Two Artists: White River Junction, Part 2
I put the necklace on. It wasn't that I needed it. I just didn't want to go home without it. Few inanimate objects have made me feel this way. Two things were true: Sally Wright Bacon was a unique jewelry designer and saleswoman, and I think I was succumbing to the spell of the beads. Reader, I bought it. That was three years ago. Since then Oodles, in White River Junction's Tip Top Building, has been a favorite place to stop and shop. Sally Wright Bacon is the owner and artist. Chances are good that her dog Petey will greet you at the store's threshold.Sally's love for beads began in Glendale, AZ as a way of coping after a family tragedy. She started by making an artful rosary for her husband, Bob. Her early necklaces were quickly bought by stores and galleries in Scottsdale and beyond. After moving to the Upper Valley, Sally decided to become her own exclusive agent and started to sell her work in Orford NH. Three and a half years ago, she rented retail space in the corner of the Tip Top's ground floor. In addition to the necklaces, the inventory is eclectic: small folk-artsy housewares, soulful hats, women's clothing from elegant scarves to comfy yet refined flannel shirts. The displays are always a treat for the eye. In addition to being a designer, Sally is a fastidious and passionate sourcer of beads. On a recent visit, she showed me a not-your-grandmother's rosary made of copal--related to amber--with a silver cross from Ethiopia, worn smoother than smooth by two hundred years' worth of hands. Her rosaries are often sought after by the non-religiously inclined as works of art for display in shadow boxes, with one very notable exception. Several years ago, she received a commission to make a rosary for Pope John Paul II. She still has the thank-you note from the Vatican. Around the corner on South Main Street is Scavenger Gallery, whose owner, Stacy Hopkins, is a jewelry designer of another kind. "I'm a biologist," she said in explaining her affinity for natural forms. Originally from Hanover, NH, Stacy lived in Italy for many years where she received her goldsmith's certification and began her career as a jeweler. While in Florence, she collaborated with La Specola, the oldest natural history museum in Europe, obtaining permission to use some of the skulls of the animals displayed there to create molds for her jewelry. La Specola later sold her work on the premises. Returning to the Upper Valley, Stacy chose to locate her gallery in White River Junction for its artsy vibe and artistic neighbors. Amidst the selection of unusual jewelry is a small cupboard of artisanal wines, difficult if not impossible to find at traditional liquor stores. The wines are for sale (I found a great bottle of French rosé there) and are sometimes served for tasting to partakers of White River Junction's notable First Friday, a monthly town-wide celebration. In a nod to the European culture she enjoyed, Stacy thinks the wines help to set the tone of conviviality, conversation, and art. (Top photo, necklace by Stacy Hopkins. Photos of Scavenger Gallery by Heidi Bagley, used with permission) This is the second of a two-part (with more to come at some future date) piece on the Brooklyn of the Upper Valley, White River Junction. You can read Part One by clicking here. Don't miss anything! To receive an email alert each time I post something new, please click here. To view earlier posts on this blog, ArtfulEdge, about arts in the Upper Valley, please click here. Thank you for reading.