Pittston artists Bill Zack and Maria Livrone earn national recognition

By Jimmy Fisher - jfisher@timesleader.com
A Plant Peddler sculpture designed by Whimey & the Welder’s Bill Zack and Maria Livrone earned national recognition during American Craft Week. - Submitted photos
A Plant Peddler sculpture designed by Whimey & the Welder’s Bill Zack and Maria Livrone earned national recognition during American Craft Week. - Submitted photos
Plant Peddler sculptures designed by Whimey & the Welder’s Bill Zack and Maria Livrone have national recognition during American Craft Week. - Submitted photos

PITTSTON — Maria Livrone and Bill Zack may no longer own Art on Main, but the recognition of their hard work hasn’t stopped as is evident by their latest recognition.

Zack was recently honored by American Craft Week in its 2018 contest “Metamorphosis” for his Plant Peddlers art work, which are plant holders made from recycled bicycle parts.

American Craft Week is held for one week every October and is a way to recognize artists from all over the country for their work.

“Originally, we made yard sculptures out of found objects like shovels, pitchforks and different things like that,” Zack said. “Then we got some fire extinguishers and some bicycles and we wanted to make something that was a little more functional art, because you can put plants on them.”

The Plant Peddlers name comes from the fact that the sculptures have bicycle pedals as feet and they hold plants. Zack sculpts and welds the peddlers and Livrone paints them.

Livrone submitted the Plant Peddlers information to American Craft Week without informing Zack of her intentions.

“I didn’t even tell Bill in the beginning about it because I thought it was a shot in the dark,” she said. “We got the winning email and I was screaming like a little kid.”

“I thought she was lying,” Zack said about the moment Livrone told him they won.

Zack and Livrone reside in Plains but do their work in a garage in Pittston. This wasn’t the first time American Craft Week recognized Pittston art.

“Maybe three years ago, I sent information in to American Craft Week about Pittston and about the gallery,” said Livrone. “We won one of the Top 10 Art Destinations in the United States for Pittston.”

The couple closed their art gallery Art on Main earlier this year to focus on personal projects with their business Whimsey & the Welder which focuses on welding and stained glass.

“The reason for closing the gallery was our need to express ourselves in a bigger way and to be able to attend the shows we wanted to do, and that’s exactly what we’re doing,” Livrone said. “We have grown already by leaps and bounds. Bill was recognized; my work was recognized in Handmade Business Magazine and we got an email from a top art festival recruiting us to do a show in Chicago.”

More art work will be on display in the Greater Pittston area as Zack and Livrone are finishing up a sculpture for the Geisinger Careworks building on North Main Street which they hope to have erected within the coming weeks.

As for their future, Whimsey & the Welder will go into a new direction in 2019.

“There will still be a small portion of glass, but we are changing our road to working on aluminum,” Livrone said. “We’re going to be working on aluminum sculptures and brightly colored wall art on aluminum using car paints. We’re self taught and this is a learning curve but, hopefully, we do it over the winter time. So, in 2019 we’ll be able to start shows with our new work.”

A Plant Peddler sculpture designed by Whimey & the Welder’s Bill Zack and Maria Livrone earned national recognition during American Craft Week.
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/web1_Plant-Peddler-1.jpgA Plant Peddler sculpture designed by Whimey & the Welder’s Bill Zack and Maria Livrone earned national recognition during American Craft Week. Submitted photos

A Plant Peddler sculpture designed by Whimey & the Welder’s Bill Zack and Maria Livrone earned national recognition during American Craft Week.
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/web1_Plant-Peddler-2.jpgA Plant Peddler sculpture designed by Whimey & the Welder’s Bill Zack and Maria Livrone earned national recognition during American Craft Week. Submitted photos

Plant Peddler sculptures designed by Whimey & the Welder’s Bill Zack and Maria Livrone have national recognition during American Craft Week.
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/web1_Plant-Peddler-3.jpgPlant Peddler sculptures designed by Whimey & the Welder’s Bill Zack and Maria Livrone have national recognition during American Craft Week. Submitted photos
Whimsey & the Welder owners win first place in American Craft Week contest

By Jimmy Fisher

jfisher@timesleader.com

Reach Jimmy Fisher at 570-704-3972 or on Twitter @SD_JimmyFisher

Reach Jimmy Fisher at 570-704-3972 or on Twitter @SD_JimmyFisher