Artist’s stained glass and Judaica shine at Pawtucket art show
Hundreds of Rhode Islanders are expected to attend the Foundry Artists Association’s Holiday Art Show this weekend in their quest to find that perfect gift.
Liza Abelson, a Brandeis University graduate who has made her mark for the past 20 years as a painter and stained glass artist, will be among those showcasing their wares at the show, which continues Dec. 9-11 at the Pawtucket Armory.
Abelson is enthusiastic about the foundry show for many reasons, including that it is run entirely by the association’s artists.
“We [artists] as a group do everything from the marketing to the sales. It is the kind of show where you walk in, pick up a basket and shop from everyone’s booth,” she said.
Abelson added, “I do shows every weekend throughout the year, and this one is unique.”
Abelson has to travel to most of the shows where she sells her art, which is another reason the foundry show is special to her: it’s in her city.
Abelson both lives and works in Pawtucket. She has been working out of her studio, Dasken Designs, in the Hope Artiste Village, for a little over a year. She also has a storefront at 1005 Main St.
Abelson says “Dasken” combines the names of her parents, Hadassah and Ken.
“They have always been influential in my life, and I thought this was a nice way to honor them,” she said.
From her parents, Abelson says she learned the importance of perseverance and not being afraid to fail.
Abelson will have a wide range of pieces for sale at the show, including Judaica art and stained glass of all sizes and shapes.
She particularly enjoys making hamsas and mezuzot, which she says connect her to her Jewish roots. But she puts her own twist on these traditional symbols, sometimes embedding a peace sign and two doves in her hamsas and crafting the mezuzot from glass so one can view the prayer scroll within.
Abelson describes her stained glass as “whimsical and inspired by nature.” She often incorporates vintage glass into her works, as well as ordinary objects like old medicine bottles, dishes and doorknobs.
She said, “The challenge for any artist is to take a medium that is very old, like stained glass, and put his or her own stamp on it.”
Abelson, 46, was raised in Norwell, Massachusetts, the daughter of an Israeli mother and American-Jewish father. Growing up, she was immersed in Jewish culture and very involved in the Jewish community.
According to Abelson, though Norwell had a very small Jewish population, her parents were instrumental in starting a synagogue that they would later attend as a family.
“I think being one of the only Jews in a predominantly non-Jewish area strengthens your cultural identity,” Abelson said.
SAM SERBY is a native of East Greenwich and attended Temple Sinai, in Cranston, for many years. He is a recent graduate of Johnson & Wales University.