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The photographs above are a very small sampling of Designer Baby Accessories by Jean Lee.  Jean's work and that of other artisans can be seen and purchased at the Artisans United Gallery in Annandale. 

(Copyright © 2012 Annandale Chamber of Commerce. All rights reserved.  (Photographs & images, on this page, and on this website, are not available for use by other publications, blogs, individuals, websites, or social media sites.)

MEET THE ARTISAN:  Paul Gesalman

In Troubled and Bleak Times, Renewal & Beauty are Still Before Us.

Snoozing Fox, Annandale, VA
I could say I was born with a camera in my hand because my parents were into photography and having my own camera was part of my earliest memories. I grew up in the Laurel Highlands of Southwestern Pennsylvania with three quarters of my aunts, uncles and cousins living within a stone's throw. We could have a family reunion at a moment's notice. All this meant I had a lot of nature and family to photograph. My first camera was an Ansco Cadet, which I still own. It was a very basic camera, but with four-square-inch negatives it actually took pretty good pictures. I remember trying to be artistic and creative, but there's only so much a nine-year-old can do.

My progress was slow until I married into a family of photography buffs, primarily my wife and father-in-law. My father-in-law introduced me to the photography of mushrooms and fungi. The diversity is amazing, and it is a good excuse to spend time in the woods. I have always had the goal of photographing wildlife, but that can be frustrating. In contrast, mushrooms don't run away and hide when you try to take their picture. Another benefit of being out of school was being able to upgrade equipment to allow more creativity.

A big jump came when my wife and I took our first real vacation, exploring Italy and Yugoslavia in the early 1980s. The travel bug got us, and the photo opportunities provided motivation to be more serious about photography. It also inspired travel to more exotic destinations like the Galapagos Islands, Guatemala, Japan, Thailand, Jordan, Tunisia, Uzbekistan, India, etc.  All of them are a photographer's dream. I am now have visited about 55 countries and am still traveling, most recently to Albania.

The final jump was the advent of digital photography. Eliminating film and development expenses allows us to act like professionals and take a hundred pictures of a single flower if we so desire. Being able to see an image immediately allows the photographer to tweak settings and experiment to get the best picture.

In a strange way I have been able to combine my photography with one of my volunteer efforts. I am also a genealogist who has researched about ten different family trees. A tool I have found very useful is findagrave.com, which documents individuals based on their physical or virtual graves. Individual memorial pages can be linked, allowing entire family trees to be built. Photos can be uploaded to the pages, including pictures of the grave site and marker. Users can request

The Craft Gallery of Artisans United is a cooperative endeavor, staffed and run by the independent members of Artisans United, Inc.  as well as those individuals belonging to the member Guilds.  On a daily basis, visitors will find the Gallery artisans happy to explain crafting techniques and to share their knowledge of where craft materials may be obtained.  And, too, visitors will often discover impromptu demos in progress as the artists complete their creations.   We are always looking for new craftspeople to join our organization. If you are interested in joining us as a member artist, please ask at the front desk for a membership packet which explains the jurying in process, what is expected of you as a member of Artisans United.

If you are looking for gifts, please visit the Gallery where you will find an exceptional range of items appropriate for baby, wedding, mother’s day, father’s day, graduation and housewarming gifts, or a special treat for yourself.

Artisans United continues to look for new areas in which to share their love and knowledge of crafts as they are tasked with taking arts out into the community.  If your organization would like a speaker or demonstrator, please contact them.  Support this Gallery as it is the last home to artisan wares in Annandale.  We should all seek to protect their heritage and survival.

4022 Hummer RoadArtisans United Gallery and Shop
Annandale, VA  22003
703.941.0202   .  www.augallery.org
10-4, Tuesday through Saturday
and 1-4 on Sunday

Located in the Annandale Community Park—entrance just two blocks past of Little River intersection with Hummer

Reproduction of this article or photographs requires the written permission of the author and The ENDEAVOR News Magazine.  Photographs are courtesy of the author with all right of use reserved. (Copyright © 2012 Annandale Chamber of Commerce. All rights reserved.  (Photographs & images, on this page, and on this website, are not available for use by other publications, blogs, individuals, websites, or social media sites.)


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