An Amazing Autumn Afternoon at The Art Farm in Westport

It is a quintessential autumn day, slightly past peak, sunny and warm enough to walk around with just long sleeves yet there is a slight crispness to the air. It is Canadian Thanksgiving and Columbus Day weekend, one of the busiest weekends of the year in the North Country.

I am celebrating by taking a ride to Ted Cornell’s Art Farm (aka Crooked Brook Studios) in Westport, NY. This blog is more or less a continuation of a blog on Ted’s slide lecture at the Wadhams Library last winter. Then, I included photos of some of his work-in-progress slides. Today, I include photos of the real things, in the context of their Art Farm setting.

Ted is having a by-invitation Open House. We are invited to walk the property while taking in his magnificent outdoor and indoor creations and reading about the works as we wander. In the main barn he is also offering refreshments and two art participation projects. This barn also sports, “The Wild Ride,” a wall-mounted construction of wasp nest, painted and gilded tarp, antique child’s card, metal lathe, window frame, blinking red light, wooden box, and other eclectic pieces that come together in Ted’s mind to create a lasting impression on ours.

His pieces are all quirky and striking and the names he gives them add to the fun and to their indelibility. I wish I had room here to do a photo essay of my visit today because it is the visual mind scenes that I cannot describe in words that fill my head right now and it is those that I would most like to share.

Ted tells me the weekend is a huge success, some 40 to 50 people visited yesterday and spaced themselves out nicely. Today seems to be following suit. I am impressed with the number and the enthusiasm of his guests. I overhear a woman greet the artist with, “You crack me up, even your cluster flies look like art. You amaze me!”

One of the most stunning structures on the property is what Ted is calling “The Memory Tree”. It is a found object measuring 30’ x 3’, a culvert made of rolled iron, standing on end. It had been partially sliced open and left to rust on the edge of a field. Ted has gilded the filigree of rust and has constructed the object as a monument to memory, public and private, and our attempts to use it and preserve it. It is striking on its own but it is doubly striking to observe the structure in this beautiful, natural landscape.

Since I can’t do justice to this prolific visual artist in print, I encourage visitors to the area to visit The Art Farm themselves. It is located at 154 Sayre Road—the back road between Wadhams and Whallonsburg.

Ted invites all readers to come to his Art Farm to picnic and paint or just to walk and observe, but please call first: 518-962-4386.

To find out more cultural events in the Lake Champlain Region, click through to the website.

Kathleen Recchia has been enjoying the arts in the Adirondack for about 20 years—both as observer and participant (acting, directing, and producing). She also enjoys cross-country skiing, swimming, juggling, and hosting visitors to the area at her bed & breakfast in Jay.

Plan a fall visit to Lake Champlain Region
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