Coming in July: Port Austin Art Fair!

Waterfront park- BEFORE the fair!

This year Port Austin has something great in store for visitors and residents.  The first Port Austin Art fair will take place in the Veteran’s Waterfront Park, Saturday July 1 and Sunday July 2 from 1oam  to 4pm. White Church Gallery will be there with Mike’s incredible art.

Michael Zaitz 2017

Stop by the booth to say hi, and be sure to visit the Gallery for more inspiring art by Michigan artists.

Art from White Church Gallery

See you there!

What 2017 has in store…

The Gallery is open- and we’ve changed things around. Besides moving the furniture, we have new artists and new art!

Still the same: awesome Michigan artists in a renovated 1880’s Methodist Church.

New: Photographer Keith Lowrie. A view of the Lake at Holly Rec. Area.

Keith Lowrie

Ceramic Artist Nancy Drescher is always cooking up new pieces.

Nancy Drescher ceramics 2017

And even Mike Zaitz, Owner and Artist, has been busy…

Michael Zaitz 2017
Michael Zaitz 2017

We’re open Fri- Sun 11-6pm, and usually later on Saturdays!

Come refresh your soul at the White Church Gallery!

Artists Reception: Art, Wine and Conversation.

The White Church Gallery’s annual Artists Reception will be Saturday June 25th from 3 – 7 pm. Gallery hours are Fri. –  Sun, 11 am  –  6pm, but we’ll be open late on Saturday. All are welcome to meet the guest artists and their work and to enjoy some hors d’oeuvres and drinks.

Here’s some snaps from last year’s party:

viewing the gallery
viewing the gallery (and shopping…)

 

loving the art!
Good people, great art!

This year will be even more fun! See you there!

 

Thumb Arts Guild Studio Tour!

An Annual Art Event of Michigan’s Thumb happens this weekend. All along the Thumbnail or coast of Michigan’s Huron County, you can drive from art studio to art studio as the waves crash along the sandy beaches. Click here for more info. White Church Gallery, located in Grindstone City, will be the first stop on the Tour. Be sure to have an appetite for ice cream if you visit, since famous Rybak’s Ice Cream is right across the street!

Inside the gallery
Inside the gallery

Hang on!

We’ve been open for a season, and the white rails that my Mom and Dad helped put in right before opening last year have served their purpose.

Mom and Dad making handrails
Mom and Dad making handrails

It was hard work to get everything ready to open for the Thumb Arts Guild Studio Tour. Mom and Dad Meyers pitched in and nailed wood rails to the cement forms, which were supposed to come off after the cement had set, but made useful supports for the temp rails!

Mom painting the temp rails
Mom painting the temp rails

Fast forward almost exactly one year. Mike had made many calculations and CAD drawings to figure out the exact slope and length of the iron rails he ordered. Yet he was still nervous when they came and we set them out.

Of course they fit perfectly!
Of course they fit perfectly!

The first order of business was to drill 2.5″ wide by 3.5″ deep holes in concrete. 16 of them.

Good thing I work out!
Good thing he works out!

It took a lot of sweat on that hot sunny day to drill the holes. I was official vacuumer of the holes. It was definitely teamwork.

Walk softly and carry a big gun...
Walk softly and carry a big gun…

I also got the task of putting the hydraulic cement into the holes while Mike mixed the batches one by one. It dried pretty quickly so it had to be made in small batches. That went pretty smoothly as well.

Hydraulic cement
Hydraulic cement

All in all, for a task that had been a long time coming and a bit dreaded, it went well and we are very happy with the finished product!

We did it!
We did it!
Happy Church!
Happy Church!

Happy Birthday!

I turned 48 on Friday, May 15th, and I will tell you about the most exciting birthday I’ve had in a long time!

How sweet!
How sweet!

But not because of the cake, though it was sweet and thoughtful! It was about the Window!
The last time we saw the quatrefoil window , the frame was remade. Meanwhile, glass artist extraordinaire Tom Newton had been plotting and planning the glass art for the window.

 

Shadowed in Mystery!
Shadowed in Mystery!
???...
???…

Today was the day. The window was to arrive, and installation was to begin!

But let’s go back in time…on May 15, 1967, a young woman named Carolyn (Ma!) was giving birth to a 10 pound baby. That was me. Sorry, Ma.  Fast forward 48 years, and that baby now weighs 133 pounds and now a project taking nearly four years and much of her resources to gestate is finally coming to fruition. But, as with any good thing, its beauty is from the Grace of God and the reflection of him in the people around us. Tom and Sandie are such reflections.

Here’s Sandie putting the clear glass down on the outside.

It fits!
It fits!

Next comes the artwork.

The little sticker says, "Made In Germany"
The little sticker says, “Made In Germany”

The glass is pre-war WW2 german glass the Tom acquired in a business deal. The clear glass goes on the outside, the precious colored glass on the inside. I was honored when he noticed the glazing I had done on the Church windows and asked if I’d like to help glaze this window. Yes please!
So here’s the process:

Outer Pieces
Outer Pieces

Next:

Inner Circle piece
Inner Circle piece

And altogether:

Ahhhhhhh!
Ahhhhhhh!

And so. The little pieces of tape help align the glass pieces. The tacks (unseen) hold the glass in, and the glazing seals the whole bit.

Tom and Sandie cleaned it up and got it ready for the install.

They clean it with a fine powder that takes all the fingerprints off!
They clean it with a fine powder that takes all the fingerprints off!

The install was a feat of engineering. The chief engineer this day happened to be our electrician, Dave Schramski. It was a perfect example of teamwork. Dave had an idea, and we all wanted someone with a good idea to tell us how to get this work of art up a ladder without breaking it!

A frame was built!

That's Schramski on the faaaar right...
That’s Schramski on the faaaar right…

The window was laid in…

Careful there!
Careful there!

And then wrapped for uber protection aloft.

Are we mailing this to Hong Kong?
Are we mailing this to Hong Kong?

No, just trying to get it safely to the window opening…

It's not a hauling project without ropes!
It’s not a hauling project without ropes!

So two men were carrying it up the ladder, and Mike and I were on the ropes pulling it up. It went quite smoothy, but I couldn’t take pictures since I had promised to have both hands on the rope! Luckily Sandie did and was kind enough to send them to me. But I do believe Kind is Sandie’s middle name!

Upsy-daisy!
Upsy-daisy!

Up it went in its cocoon, and Chief Shramski went out on the ladder to make sure the window didn’t get pushed through to the ground. ( I still have shocking memories of having pushed an air conditioner out a second story window trying to install it!)

He didn't like it when a gust of wind pushed the door against the ladder…
He didn’t like it when a gust of wind pushed the door against the ladder…

Inside, the boys had to loft the window into place.

Careful!
Careful!
And of course, final adjustments must be made!
Rotate Counterclockwise. No, that's Clockwise to you!
Rotate Counterclockwise. No, that’s Clockwise to you!

It was a logistical puzzle. But we did it, and the window was installed. All that remained was for nature to light it up!

And, of course, nature showed up for the job!
What do you think?

It's in!
It’s in!

And so, God said, let there be light!

Let There Be Light!
Let There Be Light!
Happy birthday, Glorious Window!
Yes!
Yes!
– The White Church Gallery

Backyard Building

The Back Door!
The Back Door!

Something’s going on with the back of the church.

Lots of room…for improvement!
Lots of room…for improvement!

As we get closer to opening day, it is imperative(!) that we have more space. All of the equipment and tools we’ve needed for renovation must be stored elsewhere when the final transformation of the building into an Art Gallery happens.

Space!
Space!

Space in the form of a storage/workspace.
First comes the cement floor, so smooth and shiny!

No, we didn't put our initials in it!
No, we didn’t put our initials in it!

Then comes the roof joists.

Kinda artsy!
Kinda artsy!
It was a ceaselessly foggy day.
It was a ceaselessly foggy day.
This man is excited about the progress!
This man is excited about the progress!
WE'RE GETTING SPACE!!
WE’RE GETTING SPACE!!

It’s a very exciting development for us. This stuff has to go somewhere!

Ack!
Ack!

 

– The White Church Gallery

Guest Workers

Got Grit?
Got Grit?

Here you see the gritty grin of a person sanding beautiful wood. Cherry, at this moment. Every piece of wood you are about to see came from a tree. I say this because it has never been so real to me before. Such a simple idea, yet so much work! Trees are not smooth, nor are they beveled or cut to size. That all had to be done piece by piece. Not complainin’. Just es’planin’!

At the end of March, we had some guest-workers. Meet Vickie and Kevin.  C’mon, let’s get busy!

There’s Kevin, helping plane some wood.

Planin', not complainin'!
Planin’, not complainin’!

The Altar piece has been the center of attention for some weeks, but other jobs are calling. Here’s Vickie getting gritty with the antique light fixtures. Go Vickie!

Scrubbing
Scrubbing
Lights Before...
Lights Before…
And after. Viva La Difference!
And after. Viva La Difference!

And we sent Kevin to the corner…to sand the floors.

You've been very very bad!
You’ve been very very bad!

But the floors look very, very good!

Scrubbing
Scrubbing

Meanwhile more vertical action on the Altar Piece.

Evening Light
Evening Light

We had a nice visit with Kevin and Vickie, but the weekend came to a close and the Altar Piece was still not done.

Thanks, guest workers! See you in a few weeks!
Thanks, guest workers! See you in a few weeks!

 

– The White Church Gallery

 

It’s like making a Giant Painting…

…overheard while eating chicken soup on a tuesday night…and the rest of the sentence was, ” but it takes three years of your life and a ton of money.”

Latest Zaitz Original!
Latest Zaitz Original!

Michael was referring to the renovation of White Church Gallery, specifically the altarpiece we’re working on.

The sides are the pillars.
The sides are the pillars.

This past weekend was all about putting some wood up on the front of the church. I started the ball rolling on Friday by pulling staples. It’s been awhile since I’d done it, and it seemed harder somehow than the last time. The staples were rusty and stubborn. It was the opposite of fun.

Ugly, ugly staples.
Ugly, ugly staples.

I had to clear the floor around the pillars, because work was about to commence on them. So I pulled staples and sanded around the front of the Church. Saturday morning, bright and early, we got to the church filled with eagerness and a bit of anxiousness. We’d been working on the wood planks for almost two months now, taking them from rough sawn planks all the way to the glorious art pieces they became. But now, after weeks and weeks of planning and plotting, we were finally going to see how the whole thing would look. Would it look as we intended- to be a glorious work of art? Or would it look like Dean Martin’s living room? (Actually- Dean Martin’s living room ain’t too bad!)

Owners: Dean Martin…Tom Jones…Nicolas Cage…then Citibank…
Owners: Dean Martin…Tom Jones…Nicolas Cage…then Citibank…

The first step was to do the bottom border. These border pieces came from giant planks of walnut.

Mitering needed!
Mitering needed!

This procedure took some hours, since it needed to be practically perfect. Level, fitted, and mitered.

P1010027

All went fairly smoothly; there was a rhythm of measuring thrice and cutting once.

Measure it one more time…
Measure it one more time…

And then it happened. A boo boo. A piece of walnut got cut too short. Red Alert, Emergency! Luckily we had a chunk of unprocessed walnut nearby. I ran it through the planer a few times, I jointed the edges, then did a quick but thorough sand job on it. It would have to be clear-coated in situ. But it looked fine, and work could continue.

All angles and edges…
All angles and edges…

Walnut is a VERY hard wood, but it keeps a nice edge.

Ah, mitered!
Ah, mitered!
Sweet! It all fits!
Sweet! It all fits!

Once the base was finished, we started on the upright pieces.

With a little help from our friends!
With a little help from our friends!

Thanks to Rybak’s owners Paul and Ann for burning the late night oil with us and getting the first layers of the altar piece up. It was grueling, exacting, tiring, but inspiring.

At last!!
At last!!

And so it goes…piece by piece, bevel by bevel. Screw by awkward screw. Awkward, because Mike had to screw each of the boards in from the back.

His arm had to fit through the space you see here at the side. And then somehow bend around enough to put pressure on the driver to screw into extremely hard wood from the back. (After drilling a pilot hole.)

There's not a lot of room behind!
There’s not a lot of room behind!

We had two different nail lengths depending on which wood it was going through. There was a lot of thought put into this! And it was exhausting work.

But we think it was worth it. Here’s the other side.

It looks better in person…
It looks better in person…

There are imperfections, and we’ll fix a few next time, but this represents so much effort that I hope it shows.

I had to take a selfie- and I think it’s my fave so far. Blurry, wrinkled eyes, weariness, but a sense of purpose and accomplishment.

Hey now!
Hey now!

The next morning, things still looked good, so we did a photo shoot.

The Artist
The Artist
And the apprentice!
And the apprentice!

Until we meet again!

 

– The White Church Gallery