Take your time browsing the Morristown CraftMarket this weekend, and you will discover more than arts and crafts.
You may learn the secret to a long and happy life.
“A couple of shots of brandy every day,” revealed Mitch Erceg, 90. “Portuguese Macieira. It’s cheap.”
Mitch will be ensconced with his “luxury birdhouses”–elaborate woodwork creations about the size of my apartment but much more inviting–at booth 405 of the Morristown National Guard Armory, on Western Avenue in Morris Township, all day Oct. 19 and 20, 2013.
Admission to the juried show is $10 at the door, or $12 for a weekend pass. Children under 12 with an adult are free. A coupon for $2 off the admission price is available at the CraftMarket website. Parking is free.
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Entering his 10th decade, Mitch continues churning out the decorative aviary condos that have been his passion since retiring from a career as a bridge-builder. He operates his For the Birds studio at home in Menlo Park, which, he points out, was Thomas Edison’s old stomping grounds.
Although Mitch doesn’t go back quite as far as the light bulb, he does remember when pitchers went nine innings. The Great Depression is burned into his memory, too.
What was so great about it?
“There was no discrimination of the wealthy against the poor,” Mitch said. “Everybody was poor. Everybody was in the same boat. That’s what makes it great.”
We’ll take his word on that.
A few booths down, Nihal Kececi has another great story.
As a girl in Turkey, Nihal was encouraged by her parents to pursue an art career. But she preferred math and science. Degrees in physics and mechanical engineering followed, and she became a nuclear engineer, working with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in North America.
Then, about a decade ago, Nihal realized her parents were right.
Abstract painting called to her. Homer Simpson would have to look after nuclear power.
“You can’t do both at the same time,” Nihal said. Nuclear physics and art tap different parts of the brain.
“You have to stop your analytical side. It gives you the freedom to find yourself.”
If you find yourself near Booth 416, Nihal has some giant acrylics to sell you. Don’t over-think this. As she will tell you, art is not rocket science.
Editor’s note: My thanks to the volunteers and patrons in the parking lot for the jump start on Friday night!
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