Lighting and Ringing the Winter Night: Artisan Bells and Lanterns

Lighting and Ringing the Winter Night: Artisan Bells and Lanterns

From November 14 until December 24, 2015, True North Gallery presents “Lighting and Ringing the Winter Night: Artisan Bells and Lanterns,” a group exhibition featuring the work of Gordon Barnett, Sue Capillo, Bradley Cross, Richard Fisher, Adam Frank, Bruce Frasier, Tabbetha Henry, Sue Kassirer, John Lovin, Michele Quan, Paolo Soleri, Susan Zalkind, and others.  

To “light the night,” True North Gallery is presenting a collection of candle lanterns that includes work by Arizona artist Susan Zalkind, who carves lanterns from a translucent vein of southwestern alabaster that she mines herself. With their smooth, rounded shapes, Zalkind’s lanterns have an ethereal glow that looks as if the light is emanating from the mineral itself.

As we approach the winter solstice, most of us dread the long nights that await us. However, as the ancient proverb advises, it is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness, and it also helps to ring a bell. 

Light and sound are two ways we that we can respond to winter’s darkness. Candles are the quintessential symbol of light, representing spiritual illumination. Lighting candles connects us with the universal desire to bring light into darkness, both physically and metaphorically. Bells connect us to the spiritual plane, too. They represent the voice of divinity and truth for all the major religions, which is why when something sounds right, it rings true. All around the world, bells are used to to call people to worship, celebrate, honor, remember, and mourn. And this time of year, bells ring out the much-needed glad tidings we need to weather the long winter nights.

Nature-inspired pierced porcelain luminaries by Vermont artist Tabbetha Henry are included, as are shadow-projecting lanterns by artist Adam Frank, from New York. Frank’s playful oil lamps cast shadows of nesting birds, trees, deer, and other motifs. Another artist in the show—Sue Kassirer from Hamilton, Massachusetts—also exploits the shadow potential of light in her intricately-carved ceramic lanterns.

To “ring the night,” True North is showing bronze bells from the three major U.S. artisan bell foundries—Arizona’s Cosanti, which creates bells designed by renowned architectural innovator Paolo Soleri; Michigan’s Harmony Hollow Bells, where Bradley Cross continues a tradition of bell-making started by his brother in 1969; and Maine’s US Bells, where Richard Fisher has been handcrafting bells since 1970. All three foundries produce bells with spectacular tonal qualities and beautifully-designed sculptural forms.

In addition to bronze bells, the show includes hand-forged jingle bells by blacksmith John Lovin from Illinois, and a variety of ceramic bells, including work by artist Michelle Quan, from Brooklyn, New York. Quan’s bells are adorned with constellations, moon phases, and Buddhist mantras. Inspired by Eastern traditions, Quan believes that bells help us connect to the present moment through sound. There are even wearable bells by Washington artist Gordon Barnett, who carves and casts exquisitely-detailed sterling silver bell pendants inspired by flora, fauna, archetypal symbolism, and other motifs.

All works are for sale. On opening weekend—Saturday, and Sunday, November 14 and 15—True North Gallery will be hosting an Open House with refreshments from 10 to 5 on both days.

From November 14 through December 24, True North Gallery is open Wednesday through Sunday 10 to 5, with extended hours by chance or appointment.

In addition to the work in “Lighting and Ringing the Winter Night: Artisan Bells and Lanterns,” True North has a special collection of owl art through the end of the year, seasonal gifts and décor, and its usual collection of art and gifts inspired by the north, nature, and native traditions.

For further information call (978) 468-1962 or email

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