One of the over 20 artists who can be found at Flat River Gallery and Framing is Dee Bellini. Visitors can find bath and body products for sale in her space as well as stained glass and knit items at certain times throughout the year.
Skin Care Products
Bellini has been part of the Flat River Gallery and Framing cooperative since December 2017. But she has been familiar with and involved in art for many years. Her sister is Mary Bommarito, who was featured with Lowell’s First Look in May and also an artist with the gallery.
Bars By Bellini creates handcrafted soaps and other skin care items. Having participated with her sister in Christmas Through Lowell for approximately 15 years, it was after the 2017 event Bellini started selling her products throughout the year. She says, “My sister talked to the other members of the gallery, thinking my products would be a good fit with the other offerings there. They voted me in!!!”
Soap was the initial product which got her started with a skin care line. About 17 years ago Bellini began crafting old-fashioned lye soap, but indicates “it has become much less harsh than it was 100 years ago”. She uses all vegetable oils in the process of making her soap and claims her family would disown her if she stopped making it.
In addition to soap, her line of products include soap, lotion, lip balms, insect spray, face masques and cream, sugar scrubs, and bath bombs. Soy candles are also made and available for purchase. All of these make perfect gifts as well as something for personal use for those wanting to support a local small business. Everything is made with natural ingredients from her own recipes.
Other Artistic Areas
Inspired by watching shows on PBS on the topic, Bellini had an interest in learning how to make stained glass. About 15 years ago she took a class and fell in love with the process. Her stained glass items are available when she has time to create and complete pieces as they are both labor and monetarily intensive.
V Filius Glass Designs was created to showcase stained glass items. The name is Latin for five sons, which is what Bellini has! She makes a variety of glass products which include candle surrounds, fireplace screens, sun catchers, lamps, business card holders, and cupboard doors Those who are interested in seeing some of this work can check out the V Filius Glass Designs Facebook page.
And if bath and body products and stained glass items weren’t enough, Bellini also dabbles in knit items. These products are typically available for sale around Christmas. About 6-7 years ago Bellini learned to knit right-handed after not being able to find someone to teach her how to do it as a southpaw. She started crocheting over three decades ago but always had an interest in knitting as well.
Both knitting and crocheting use yarn to make items. Knitting uses two needles creating stitches which are loops. Crocheting is done using one hook and stitches look like small knots. And once again, a variety of knitted products are available which include sweaters, hats, scarves, and blankets. Bellini prefers knitting to crocheting at the moment mainly because it’s a newer talent. But she’ll still create a crocheted product from time to time like Game of Thrones fingerless gloves or mermaid tail blankets.
Clean Up at the Gallery
While the main product line at Flat River Gallery and Framing are skin care items, depending on the availability and time of year, stained glass and knitted items will find their way into Bellini’s space. She has established herself with the gallery and has become an integral part of the variety of products offered for those who visit.