Ships show off local artist's talent

By Caitlin Russell | Nov 03, 2013
Photo by: Caitlin Russell Lee Zanellato's model ships are on display at the main branch of the Wareham Free Library.

After years spent working on his craft, one local artist is finally seeing his work displayed for the public.

Wareham Week ran a story a few weeks back about local artist Lee Zanellato's model ships, which he builds from found materials.

Zanellato's cornucopia of materials, a restless imagination and raw talent mixed together to help produce some amazing work.

There's rosaries for rigging, decks built from violins and even tiny little men working on the model ships.

Now, the public can check out his work through the end of November while the models are on  display at the Wareham Free Library.

"I think  they're incredible. I think the level of detail is just amazing," said Head of Reference and Adult Services Deb Rich. The boats are displayed around her desk at the library.

"What an imagination," she added.

Zanellato traveled a rough road to get where he is today, from running away from home at age 15, to serving time in prison in the 1970s. These days he's happy to have found a home in a seaside town where he can build model ships and now, thanks to the library, share them with the community.

So how does he feel about having his work on display?

"Famous for number one," says Zanellato.

Last Thursday, he spoke at the Wareham Coffee Hour, a weekly forum hosted by Wareham resident Bob White, which he says was a great experience.

"I met some really good people."

Library Director Denise Medeiros says she was impressed by the amount of detail in the ships, especially considering Zanellato does it all without a sketch pad or any kind of plans.

"I think it's fabulous, he's really very talented," she said.

The boats are solidly built and Medeiros says Zanellato wasn't worried about anybody inflicting damage of the model while they're on display.

"They look like they belong there," she said. "They're not your typical fragile ship."

Comments (1)
Posted by: barnstorm | Nov 04, 2013 08:00

Lee Zanellato is an extremely talented man. His work is too good to just display periodically in small venues. Someone or some historical group needs to come forward in helping to get Lee's models in a permanent location. I'm curious to know if he has ever crafted a whaling ship. That would be an incredible  addition to the many ships already on display at the Whaling Museum in New Bedford. Lee Zanellato's personal story is one that should be out there for all to read or hear about. It's truly inspirational.

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