From artist Jesse Freidin
“Last Winter I was invited by Josh and Brent to photograph the incredible craftspeople of their B. 1802 Aritst Collective. After having spent many Summer hours on the Beekman farm photographing Farmer John, his goats and Polka Spot, I was excited to turn my lens on the people of Sharon Springs keeping the heritage of American folk art alive.
Stepping into each of these artists’ studios was like taking a step back in time. The quick, snowy walk between my car and the front door of the Adelphi Paper Hangings shop must have brought me back hundreds of years- I suddenly was surrounded by curled wood shavings and paint spills created by human hands, antique machines powered by enormous foot pedals and rope, and a level of incredible quality and detail long-forgotten by modern technology.
These artists carried a pride in their tradition, sewing bits of history and craftsmanship into each singular piece produced. Every page of John Townsend’s handmade books were folded and trimmed by hand, every wool rug made in Sharon Kruppenbacher’s old farmhouse studio was woven on looms from the turn of the century, Michael McCarthy’s blacksmith shop used spoon molds from the 1800s. As a contemporary artist also dedicated to producing all of my photographic work completely by hand, I felt a magical connection with each of the Beekman 1802 Artisans and was honored to tell their story.
To see more of the work of photographer Jesse Freidin, please click here
To see some of the items created by the B. 1802 Rural Artist Collective, click here