. Burke also sported a clam-inspired belt, pearl necklace and pearl earrings in keeping with the theme.
“We’re delighted to feature Holly’s creative and lovely work at Greiser’s this month,” Burke said. “September is my favorite time of year for shell collecting and the She Shell Series brings the joyful feeling of a beach walk to the store.”
Guests sipped wine, nibbled clams and other tasty appetizers while admiring Hawthorn’s art work and mingling with the other patrons.
A sculptor, printmaker and ceramicist, Hawthorn crafted and concealed unique petite porcelain portraits within shells she found on the beach from Maine to Ireland, producing playful and thought-provoking work in many mediums.
Her porcelain sculptures reflect her love of the ocean; her monoprints evoke the serenity of calm water scenes. “My walks on the beach and forest on soft grey days provide me with inspiration to create monoprint images showing the subtle colors and fleeting moment that only become visible in the misty atmosphere,” she said, “like the images created by the waves on the water’s edge, similar but infinitely different.”
Hawthorn, who lives in Redding, is a member of the Easton Arts Council. A number of fellow arts council members turned out to support her. Easton painters Robert Brennan and John Forgione, who previously exhibited their paintings at Greiser’s, also attended Hawthorn’s art opening..
Brennan was Hawthorn’s former art teacher at the University of Bridgeport. She studied art in Italy and Greece in addition to the United States, and instructed students in drawing, ceramics and sculpture.
All of the whimsical “Happy as a Clam” portraits on exhibit at Greiser’s are for sale.
Easton Arts Council members Kit and Geri Briner are longtime friends of Hawthorn. Geri Briner summed up that special something that draws people to Greiser’s, whether it’s to art openings, pizza nights or just for coffee and conversation.
“This place has soul,” she said.