Artist’s Alley spotlights local creativity

By on May 6, 2015

Sunday was a banner day for enjoying the outdoors, and for some, a chance to do chat with and purchase items from area artisans during Artist’s Alley in Manheim.

Stiegel Glassworks 1976, the Manheim Historical Society and the Manheim Downtown Development Group partnered to host the event that transformed the historic Manheim railroad station complex, 210 S. Charlotte St., into a showcase for area artisans.

Len Bodnar, a SGW committee member, explained that this was the first of three Artist’s Alley events this year.

“This is a small event,” Bodnar said. “It’s a grass roots effort to showcase area artisans as well as the glass artisans that hand-blow glass at Stiegel Glassworks. We timed this first Artist’s Alley of the year to give our guests an opportunity to pick up something hand-crafted for Mom on Mother’s Day.”

Dawn Noritsky, Lititz, and her daughter, Bryanne Noritsky, were doing just that.

Some of the hand-blown glass items crafted by Stiegel Glassworks artisans.

Some of the hand-blown glass items crafted by Stiegel Glassworks artisans.

“I like to give unique gifts, and when I hear about this event, I wanted to pick up something special for my mom, who lives in New Jersey,” Dawn said as she examined hand-crafted candles.

The restored Manheim railroad station, which was constructed in 1881, houses a transportation museum and a collection of historical items relating to Manheim businesses and life in the community.

“We are open on Sundays over the summer, but we usually have a lot more people stop in and visit during an Artist’s Alley,” said Bea Kreiner, Manheim Historical Society curator.

Manheim residents Carolyn and Don Hart live near the complex and walked down to visit.

“We live here, and I like history, so we want to learn more about our town and its connection to glass blowing,” Don Hart said as the couple toured the railroad station. The society’s restored 1917 cabin car (caboose) was also open for tours.

Stiegel Glasswork’s studio opened in the Fall of 2011 in preparation for the borough’s 250th anniversary celebration in 2012. The town’s founder, Henry William Stiegel, had erected a plant for the manufacture of blown glass on the northwest corner of Charlotte and Stiegel streets.

Valerie Stapleton examines rose paperweights that were hand-blown by Stiegel Glassworks artisans.

Valerie Stapleton examines rose paperweights that were hand-blown by Stiegel Glassworks artisans.

While the glass blowers provide demonstrations of their art during Artist’s Alley, they weren’t able to do so on Sunday. SGW committee member Skip Hetrich said that sometime overnight Saturday the fire in the glass oven went out, and “it takes two to three days to get it back up to temperature.”

“The only thing hot here today is our peanuts,” Hetrich said, referring to peanuts that committee volunteers were roasting using an antique peanut roaster owned by the Manheim Historical Society.

Hetrich explained that the peanut roaster had been used by Manheim’s Russell Heagy in the 1940s. Employed full-time by the now defunct Raybestos company, he roasted peanuts as a side business.

“He would roast peanuts Friday night, and the kids would sell them around town Saturday and then turn the money back in to Heagy,” Hetrich recalled, “It’s a great part of Manheim history. The roaster had been donated to the historical society, and they gave us permission to make it operational and to use it during out events.”

Valerie Stapleton, Lititz, has been at Artist’s Alley events at least once a year since they launched in May 2012. While she enjoys watching the glass artist’s at work, she also likes to browse through their creations. At this event she planned to purchase a glass pumpkin and perhaps, a rose.

Stiegel Glassworks volunteers Steve Sipe (left) and Peter Weiss roast peanuts using an antique peanut roaster at Artist’s Alley on Sunday. (Photos by Rochelle Shenk)

Stiegel Glassworks volunteers Steve Sipe (left) and Peter Weiss roast peanuts using an antique peanut roaster at Artist’s Alley on Sunday. (Photos by Rochelle Shenk)

Bodnar said that the number of artisans and the variety of offerings changes at each Artist’s Alley. Offerings may include jewelry, pottery, wood carvings, hand-crafted wooden items, and photography.

If you missed Sunday’s event, you can visit from noon to 5 p.m on Sunday, June 14, which is also the Festival of the Red Rose at Zion Lutheran Church in Manheim; and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 29.

Hand-blown glass items crafted by Stiegel Glassworks artisans may also be purchased at Sloan’s Pharmacy, Manheim; Longenecker’s Hardware, Manheim; and the Manheim railroad station. The Manheim branch of Fulton Bank also features a display of the glass items.

For more information on Artist’s Alley visit manheimdowntown.org or call 940-1382.

Rochelle Shenk is a correspondent for the Lititz Record Express. She welcomes your comments and questions at RAASHENK@aol.com.

 

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