East Aurora's Roycroft Campus, an important progenitor of the American Arts and Crafts movement founded by the visionary entrepreneur and thinker Elbert Hubbard in 1897, is a testament to the enduring appeal of the hand-hewn, hand-sculpted and hand-painted object.
Today, as in its heyday in the early 20th century, the campus still nurtures and promotes the work of master artists and craftsmen plying traditional techniques developed over centuries. And five of those artisans have been featured in a new series of documentary shorts produced by East Aurora High School senior Sawyer Oubre.
The beautifully photographed films, which were debuted in a screening at the Roycroft Campus on June 3, provide insight into the meticulous working processes of painter Thomas Kegler, metalsmith Ron VanOstrand, woodworker Jim Cordes, potter Janice McDuffie and paper-cutter Sue Mair.
In addition to their visual appeal, the videos are filled with remarkable and often deeply heartfelt observations from the featured artists about their vocations.
"It's something I yearn for," landscape painter Thomas Kegler said of the scenes he paints. "When I'm actually working on the water, working on the sand, literally it brings me back to it. I can feel the sand on my feet, I can feel the heat of the sun. I can hear the waves and smell the sea air. So for me, the process of making that painting is a very special thing."
Below are Oubre's films, each the result of an obviously careful and meticulous filming and interviewing process, and each well worth multiple views:
Painter Thomas Kegler:
Woodworker Jim Cordes:
Paper-cutter Sue Mair:
Metalsmith Ron VanOstrand:
Potter Janice McDuffie: