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Local Artist makes Gargoyle Bells

Sherwood, Maryland artist Dawn Malosh developed her first gargoyle bell upon hand-crafting a simple pinch pot over 11 years ago. While making a pot, she saw an open-mouthed face in the clay’s subtle bumps and textures. She then began developing the face as she envisioned it.  Soon Dawn realized that the unusual creature she was creating was a gargoyle, but felt that her gargoyle was missing something, so she continued working on the design. She soon developed a way for her open-mouthed creature to have a wagging tongue so he could ring like a bell. Thus began the invention of Malosh’s unique art form, gargoyle bells.

After the first gargoyle was created, Dawn began researching the history of gargoyles and bells to try to understand why she was creating this strange yet fascinating art form. After pouring through many books and search engines, Dawn soon learned that gargoyles throughout history have been considered powerful protective guards against evil, negativity and bad energy. During Medieval times, gargoyles were placed on cathedrals and castles throughout Europe in order to ward off evil spirits.  She also learned through her research that cultures throughout the world have used bell ringing as a way of cleansing spaces from evil and negativity for centuries. These ideas appealed to the artist, so Malosh began creating her one-of-a-kind bells as a decorative ringing art form that may also serve as a type of protector that clears negativity from the home or space where it hangs. Malosh has no claims that her gargoyle bells have supernatural powers of course, but she does have many interesting stories that her collectors have shared with her, along with a few of her own.

Since September of 2001, Dawn has created thousands of these eclectic, grimacing, goofy and sometimes grotesque faced bells. Collected and displayed all over the world, these unique sentinels are often hung near the doors, thresholds and windows of homes, in gardens, places of business and even in the rear-view mirrors of automobiles. “Some collectors are very serious about using my gargoyle bells as a form of protection in and around their homes, cars and other spaces, while others enjoy them as a whimsical decoration or a unique gift for someone special,” states Malosh.  “I have one serious collector in Nevada who has around forty gargoyle bells hanging in every window of his kitchen. I have another collector in LA who recently purchased my latest batch of bells, thirty total, because she has been struggling with an illness. She plans to surround her home with them and give some to family. “

If you or anyone you know needs a little gargoyle protection this Halloween season, Malosh’s bells can be found at a number of locations throughout the Mid-Atlantic. Most recently, they have been added to the collection of gargoyle items at the National Cathedral Gift Store in Washington DC. They are also sold at Bell, Book & Candle in Dover, Delaware and The Herbiary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Ranging from an affordable $15 to $80, every gargoyle bell is an original work of art, signed, dated and named by the artist herself.  

For those of us not wanting to travel too far from the Talbot County area, Malosh’s one-of-a-kind gargoyle bells can also be purchased during her open studio weekend on October 13th and 14th from noon to 5 pm or by appointment by calling (410) 212-9320. Aesthetic Alternatives studio is located off of Highway 33 between St. Michael’s and Tilghman Island on Sherwood Road. It is about 15 minutes down Highway 33 toward Tilghman Island from St. Michaels. It is in the large green roofed building next to the Post Office. 

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