Sculpture and jewelry by Ronni Simon, archival photographs – and of course the calendar that was such a labor of love for the late Peter Simon – all can be found at the Simon Gallery these days.
But the eponymous gallery once located on Main Vineyard Haven has been moved and also reimagined by Ronni Simon in the house she and Peter built many years ago in the woods off Tabor House Road in Chilmark.
âIt has always been my dream to have a home gallery,â Ms. Simon said during a recent visit and interview. âIt’s not the most convenient place to go, but I thought I’d rather bring in more motivated people,â she said.
Peter Simon, a well-known island photographer, died in 2018.
Ronni and Zeppy. – Ray ewing
Ms. Simon is herself a sculptor, potter, jewelry designer, writer and crocheter.
She learned to crochet at a young age, and the woven and tangled aspect of the medium runs through much of her sculpture and jewelry.
âI took my love of crochet, and when I started to get into jewelry, I started experimenting,â she said, explaining that as a self-taught jewelry designer, the the rhythm of the crochet has naturally imposed itself in his work.
She made her first sculpture after being inspired by a piece of driftwood on Philbin beach. She brought the driftwood home and encased it in coils of navy-colored beads.
She has since become a prolific sculptor; his pieces are hung across the island, including at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital and the Capawock Cinema in Vineyard Haven.
Ms Simon said she and Peter had long wanted to start a home gallery and had searched for a property facing the road but never found the right thing. After Peter’s death, she considered selling the house but decided not to. Instead, she turned the house into the welcome gallery space she had long envisioned.
âThis summer is the first summer where I’m really more aggressive to shoot [the house] in a gallery, âshe said.
Inside, family photos and heirlooms share a wall space with Mr. Simon’s photographs and Ms. Simon’s sculptures for sale. Her handcrafted jewelry is on display in a converted dining room.
In addition to operating the gallery, she continued to publish The Vineyard Calendar, which features Peter’s photographs and which has been published annually since 1988. The 2022 calendar will mark its 35th anniversary.
Ms Simon said Peter had wanted her to continue publishing the calendar, and although she was somewhat reluctant to take on the task, “I felt I had no choice,” she said. declared with a smile.
The 2022 calendar is its third. She and her collaborator, graphic designer Charlie Utz, selected the images from Mr. Simon’s archive and Ms. Simon wrote the captions, as well as the brand’s inspirational quotes.
The work also gave him the opportunity to self-criticize the timeline.
âIt was funny because I looked at some of the previous calendars, and I really think some photos aren’t great,â she said. “I’m really curious, like why did he choose this when he had others in the safe?”
âSo that’s something I promised to do when I started the schedule,â she said. âI wanted every photo to be a winner. I didn’t want there to be a dud in all of them, and I think I did.
Going forward, she doesn’t know how long she will continue to publish the calendar.
âI’m probably going to do it for at least a year more, but I can’t see it doing it forever,â she said.
Meanwhile, she is working on updating her website which she hopes will be live soon (ronnisimon.com). Once that is ready in a few weeks, she said he would be available for sculpture commissions, an activity she said she particularly liked.
The Simon Gallery is located near Tabor House Road in Chilmark – signs lead to the house. Call 508-325-2242 for more information.