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Naturally Inspired: Rustic Architecture, Design, & History

Friday, August 3, 2018
Enjoy presentations and demonstrations celebrating traditional and contemporary rustic design, stories of Great Camps, and more.

11:30 am – Auditorium
Uncovering the Durants: A Gilded Age Melodrama with Sheila Myers
The Durant family is synonymous with Adirondack Great Camps. Sheila Myers shares her discoveries about this fascinating family, and their fall from grace in the eyes of high society due to revenge, greed and blinding passions.
1:00 pm – Auditorium
Modern Architecture and the Adirondack Transcendentalists with Dennis Wedlick
The style and technology of the most modern architecture in America grew out of the 19th century Adirondack and Hudson Valley Transcendentalist Movement, which was founded on a romantic appreciation for the healing power of nature. Today, leading-edge designers talk about Biophilia, a design philosophy that weaves nature and natural materials into all built environments, rural and urban, based on scientific research demonstrating the positive impact that nature has on the occupants well-being. Passivhaus, the most technologically advanced building techniques is based on a desire to create structures that can be sustained with the least amount of natural resources, living up to the aspirations of the early pioneers of the Transcendentalist Movement.
Wedlick will present his first-hand experience working for people who admire the essence and the heritage of these 19th century Adirondack and Hudson Valley artists, designers, and philosophers. He will share his use of natural materials, rustic detailing, and environmental conservation technologies in his work to achieve these goals and how he looks to the philosophical underpinnings of the 19th century Adirondack designs for guidance to create timeless, healthy, and sustainable residential architecture and landscapes.
Demonstrations & Conversations
11:00 am – 2:00 pm
Rustic Furniture & Painting Demonstration with Barney Bellinger
Meet Barney Bellinger of Sampson Bog Studio. Discover his inspirations, techniques, and more through one-on-one conversations with one of the leading Adirondack rustic makers.
2:30 pm
Collections Chat: Great Camp materials in the ADKX Library
Meet with Ivy Gocker, Director of the Adirondack Experience Library, and learn about some of the treasures in the archival collection. Ivy will showcase select pieces and share stories from the vaults.
3:30 pm
Collections Chat: Rustic Furniture
Explore more of the Adirondack Experience’s rustic furniture collection with our Curatorial staff at the off-site Collections Study & Storage Center.
Presenters & Demonstrators
Sheila Myers

Sheila Myers is a Professor at Cayuga Community College in the Finger Lakes region of NY. While visiting one of William West Durant’s first Great Camps on Raquette Lake, she became intrigued with the Durant family history. As a result, Myers embarked on a four-year research journey that had her tracking down information from libraries, museums, courthouses, and cemeteries along the eastern U.S. and in England. Her research on the Durant family – who were once the largest landowners in the Adirondacks during the 19th century – is chronicled in her historical fiction: Imaginary Brightness, Castles in the Air, and The Night is Done. Myers third book in the Durant trilogy, The Night is Done, was awarded the Best Book of Fiction for 2017 by the Adirondack Center for Writers.
Dennis Wedlick
Dennis Wedlick, named by Architectural Digest as one of America’s Top 100 Designer, began his career working with world-renowned architect Philip Johnson and opened a private practice in 1992. His firm, BarlisWedlick Architects LLC, has a staff of over 20 architecture and interior design professionals and has become synonymous with quality, craft, and the best in contemporary, picturesque design. Known for creating striking and expressive homes, Wedlick has received national recognition for original and affordable homes that blend traditional references with the unexpected. Most recently, Wedlick has joined forces with Hudson Valley Habitat for Humanity chapters, Scenic Hudson, and NYSERDA to provide low-impact, affordable housing to the rural workforce through an innovative strategy called the Rural Build.
Barney Bellinger
Barney Bellinger is a painter, sculptor, photographer and furniture designer. Barney’s work has evolved many times over the years, from customized motorcycles and cars to carved gold leaf signs to organic furniture built with natural materials from the forest. At this show, he will debut a new body of work featuring paintings, photography, steel sculptural furniture, industrial sculpted lighting and abstract forms made of wood, iron, copper and other metals. A native of Johnstown, Barney was born in 1953. He graduated high school in 1971 and started Barney’s Custom Paint Shop out of his father’s garage. He spent nine years customizing motorcycles, cars, and vans with metal sculpture and hand-painted designs until a fire destroyed most of his tools and inventory in 1980. Faced with starting over from scratch, Barney instead turned his focus to a new endeavor: custom sign building. He founded Barney’s Sign Company and created hand-carved, gold leaf-embellished signs with hand-painted pictorials for businesses in Saratoga Springs. His work aligned perfectly with a historic preservation movement to restore the Victorian character of the city, and soon his signs were commissioned throughout the Northeast.

Rod Cabinet by Barney Bellinger

Rod Cabinet by Barney Bellinger

Barney sold his first piece of art as a teenager in 1970 and has made a living from his art ever since. In 1990, he was inspired to build his own rustic furniture following a visit to the Adirondack Museum’s Rustic Furniture Fair. In 1994, he sold his sign business and started Sampson Bog Studio alongside his wife, Susan, and daughter, Erin Estelle. Rustic furniture collector, dealer, writer, lecturer and design consultant Ralph Kylloe called Barney a “quintessential rustic artist,” one of the best known and most sought after on the East Coast. He is identifiable by the unique style he brings to interior design, sculptural furniture and lighting, and oil paintings. Out of natural and repurposed materials, he creates abstract forms inspired by beetles, fish and found objects, melded with practical furniture designs and paintings to create pieces that are both functional and visually astonishing. Barney is a self-taught artist, gaining his knowledge from books, inherited wisdom and immersing himself in the beauty of the Adirondacks. He has been exploring forests since he was 4 years old when his grandfather would take him into the wilderness and teach him about trees and forest lore. These trips instilled in him a lifelong love for the outdoors. Some have called Barney an “empirical” artist, meaning he creates based on observation and experience rather than systems or theories. His first business taught him the meticulous brushwork that he now uses in his paintings, while his sign business taught him about layout, elaborate carving, and gold leaf application. He relies on his photography as a tool to learn about composition and setting a scene with his paintings. The result: decades of eminence in his field and a vastly diverse body of work.
“Not all things can be pre-planned when using natural elements along with found objects,” Barney said. “Once a piece has been put together and a personality has been established, the painting is applied to harmonize in both color and subject matter.”  “I do not paint to please critics, but rather to record my travels,” he added. “Information and inspiration is derived through my lifestyle of exploring backwoods, ponds, lakes and mountain trails. Lean-tos and tent camps provide shelter. Foraging for new materials is always an opportunity to study natural forms and color. Painting, for me, is a privilege.”
Barney’s work has been exhibited at the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson, WY; the Martin Harris Gallery in Jackson, WY; the Smithsonian Institution; the Doyle Gallery in New York City; the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute in Utica, NY; the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake, NY; the High Point Furnishings Show in High Point, NC; the Ralph Kylloe Rustic Gallery in Lake George, NY; and the Orvis Company. His pieces are found in public and private venues across the United States and around the world. He was the subject of a feature article in Megeve, France’s Cote Ouest magazine, which led to commissions for custom furniture and lighting in France. He has also been featured in The Angler’s Life: Collecting and Traditions by Laurence Sheehan and William Stites, Contemporary Western Design: High-Style Furniture & Interiors by Thea Marx and multiple rustic furniture and architecture books published by Ralph Kylloe. He was one of the select artists at the Third Annual Western Visions Furniture Show and Sale. Barney won Best of Show at the Adirondack Museum Annual Rustic Furniture Fair and the Northeastern Woodworkers Association Expo. In addition to working out of Sampson Bog Studio, Barney is an artist-in-residence at the Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts. His studio and workshop there is open to public viewing by appointment. For more information about Barney, visit www.facebook.com/BarneyBellinger.