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Celebrating local artistry

Annual Butler show continues today

By SEAN BARRON

Correspondent

YOUNGSTOWN — It’s a likely bet that some people already are dreaming of a white Christmas, but for those who love snow, they can have it all 12 months.

“The most important element is light, and being in the right place at the right time. That’s an advantage of living next to the park. I take advantage of the right conditions,” C. Scott Lanz said Saturday, referring to the main approach he takes toward nature photography — especially in Mill Creek Park.

Lanz, a retired attorney, takes photographs there year-round, so some of his works include well-known landmarks such as Lanterman’s Mill surrounded by snow. The winter landscapes also are among the notecards, photo canvas wraps and calendars people can buy from him during the 50th annual American Holiday at The Butler Arts & Crafts Show at The Butler Institute of American Art, 524 Wick Ave.

The holiday-themed, family-friendly show, with 61 local and regional artists and artisans, continues 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today at the Butler.

In 2005, Lanz, who began photography about 40 years ago, started LanzScape Photography Ltd., a nature photography business in which he sells prints and notecards at area gift shops, as well as at the Butler. In 2009, he began publishing and selling the Mill Creek MetroParks calendar, of which a portion of donations benefit Fellows Riverside Gardens.

Lanz previously took many photographs in the western states, but by 2001, his main interest became Mill Creek Park. He also hikes about 1,500 miles annually in the park while carrying his Nikon camera, Lanz said.

“I concentrate on shooting in early morning and at sunset, when (the light) is better,” he continued. “I never repeat a photo.”

Ralph J. Teets, who spent 30 years in the clock and furniture businesses, never repeats a cutting board design.

“Some people said to me, ‘You’re retired. You ought to make some of these,'” Teets, of Girard, recalled.

As a result, he began his business, Cutting Board Art, and specializes in using primarily cut pieces of maple, cherry, walnut and oak wood to design everything from cutting boards to hand-carved pineapples to twig pots that can hold small flowers and be placed on one’s desk. Other items Teets and his wife, Joanne, design include wine tappers and salt-and-pepper grinders.

Teets, a 1969 Chaney High School graduate, also credited his seventh-grade industrial arts teacher for helping him lay the foundation for his work.

“He taught the basics, including safety,” said Teets, who also teaches online courses. “A lot of the things I do day to day came from him, simple as that.”

Many of the things Deborah Russell of Dover, does day to day stem from her 35 years as an interior designer. She also started a business that leaves little to the imagination: Unique Bottle Serving Trays.

“I collect from bars, restaurants or friends,” Russell said about the bottles she amasses before cleaning and removing the original labels, then melting the back and front of the bottles together for about 24 hours and returning the same labels to them.

After the process is complete, they become serving trays.

Labels include sports team logos as well as beer and wine names, along with one that has the famous Route 66 design. She also has a collection of antique soda serving tray bottles and, of course, a variety of holiday-themed ones.

Russell’s husband, Greg, also collects and cleans bottles onto which she places her own designs, she continued.

For those who have forgotten the Ohio State Buckeyes’ recent 42-27 loss to the Michigan Wolverines, Gerry Hefferon is selling a reminder in the form of a small wooden box — on which the reminder is engraved — with an ink pen inside.

Hefferon, who has a Boardman business called The Wood-Crate began designing such boxes and pens about 20 years ago when he was working at Vallourec Steel. The creativity in his work evolved over time, said Hefferon, who typically buys kits and uses wood, plastic or acrylic material to design the pens.

His work also has a somber side, because he used his talents to reach out to those who answered the call when the World Trade Center towers were attacked on 9/11.

“I began with wooden boxes to donate to every fire department that responded on 9/11,” he recalled. “I was at work when it happened. Everybody stopped dead in their tracks.”

One of the pens Hefferon is selling is shaped like a fire engine truck with an ax, a firefighter emblem and a nozzle.

Assisting Hefferon with the show is his wife, Betsy, who also works at the Nemenz IGA store in Struthers.

Wayne Gruver, the show’s manager, recalled having been part of many recent discussions about if and how to have the event, which included continually monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic.

Falling slightly short of this year’s goal of 70 vendors had its positive side, because additional space was provided for those who participated, as well as less congestion, he explained.

Another challenge was dealing with problems in the supply chain, Gruver added.

If you go …

WHAT: The 50th annual American Holiday at The Butler Arts & Crafts show

WHEN: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today

WHERE: The Butler Institute of American Art, 524 Wick A ve., Youngstown

COST: $5 per person. Children 12 and under are admitted free.

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