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The Arts in Kennett Square are everywhere. From a fine meal to a finely bent piece of steel, art takes many forms here. Our artists thrive in a community that values their work and places them among a group of artists who continuously collaborate and educate each other. Did you know we have a renowned arts school for students at all levels, taught by a fine artist who traces his instructional lineage to the academic painting tradition of 19th century France? Have you met the artist who forged the mighty “Kennett Squared” sculpture, or experienced the bold storytelling power of the artist Katee Boyle? And have you tried Scott Morozin’s cured chicken bolognese dish with fennel relish and saffron whipped mascarpone? These artists are creating experiences for our community that enhance and elevate our surroundings in beautiful and thrilling new ways.
David Ferron – fashion designer
David Ferron, a PA-born fashion designer, who creates bespoke fashion out of the historic Unionville Saddle Shop, is first and foremost an artist. As a designer, David draws on the arts to create clothing that is both conceptual and functional.
“I’ve always been heavily influenced by the Chester County art community, particularly the Wyeth family,” says David. “I find inspiration from the color palettes of Andrew and Jamie Wyeth; I love the way they depict the autumn colors of Chadds Ford, and the coastal colors of Maine in the summer.”
David studied at Parsons School of Design in New York City, winning the Designer of the Year Award for Womenswear in 2011. Upon graduation, he worked for designers Bibhu Mohapatra and Tomas Maier before returning to his hometown to design on his own.
At Unionville Saddle, David works one-on-one with clients to create custom pieces for special events and everyday life through a collaborative process from sketch to fit.
“I saw a real need in the local community for this type of product and process,” says David. “Every time I came home from New York my mom and aunts would tell me, ‘You need to design clothes for real women, not just models!’”
Taking his family’s advice to heart, David built his fashion design business around the mantra: “Your body, infinite options.”
David invites you to visit his shop, discuss your wardrobe needs, and collaborate on the perfect custom pieces. From everyday made-to-measure shirts, to special occasion garments, David is bringing elevated form and function to Chester County.
Scott Morozin – chef
Chef Scott Morozin, Executive Chef at the helm of Verbena BYOB, is motivated to create an experience for his guests every day. “I want my guests to look for diversity, nuance, and finesse in our dishes. At Verbena, we strive daily to strike a balance between refinement and creative release.”
Known as one of the most hard-working chefs in the region, Scott is in constant motion. With a steadfast desire to improve every piece of his art and business, he masterfully touches each component of his menu with technique. “Cooking encompasses time, temperature, texture, color, and of course, flavor.” He notes passionately, “Doing things in a simple way just isn’t who I am.”
With a penchant for taking risks in the kitchen, Scott has decidedly crafted his menus with the wow factor in mind. This attitude, combined with a commitment to buying the best local and seasonal ingredients he can find, means that every dish is a game changer. “I consider food to be the most intimate, yet most overlooked, vessel for spreading love and joy.” He adds, “If I can make a moment in someone’s life better through their visit to Verbena, that’s why I do this.”
With 20 years of professional cooking experience under his belt, Scott continues to refine his craft. He offers this advice to anyone new to the kitchen, “Don’t let the concern that people won’t like your food get in your way. Chefs aren’t chefs by default. Keep going.”
Call Verbena BYOB to reserve your table and discover how Scott is taking the dining scene in Kennett to the next level.
Alexis Kletjian – jewelry designer
Alexis Kletjian designs heirloom-worthy jewelry intended to last multiple generations. She considers each piece an extension of her collector’s legacy. From her signature Lotus Shields and collectible charms to her one-of-a-kind rings, Alexis creates wearable art, but it doesn’t stop there. She is known for her ability to help clients re-imagine pieces from their current collections. One of Alexis’ most transformative pieces was an heirloom charm and engagement ring deconstructed to create a dripping diamond necklace for a bride to wear on her wedding day, and beyond. Because she believes that every day is a special occasion, her jewelry can be worn everyday; there are no rules.
Jewelry designer, curator, and shop owner, Alexis has quickly turned her State Street Gallery into a destination for fine jewelry and gifts. Customers travel from all over, often commenting on the chic and cozy vibe Alexis has created. Although the gallery may house one-of-a-kind designs and high-end gemstones you may have never heard of, you’ll also find plenty of affordable pieces, as well as a newly-launched apothecary selection featuring fragrances, candles, and oils from other artisans.
This fall marks the gallery’s first anniversary. To celebrate, Alexis is giving all Fig readers a free gift with their purchase during the month of September when they mention Fig! Stay tuned for her many upcoming special events, shop online and through social media, or visit her gallery Wednesday through Saturday.
Rob Sigafoos – blacksmith & sculptor
Rob Sigafoos is a metal artist with more than 30 years of experience in traditional and
non-traditional blacksmithing and woodworking. He makes unique commissioned pieces for the home and garden and larger-than-life public art out of his Unionville studio, Vinewoods Forge. Rob’s giant metal sculpture, Kennett Squared, can be found on the Genesis Walkway in Kennett Square.
But his path toward metal forgery wasn’t always clear. At first, Rob studied painting. “After delving into an art education in college, I came to realize that my limited talent would lead me toward an exciting career of painting portraits of Elvis Presley on velvet and selling them at the gas station,” recalls Rob, amusingly.
So Rob changed course and found other ways to support himself. All the while, the passion of creating art and using his hands to tangibly express that passion was simmering until he found his calling as a blacksmith and sculptor. What Rob loves most about sculpture is how it touches the heart and soul of the artist and viewer alike.
For aspiring artists, Rob has this message: “Don’t worry about your lack of tools, equipment, knowledge, or even talent. All of these are acquired through time and experience. The single most important thing is passion for something. If it gets you up in the morning even though you are sick, if it causes you to miss meals or sleep, if it is the first thing you think of in the morning and you dream of at night, that is the passion. Everything else is velvet at the gas station.”
Rob has created everything from forged stairwells to retail signs that define a streetscape. For more information, please visit www.vinewoodsforge.com.
Katee Boyle – fine artist & blacksmithstress
When she was a child, Katee Boyle drew nonstop. Drawings became paintings and while exploring layering techniques for her canvas, her work took on the element of sculpture. A Multidisciplinary Artist with an MFA from the School of Visual Arts in NY, Katee’s paintings and sculptures have earned her a vast audience of clients with private and commercial collections.
Katee’s abstract paintings begin with writing on the canvas, “words are the backbone of my art.”
She appreciates that people see her work for its aesthetic value as well as those who feel a deeper connection to a piece. “If my work elicits a reaction, I feel successful. I don’t dictate how one should perceive my work. Art is highly personal and I appreciate that my work draws people in to look further. It’s not just a pretty picture; it’s a window to look through to discover something else.”
Katee began blacksmithing four years ago. She creates both whimsical, affordable goods as well as fine-art sculptures in her Kennett Square workshop, Scarlett Forge. “It is empowering to move metal at 1,400 degrees. Forging requires great focus and discipline or else I will get hurt. Working with steel has offered me many thoughtful lessons on creating.”
A recipient of the 2018-19 Maker-Creator Fellowship at The Winterthur Museum, this fall Katee will dive into textile research to be followed by a related body of work.
For studio visits and commissions: email@example.com. For events and where to find Katee’s work: Kateeboyle.weebly.com and @kateeboyle on Instagram.
Neilson Carlin – fine artist & instructor
Neilson Carlin’s large-scale sacred and devotional art hangs in parishes and shrines across the country. But in the local art community, he’s most well-known as a teacher and mentor. The Carlin Academy of Fine Art in Kennett Square has a following among art students here, known for its intense environment mixed with Neilson’s signature relaxed and friendly approach to teaching.
Neilson received a BFA in Illustration from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. He completed his studies privately under figure painter Michael Aviano, a pupil of the legendary instructor and illustrator Frank J. Reilly. Through Aviano, Neilson traces his instructional lineage directly to the academic painting tradition of 19th century France. It was his experience learning from Michael Aviano that inspired Neilson to become a teacher himself.
“Aviano’s teaching methodology was so clear and precise; it made me enthusiastic about sharing the same solid training with others,” he says.
Neilson encourages his students to stay true to themselves. “You need to make it real for you and you alone. It’s the only way to create a unique market for yourself in a field of other creative people”, he says. “To do it, you need to be clear on your subject matter and style. This is easier said than done, and often takes time to fully realize. It took me 16 years of constant work before I was sure about what I wanted to paint and how I wanted to paint it, and I’m still growing.”
Learn more about drawing and painting classes at carlinacademy.com, or purchase a piece of his devotional-inspired art at neilsoncarlin.com.
T. S. Kist – expressionist painter
T. S. Kist is an expressionist painter and sculpture artist who lives in the heart of Kennett. But she really prefers to be called simply, artist. “Painting is just one means of visual expression for me,” she says. “Artist is a better description of me at this point in my life. I feel lucky that I can use that term. It’s a constant evolving process which I love. I will never create everything I want to make and that’s exciting. Everyone should strive for being an artist in their own right.”
T.S.’s paintings are spontaneous on purpose. “Once I start adding too many ideas, the magic disappears,” she says. She believes her best work is accomplished when her mind and body are energized and something big and unplanned is released.
“I make art because there is an unbound voice that I can use,” says T.S. “I make art because art can reach people and say things, even non-objectively, that other mediums can not.”
She considers her life as an artist to have begun when she rendered her first ice cream cone as a child, but has been an official working artist for roughly 15 years. T.S. holds a Masters in Fine Arts Painting (MFA) from Savannah College of Art & Design. Professional highlights include the 2014 Delaware Division of the Arts Established Fellow Grant in visual arts; Vermont Studio Center residency in sculpture; solo exhibition in the Savannah/Hilton Head airport; and national publications in New American Paintings and West Elm.
Follow along on Instagram, @artist_t.s.kist to see her latest work and purchase a piece. You can also find her work at tskist.com.
Corien Siepelinga- artist & gallery owner
Corien Siepelinga started drawing 16 years ago when she and her young family moved thousands of miles away from home in Canada, to a small town in South Texas. Knowing no one and without much to do, Corien would spend her spare time looking through drawing books. Through hours of practice, she eventually taught herself to draw.
When her family moved again, this time to Avondale, PA, Corien had the opportunity to study with Neilson Carlin in Kennett Square. She took classes in drawing and oil painting, developing her skills and passion for art while working part time as an ICU nurse. Corien started showing her still-life oil paintings and portraits in oil and graphite in the local gallery circuit. When the opportunity to own her own gallery presented itself, Corien did not hesitate.
Today Square Pear Fine Art Gallery, located in the shopping district of historic Kennett Square, is a well-loved space which features artwork from various local and regional artists. There is an array of high quality artwork at the gallery ranging from oil, watercolor, and pastel paintings, to sculpture, pottery and jewelry. Corien is fascinated by what motivates people to create art and artists’ choices of subjects and media.
Square Pear’s exhibitions reflect that diversity of choice as well as Corien’s own curiosity. In addition to an exciting schedule of exhibitions for the fall and winter, Corien will continue to teach art classes for children in grades K-5 at the gallery.
Check out her work on her website.
Amanda Philipp – dancer, director, and instructor
Amanda Philipp has been dancing for 25 years. In fact, she began her dancing career at Longwood Performing Arts when she was just 2 years old. She enrolled in her very first dance class to emulate her big sister. Today, she is an accomplished dancer and the owner and director of that very same school.
“At an early age, I fell in love with the rush of performing for an audience,” says Amanda. “Dancing has also always allowed me to express my thoughts, ideas, and emotions in a way that I couldn’t otherwise communicate.”
Amanda left home to study Dance Management at Oklahoma City University, where she performed with three of the university’s dance companies. She draws inspiration as a dancer from the legendary Broadway dancer, Chita Rivera.
“Chita Rivera preaches hard work, commitment, and confidence in your own abilities,” says Amanda. “At age 85, she continues to take dance class, which I think is a lesson that you are never too old or experienced to learn and hone your craft.”
While away from home pursuing her passion for dance, Amanda held onto the positive memories of her first dance class at Longwood Performing Arts and the feeling of community she enjoyed there. She realized how much she wanted to pass that gift on to others, and here she is today.
“If you truly believe in something, devote yourself to it,” she advises. “Educate yourself, seek inspiration from artists of the past, and try something new every day to serve your purpose.”
Register your child for 2018-19 classes today at longwoodperformingarts.com.
Michael Hall – music director for the Kennett Symphony
Kennett Symphony provides the musical landscape of a historic region renowned for the arts. The only fully professional symphony orchestra in Chester County, the Kennett Symphony performs for audiences of all ages who want music to enrich their lives and who want to experience the world of music through a fresh approach to classical and contemporary symphonic works. The Kennett Symphony’s inclusive and engaging environment allows all to share in the uplifting experience of quality live music in an approachable way.
Josh, Meg, Ian, and Melissa – The Designers Behind Fig
Behind Fig magazine, there is a small but mighty team of creatives—designers, writers, photographers, marketers, and community builders—bringing Kennett Square to life with digital, social, and print communication.
Each page in the arts section (as well as the rest of the magazine) started as a mere concept and was executed with an eye for detail through photography, creative direction, storytelling, and design. At the heart of Fig Industries is a passion for great design, a spirit for relationship building, and an abundance of creativity.