Monday, November 21, 2011

Holiday 2011

Last holiday season, Anchor No.5 Boutique had only been open a few months. Petra Jancovicova had gathered an exceptional group of artist's, and we all jumped in right before the whirlwind of holiday shopping on River Street commenced. A year has passed and Anchor No.5 is nothing short of a chic, sophisticated boutique. It's gained a few more talented, local designers, while giving all of the artists it represents an opportunity to expand on our product lines, both in creativity and in extensiveness. Petra has been encouraging preparation for the holiday season for months, and every artist has met the challenge. Anchor is packed with unique, artisan gifts, with something for everyone.

This Troy Night Out falls on Black Friday. Whether you're avoiding, or braving the festivities of the day, strolling through the Market Block will be a fun and relaxing evening, and you can probably even get a few holiday gifts checked off your list.

If you can't make it Friday, come out for Shop Local Saturdays. Anchor No.5 is not only an independent, locally owned business, but features all local artists. Support your neighbors, support your region, Enjoy Troy.

This year, using Anchor No. 5's Facebook page, customers can shop online, and compile a wish list of items. Whether it's a list of things you would like others to buy for you, or gifts you would like to buy for others, contact Petra via Facebook, and she will have your wishlist on file when you walk into the Boutique.

From all of the Artists represented at Anchor No. 5 Boutique, have a wonderful holiday season, and thank you for your support.

Kristin Gallo

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Handmade by Jody Morin

In 2005 Jody Morin found herself anxiously needing something to do with her hands as she was stuck home in bed recovering from surgery. So she called up her dear old grandmother who came over and taught her to knit. Jody had dabbled in jewelry making, painting, scrap booking, and clay work before, but fell in love with knitting, and the ability to combine a beautiful aesthetic with functionality.

Jody started making her bite size hats in 2008 after she saw an amigurumi cupcake and thought, 'that would make a cute baby hat!' She went into production with the cupcake hats and sold them at Tight Knit, in conjunction with Troy's Winter Farmer's Market. Here she would see patrons
walk by withtheir bags overflowing with apples, and thought an apple hat would be a nice balance to the cupcake. Her collection
quickly grew to also include tomatoes, oranges, peaches, plums, blueberries, lemons, limes, strawberries, and most recently pumpkins and acorns. Jody writes her own patterns with sizes ranging from newborns, to toddlers, to big kids.

Jody Morin's hats are an adorable garnish for the little ones as the colder months approach. She also has beautifully constructed mittens for adults, which extend high up the arm to keep you nice and warm. Join us at Anchor No.5 this Friday for Troy Night Out and check them out.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sock the Monkey and Friends: Nicole K.

Dubbing herself "Head Monkey Mistress," Nicole K. uses socks to create charming, oddball creatures, that amuse and delight young and old alike.

The collection includes monkeys, monsters, bunnies, owls, puppies, lions, and baby dinosaurs. Every creature Nicole creates is unique, and she'll often go as far as naming and making up little tidbits about them.

"I sold one that had one arm that turned out longer than the other. I named him Special Ed and wrote a sign that he was bad at math. A math teacher ended up buying him for her classroom.
It was awesome."

Nicole doesn't just create pieces of artwork, but personalities. Take her monkey "Clocky" (Alex from the Clockwork Orange), or her "Hipster Monkey, complete with skinny jeans and ironic belt buckle." Nicole loves coming up with new ideas and perfecting the characters she is creating, but she especially loves the joy they bring to others.

"I LOVE to make customs ones! I WANT people to bring me socks that they love so I can make something awesome for them." You can place a custom order through Petra at Anchor No.5, or email Nicole at

Nicole was making them all by hand until a good friend decided to invest in her and bought her a sewing machine and materials. Let's all show our support for Nicole, and our love for Sock the Monkey this Friday at Troy Night Out.

Become a fan
of Sock the Monkey on Facebook, and check more out at Anchor No.5 or Nicole's Etsy shop.

When Nicole's not Socking Out she's Rocking Out, check out her band Hot Cousin here.

Kristin Gallo

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Kendra Conroy Photography

For such a young photographer, Kendra Conroy already has an advanced skill set, and captivating expression. Her ability as an artist is affirmed by the fact that she is already a working photographer, selling her work at Anchor No. 5 Boutique, fresh out of High School and now studying Fine Art at the college level.

Do you have a favorite subject matter?
"Yes I do, I love morning dew! I lay down in the wet grass, bright and early while ignoring the neighbors dog barking, just so I can get that one drop on the grass blade. I love taking pictures of morning dew because I know that if I move on to another spot I might just find an even better shot."

When describing her nature photos, Kendra says, "I am trying to get people to look into the picture, rather than just seeing that it is a regular old flower." She accomplishes this with photographs that are much more about light, shapes, and layers of color than subject matter. They force you to stare and observe these elements, rather than think about the specific object you are looking at.

Even her photos of food communicate texture and color. Greeting cards with photographs of cupcakes are available, which make a perfect Birthday Card for everyone.

"I started getting serious about portraiture when I babysat two young girls, when I was about 17. I would take pictures and learn from them how to pose people, what angles to shoot at, and to just have fun. They motivated me to keep going and I worked with a photographer in Avalon, NJ who mainly focused on portraiture. I noticed how great she was with the children and fell in love with her pictures. She is one of the many fabulous people who have motivated me to continue with photography and learn more about it."

Kendra says that she enjoys portraiture because she wants to create memories for families. Through her lens she is able to capture the distinct personality, and genuine emotion of her subjects.

Join us this Friday during Troy Night Out, at Anchor No.5 Boutique, to celebrate the photography of Kendra Conroy. Become a fan of Kendra's on Facebook, and check out her website for more photos and information.

Kristin Gallo

Monday, July 25, 2011


As a collection, Nadine Medina's jewelry exhibits an exploration into the juxtaposition of materials and form. As individual pieces, they are the perfect embellishments to dress you up for your 9-5, and still look sexy as you slip into your denim and head to the bar.

The collection's catchphrase says it all, "designs that make a simple white tee feel more like a party dress." Nadine creates with the philosophy that fashion should be easy and comfortable. As a designer she achieves this with her jewelry, while marking each with a little of her own personality, creating whimsical, fun pieces.

As an artist, Nadine pushes herself to create the unexpected. Willing to work with many different materials, she drives to create beautiful compositions from elements which would not traditionally be paired. This foundation finished off with her keen sense of style produces a collection of unique pieces that deserve to be experienced first hand. Join us this Troy Night Out, at Anchor No.5 Boutique as we celebrate Nadine Medina.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Fresh Produce: Ali Herrmann

This time of year, the season's bounty is a treat for the senses. Ali Herrmann has taken this a step further with her latest collection 'Fresh Produce.' Her interpretations of fruits and vegetables evoke a feeling of nostalgia in their familiarity, and her unique representation will captivate you.

Below is my interview with Ali Herrmann.

What was your inspiration for creating your most recent collection of work, 'Fresh Produce'?

My inspiration for creating 'Fresh Produce' was based on the summer season, which locally hosts farmer's markets around the region. Continuously inspired by nature, I find beauty in the local colors and flavors of garden fresh fruits and veggies and try to create that simplistic beauty within my paintings. As such, I have developed a body of work for this show using watercolors and pen and ink, oil paintings, and mixed media acrylic pieces using photographic transfers, which create highly stylized pieces.

What other work do you have at Anchor No. 5?

At the store, I also have a large series of oil paintings on canvas, some inspired by nature, and others (the red ones behind the counter,) inspired by electron microscope scans of human nature and biology, I see it all having connectivity. I also have a large series of encaustic paintings at Anchor, which seem to have been very well received there. For my encaustics, I use the traditional encaustic medium, a combination of beeswax and damar resin Link(sourced locally from R&F Pigments in Kingston, NY). For my colors I use a combination of hand drawn/hand cut paper pieces to build texture and color, while also layering in seed pods, leaves, and dried flowers at times. I feel they all relate to each other under the influence of nature and color, so much that I bring the color palettes into the jewelry pieces that I make simultaneously. And yes, Petra has many of these jewelry pieces so you can see the continuity/connectivity. I have often been told that the works (jewelry and art) as a whole look like fabulous eye candy.

Tell us more about your process...

My process generally starts by taking a walk and just looking at the botanical environment that surrounds me seasonally. I take in the shapes, colors, textures, and forms of repetitiveness that nature offers. Then when I get home, I make black and white fingernail sketches in these little books that I keep. It's a way of documenting what I see and am inspired by. Then I try to work with one or two of these fingernails to make works such as oil paintings and watercolors, something more substantial, more permanent. I often go back to these books to look, see, and be inspired all over again to see what new elements I can bring into my work. I guess it's like collecting and saving data for future reference. While I am painting, I see color palletes that I feel would work within my jewelry, so while something is in limbo or is drying, I then work on some jewelry pieces, hoping to utilize the same feelings, emotions, and colors that come out of my artwork.

The color combinations you use are beautiful. Do you plan this out before you start, or does it evolve as you are painting?

If I am painting from nature, I try to use the same colors that I see. This is most noticeable in my watercolors, which have a still life/natural feel. The oil paintings tend to get a little more opaque in their colors and some abstractness starts to appear, so I feel I have a little more leeway in their color elements, since that is one of the beauties of oil paint! The transfers are taken directly from newspaper/magazine photographs, so they are inherently graphic, but I do try to add a little acrylic spin into them for nuance. With my encaustics, I definitely try to map out my color combinations, once the wax painting process occurs with them, the papers sometimes change their colors a bit as a result of how they react with the wax, so in this case it changes, but I try to keep my instincts open to this, keep working at it, and go with the flow. I try not to get too discouraged when something unexpected happens, because it may ultimately lead to something new, fresh, and beautiful. Or it can be an entire failure that I learn from. I just try to let it feed the next painting.

Tell us about your artistic background...

My artistic education started with laying on the floor with coloring books, the 48 Crayola color box, and Sesame Street on the television in the background. I always wanted more than just crayons, so getting cray-pas one day was a big step forward!!! I remember taking an art class in junior high school, but don't remember much of what I made. High School's curriculum did not offer any opportunities to make art, so I dove into all things science and graduated with a four year scholarship to attend Colgate University. I took a broad range of classes the first semester, but soon found myself unhappy with my choice of college, and really just wanted to leave school. I stuck it out for a year though, so that in the event I might actually change my mind, I wouldn't have to start all over again. Second semester I took an art class, and it was there I thought, 'yes, this is what you need to creative.' As soon as I realized I wanted to study art, it was clear that I did not want to stay at Colgate, so I began my quest to transfer to other schools. Long story short, I ended up at Bennington College in Bennington, VT, at a time when the college was in a bit of turmoil, controversy, and rumors of losing their accreditation, but I didn't care. I was there to take art classes. And boy did I ever! So much so that my plan committee criticized me for taking too many art classes...but I didn't care. It was my education and I was paying for it, so if they wanted to fail me for that (this was still a time when Bennington was non grades and gave out written comments), so be it. In the end, it all worked out and I graduated with a BA in fine arts, but not with a lot of struggles and harsh criticism along the way. I guess it was just preparing me for the art world outside of college.

How long have you been creating these types of pieces? What led up to the work you create now?

While I have been creating both art and jewelry since I was a kid, the particular styles of work I am currently creating started back in 2007, while I took a leave of absence from my day job to spend a month residency at the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, VT. While in residency, I had the opportunity to lock myself in the studio and just focus on painting. What it taught me was that I had a natural affinity towards great color combos, but that I did not have a particularly significant painting style or subject matter...and that I was just making these individual, unconnected paintings, sketches, woodcuts, and even jewelry pieces. I could hit a great piece, but it had no connection to anything else I made. It was frustrating and struggling, but the reality was that this type of work was bound to continue as long as I held a full time job, because I really wasn't putting all my focus on was full time job/part time painter. The residency changed all that...for a month! I just took leaps and bounds and didn't worry about creating good/bad work. Up until that point, I was just so scared to say that I was another artist inspired by nature. I thought there had to be some mysterious grandeur in painting. So, instead of trying to hide that fact, I just fully embraced it and went with it...and man I made some really kick ass paintings!!! Not to say that I didn't struggle with some of them, but I just opened up and had fun for a change, and I think that really showed in the finished pieces. I had people stopping by my studio telling me that looking at my work made them feel happy.

And what happened after this stage in your life...

After the residency bubble ended, I had gone back to my full time job, which if I haven't mentioned yet, was working at the local art supply store, ordering and selling supplies. I kept the painting momentum up for a while, but eventually it dropped off to sketching here and there. I was excited about some sketch books that were stocked at the store, so I bought one as if it were some little gem I could keep and hide in. From these, I began creating the thumbnail books I keep today and eventually got more and more inspired by what I was drawing, but realized that I still had no paint time. I picked up a part time restaurant job so that I could earn a little income while I painted, created a website and opened an Etsy shop to see if I could actually sell work online. It was all scary and risky, but not getting my ideas out was slowly eating at me. I wanted to paint and be the artist at the store buying supplies, not selling them.

Do you have any other projects that you're working on?

Always! I just don't know what they are until I cross that road. Right now my biggest goal is getting out in the public for the season at various markets, shows, and outdoor venues...organizing that is a full time job at times. I just recently closed a three person, encaustic based show at Albany Center Gallery, so I am glad to have this time to get back into other painting styles for Anchor No. 5.

Monday, May 23, 2011

s.j.l. original: Stacie J. Lucas

Fresh, funky, elegant - not words I would normally use to describe handmade felted jewelry, but Stacie J. Lucas pulls it off flawlessly.

Stacie starts by buying wool roving by the pound, coming in balls as big as her head. She breaks off chunks and winds the wool into loose little balls, then spends several hours at a time elbow deep in warm, soapy water, rolling those pretty little balls in her palms. They take about a day to thoroughly dry, then she strings them up to create these artistic and stylish pieces, that seem to scream out "touch me."

Stacie's love of fiber led her to begin felting in the spring of 2009, and her excitement over the process continues to spur new ideas. Currently she is exploring the subtle contrast between
different textures: fuzzy wool vs. smooth fabric or ribbon. s.j.l. original's fabric rosettes compliment the balls of felted wool to create beautiful accessories, which are the perfect way to add an artistic touch to an outfit, while still attaining a sophisticated look.

Stacie describes herself as "a perfectionist to a fault. The nature of handmade goodies is that you can't make them perfect, that might be what is so desirable about them, but I spend a good deal of time putting things together that are of the quality I would want for myself." She prefers her customers get exactly what they want, so custom orders are welcome. Everything is interchangeable, this color can go on that style, or that necklace needs to be this length, etc.

As you can tell by the photos these items are beautiful, but their tactile qualities deserve attention. They are of course featured this month at Anchor No. 5 Boutique, and are the headliners of Troy Night Out this Friday. Hope to see you there.

Kristin Gallo

Monday, April 25, 2011


Before I met Laura, I had known of her as two different figures in the local scene . I became familiar with her collection 'Birds are Beautiful' at Anchor No.5, and I've been enjoying her radio show 'Hello Pretty City' on WEXT. So it was wonderful to see how these two personas collide, and get to know Laura Glazer.

She invited me into her apartment and let me see her shelves, and neatly labeled drawers, and boxes, and bins, of beautiful artwork, each piece a unique and personal creation. I got to see some of the greeting cards Laura is getting ready to bring over to Anchor No.5 for Troy Night Out. Her postage stamp cards have a graceful aesthetic, paired with one of her unique styles of handwriting, each having a personality all their own. Every card receives a great deal of creative attention, as well as effort in construction, because Laura wants each to be a special keepsake that will last.

I stood amazed at the perfect tiny letters as she spelled out Happy Mother's Day on a card, and Laura told me about how when she was in elementary school, she and her classmates would compete for who had the best penmanship. Since then she has always been fascinated by other people's handwriting.

Handwriting is Laura's thing, she has a favorite pen, papers with different notes in various fonts around her work area, and has even had family members frame an envelope that she wrote out and sent a holiday card in. She also showcases her handwriting on the pins she makes which feature clever phrases like, "Larkness Monster," and "You take Brooklyn I'll take Troy."

Laura likes to do custom pin orders for small businesses, bands, and artists, and loves her full time job at Albany Med doing marketing and graphic design. All of this, not to mention her radio show, 'Hello Pretty City' on WEXT, and a photography show in Hudson opening April 30th, Laura Glazer keeps busy. No wonder she expressed how great it is to have Anchor No.5 Boutique, which allows her to work at her own pace, and use her passion to create handmade and affordable pieces of artwork for others to enjoy.

Join us this Friday to celebrate Troy Night Out, our featured artist Laura Glazer, and her collection, 'Birds are Beautiful'.

Kristin Gallo

Monday, March 21, 2011

Design It Together: Ben Karis-Nix and Taylor Gillis

Design it Together is a design studio based in Troy, NY featuring original artwork & clothing designs as well as providing graphic design services to clients. The artists behind this collection are Ben Karis-Nix and Taylor Gillis. Ben came up with the idea of designing an original line of screen printed apparel when he was touring with his band, performing, but also designing merchandise for the band, and other musicians. He admired the work of some of the artists who were vending in the circuit, which he describes as t-shirts which have “constructive messages that young people would be interested in.” Having just moved back to rural upstate, NY, he was inspired by his surroundings and decided to populate the line with designs that spoke to themes of nature and renewable energy.

Ben and Taylor met when they were both at in-between points in their lives. Ben's band had just broken up, and Taylor, a graphic designer, had been sharing a studio with other freelance designers whom had just disbanded. Working together at the St. Rose bookstore led them to build a solid friendship and go into business together. Taylor brought more graphics to the collection, and the line is now expanding to bring even more artists into the mix. When you visit their website, you can vote on which latest design will go into production and be available for sale.

With Taylor's background in graphic design, and Ben's in fine art, the team started working on other projects together. Last summer they established Design it Together, a design studio cooperative, and completed some projects you may be familiar with. They recently designed and launched the Anchor No.5 website, and are helping Petra realize her vision of branding the store, including the boutique's mascot, a flirtatious, sailor, pin-up girl. Ben and Taylor describe Petra as their typical client, a small business owner who's shop has it's own style and persona, but needs help executing the necessary marketing materials. Ben and Taylor function as creative directors who work with a network of designers, artists, and programmers to tackle a variety of projects.

Their latest, very exciting expansion is the addition of a new printer. Not many studios in the U.S. use this type of machine, which produces a very unique and unconventional look. They hope to use it for their own work, the work of other artists, and for the printed material they produce for clients. We will undoubtedly see more great things to come from the Design it Together team, Ben Karis-Nix and Taylor Gillis. Make sure you stop into Anchor No.5 Boutique this Friday for Troy Night Out, or any time in April to check out the featured t-shirt line, Run We Must.

Kristin Gallo