NORTHVILLE — Village artist/furniture marker Bill Coffey — originally from New York City — has no plans to retire anytime soon.
He’s also in no hurry to live downstate again, falling in love with the Northville area nearly two decades ago.
“I do need to take some time to promote the gallery,” says the 54-year-old, owner of William Coffey Studio & Gallery located at 322 N. Third St. in the village.
That’s where the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth told the artist it can help.
The CRG toured Coffey’s business Friday as part of its monthly business tours for elected officials. In the middle of the gallery sits Coffey’s 1970 Triumph motorcycle, surrounded by artwork by other artists as well as original furniture created by Coffey.
“My style is contemporary rustic,” said Coffey, who showed off his gallery and his creative workspaces.
He infuses metal, rock and other materials into his wooden creations.
“I’ve been welding for over 30 years,” Coffey says.
The inspiration for his award-winning designs is a fusion of more than three decades in the New York City area, followed by nearly two in the Adirondacks. The gallery also features Coffey’s work, as well as works for sale by these eight other artists: Rhea Haggart Costello, pottery and paintings; John Swartwout, rustic furniture and paintings; Ron Defelice, paintings (iconic scapes); Matt Horner, stone sculptures; Diane Golden, assemblages; Doug Moody, hand-made fly rods; and Bob Stump, lighting and painting.
The gallery is not just a showcase for area art, but is also a social gathering place in the Adirondacks. Coffey said his studio hosted 70 people recently for an event that featured a fiddle player.
“I love showing it to the people,” Coffey said of his studio.
CRG President/CEO Ronald Peters told Coffey during the tour that his agency can help promote his business more, assist with expansion if necessary, and help the artist secure grants and loans if eligible. Tour participants also suggested the art studio be put in touch with the Fulton Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce.
“Northville is a real gem of the county,” Peters said.
Coffey said he recently joined the Lake George Chamber of Commerce because he wants to network and get the work out about his business.
Even though his family was from downstate, Coffey explained they would often come to the Adirondacks, such as Schroon Lake early in his life. He said he would go to Madison Square Garden and catch up with friends from Northville who would come down to visit him.
“They would say why don’t you come up to Northville when you get your driver’s license,” Coffey recalled.
He said he came up to the area as an older man in 1999 to hunt and basically stayed, purchasing property on Route 30. He purchased his current building in 2000.
Coffey said he has been making furniture for many years, catching the bug when he was 12 and helping as an apprentice at a shop on Long Island. He said his high school wood shop teacher also took him under his wing for three years.
His work is now sought out by many, he said, including an original wooden entertainment system furniture piece and a spinning, wooden wine rack he showed off during the tour. He said he is currently working on several projects for residents in the Edinburg area. Coffey mentioned he has many connections already with area business persons.
Coffey, who has a college degree in photography, said there was a period in his younger life where he put woodworking out of his mind. He said he also put this area out of his mind and at one point worked as a videotape librarian for HBO. But he said he always kept coming back to working with his hands and working on mechanical creations.
“I would go back to woodworking every so often,” the artist said. “I didn’t know it was actually a passion.”
Eventually, he said he brought all his tools and equipment up to Northville.
On social media, information about William Coffey Studio & Gallery can be found by searching for William Coffey Studio on Facebook. His website is: williamcoffeystudio.com. His phone number is (518) 774-0531.
Studio hours are: Monday-Friday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturdays: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sundays: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Other upcoming monthly business tours planned by the CRG include: May 16 — downtown Gloversville; June 15 — Evolution in Johnstown; July — Nathan Littauer Hospital; Aug. 9 — Broadalbin Manufacturing Corp.; September — downtown Johnstown; October — National Jukebox Exchange; November — Stump City Brewing; and December — CMS Broadcasting.
Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org