After graduating from Syracuse University, McDowell moved into the Westcott Nation where he was heavily involved in the local counterculture scene. He founded and ran the Dragon’s Emporium, a South Beech Street shop and a focal point for that scene. The emporium sold leather goods, underground comics, smoking accessories, batik clothing and many other items.
Then in 1974 he became coordinator for Village Square, situated in the basement of the Syracuse Mall, which is now the Atrium on South Salina Street. There crafts workers, such as jewelers, ceramists and a silversmith, did their work in a space open to the public. Visitors were encouraged to ask questions about the process of creating crafts. This was an experimental space, and there were definitely disputes between the crafts workers and the mall’s management from time to time. Yet Village Square had an overall positive impact, as it served as an incubator of sorts for the local crafts movement.
During the early 1980s, at a time when Armory Square hadn’t been fully developed, McDowell and other artisans created studio spaces known as Eureka Studios. In 1983 he and three partners founded Eureka Crafts, a shop at 210 Walton St. Two years later, they bought the building.
McDowell was a woodworker for many years. He and Tom Cunningham created and made their own line of finely crafted boxes which they sold not only locally but also around the country. They traveled to crafts festivals and events across the United States. Some years later, McDowell branched out on his own, creating items ranging from humidors to his signature work, “Techno Deco,” a high-end series of boxes done with distinctive motifs. He made extensive use of the Internet to reach a national audience.
Funeral services will be held at Fabius Community Church, Route 80 (Main Street), Fabius, on Sunday, April 3, at 1 p.m. The reception will take place at the Highland Forest Park Lodge inside Highland Forest County Park in Fabius.
Sackett created a variety of sculptures including large pieces incorporating water and providing the illusion of a waterfall. She also made an array of pots, some decorated with human figures, and a set of small, figurative pieces depicting jazz musicians and other subjects. Sackett showed her work at Eureka Crafts and other local galleries, in exhibits devoted solely to ceramic works and in holiday-time shows held at various sites. Her memorial service was held on March 22.
Bill McDowell, circa 1988: (pictured above) A celebration of the life of the quality woodworker and founder of Eureka Crafts will be held Sunday, April 3 in Fabius.