Presidential inspiration. Unmasked love. Art with strings attached. Backstories of the Morristown CraftMarket, Oct. 19-20



The art is fun. And so are the backstories at this weekend’s Morristown CraftMarket.

Jennifer Woods of High Strung Jewelry is a singer-songwriter from the Princeton area. What to do with her old guitar strings?  Bracelets!  Necklaces!

The products caused a buzz. (Sorry.) Woods’ creations are worn be members of Keith Urban’s fan club, and sold by Pearl Jam and Fleetwood Mac for charity. Coming soon: Jewelry fashioned from the last strings plucked by the late Tom Petty.

From left, show promoter Krista Coughlan, Ursula Perry of Woodstock Mobiles, and show Director Geoffrey Price, at the 2019 Morristown CraftMarket. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

Woods is among many first-time exhibitors at the 43rd annual edition of the CraftMarket, a juried show that raised $45,000 last year for charities supported by the Kiwanis Club of Randolph

“We’re very pleased” with the eclectic mix of artists, said Morristown CraftMarket Director Geoffrey Price, a member of the Kiwanis. “We just do one show each year, so we can keep the quality exceptionally high.”

More than 120 exhibitors from across the country fill the Morristown Armory until 6 pm today, Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019, and again from 10 am to 5 pm on Sunday, Oct. 20. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors,  and free for children 12 and under when accompanied by an adult. The armory is at 430 Western Ave. in Morris Township.

Slideshow photos by Kevin Coughlin. Click/hover on images for captions:


Strings also figure in Ursula Perry’s art. Her Woodstock Mobiles twirl from them. Her inspiration came early.

“My mom brought me to a Calder exhibition when I was about four years old,” Perry said, referring to the late sculptor Alexander Calder. “I didn’t want to leave.”  The Shokan, NY, resident has been making weld-free mobiles for more than three decades.

Creation from Bartholomew’s Brilliant Boxes of Hull, MA, at the 2019 Morristown CraftMarket. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

John Peralta of Bartholomew’s Brilliant Boxes in Hull, MA, used to build computer networks. Now he prowls flea markets for old clocks, cameras, gears and other bric-a-brac that he cobbles into fantastical contraption-art. Many of his pieces incorporate plasma balls, hot sellers.

“My entire life has been about taking things apart and putting them back together,” he explained.

The ideas emerge after he collects the parts.

“You don’t look for anything. You just look.”

Jill Snyder of Allentown, PA, was so upset by the 2016 election that she bagged her 30-year career as a corporate lawyer and started Glass Action.

“I took an art class for therapy, to avoid yelling at my TV set,” Snyder said. “I had no idea I had any talent.”

FROM CLASS ACTION TO GLASS ACTION: Jill Snyder of Allentown, PA, was so angry after the 2016 election that she quit her 30-year law career to make glass artworks. Her appearance at the 2019 Morristown CraftMarket is her first at the show. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

Her glass mosaics took off. Within six months, she had a gallery exhibition.

“This is the only thing my friends will actually thank (the president) for,” she joked.  Snyder doesn’t miss her law practice.

“When you find your passion, you need to follow it,” she advised.

Joel Zaretsky and Mary Jane Piccuirro of West Hurley, NY, found their passion–each other–at a craft show a quarter-century ago. Both were exhibitors, and they enjoyed dancing together during the vendors’ after-party.

Soon they were married and sharing a studio. Zaretsky, 81, paints on metal-relief scenes. Piccuirro, 70, transforms birch bark, hornet nests and Canadian horse manes into tribal masks.

“I get ideas from her. Very seldom does she get them from me,” mused Zaretsky, marveling at his wife’s creative spark.

Artist Mary Jane Piccuirro with her mask at the 2019 Morristown CraftMarket. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

Their prescription for artistic and connubial bliss?

“Laughter,” Piccuirro said, laughing heartily. “You have to laugh at each other’s mistakes. Always!”

A regular schedule of… affection also helps.

“I tell her, ‘I wish I knew you when I was 18!’” said Zaretsky, a gleam in his eye.

“I was 6!” his wife retorted in mock horror.


ARTISTIC BLISS: Artists Joel Zaretsky and Mary Jane Piccuirro met 25 years ago at a craft show, got married and share a studio near Woodstock. Both are exhibiting at the 2019 Morristown CraftMarket. Photo by Kevin Coughlin


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