Art Watch: Carol Apicella

Making Something out of Nothing

By Lele Galer, Columnist, The Times

UTColLogoGalerMosaic artist Carol Apicella will be exhibiting her wonderful mosaic mirrors and wall pieces this Thursday May 22nd at Galer Estate Winery from 4-8pm. After a career in banking and years of being a mother and active school volunteer, Carol discovered a passion for creating mosaic works. Carol says that it all began as a way to find the most economical way of creating art projects with elementary aged kids for classroom fundraising.

For years, the art revolved around mosaics and youth and donation requests for various non-profit organizations then evolved into creating unique mosaics made of mixed media, primarily with a mirror element.   She says, ” I get inspiration from a plate, a bead, a drawer pull – just stuff out there in the world and build a something around that.  “Friends bring Carol their broken dishes and left over tile which she uses to create ceramic mosaic pieces incorporating interesting found objects from beads to bullet casings to a piece of twisted copper wire found on a walk.  

catol apicella4More recently, beer and soda cans have found new life as boarders for mirrors creating colorful celebrations of recycled refuse.  Each can is cleaned, flattened, and nailed down with attention to label design and overall color balance.  Beer cans vary from classics like Budweiser’s Bud Light to unique micro brews like Big Sky’s Moose Drool (Montana).  Carol often buys cans for the label and waits for family and friends to consume them so she can include another new label in a piece.

carol-apicellaTo ensure that each piece is unique, she ensures each can label is used only once – no repeats – although sometimes she struggles to get all her favorites in.  Different labels evoke different responses from the viewer – some get the “ahhh, I drank that in college” reaction, others, like Guiness, the wise nod of respect for a legend, to finally those that make people laugh like Porkslap which features two pigs leaping up in the air about to belly slap.

One customer bought a mirror because it included a brand he had sampled in Mexico; he said seeing the label brought back great memories.  Carol’s artwork is created with meticulous care, and also retains the fun sense of humor of the artist. Come to this weeks show and meet the artist and discover a new way to look at discarded beer cans and broken tile! At this Thursday’s Pop up show at Galer Estate, 20% of the proceeds from sales benefit the Chester County Art Association’s new building fund.

Looking back on last week’s treasure of art related activities, the highlight was The Chester County Studio Tour. If you missed it, please mark your calendar for next year’s show. Over the weekend, 77 local artists showed their artwork to thousands of Chester County art lovers who followed a map of studio locations like an old-fashioned treasure hunt. The weather was perfect and the atmosphere was fun and welcoming.

The founder of the Studio Tour, Jeff Schaller, said that this year’s event was a huge success and that “everything doubled or tripled from last year”. He also said that now that art patrons know where the artist studios are, the tour can continue throughout the year as potential buyers can now just call up the artist’s and ask for private appointments to see their work. What a great way for the artist to show their work and for patron’s to collect it! Speaking of collecting, one of the new changes for this year was a “County Collector’s” art piece that each artist made at a cost of $75 each. What a hit! There were also raffles for art discounts, and delicious food and wine at almost every location. If you missed the show, but would like to still see a sampling of the artwork from each artist, you should check out the Art Trust at Meridian Bank in West Chester where their work will be shown through June 1st.


Lele Galer is an artist who has chaired numerous art shows, taught art history and studio art, public art and has chaired, written and taught the Art in Action Art Appreciation series for the UCFD schools for the past 12 years. She worked at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and wrote for the Asociated Press in Rome.  She has been dedicated to Art History and art education for most of her adult life. Lele and her husband Brad own Galer Estate Winery in Kennett Square and co-Chairs the CCAA’s New Building Campaign.

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