WHEN AN ARTIST ARRIVES IN BERMUDA FOR THE FIRST TIME, EMOTIONS FOLLOW: AWE, DELIGHT AND THE IMPETUS OF CREATIVE JUICES FLOW. The island possesses certain distinct characteristics, like unique architecture, exotic foliage, breathtaking vistas and a quality of light unparalleled in the world. This creates such a diversity of styles, media and interpretations in the arts — and even such luminaries as John Lennon and Mark Twain have gained inspiration from Bermuda. As one of the most remote inhabited islands on the planet, the lack of pollutants in the atmosphere has allowed the island to enjoy a pure, untainted quality of light unrivalled anywhere else. This has proven to be a challenge, as many an artist has expressed frustration in capturing it. But when successful, the artist feels a real sense of accomplishment. It is this characteristic that creates the unreal blues and turquoises that one finds in the colour of the water. As Charles Hawthorne, an American Impressionist artist, said, “The colour of the sound and sea are indescribable — all the varying shades of emerald, emeraude, cerulean and deep blue.” The geometric architecture of the island was a source of inspiration to other artists, as well. The triangular limestone-washed roofs on top of the boxy buildings attracted many Modernist artists who travelled to Bermuda in the early 1900s. French Cubist Albert Gleizes was captivated by the rectangular towers of Government House, which he observed from the Fairmont Hamilton Hotel; and Precisionists Niles Spencer and George Ault reinterpreted the buildings and warehouses of St. George’s in their geometric vernacular. The Bermuda artistic experience has received the most international attention in paintings of the great Winslow Homer and the two vanguards of American Modern Art: Marsden Hartley and Charles Demuth. Homer was very pleased with his Bermuda watercolours, which won first prize at the Pan Am Exhibition in Buffalo, New York, in 1901. He said in correspondence with the dealer O’Brian and Son, “These… are as good work… as ever I did.” He later declared, “You will see in the future I will live by my watercolours.” Demuth and Hartley were in Bermuda together in the winter of 1917. Hartley was fascinated by the “suggestion of the orient in the voluptuousness of the vegetation... and the sensuous banana trees are everywhere in evidence.” Fittingly, critic Sherman Lee pointed out, “The 1916–18 Bermuda landscapes by Demuth are of great importance in modern art and should be considered equally with the work of such men as Braque, Ozenfont, Klee and Picasso.” The artistic experience in Bermuda is as strong today as it ever was and doesn’t seem to lose its charm, no matter how many times it is painted. MUSEUMS, INSTITUTIONS AND GALLERIES The following is a selection of cultural venues and public art sites. Check with each venue for current exhibitions. Bermuda Arts Centre at Dockyard: Established in 1984, the Arts Centre is a nonprofit registered charity that reflects the diverse creativity of the art community in Bermuda. Five resident artists are happy to chat about their work, and regular exhibits of other local artists are staged every six weeks. The gift shop sells original works of art and prints, and workshops are held regularly. (234-2809, artbermuda.bm) Bermuda Historical society: Housed in the 1814 home of William B. Perot, Bermuda’s first postmaster, is a collection of Bermuda-made silver, furniture and paintings, fine china, maps and coins. Ask the curator to show you the letter sent from George Washington asking for Bermuda’s help during the American Revolution. (295- 2487, firstname.lastname@example.org) Bermuda national Gallery: Why not take in some art whilst on the island? Visit the Bermuda National Gallery, conveniently located in City Hall & Arts Centre in Hamilton, beside the main bus terminal and a short walk from the ferry stop. Exhibitions include historical and contemporary artwork and provide the narrative on how the visual arts have developed in Bermuda. Take away an art book as a memento of your visit. Admission is free. The experience is valuable. (295-9428, bng.bm) Bermuda national trust: The Bermuda National Trust is a charity established in 1970 to preserve natural, architectural and historic treasures, and to encourage public appreciation of them. There are 70 properties under the Trust’s care. All programmes and activities are focused in the key areas of preservation, education and advocacy. Its purpose is to ensure that Bermuda’s unique heritage remains protected for future generations. (236-6483, bnt.bm) Bermuda society of the Arts: Often referred to as “The People’s Art Gallery,” the BSOA showcases local artists in four separate gallery spaces. They host approximately 50 shows a year and celebrate the diverse range of artistic talent that Bermuda has to offer. (292-3824, bsoa.bm) Crisson & Hind Gallery: Home to a fascinating collection of carved sculptures from Zimbabwe. (295-1117, crissonandhind.com) Endemic Arts Collective: Bermuda’s newest arts collective in the East End. Located inside of Triton Tattoo parlour, Endemic Arts Collective showcases unique local artwork. (732-0233, email@example.com) Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art: Masterworks is Bermuda’s only purpose-built museum and is home to over 1,400 works of Bermuda-inspired art by such famous names as Winslow Homer, Albert Gleizes and Georgia O’Keeffe. Local artists are also on display throughout the year, and the Artists in Residence programme sees international artists offer their interpretation of island life. Weekly drop-in children’s classes welcome visitors, and on the last Saturday of the month, Super Saturday offers FREE art activities to all. The museum shop sells prints and original local art, and Homer’s Café serves baked goods, gluten-free goods and lunch items. Museum and Homer’s café are open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Located in the Botanical Gardens, 183 South Shore Road, Paget. (299-4000, bermudamasterworks.com) National Museum of Bermuda: Includes Bermuda Maritime Museum, The Keep, The Casemates Barracks, Commissioner’s House and three floors of exhibits. Displays include The Slave Trade and Royal Navy Collections, and local artist Graham Foster’s epic mural depicting the history of Bermuda is not to be missed. (234-1418, bmm.bm) Picturesque Gallery: The Picturesque Gallery showcases Bermudian photographer Roland Skinner’s best work spanning a 50-year career. Roland’s images of Bermuda truly capture the unique colours and contours of the island, its flamboyant sunsets, lush floral landscapes and sweeping aerial views. Archival colour prints in various sizes are available from the gallery along with two best-selling books and a number of unique gift items featuring Roland’s images. Located in Walker Arcade, 47 Front Street, Hamilton. (292-1452, picturesquebermuda.com) The Windjammer 2 Gallery: The Gallery has been synonymous with fine art since its inception in 1985. Sheilagh Head with her Gallery Manager, Danjou Anderson, and Alexia Cooper have assembled the finest collection of original art by Bermuda’s professional artists. (295-1783, windjammer2.com) The World Heritage Centre: The Centre provides a walk-through of Bermuda’s early history from the Age of Discovery to the U.S. Civil War. Interpretative panels and audios describe Bermuda before the English arrived, when New World explorers used Bermuda as a navigational marker, when mariners dubbed the island the “Isle of Devils” and when castaways explored its fruitful shores. Bermuda’s historic links to Jamestown and the first settlers are illustrated. Upstairs there is a “time tree,” interactive touchscreens featuring World Heritage Site information, fortifications, military bases and the film A Stroll Through St. George’s. (297-5791, stgeorgesfoundation.org) TAKING BERMUDA HOME For a perfect memento, pick up an original work of art in various media. Alexandra Mosher Studio Jewellery: Bermudian artist Alexandra Mosher draws from the island’s natural beauty to create inspired sculptural jewellery. “I create expressive and original pieces; elegant conversation starters,” she explains. Alexandra is perhaps best known for her Bermuda Reef Collection, in which she incorporates pink Bermuda sand into sterling silver and gold to create captivating pieces of wearable art. You can find the lovely Alexandra Mosher Studio Jewellery boutique in the Washington Mall in Hamilton. She also ships internationally. (236-9009, alexandramosher.com) Bermuda Clayworks Ceramic Studios & Gallery: Bermuda Clayworks is a collective of local studio potters and ceramic artists offering a diverse range of professional pottery in a unique historical setting at the Royal Naval Dockyard. The Gallery features three full-time, independent on-site artists exhibiting as Aubrey Hardy Ceramics, Jon Faulkner Pottery and Bermuda Clayworks — Customised Signs & Designs by Sundee with the addition of work by other local ceramicists utilising the studio. (234-5116, bermudaclayworks.com) The Bermuda Craft Market: The Bermuda Craft Market in Dockyard has the largest collection of Bermuda-made crafts and products on the island. As you wander around the historic building, you will see craftsmen at work. All items are available for purchase and include Bermuda banana dolls, sterling and 14-karat gold-filled jewellery, pottery, candles, handmade soaps, sea glass pendants, cedar bowls, jams and jellies, and lots more. (234-3208, craftmarket.bm) Bermuda Memories: They offer a display of classic art, small collectibles, local crafts, handmade jewellery and colourful hot glass. Located in St. George’s, watch the working lamp artists create flameworked collectibles. Bermuda Memories also welcomes you with a taste of Bermuda Rum Cake, made with the island’s rum. (297-3908, dockyardcompany.com) The Birdsey Studio: Jo Birdsey Linberg, daughter of Bermuda’s first modern artist, Alfred Birdsey, painted for many years with her father at the Birdsey Studio before his death in 1996. Today, she continues the family tradition. Created predominately in watercolour, her impressionistic landscapes, figurative paintings and whimsical animals reflect her mentor’s artistic legacy through simple lines and Oriental-inspired brushwork; but they also establish Jo’s own artistic niche and creative stamp. Her watercolours have been exhibited in Bermuda and overseas, whilst collected and commissioned internationally. Jo’s paintings reflect her love of life and Bermuda. Her father’s spirit is alive and well in her humour, hospitality and creative energy. The Birdsey Studio can be found in the back garden of the family home, located at 5 Stowe Hill in Paget. It remains a special place for many, with its tranquil natural setting and rather unusual appearance. Studio hours are 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays. Appointments are recommended. (236-6658, firstname.lastname@example.org) Davidrose: Davidrose has a growing reputation as one of Bermuda’s most exciting jewellery boutiques. They carry an exclusive collection of fine jewellery and silver collection whilst specialising in bridal and custom pieces. Davidrose is located in the old historic Town of St. George. They boast one of the most unique luxury shopping experiences with a spectacular view of the harbour. (293-7673, davidrose.bm) Dockyard Glassworks Glass Gallery & Working Studio: Come see hot molten glass, like light on the move, as creations happen. Relax in their comfy theatre as you experience the expertise and drama. Lampwork artists prepare small sculptural collectible creatures, many native to the island. Shop in the colourful Glass Gallery at One Maritime Lane in Royal Naval Dockyard, open daily 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and till 9 p.m. when ships are docked. Overseas shipping via FedEx is available. (234-4216, dockglass.com) Hand Made (Bermuda) Ltd: Hand Made (Bermuda) Ltd is a unique company promoting arts and crafts made exclusively in Bermuda. It’s the ideal place to find truly Bermudian gifts and art that’s unavailable elsewhere. Jewellery, natural soaps and scrubs, bags, books, Cds, glassware, Bermuda cedar, clothing, toys, preserves, cards, prints and much more — lovingly designed and made strictly by local artists. Hand Made also stocks a wide range of craft materials and runs workshops teaching all age groups crafting skills. Located in the Clocktower Mall in Royal Naval Dockyard. (232-0862, facebook.com/HandMadeBermudaLtd) The Island Shop: The Island Shop is a must-visit for unique ceramic and linen products, all designed by Barbara Finsness. Resident and visitor comments include, “Finally, a beautiful shop to buy our gifts,” and “I want to buy everything in your store.” Barbara’s designs are colourful and tropical, reflecting the best and lasting images of Bermuda. Each item is specially made and labelled with her signature. The Island Shop won Best of Giftware in The Bermudian magazine. New designs are continuously added to the collection. Original art and prints are available at all locations, which include 3 Queen Street in Hamilton, Somers’ Wharf in St. George’s and the Fairmont Southampton in Southampton. (292-5292, 297-1514, 238-5999; islandexports.com) Jennifer Rodrigues Designs: At the Craft Market in Dockyard you will find Jennifer Rodrigues Designs beautiful handmade jewellery. Jennifer has a deep love for the natural beauty that the earth and ocean have to offer. Her natural gemstones, hand-forged into gorgeous pendants and her Bermuda Pink Sand Collection will take your breath away. In sterling silver and 14-karat gold-filled, they are a one-of-a-kind keepsake to always remember your vacation experience. (504- 1884, jenniferrodriguesdesigns.com) Morrell Designs: As an artist, Lynn Morrell tries to re-create textures and shapes that capture her attention using sterling silver and semiprecious gems. The result is a wide range of hand-crafted Bermuda charms, earrings and pendants that celebrate her island home. She also loves to use individually sourced gemstones in interesting ways, as well as colourful, semiprecious beads and freshwater pearls. (236-7138, morrelldesigns.com) Nicholas Lusher Fine Antiques and Fine Art: By appointment only. Nicholas deals in Bermudian, European and American art, sculptures, maps, prints, books, coins and much more. (295-5708, nicholaslusher.com) Seaglass Studio: Beachcomber Kelly Diel has a treasure trove of unique handcrafted gifts. Seaglass Studio is where Kelly creates one-of-a-kind jewellery and ornaments from sea glass found on the local beaches. You can see the rarest colours of sea glass in orange, red and yellow. She also uses driftwood, sea pottery and other sea debris to create decorative signs, mirrors and ornamental sculptures. Visit Kelly at her studio at 16 Water Street in St. George’s. (297-4819, bermudaseaglassbykelly.com) Walker Christopher Goldsmith’s: Bermuda’s best for fine jewellery, Walker Christopher is the store to visit if you are looking for something unique. Walker Christopher showcases an excellent collection of authentic coins: gold doubloons and silver pieces of eight salvaged from sunken galleons, as well as Greek and Roman coins dating from 350 BC, are mounted in pendants, earrings and cufflinks. Museumquality Egyptian artefacts have been transformed into wearable art. Located at 9 Front Street in Hamilton, the shop opens Monday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (295-1466, walkerchristopher.com)
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