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Thursday, July 25, 2024


Crow Creek Studio opens in Cape Shore Gardens

By Rick Racela

This morning, like most, it was still dark when I woke up, put the coffee on, and positioned my sleepy body in my recliner. Before long, I was sipping my coffee and staring at nothing, waiting for consciousness to return.

From that chair, I can see out the front windows where my view skims the rooftops for miles. Although I can’t see the beach from there, I know it’s still down the street about a block and a half to my left.

Most mornings, daylight sneaks up from that direction almost imperceptibly over an hour or so, the way steam gradually disappears from the bathroom mirror. My eyes clear on a similar timetable.

On this morning, I sat comfortably, fuzzy eyes on my cup, considering making a list of things to do today, then deciding it was too early for me to wield a pen.

Then I looked up, and what I saw startled me.

The houses across the street seemed to have been sliced in half horizontally, the top half splashed with glowing orange sunlight that made them look surreal.

Suddenly I was completely awake, on my feet, and heading for the door.

Bare feet and all, I stepped onto the porch where I could get a good look at the breathtakingly beautiful picture that was my street. And the ocean! It shone silvery against the orange-streaked sky. As the breakers rolled forward, the wind pushed them back and up and they seemed to explode like silent firecrackers.

It didn’t last long, but for those few minutes, I thoroughly enjoyed the show.

And I thought about how important it is to feed our aesthetic appetites, and there’s so much in our neighborhood that can do just that. All you have to do is step outside your front door at dawn or sunset to drink it all in.

Some of us not only take pleasure from it themselves, but also capture it to share. Artists who work in all kinds of media find nature’s scenery in Cape May County ideal subject matter for their work.

Stan Sperlak’s new Crow Creek Studio at Cape Shore Gardens on Route 9 is a wonderful place to see such art.

The studio had been a garden shop offering an interesting collection of outdoor wall art, birdbaths, flowerpots and such. But now it has been reinvented as a bright, open area with track lighting poised on fine art work and crafts.

At the opening on Friday night, patrons saw the works of five local artists on display. Sperlak’s own plein air paintings capture the many moods of the county’s marshes and fields.

Matthew Lomot is showing some of the stained glass creations he’s been producing for 20 years. He’s done commissioned work in homes, businesses, and naturally, churches.

Guest artist, Terri Amig displays one recent painting that epitomizes a new direction in the body of her work. And by the way, she’ll be at High Street Design in Millville on Saturday speaking about her work.

Steve Grison’s pottery on display evinces the artists’ penchant for warm colors in pieces that are as practical as they are beautiful.

And while I was there, stonemason Cory Brant, Sr. was outside working on a slab of stone that will become a chess/checker board for someone’s garden.

But don’t worry. Sperlak and his crew at Cape Shore Gardens are still designing and creating landscapes, (and the koi still swim in the pond in front of the shop), but the new venture is a welcome addition to the thriving art scene here in our county.

Stop by. Take a look. Feed your senses.

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