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A studio visit with a Shelter Island sculptor

CAITLIN PANARELLA PHOTO Sculptor Jerry Glassberg in his Island studio.

CAITLIN PANARELLA PHOTO
Sculptor Jerry Glassberg in his Island studio.

The earth-like scent of clay and fresh paint greets visitors in sculptor Jerry Glassberg’s studio. The large, open space is awash with sunshine filtering into the room through several skylights. Tools and supplies fill the shelves of one wall, and many sculptures decorate shelves on the wall opposite.

A former businessman, Jerry Glassberg now sculpts full-time out of his home studio. He sculpted in his youth, but began seriously pursuing it 25 years ago. In his travels around the country and the world, he took classes from experts to learn different the craft and art.

“If there was something interesting being taught in China, I’d be on my way to China,” he said.

As a full-time resident, Mr. Glassberg has become involved in a number of Island community events and institutions. He and 17 other Island artists began the ArtSI program in 2010, after they participated in art shows on the South Fork.

Mr. Glassberg’s studio will be open to visitors as part of the ArtSI Open Studio tour this Saturday and Sunday, August 19 and 20, from noon to 5 p.m.

It’s a wonderful event, he said, because people can experience the kind of art they enjoy, both in medium and style.

His style, which he describes as “modern figurative,” lends itself to many different creations. Just outside the studio is an assortment of sculptures that seem to belong in Lewis Carroll’s “Wonderland” books. A 7-foot giraffe and a large white rabbit, to name just two, have taken up residence in the yard.

Inside, the shelves contain many portrait busts, including one of himself, and “maquettes,” small sculptures on which he bases their larger counterparts.

His favorite sculpture? “My next one,” Mr. Glassberg answered,

The anticipation of what is yet to be created makes each new day exciting, he added.

Inspiration can come from anywhere, he said, demonstrated by his most recent projects. One is of his daughter, a yoga instructor, in a yoga pose. Another, still in the early stages, is based on a photo of a fashion model who Mr. Glassberg said reminded him of a warrior, accessorized with chain jewelry.

Originally from Long Beach Island, New Jersey, Mr. Glassberg moved to Shelter Island as a permanent resident after being a summer resident for several years. Serendipity, he said, leant a helping hand for his presence on the Island. He and his wife were visiting Greenport and saw a sign for the North Ferry and decided to take a trip across the bay.

“Have you ever seen “The Wizard of Oz?” he asked, “Well, it was just like that. From black and white to technicolor.”

Mr. Glassberg is also currently offering sculpting lessons for any skill level based on interest; proceeds lessons would go to the nonprofit Shelter Island Friends of Music.

Though these lessons would be his first taught on an official basis, he has instructed novices before. While visiting his son in Bahrain, he located a studio where he could work on his sculptures. Word got around, and soon locals had flocked to learn from his expertise.

“It was like I was the grand master,” he remembered.

To inquire about taking sculpture lessons from Mr. Glassberg, contact him at (631) 749-5824 or [email protected]

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