THERE'S A new craft gallery in Savage Mill, called the League of Maryland Craftsmen, which features the work of local artisans.
The gallery shows the work of its members on its sales floor. But a little gallery area is available to local groups for art or craft shows.
Until the end of the month, the Chesapeake Woodturners are showing their work at the gallery in an exhibition called "Chesapeake Woods."
According to the group's president, Margaret Lospinuso of Laurel, this was an opportunity to mount an unusual display and showcase the talents of group members.
The woodworkers wanted to show the aesthetic qualities of native American woods, some, they feel, as interesting as rare exotic tropicals when handled correctly.
Beginning in January, the artisans crafted pieces using native American waste -- or recycled -- woods.
Many of the pieces came from felled trees obtained from the Maryland National Capital Area Parks and Planning Commission's stump area -- a tree-recycling center -- on Bonifant Road in Montgomery County.
Other pieces were from a Kentucky coffee tree damaged by lightning, recycled firewood and trees down by storms.
The range of colors in these native woods is enormous, especially pieces derived from box elder trees.
Lospinuso says, "The box elder comes in all sorts of shades, from pink to scarlet to tans and greens. That's its natural coloration."
Fifteen members of the Chesapeake Woodturners are represented in the exhibit.
To assure consistent high quality in the show, the woodturners invited Johannes Michelsen, a well-known woodturner from Vermont, to judge the pieces.
Michelsen has been in our area before -- he frequently displays his work at the American Craft Council show in Baltimore.
The Chesapeake Woodturners welcomes beginners as well as experienced artisans.
Indeed, Lospinuso herself was new to the craft not so long ago. As she tells it, all she really wanted to do was build some closets for her house when she and her husband enrolled in a basic woodworking class at Laurel High School.
While she was there, Margaret Lospinuso saw a lathe.
"It was like a light going on on a darkened stage," she said.
She was hooked by the opportunities presented by the machine.
Lospinuso took classes at the Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts in Annapolis, and went to adult craft camps on her vacations.
Now she's proficient enough to be president of the 7-year-old Chesapeake Woodturners.
Lospinuso is grateful for the groundwork laid by the group's founding president -- and current member -- Frank Amigo of Millersville.
A retired government employee, Amigo has been a driving force in the group's success.
Recently, he applied for and received a grant to purchase top-of-the-line wood-turning equipment, housed at the Maryland Hall facility.
His work -- lovely turned shell-shaped vessels in silver maple -- is instantly recognizable in the show.
The Chesapeake Woodturners thank Kelly Richards of the League of Maryland Craftsmen for making space available for their exhibit.
"I don't know any other commercial gallery that supports local artists so generously," Lospinuso said.
The Chesapeake Woodturners will meet at 2 p.m. July 13 at Maryland Hall.
In shape for summer
It's harder to stay in shape during the summer, somehow.
Those resolutions about jogging every day -- or at least walking a half-mile to get the circulation going -- just seem to wilt in the heat of July and August.
But seniors won't have to give up the benefits of a healthy lifestyle this summer. Edith Bennett of Savage Senior Center says a new aerobics program will begin in July and August in an air-conditioned facility.
The classes, open to anyone age 50 or older, will be held from 9: 15 a.m. to 10: 15 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. The cost is $16 for a two-month session.
After the workout, participants are welcome to have lunch at the senior center.
Artisans, interesting shops
Savage Mill has renovated a corridor of artisan quarters and interesting shops.
There are new tenants, and some established tenants have expanded into the new spaces.
The corridor, which is on the second floor of the Carding Building, has two fiber-related shops: Designed Fibers and Friendstitch.
Designed Fibers specializes in weaving, including yarns; Friendstitch in needle arts. Both are offering classes during the summer.
Designed Fibers holds a one-week adult weaving camp for beginners in early July.
For 2 1/2 hours each morning, Margaret Vigneulle will teach the art of turning thread into fabric.
In June, Friendstitch will hold classes in silk ribbon embroidery, which uses thin silk ribbons instead of thread, and counted-thread embroidery, a specialized technique for determining stitch sizes.
Pub Date: 5/22/98