Abby and Jay Michaels are the Harper and the Minstrel.
The Falmouth Art Market will feature music by The Harper and the Minstrel on Thursday, July 12 along with an array works by 28 artists and craftspeople. The weekly event takes place from noon to 5 PM at Falmouth Marine Park, 180 Scranton Avenue, on Falmouth Harbor, every Thursday through August 30. Musicians perform from 2 to 4 PM every week.
The Harper and The Minstrel are Jay and Abby Michaels, who describe themselves as “passionate performers of music from the past,” including expressive love songs, vibrant jigs, reels, and dances, authentic medieval and Renaissance music, and traditional Celtic music.
Both Jay and Abby sing and play a variety of diverse musical instruments, including the cláirseach an (Irish wire-strung harp), Gothic harp, Celtic folk harp, bowed psaltery, alto, soprano, and tenor recorders, Irish wooden flute, penny whistles, mountain dulcimer, hammered dulcimer, bowed dulcimer/viol, baroque guitar, and rebec (an early bowed instrument).
Jay’s harp-playing has been heard on numerous television shows and several independent films. In addition to playing many different instruments, Abby recently built her own hammered dulcimer, which she plays in concert.
John Russo creates functional, practical pottery in earthy, natural tones, with some subtle shades of reds, blues, and greens. He makes bowls of all kinds, including berry bowls, knitting bowls, salad bowls, and vases.
Russo is also a woodcarver and makes wooden spoons and knives “for spreading humus on crackers” and other uses. He also makes wooden ducks out of old golf drivers. After removing the shaft he affixes a hand-carved duck head to the driver head, creating a wonderful decorative piece for those who love golf, ducks, or both.
A member of the ArtMarket for the last 10 years, Russo has been making pottery for over 30 years, while he operated his main business, an art gallery and custom framing shop.
“Toward the end of my degree work in graphic arts, I had some time in my schedule and decided to take a pottery course,” said Russo, who was so captivated that he went back for a second class after he finished his degree.
It was a busy and stressful time. Both Russo and his wife were working and going to school and they were about to have a baby. Pottery-making became a respite from worries about paying the rent, buying groceries, and other concerns.
“It was a release,” Russo said. “You have to concentrate fully to make pottery and to do it well. You put all your cares and woes out of your mind to think about this piece of clay in front of you.”
Russo also enjoys the camaraderie of pottery-making. He enjoys helping others work out problems they have been having and has served as a teaching assistant over the years. Pottery-making has been a very enjoyable and productive hobby for him.