Sculptures and jewelry by Ronni Simon, archive photos – and of course the calendar, which was such a great love for the late Peter Simon – all of this can be found in the Simon Gallery these days.
But the gallery of the same name, which was once located on Main Street Vineyard Haven, has been relocated and also redesigned by Ronni Simon in the house she and Peter built many years ago in the woods on Tabor House Road in Chilmark.
âIt has always been my dream to have my own gallery,â Ms. Simon said recently during a visit and interview. “It’s not the most convenient place to get there, but I thought I’d rather get more motivated people to do it,” 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, author and crochet maker.
She learned to crochet at a young age, and the woven, intricate look of the medium runs through many of her sculptures and jewelry.
“I took away my love of crocheting and when I started to do jewelry I started experimenting,” she said, explaining that as a self-taught jewelry designer, the rhythm of crocheting found its way into her work quite naturally.
She created her first sculpture after drawing inspiration from a piece of driftwood on Philbin Beach. She brought the driftwood home and wrapped it in rings of sea-colored pearls.
She has been a prolific sculptor ever since; Her plays hang in locations across the island, including Martha’s Vineyard Hospital and Capawock Cinema in Vineyard Haven.
Ms. Simon said she and Peter had long wanted to start a house gallery and looked for street-fronted lots but never found the right one. After Peter’s death, she considered selling the house, but decided against it. Instead, she turned the house into the home gallery she’d long imagined.
âThis summer is the first summer I’ve been really more aggressive with shooting [the house] in a gallery, âshe said.
Inside, family pictures and heirlooms share the wall area with the photographs of Mr. Simon and the sculptures by Ms. Simon that are for sale. Your handmade jewelry is displayed in a converted dining room.
In addition to running the gallery, she has continued to publish The Vineyard Calendar, which contains Peter’s photographs and has been published annually since 1988. The 2022 calendar will celebrate its 35th anniversary.
Ms. Simon said Peter wanted her to keep the calendar published and although she was a little reluctant to take on the task, “I felt like I had no choice,” she said with a smile.
The 2022 calendar is her third. She and her colleague, graphic designer Charlie Utz, selected the images from Mr. Simon’s archive and Ms. Simon wrote the captions along with inspiring quotes typical of the brand.
The work also gave her an opportunity to criticize the calendar itself.
“It was fun because I was looking at some of the past calendars and I really don’t like some of the photos,” she said. “I’m really curious, why did he choose this when he had some of these others in the vault?”
“That was one thing I swore to myself when I started the calendar,” she said. âI wanted every photo to be a winner. I didn’t want everyone to have a dud, and I think I succeeded. “
Looking ahead, she’s not sure how long she’ll keep the calendar on.
“I’ll probably do it for at least another year, but I can’t imagine doing it forever,” she said.
In the meantime, she is working on updating her website, which is expected to be online soon (ronnisimon.com). Once that’s done in a couple of weeks, it will be available for sculpture assignments, an activity she especially loves.
The Simon Gallery is located on Tabor House Road in Chilmark – signs lead to the house. Call 508-325-2242 for more information.