Friday, June 26, 2020

View Arts debuts rustic show online

“A Select Rustic Show,” a new exhibit at View, the Center for Arts and Culture in Old Forge, will have an online virtual opening reception at 5 p.m. on Friday, June 26.  The online reception is being planned due to the uncertain nature of New York State’s Phase 4 reopening  schedule.  Everyone can participate in the reception by visiting

The online opening will include the following: a Rustic design video introduction by acclaimed Rustic artist Barney Bellinger,  a presentation entitled “The Roots of Adirondack Rustic,” by Director Emerita of the Adirondack Museum, Caroline Welsh, and a digital magazine about the artists and their exhibiting work.

The exhibition will be on full display when View is able to reopen.

Today, artists and photographers, architects and furniture makers carry on a long tradition in making creative and often ingenious contributions to rustic architecture, furniture and the rustic aesthetic. View is showcasing eight rustic artists and makers who exemplify contemporary rustic artistry today in an exclusive exhibit, A Select Rustic Show.

Participating Artists include, Barney Bellinger, Steve Bowers, Paul Lakata, Michael Ringer, Tyler Schrader, Jonathan Swartwout, Jonathan Sweet, and  Mark Wood.

Adirondack rustic furniture marked a change in the way rustic furniture was made and looked in the last decades of the nineteenth century. Before it, rustic furniture was generally crude and rough, meant only for a short life in the outdoors. Adirondack craftsmen between the 1870s and the 1920s introduced new levels of attention to detail and refinement of expression. They employed more of the tree in a greater variety of forms and techniques than either their predecessors or their modern successors.

And, it was in the Adirondacks, that the furniture was incorporated into furnishings of Great Camps to heighten the overall rustic ambience. Tables and cabinets were clad with sheets of white birch bark or with elaborate and inventive geometric patterns of twigs or sticks. Beds and chairs were made of peeled or unpeeled spruce or cedar, or white or yellow birch with the bark still attached. Root, trunk, branch, twig, bark, pine cone and leaf were all used singly or in combination to create and adorn this furniture. The best rustic furniture was one of a kind, and according to the few experts in the field, the best of that was made in the Adirondacks. Next to the region’s signature guideboat, rustic furniture was the most important contribution made by native Adirondackers to regional crafts.

Making rustic furniture and guideboats was a part-time occupation for men who also worked as guides, carpenters, loggers, farmers, and caretakers during the years 1870 to 1920. Since the 1980s a renaissance has been seen in building traditional Adirondack guideboats and contemporary rustic furniture. Artisans and craftsmen abound in the Adirondacks, the southeast, upper midwest and far west. Their imaginative and often fanciful creations carry on a long tradition.

For further questions or more information, visit or call (315) 369-6411.

Pictured here, at top: Uncle Red by Steve Bowers, The Roots of Rustic by Barney Bellinger, lamps by Mark Wood.


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