Annie O’Neill: A Local Artist Turns To The Functional
By Laurie Willow
From Issue 25: Winter 2015
Annie O’Neill has been creative in art most of her life. The only variable that has changed over the years is the medium. As a child, it was crafts. Annie lived with her family in Manhattan, but starting at age five, she and her younger sister, Nina, came to summer camp in Gardiner every year. When they came to visit, her parents stayed at a nearby boarding house called Seaholm’s, on North Mountain Road. Beginning in those early years, Annie fell in love with the Shawangunk Ridge.
“I loved following the streams toward the Ridge. My first long walk was from Seaholm’s to Shaft Road, then down to Bruynswick and then doing the loop back to North Mountain. It was about five miles and the kids who did it were so proud because we were about eleven and we did it without adults.”
It would be many years before Annie moved to Gardiner full time. Meanwhile, after graduation from college, she opened a Mexican art gallery in New York City and spent a fair amount of time in Mexico researching and buying Mexican Folk Art. There she met Bill Truesdale with his family, including his son, noted Gardiner photographer Hardie Truesdale, who was about 12 at the time. In 1971, Annie’s parents bought the Seaholm property. For Annie, it was the base she always came back to until she moved here permanently.
Annie’s art has progressed from crafts as a child, to photography, to steel sculpture, and currently to functional clay pieces. Annie creates hand painted bowls, platters, and plates. Her pieces are whimsical and serious, and beautiful (I own a wonderful bowl with a horse dancing in it).
Annie has been a moving force and participant in GOST, the Gardiner Open Studio Tour, which happens in spring and fall (The GOST Artists Of Gardiner by Marilyn Perry, Gardiner Gazette, Summer 2014). GOST is the public’s opportunity to visit Gardiner artists in their studios. Visit their website, www.gostartists.org, or see more of Annie’s work and reviews just by googling “Annie O’Neill ceramics.” Annie can be reached at her studio on North Mountain Road at 845 255-5508.