Press-Republican

November 5, 2012

One woman's castoff is another's coup

Annual Plattsburgh auction to raise money for arts program

By ROBIN CAUDELL
Press-Republican

---- — PLATTSBURGH — A robochair is the “something different” that artist Cynthia Parker dreamed up for Saturday’s Arms, Legs, Art & Antiques Auction.

The annual fundraiser for the North Country Cultural Center for the Arts will be held in the Strand Theater on Brinkerhoff Street in Plattsburgh.

“One time, I did a medieval candleholder that was wooden, and I blinged it up with a lot of gems and things like that,” said Parker of Cynthia’s Creations, who has participated in the event seven times.

“I’ve painted skis before with folk art. I’ve done three or four different chairs. They all tend to be toward the girly side. I decided this year to do something that would appeal to the male population.”

The robochair is a gleaming silver.

“I always use recycled items,” Parker said. “I ended up getting the dryer vents and the roadside markers and trying to figure out how cool I could make it look. It’s a totally old captain’s chair. I screwed in dryer vents for the arms that are hanging down. It’s really pretty plain, but it does look like a robot. I used washers and screws for the eyes and nose. I added the antennae, the red reflector road markers you use on the side of your driveway.”

She sanded the chair, primed it, sprayed it with silver enamel and finished with an acrylic overcoat.

The robochair is the perfect accent for a man cave, boy’s room or just decorative art.

“I made a mermaid chair, and I put a hidden treasure on the bottom side of the chair. It was a treasure chest overflowing with gems and pearls. The top has a picture of a mermaid. Some people hang it on the wall so you can see underneath it. They are recycled, so they are not made for a lot of tough use. They’re decorative arts,” Parker said.

A former registered nurse, Parker is a photographer and knitter as well as a visual artist. Her output includes paintings and greeting cards.

“I’ve been doing it for quite awhile. I started out doing it for myself and gift giving. Now, I’m trying to spread myself out a little bit. It’s something fun. I come from a long line of family painters and artists. I sort of inherited that, and my daughter is a very good artist,” she said.

Community members were asked to donate any art or antiques hidden away in their attic or basement.

“That’s been a huge standing point,” said Shawna Armstrong, center graphic designer and gallery coordinator. “People are not just getting rid of things, they are trying to replace things. A lot of people have certain items that don’t fit, and they don’t have a room for. A lady dropped off an antique cedar chest. A lot of people are planning to come back and buy new pieces that will fit in their house.”

Donated items include typewriters, a gilded hand mirror, a leather chest and ceramics donated by Joanna Murray and Ali Della Bitta.

“We have a lot of large paintings, mostly portraits,” Armstrong said. “It’s a huge mix, a very wide variety of stuff that makes it more interesting. We have six chairs and a stool; they are very nice. I like to see the variety of antiques and art.”

The auction preview runs through Thursday in the center’s Community Gallery.

“We have a little sneak peek of some of the work,” Armstrong said. “You can start bidding or thinking about what you want to buy.”

Email Robin Caudell:

rcaudell@pressrepublican.com

IF YOU GO ▶ WHAT: Arms, Legs Art & Antiques Auction. ▶ WHEN: Silent auction and hors d'oeuvres from 6 to 7 p.m. Saturday. Live auction from 7 to 9 p.m. ▶ WHERE: Strand Theater, Brinkherhoff Street, Plattsburgh. ▶ TICKETS: $25 non-NCCCA member and $20 member at the door. ▶ PHONE: 563-1604