Stephen LeBlanc Metalsmithing (left) and Adirondack Rockware (right), available on the NYSOM Marketplace.
The Adirondacks are rich in natural resources and home to the largest National Park. It’s no surprise then that local artisans are crafting sustainable products and interpreting time-honored Adirondack traditions that are truly the BEST of their region.
Earlier this summer, we introduced you to four such artisans — La Mia Designs, Rusted Roof Pottery, Watson Woodworking and Adirondack Grilling Pellets. Since then, two more ADK craftsmen have joined the ranks. Adirondack Rockware specializes in handmade ceramic glazes made from crushed Adirondack rock, while Stephen LeBlanc’s line of jewelry emulates the natural forms of Adirondack flora. Taking inspiration from the earth (quite literally in the case of Adirondack Rockware), these two brands epitomize the best of the Adirondacks.
The NYSOM Marketplace sells many things that are made IN New York, but Peter Shrope’s Adirondack Rockware pottery is actually made OF New York. Using 100% native, pure, crushed Adirondack rock, Peter blends the most arresting colors to glaze his line of handmade pottery.
While Peter now calls Rainbow Lake home, he’s lived all over the State map, having grown up outside of Albany in the town of Delmar, and later working in Brooklyn. His artistry takes several forms including work as an exhibition designer for the Brooklyn Children’s Museum and the Maryland Science Center in Baltimore. While in Maryland, Peter used clay in his backyard to shape his pottery. After moving to the Adirondacks, Peter discovered that the land was too rocky for the clay to be malleable, but, with science in his veins, Peter was determined to incorporate the rocks in his artwork, and stumbled upon the idea of grinding the rocks into powder to use for the pottery glaze.
While Adirondack art generally follows a traditionalist, region-specific aesthetic, Peter sought to break the mold of the mountain, animal and lake themes, and turned to less-literal nature designs inspired by the Abstract Expressionists and traditional Japanese styles. The result is an exploration of the dynamism between the fluid visuals and the rigidity of the stone. A celebration of two ways of being: both the strong and sensitive states of mind.
There’s no question that Stephen LeBlanc has a deep respect for nature. One testament is the Adirondacks house he and his wife built by hand: constructed from dead wood timber, insulated by straw, powered through solar and wind energy and rounded out by an organic garden. His flexibility with natural materials takes an analogous form in his metalsmithing. In his Glens Falls studio (a former Shirt Factory filled with artists of all specialties), Stephen hand-forges jewelry on an anvil, and converts a piece of sturdy metal — be it sterling silver, palladium, 14k or 18k gold —into a seemingly fluid, abstracted organic shape. He draws upon the geometry of the gingko leaf and the stop-motion effect of an unfurling flower. As he says, “my work incorporates the forms and essences from the natural world” through “the medium of metal [that] lends itself to developing these naturalistic forms with the durability and integrity afforded by hand-wrought metal.” He freezes natural moments in time, and creates beauty that lasts forever.