Introducing… Local Artisans Month on Shorebread

In honor of the holiday season, and all of the gift-giving that comes along with it, Shorebread is devoting the month of December to our fine local artists. Artists who are from, currently live on, or are inspired by the Eastern Shore will be featured in Shorebread’s Enjoy a Slice section on the site.

We encourage our readers and community to check out and support the many unique, one-of-a-kind art and craft creations made locally during this holiday season. This winter may be difficult for many families due to current economic situations. Purchasing holiday gifts from area vendors usually results in better services, ensures lower prices, reduces environmental impact, and strengthens our local economy. Artwork that reflects home town friendliness and familiarity with Delmarva leads to a sense of community, a desire to learn, sustainability, and makes for great holiday gift-giving.

We are lucky enough to live in an area where art is aplenty. Help strengthen and support our local artists this holiday season. Keep checking Shorebread for weekly artist profiles and crafty holiday gift ideas.

Without further ado, this week’s Local Artisan…

Bold & Bright: Erick Sahler Serigraphs

The simple, bold designs and bright colors of Erick Sahler’s prints that are currently hanging in the Berlin Chamber of Commerce are eye catching, to say the least. The images with bright red, burnt orange, intense yellow and deep indigo feature clean, bold text and demand the attention of any passerby.  Just by looking at the flawless, hand-squeegeed prints you can tell that an artist put a lot of time into the framed pieces.

The artist that invested so much hard work into these prints is Erick Sahler, a Salisbury, MD local. Sahler has mastered the printing process over the past 25 years.

“It’s just a journey I’ve been on,” said Sahler about his recent pieces and his lifestyle revolving around serigraphs.

A serigraph, the proper term for what Sahler creates, is the result of plopping some ink on a thin screen made of a nylon-composite material, dragging that ink across the screen with a large squeegee, making sure the ink transferred to the thick piece of paper below, letting it dry, ‘burning’ a new screen, and repeating, and repeating, and repeating. The timely process results in unique, one-of-a-kind, images that are then inspected, titled, numbered, signed, matted, and framed by the artist.

“My work is all printed by hand. You can’t just press ‘Apple-P’ on a keyboard or make a trip to the printer’s to get results like this. I do it all by myself by hand,” said Sahler, “I manually add two colors a day, let them dry, pull my squeegee over the print again, then let that dry.”

Sahler created roughly 80 prints that included eight separate colors last Monday. Imagine how long that process took. The print, called Berlin GullFriends, is the latest addition to the artist’s GullFriends series.  The series shows itty-bitty seagulls perched at Eastern Shore landmarks like the Salisbury Mall, Thrasher’s French Fries, English’s Diner, The Globe Theater, and others. The GullFriends series was trademarked by Sahler in September 2011 and will continue to feature the little feathered beach birds monthly throughout 2012.

When asked which print was his absolute favorite, Sahler paused then answered, “Geez. They’re like children. I love them all the same, just for different reasons.” It’s obvious to understand his reasoning while gazing at a grouping of prints.

Sahler is definitely excited about his most recent career change; He went from working in the printed news field for 22 years to this current serigraph artistic work opportunity. The artist learned the silk screening process when he was still in high school. He enjoys the act of printing and the results produced. He loves the process enough to have never stopped producing printed work since the day he learned the trade.

“It’s time to do what I’ve always wanted to do. This is what I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve always wanted to screen print. I’m a screen printer,” said Sahler.

Sahler has put his soul into printing and isn’t afraid to put some extra effort into his ideas. He’s created custom serigraphs for Salisbury University, Assateague Island, Allen Lions Club, and the winning Bennet Baseball team.  The pieces are markers of local landmarks, history, and memories. Sahler has a multitude of new projects on the cusp, too. Be on the lookout for new serigraphs to be released monthly.

Many of Sahler’s locally famous prints are available for sale in his online store or on Etsy. You can view or purchase an array of the local’s work at art and craft shows in the area, too.  Sahler’s prints would make a great holiday gift for someone who loves life on the Eastern Shore. The iconic places and events captured in print will bring a smile to the face of anyone who has a connection to the shores of the central east coast. Sahler’s love for his coastal home and work shines through his multicolored serigraphs.

Ongoing or upcoming events where Erick Sahler Serigraphs can be purchased:

  • Through Dec. 14 — Holiday Gift Bazaar, Atrium Gallery, Salisbury University
  • Through Dec. 31 — Art 4 Clean Bays exhibit at Berlin Chamber Art Studio (Percentage of proceeds benefit Maryland Coastal Bays Program)
  • Saturday, Dec. 10, 1-4 p.m. — Critter Christmas at the Salisbury Zoo
  • Friday, Dec. 16, 5-8 p.m. — Third Friday celebration, Downtown Plaza, Salisbury
  • Sunday, Dec. 18 — St. Francis de Sales Catholic School, Salisbury

For more information, visit Erick Sahler Serigraphs on the web.
Photo by Ami Reist.