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Creations abound at Rust Belt market

YOUNGSTOWN — You could say that Jerry Grgurich has further illuminated the popularity of the 1977 Debbie Boone hit single, “You Light up My Life.”

“I get a lot of lumber from the Amish,” said Grgurich, who operates Hermitage, Pa.-based Rustic Lamps.

The pine, pallet, Amish barn and other types of wood he has are essential to his business, which is mainly creating unique wooden lamps with attached water faucets that have been converted to light switches. They also contain incandescent Edison bulbs, the same kind that Thomas Edison designed, Grgurich explained.

His bright creations are among the attractions of the Artists of the Rust Belt’s annual Last Minute Market at the B&O Station Banquet Hall, 530 Mahoning Ave.

The six-hour show continues 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. today at the B&O Station. Admission is $1 per adult.

Proceeds, including from a basket raffle, are to benefit Buster’s Brigade, an Austintown-based organization that offers financial and material assistance for cats’ and dogs’ basic and emergency needs in Mahoning County and surrounding areas. The organization also supplies medical care and food to community members for their pets during times of hardship, its website states.

Grgurich, who retired as an information-technology director, said the homemade lamps he designs in his basement are quite practical and can fit on most tables and nightstands.

Assisting Grgurich on Saturday was his wife, Cindy, whose artistic flairs include sewing and making crafts, as well as chair covers and clothing, in the couple’s basement.

“When I paint, it’s like a meditation,” Noreen Yazvac of North Lima, said, referring to the watercolor pieces she creates.

Yazvac, who retired in June 2020 as an administrative assistant in Youngstown State University’s Center for Student Progress, explained that she frequently uses another medium called alcohol inks. The technique relies on combining inks commonly found in small bottles with isopropyl alcohol, which makes them flow more freely, she said.

Isopropyl alcohol is often mixed with water for use as an antiseptic, and is also used in a variety of cosmetics such as aftershave and hand lotions.

Yazvac had on display Saturday several paintings with that combination, which gave them an ethereal look, along with sharper watercolor ones on white boards and pieces of square tile.

Two such alcohol-and-ink paintings she titled, “Amethyst Smoke” and “Splash.”

“It’s what I love to do; it’s my passion,” said Yazvac, who developed an interest in painting as a child and received a degree in art history from YSU.

After that, her interest in painting flowed faster, she continued.

Thirty-three local and regional artists, artisans and craftsmen are the vendors for this year’s show. Many of them also have maintained a longevity of 10 years or more as part of the Artists of the Rust Belt, Lauren Potts, event administrator, noted.

Artists of the Rust Belt, which she called “very community-oriented,” also plans to partner with Friends of the Mahoning River for an event in June called River Fest, Potts noted.

Those interested in joining the Artists of the Rust Belt are encouraged to visit its website, www.artistsoftherustbelt.com.

Providing the musical entertainment Saturday was the Classical Strings Quartet, which played a variety of classical and popular Christmas songs.

If you go …

WHAT: Artists of the Rust Belt’s Last Minute Market show.

WHEN: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. today

WHERE: B&O Station Banquet Hall, 530 Mahoning Ave., Youngstown

COST: $1 per adult. Children 12 and under are admitted free.

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