Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Maggie Carberry: Local Collection May 2011 Artist of the Month





About the Artist

When Local Collection Boston opened its doors to the public in historic Faneuil Hall Marketplace on Saturday, May 1st, 2010, there were thirty New England area designers represented in the collection.  The store was the second of its concept by brand pioneer Katie Kurtz of General Growth Properties.  The original Local Collection in Glendale, California as well as the new Boston location were designed to give up and coming artisans and designers a platform to showcase their work and introduce their line to the public.  Local Collection is a starting point whose aim is to provide a spotlight on those talented individuals who could not necessarily afford their own retail space. 
One of the original Boston vendors is New York-state-native-turned-Jamaica Pond-resident Maggie Carberry.  Maggie works with a variety of media from photography to painting to jewelry.  Easily a staff and customer favorite for her variety of product and its one-of-a-kind appeal, Maggie found a home quickly at Local Collection.  As one of the first vendors to volunteer to conduct an in-store event, she set the bar for how to maximize her time in residence here.  One of the things that sets Local Collection apart from most of the other stores in Faneuil Hall is that local product meant the local artists could be here in the store to demonstrate their process and interact with a public who very much enjoy meeting them.  Maggie has hosted six events between May 2010 and April 2011 and has another coming up on May 24th from 4PM-7PM.  Each has been a memorable, interactive experience for customers.  You never know what she’ll be doing – encaustic painting, earring or key chain making, or demonstrating the intricate procedure involved with assembling her silver or bronze pendants.  When you see her on the events calendar, you should always come out ready to play.
Because “play” is the name of Maggie’s game.  After attending college in Washington, D.C. and grad school in London, Maggie spent a few years teaching art in Brazil before bringing her talents to Boston in 2006.  She uses the world as her canvas and finds inspiration everywhere.  “My work always starts with ‘a camera and a journey,’” Maggie says.  “I often say my camera is my sketchbook.”  Her dream job, of course, is to be a photographer for National Geographic, both because of her love of travel and her eye for the interesting in the world around her.  Architecture inspires much of her work as well, which is evident in “Daydream Dwellings” collection.  As stated on her website maggiecarberry.com, “I find that repetition in architecture facilitates daydreaming much like a mandala facilitates meditation.”  Early on, she even considered a career as an architect before finding her true calling as an art teacher.  Much the same way her favorite creation is the one that has caused her the most struggle, she has a soft spot for the students who “struggle but keep trying.”  Maggie wants to keep learning new techniques – “Glassblowing or stained glass is probably next on my list” – and expanding her artistic experience.
Maggie can’t remember a time when she didn’t love to paint.  “The house that I grew up in had a pretty big attic.  There was a little room that my siblings called the ‘studio.’  I remember hiding myself away there for hours.  There was one time I got in trouble for ‘sneaking out.’  The truth was I was up in the attic working on a watercolor painting of the house for Father’s Day.”  Now, her art has evolved from watercolors in the attic to a complex procedure that begins with an original photo being transformed through a gum transfer process or Xerox lithography.  First, she rubs gum arabic into the toner of a Xerox copy.  Next, oil based ink is rolled onto the paper.  It sticks to the toner and washes away from the white areas with water.  The image is then run through a press and transferred onto a more absorbent, archieval paper.  The process breaks down the image and creates a “bad print.”  Finally, she uses inks and encaustic paints bring it back to life.  The “leftover” fragments and scraps from these images end up as the stars of her mixed media pendants.  Each piece she creates is therefore 100% original since the exact same process can’t be duplicated.  Soon, she will have prints available of some of her more popular creations to give her more time to expand her collection and try new things.
As Maggie learned through her own artistic journey over the last year, trying everything is a conclusive way to find out what works best, both in her process and her path as a rising star in the local arts community.  “I tried out just about every opportunity that was presented to me,” she says.  From having a cart in Faneuil Hall to traveling to out of state craft shows to local open studios to Artexpo NY to SoWa Open Market to hanging paintings in ice cream shops to juried shows to ETSY (and then off of ETSY…and then back on ETSY), Maggie wanted to try every avenue available to independent artists.  “There are a few things that made Local Collection one of the better venues I tried this year,” she says.  “Perhaps the most important are the people who work there.  They are the ones who watch people interact with my work all day and whenever I ask, they give me great feedback…  Having the freedom to experiment with different products has also been a great advantage.  I’ve come to realize that my work is a natural fit for the tourist market, a market I hadn’t considered before.”  She adds, “As an emerging artist, my experience with Local Collection gave me the confidence to keep building my career as an artist.” 
The reaction to Maggie’s work has ranged from the humorous – one customer confessed to loving a recent purchase so much that he “may have blurted out more than once, ‘I wish I could make out with this painting!’ – to the poignant – a recent widow was moved to buy a piece to hang in her new home as part of her new life after losing her husband.  Maggie’s work catches the eye with a thoughtful pause and leaves the beholder with a sense the great creativity and unique perspective.  Without a doubt, Maggie Carberry’s work will continue to evolve and grow and change the more she learns.  What’s next?  Could be anything, true, but there is no doubt it will be simply stunning.

Please join Maggie in-store on May 17th for a Metal Clay Demonstration and again on May 24th for a Encaustic Painting Workshop.  Visit our Facebooks Event Tab or call the store at 617-722-4310 for more up-to-the-minute information!
See store for details.

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