Aug 14, 2022
Correspondent photo / Sean Barron Amy Rigby, who runs Rebel Rescue Ranch near Berlin Center, adds a few decorative face-painting touches to Lucia Carrera, 4, of Canfield, during the Lake Milton Women’s League’s fifth annual Arts & Crafts show Saturday at the beach in Lake Milton.
LAKE MILTON — Maria Leng enjoys providing the inside scoop on her unique and eclectic artwork.
“I collect spoons and make pendants, rings and bracelets,” said Leng, of Litchfield, in Medina County, who was selling a variety of such items inside her large tent.
By her estimation, Leng, who runs Maria Leng Artist near Medina, has spent 46 years at art shows — the latest of which was the Lake Milton Women’s League’s fifth annual Arts & Crafts show Saturday at the beach off Grandview Avenue.
An estimated 105 local, regional and out-of-state artists, artisans and commercial vendors set up shop for the six-hour fundraiser, the proceeds of which are to benefit the women’s league, which has more than 50 members, Donna Loomis, a longtime member, said.
Throngs of people filled the area on a sunny Saturday afternoon in the mid-70s to select a wide array of handmade and hand-crafted pottery, beach glass, candles, scented soaps, wooden fixtures, jewelry, yarn baskets, ceramics, tie-dyed T-shirts and many other products.
Leng buys her own spoons, teaspoons and related merchandise as the centerpieces for her works, some of which include colorful pendants and bracelets. Many also are the result of research she’s conducted into several thousand American patterns.
In addition, she has pieces from Belgium, France, Germany, Russia, Norway, Holland and Sweden.
Some of her wares are quite rare, including ones from the 1800s, such as an 1886 Assyrian Head ring with flower patterns, said Leng, who cited as her main inspiration students from nearby Oberlin College who were interested in having her create rings made from spoons.
Assisting Leng on Saturday was her husband, Eugene, who set up the displays.
Some people are known to wear their hearts on their sleeves, though you could say that 17-year-old Brienne Shero of Gibsonia, Pa., wears her feelings on her canvas.
“A lot of my emotions come out when I paint,” Brienne said in explaining the primary source of her artwork in which she uses a variety of mixed-use mediums that include scrap paper, watercolors, gemstones and clay that makes much of her work “3-D-ish.”
Brienne, who refers to her artwork as abstract Expressionism, explained that she often views the figures she paints as “genderless, ageless souls,” some of which are based on dreams she’s had as well as certain life experiences. Other drawings and paintings are taken from songs that inspire her, said Brienne, who also was in the Pittsburgh Savoyards Theater Co.’s production of “Pirates of Penzance.”
“My daughter is very eclectic, creative and a free spirit,” Brienne’s mother, Sarah Shero, added. “Her body of work is to me like her diary — all very personal.”
Sarah Shero’s late father, who lived in Lake Milton, encouraged Brienne to follow her artistic passions and exercise her creativity, Sarah recalled.
Selling everything from tumbler handles to fake military-style hand grenades to survival bracelets using brightly-colored bungee and parachute cords was Erik Reid of Cortland, who runs Brass Monkey EDC.
“This is what I’ve done the last 12 years,” said Reid, who also had for sale numerous charms from such materials for children they could personalize or to which they were able to add their favorite characters.
Reid’s work, which he said started as an “accidental blessing,” consisted initially of items he made for family members during the Christmas holidays. Then it morphed into creating many military-style pieces such as the survival bracelets and faux hand grenades attached to 16-inch lanyards that can be hung from motorcycles or used as short dog leashes.
Making such artwork also is therapeutic for Reid, as well as reflective of the fact that his wife (he didn’t want her name used) has served in the U.S. Navy, he explained. Naturally, it also requires a commitment to patience, Reid said.
“It’s lots of time and braiding and tying knots,” he added.
Also at Saturday’s show was Amy Rigby, who runs Rebel Rescue Ranch near Berlin Center that takes in “domestic and exotic unwanted pets.” Those include pigs, chickens, goats, lizards, rabbits and birds.
The art show also included activities for children, and Rigby added a few artistic flairs of her own by offering face-painting for them.
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