Boat House sets sale

PHOTO: “Takoma Corner, Downtown” by Allison Baker.

BY AUBURN MANN

The 10th Annual Cedar Avenue Artists Holiday Show finished up Sunday at what is known as the “Boat House” on 7209 Cedar Ave., hosted by residents Alison Baker and Jim Colwell. “It’s a great opportunity for our friends and us to show our work and have fun,” said Baker. Every first weekend of December the couple opens up their home to Takoma Park to enjoy the symphony of aestheticism. Friends and neighbors alike come to observe, purchase and participate in the festivities. The middle level of the home was decorated with various classic oil paintings, drawings, pottery, along with some more innovative examples such as bottle cap earrings and lamp-fused clocks made from a wide assortment of materials.

The living room was the painting showcase, with several of Baker and Colwell’s original oil pieces and giclee prints taking center stage. Many of their paintings were travel pieces that were painted on location in the midst of locales from the world-class and exotic like Barcelona, Amsterdam, Prague and Chicago to the more familiar nooks and crannies of old town Takoma Park, as depicted in Baker’s “Takoma Corners.”

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The Cedar Avenue Artists Holiday Show. Photo by Auburn Mann.

“I’m knocked out by this stuff,” said observer and close friend Greg Artzner. “Their (Baker and Colwell) styles complement each other, sometimes strikingly different, sometimes strikingly similar. You can see that they have been together a long time,” said Artzner.

The one artist whose work rivaled the host couple was Randall Cleaver, creator of several stylish clocks that lined the entrance alcove and stairway. Many of them were comprised of tin parts from former toaster ovens that were infused with lamps to help them emit light. “It started out as a joke out of college,” said Cleaver, who graduated with an art degree from Penn State. “I was shopping for toaster ovens and realized that all of the toasters and many other appliances had some sort of timer already embedded in them,” said Cleaver. So Cleaver took that trait and decided to convert them into full-blown clocks. Now timepieces have become a consistent design point for his work. “I think, how I can fit a clock into this item,” said Cleaver. On Sunday, in addition to his signature toaster clocks, some of his work included clocks made from old gas heaters, lamps and instruments.

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A toaster-clock by Randall Cleaver.

A clock-smith by his post graduate training at the clock repair School of Horology in Columbia Pa, “It gave me the skills and resources needed to do more exact work,”. This was featured in his clock “Toaster Time”, where he infused a white toaster oven with 16 holes drilled around the clock face emitting purple light from the embedded lamp bulbs.

Each piece on display also had an accompanying price, from Baker’s earrings that were as little as $5 to the timepieces, oil and giclee paintings that could range from anywhere between $300 and $2,000 dollars. Customer and friend Martha Maiden purchased Colwell’s “Loch Leven Reflections”, an oil piece completed on the couple’s trip to Scotland for $600 dollars. “It was the first time they went to Scotland and I wanted to see how they experience a new location,” said Maiden, “I think it was very beautiful,” she said.

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“Loch Leven Reflections” by Jim Colwell.

One of the fair’s art enthusiast, Barbra Whitney, who helped out with customer’s questions about a particular painting’s artist, measurements of the artwork and of course the creative context of the different pieces, explained that the show on Cedar Avenue was one of many art events taking place in Takoma Park this week, including the overlapping TKPK Women’s 34th Annual Holiday Show and Sale on Maple Avenue and the Alternative Gift Fair on Saturday.

“Takoma Park is a lively city where many people are involved in the arts,” said Whitney.

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The show also featured the work of Marianne Alweis.