Laura Wilson and her husband, Tom, came from California to Greenport — all for art.
But it took a while.
The couple, who met 10 years ago in Laura’s home town of Encinitas, Calif., lived for two years in Saratoga Springs upstate before finding themselves in Greenport last December. Tom found a position as Sexton for on Main Street, and Laura found a great town to display her wide range of art, jewelry and other patented inventions: magnetic eyeglass holders, magnetic earrings, magnetic pins — all of it is hypoallergenic and weighs next to nothing.
Wilson, who also rents space at the Rich Fielder Gallery in Greenport, will be showing off her creations along with four other artists at the church on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., inside the parish hall and on the grounds outside.
“Greenport reminds me of Encinitas in the 1950s,” she said. “It’s so small — very rural and rustic still. You couldn’t pay me to live back where I grew up now, it’s so developed.”
The show was created to raise funds for new parrish hall stage curtains. Other artists participating include David Nadal with underwater and landscape photography, Noel Ciolino with oil pastels on terracotta and hand-painted signs and pictures on wood, Lori Marcus with hand-woven jewelry using an ancient Japanese technique called kuminhimo, and Peter Heinz with North Fork scenic photography.
Tom and Laura often collaborate — he makes metal frames for her aluminum wall hangings and also crafts lightweight earrings. They’ve spent years living a nomadic live, traveling the country in an RV to set up shop at as many trade shows as possible. The magnetic eyeglass holders have sold well for them for years now, but the economy has been tough on the two recently.
As an artist, Wilson, 58, is prolific at manipulating silver for unique jewelry.
“Sterling silver rolls into a ball at a certain temperature, and if you smash it at just the exact moment with a dapping punch, it creates a cup-like shape, which in different sizes can be soldered together to make a rose,” she said. “To make the leaf shape, I use a chisel shaped chasing tool. If you hit it at the right moment it puts a little crease in the center. Then I use solder, which melts at a lower temperature, to assemble the roses and leaves into the final piece, because I don't want to melt anything accidentally.”
Wilson also paints and creates various sculptures with metal and fabric. She and her husband said that the move to Greenport was the right thing to do at the right time.
“It was a bit of a blessing because starting in November, business is dead in Saratoga,” Tom said. “It was time for a change.”