There are definitely many beautifully sui generis artworks at the Park View Gallery, but Angie Terry’s beaded jewelry and Pesanky eggs are not only fresh for the eyes, but are also dangerously addictive. Those pieces of necklaces, earrings and bracelets assume a grand luminosity and exude the sort of elegance that become instantly coveted. There’s also her gorgeous designs as well as her skillful use of color palettes, creating something for every women. Be sure to visit the gallery to see what I’m talking about — the photos do little justice.
How did you get into making jewelries?
I started stringing necklaces a few years ago… Just doing what I could from books I looked at or jewelry I saw but couldn’t afford. Then, about 3 years ago, I took a beginning bead weaving class at One Stop Bead Shop in Columbus, and I fell in love with bead weaving. From there, I checked out as many books as I could find on the topic from the library, and taught myself a lot of stitches! My mom taught me how to sew as a girl, and I used to do cross-stitch a lot. These needle skills of my past have served me well in bead weaving, which is really creating fabric with beads and thread.
What’s in your toolbox?
My toolbox is full of pliers and needles, thread and wire, all kinds of little findings and beads and more beads. I have a hard time keeping all the beads and projects organized. I’d rather just be “making” than taking the time to keep everything in order, so my studio is a little messy!
Who are you thinking about when you are designing a piece of jewelry?
When I design jewelry, I think about all the beautiful pieces I’ve seen in books, done by the masters. I try to keep in mind all the things that work so well in the pieces I admire—balance in color and overall shape. I want all my work to look tasteful and elegant. But you asked “who” I think of. If the piece is commissioned, I think about the woman who will be wearing my work. For my other work…only one piece in particular focused on a person—Autumn weave, which is freeform peyote stitch over a glass vase. This sculpture was made after the untimely death of a close friend’s husband. I mourned him throughout the winter I made it, and I think of him when I look at this piece.
Who are your favorite jewelry designers?
The two great bead weavers I know are Lisa Busch, owner of One Stop Bead Shop, and Jeanette Cook, a beadwork artist from California. I took a class from Jeanette Cook at One Stop a couple of summers ago. She is an inspiring beadwork artist who makes her living with her art. Other beadwork artists I know only through books, but would love to meet are Carol Wilcox Wells, Theresa Flores Geary, and Laura McCabe.
Where do you find inspirations?
I find inspiration in nature, my garden, photographs of others’ work and other types of jewelry. I try to take what I like from others’ work without copying their work–the balance, color pallet, shapes. A lot of my work mimics natural forms: insects, flowers, seashells. Nature is the biggest influence in my work.
You are branching into different works of art, including painting Pysanky eggs. What other things are you looking into currently?
I’ve been doing pysanky for about 5 years now, since local artist Deborah Lassiter taught me how to make Ukrainian Eggs. I am a life-long doodler, so this art form fit my skill-base. I love to draw and paint, but haven’t done much of that in recent years on any large-scale. I love calligraphy, and learned that as a teen—this is a skill I still use from time to time, and have even used it on some of my batik eggs. I still sew and quilt some, so I have a stash of fabric. Enjoying a lot of different mediums adds to the mess in my workspace!
What would be your dream creative project?
I dream about doing more painting and drawing on a larger scale. I dream about so many beaded works that I just haven’t have time for. My kids are young, so my primary focus is on raising them right now. I hope I live long enough (and my eyesight holds out!) to make all the work on my dream list!
Interviewed by Connie Q.
The first time I saw Candice’s painting, I moved my head forward and observed the details of her polished work. Once I absorbed everything, I looked around the room and everything became oil on canvas: smooth, rich, and romantic. Her work draws you in, makes you appreciate your surroundings, and establishes a sense of duly refinement. Candice is a lovely lady with an enchanting smile that radiates joy and sincerity. I’m lucky to have met her.
1) Tell us a little about your background – what path led you to what you’re doing now?
I was about 7-8 years old, seeing an original oil painting for the first time and was totally facinated. I remember distinctly saying to myself, “I can do that…that’s what I’m suppose to do…oil paint”. My path was set.
There was never a time I wasn’t making and pursuing my creative self expression through the arts: Coloring, making paper creations, designing fashion clothes for my paper dolls, drawing people, watercolor painting, and singing, dancing and studying piano.
I believe all my life experience, travel, study of music, as an experienced dance instructor, in acting and film and the study of design have contributed richly to my creative vision. Every new creative and life experience has helped me evolve as an artist.
Sense memory recall helps me to keep my creative juices flowing, adding passion, emotion and breathing life into my paintings.
In the 60’s while in high school, I received Honorable Mention at the “Hallmark Festival of The Arts,” an event at the Akron Art Institute. Later I attended evening classes in Figure Drawing and Fashion Illustration at CCAD.
In ’90-’91, I began painting exclusively in oil and accepting commissions, and later began offering private instruction. In ’99, I began painting with artist Robert Warren, a friend, and painting mentor.
2) What does a typical day at work involve for you?
Every day is a good day… if I can paint. However, on a daily basis, I can be found doing any number of the following: Planning and preparing to begin a painting or several for instructional purposes; taking photos and sketching; writing instructions; and creating promotional material. Currently there are three class paintings underway for Sept. and Oct.
3) You’ve taught several painting classes at the Park View Gallery. What is your favorite part about art instruction?
My favorite part is seeing the expressions on the students faces when they see, and begin to realize what they accomplished in a single day of painting.
4) How does commissioned work and personal work compare and contrast?
Both are enjoyable and gratifying in different ways. Either way, you get to paint! Either way, you’re doing what you love and what you must do.
A client has a subject or an idea in mind. My preference is to meet in person to determine his/her likes and dislikes; their expectations and agreeable to both of us. I produce usually three sketches from which the client makes a choice. At that time, it’s decided whether or not to move forward with the commission.
A personal work is total freedom…the total expression of the soul at the moment. It is an experiment in color, shape and form, a discovery, an opportunity to stretch and learn. It can be exhilarating and sometimes you think it a disaster, but it is always a rewarding learning experience. The important thing is you get to paint!
5) How is your business structured? Do you take part in everything from advertising to website design?
It’s a one person operation except for my webmaster.
6) Besides painting, what other things do you enjoy?
Chocolate!!!!! To name a few things: Travel, all forms of dance, snorkeling, sun, sand.
7) What are you working on now and what are you looking forward to?
As mentioned earlier, there are three class paintings in the works. I’m planning and working on future exhibit materials and also thinking about taking a few days off in the fall.
Interviewed by Connie Q.
Reading Abdala Faye’s website can be a bit daunting. You learn that he speaks seven languages, sold out his paintings for his first show in Paris when he was was only twelve years old, has Basquiat-esque dreadlocks, plays the hand drum, and has work exhibited across four continents. Whaa? Yup, that’s what I thought.
Here in Chillicothe, Ohio, Abdala stands out immediately. His radiant smile feels like a big hug; his demeanor is youthful yet grounded. Barely being five feet tall, his NBA basketball player stature is simply otherworldly. Naturally, I felt a bit starstruck when I met him.
Similarly, when put against other paintings, Abdala’s work stands out instantly. It’s impossible to take your eyes off of the psychedelic brushstrokes and vivid textures. When Abdala came in town to set up his work for his upcoming exhibition, I caught up and chatted with him about his career, his impression of the art world, and his inspirations as well as aspirations. The interview is minorly edited for clarity.
Hi Abdala! I’m going to start with the most basic questions here. For how long have you been painting?
I actually started painting when I was 14, but began drawing when I was around 12. It evolved from drawings to paintings.
Were you a natural painter?
I was introduced to paintings from an American friend who knew my father. She was a mentor who really pushed me into painting by buying me tools and supplies. That’s how I got into using acrylic and I’ve been using it ever since.
So is acrylic your medium of choice?
Yeah, I’m more used to working with acrylic, but I like to try other mediums and find ways to use them to fit my style.
Has money ever been an issue for you as an artist, especially in the current financial climate?
Yeah, the beginning was definitely tough, but I guess I’ve been lucky enough to survive as an artist who has been recognized and introduced. With no formal training, I was the only artist in my family. In fact, I didn’t pick up art until I moved in with my parents. I had stayed with my grandmother in Senegal until she passed away when I was 12. Because I wasn’t used to the big city life, I stayed inside by myself a lot and that’s how it started. I don’t know where or how…
What other kind of obstacles did you have to overcome as a young artist?
Acceptance from the formal group that had professional training—usually they were skeptical of artists who came out of nowhere with no training.
With no training, who or what influenced your art?
Nobody, really. The paradox is that I went through a lot of phases where I used many things without knowing who else was doing it or if it even existed, which is funny because at some point I told myself, “Hey! I can become a star!,” but then somebody else would say, “Hey, you paint like this guy.” People told me that the last phase I went through resembled Salvador Dalí’s work. And then maybe around three to four years ago, I started to get into knowing all the artists, the masters and so forth. I have a really strong photographic memory, so whenever I see something, I paint it.
I wouldn’t go to shows, or I wouldn’t go to my own shows. (Laughter)
Why is that? Were you embarrassed, nervous…?
Yeah, maybe. I was shy before, and I don’t know, I overcame the shyness because I learned to interact with people and you know, I started going to galleries more often. So it’s been a good journey.
You mentioned that acceptance was hard to get around. Since you have traveled quite a bit, have you noticed any difference in demand among different communities of art, such as regional preferences?
Yeah. I think that when it comes to art, I don’t see any solid boundaries or specific communities. They are all individuals. And that’s why personally I respect all the artists, no matter what they do or how they do it. What I concentrate on is the time and what brought them to do what they do, and that’s what I appreciate and respect. I don’t judge by the style; it’s the contents and it’s up to them. Because sometimes people make the mistake of categorizing artists by putting them into groups, but there is none! To me, the only group that I see is the whole.
In the video produced by Osha Studios, you were mixing paint with sawdust for your base coat. How did that come about?
I just came up with it. I didn’t really start to use it until two years ago and it’s because I had to show it to the public and I wanted to make sure that it would last and be good on the canvass. So I did lots of research and sampling, and now I’m confident to use it.
What are you doing now and do you have any aspirations for the future?
I’m working on my art. As I’m getting older, my paintings are getting simpler and I’m just taking it to the essence and putting paint up on the canvass. There’s more and more colors, as well as words…
I just saw the movie Basquiat (dir. Julian Schnabel). You and Basquiat seem to have many things in common.
Yeah, I love Basquiat! I love his approach to art and freedom. That’s what I’ve always been into, you know, freedom of whatever.
What is the art community in Senegal like?
Art is pretty strong all over Africa like that of everywhere else, but they’ve definitely become more global over the past few years.
Wonderful. Thank you so much, Abdala!
Interviewed by Connie Q.
The product of Amy Crawley’s mind and craft is one of a kind. In fact, each creation seems to be more interesting than the previous as you browse through her intricate pieces. But that is how it is supposed to be with Amy’s art: the more you examine it, the more alluring it becomes. The nostalgic beauty of her sculptures is reminiscent of childhood. The colors, shapes, and the patterns combine to create sophisticated layers of thought and wisdom.
One of your customers say that your work has a healing quality. Has being a speech/language therapist and a technical writer influenced you as an artist in any way?
Working as a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) and Technical Writer certainly gave me different ways to use my creative skills. My interest in sculpting may have some basis in my past life as an SLP. And working as a Technical Writer definitely gave me a good background in writing copy, grammar, and editing. Both fields honed my organization skills. I think, however, that those careers were stepping stones to get me where I am today, working as an artist.
All three careers have their roots in helping people, bringing information to people, and touching people on some level. My first two careers required some form of creativity but the amount of self-expression was limited by the work environment. However, I was always doing something artsy-creative outside of work. When the universe presented the opportunity for me to delve into art fulltime, I took it.
You say that polymer is “malleable so if you don’t like it, you just squish it and start all over again.” So, do you usually create your sculptures by trial and error? Or do you plan out the designs beforehand?
My approach to creating my Spirit Messengers is a combination of sketching and trial and error. I get an idea for a particular piece, sketch it out, have a vision of what I’d like to be, and then the trial and error starts. I’ve learned that what I sketch on paper and what I see in my mind’s eye may not be what comes out of my hands. In other words, I have learned to let the sculpture speak to me and tell me what it wants to be. If I try to control the outcome, the creation fights me and we may both be disappointed with the outcome.
But yes, polymer is malleable and you can squish it and start over if necessary, depending on where you are in the process.
You started working with polymer clay in 1998. How has the polymer clay community changed in the past decade?
Polymer clay has become more popular as a medium for artists. I’m seeing it used as a cross-over material with artists for whom polymer is not their primary medium. For example, you may find it incorporated in mixed media pieces, such as collage. Jewelry artists may use polymer in conjunction with glass and stone beads.
When I started working with polymer there were very few books on the material. Now there are hundreds of books on creating with polymer clay. The national organization’s membership has grown from being primarily stateside and in Canada to an international organization with members throughout Europe as well as in the Middle East and in Asia. There are more workshops for people, both online and in-person. Polymer clay artists are also pushing boundaries with the material, using it in both a traditional format (creating canes, jewelry, functional items) to sculpture, vessels, wall installations, painting, and as an inlay in furniture.
There are also more museums with polymer clay art in their permanent collections, including the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and soon at the Racine Art Museum (RAM) in Wisconsin. RAM will house the largest permanent collection of polymer art in the country. Their collection will include over 180 pieces of polymer clay jewelry and sculpture. The inaugural exhibit of this collection opens in 2011.
Yet polymer remains, for most people, a very affordable art material. For about $30, you can buy a few colors of clay, basic tools and an instruction book at the craft store and start creating. Because it is a low-fire clay, you can cure it in your home oven with some simple precautions.
Besides art, you also meditate and write (read her blog here). How does these mediums compare in terms of self-expression?
Meditation and writing can be springboards to creativity. For me, meditation is a way to silence my inner critic and to center myself. By becoming quiet in meditation and clearing my head, I open myself up to other ideas and inspiration. Meditation might provide an answer to a problem or help me to see a situation more clearly. But at its core, meditation simply keeps me on an even keel and brings me back to my self.
Writing is a different form of self-expression. I’ve recently returned to daily writing in my journal as a way to dump the voices and noise out of my head. Like meditation, writing on a daily basis clears my head for the day ahead. We all have so much stuff bouncing around in our heads that it can become a distraction and keep us from accomplishing anything.
My blog is place where I can share my artwork, my frustrations, my inspirations, and sometimes a really good recipe! I’m very in tune to my need to have a community where I can share thoughts and ideas and get support. Writing on my blog is one way to do that.
Your store is called Moonroom Crafts. How did the name originate?
The name Moonroom Crafts comes from my first home studio. The studio had two skylights and you could see the moon through them. We starting calling the studio the Moon Room and it kind of stuck from there.
When I started my business, Moonroom Crafts was an all-inclusive business name. In 2008, I split up my lines of artwork. Now Moonroom Crafts represents my functional art business; that is, where I market and sell my wine bottle stoppers, perfume pens, and business card cases. Amy A. Crawley Fine Art is where I showcase and sell my Spirit Messengers and small scale sculptures.
What are you actively working on now?
For the last couple of months I’ve been actively working on a new business plan. I am expanding my business to include teaching and creativity coaching. I’ve been writing class descriptions and proposals and meeting with local art/craft stores to discuss teaching opportunities. This fall I am teaching a class in October, offering a series of classes in my studio and hope to have another class in either November or December.
I have also been experimenting with bird sculptures, making sculptures with light bulbs as the armature, and mixed media wall art incorporating polymer clay. Finally, I’m teaching myself how to use Photoshop Elements to create digital art. My vision is to create a line of cards, prints, and Spirit Messengers inspired by a common theme, such as the colors and shapes of the produce in our vegetable garden.
Random: what is your guilty pleasure?
Hostess chocolate cupcakes
Interviewed by Connie Q.
Not only do we have a special room for Diane Eyerman’s quilts, her work also attracts many visitors who walk into our humble gallery on West Water Street. After initially experiencing the magical feelings of seeing Diane’s quilts, the next best possible thing for me to do was to watch the video of her produced by Osha Studios. As I watched the video, which showcases Diane’s quilts as she narrates, I almost jotted down everything she said in preparation for this interview. Her work is so colorful and beautiful that it’s almost hard to imagine the obstacles she had to overcome in her life. So I hope this interview will expose Diane to rest of the world because she deserves it.
You decided to become a professional artist at the age of 40. What sparked your decision and was it intimidating for you to make the choice?
Since I was a young girl I was always creative. I started making homemade Christmas gifts for the family. Once I learned calligraphy, I created Christmas, Birthday and other holiday cards. I created each one by hand, one at a time. I also enjoyed doing embroidery, cross-stitch and anything with a needle and thread. When my son Matthew was born, I became interested in making quilts and began making traditional quilts. After a few years I became bored with making the same block over and over and wanted to challenge myself to do more. This was the transition when my “sewing room” became my “studio,” and in my mind I gained the courage to call myself an artist. This meant that I took my work more seriously. To break away from traditional quilts, I called my work innovative textile design.
For your Joy of Life series, you said that things ranging from ice cream and watermelon to clouds and sky bring you joy. What other things do you do for fun beside quilting?
I was raising a family and did not have much spare time. Quilting became what I did for fun along with taking classes, shopping for fabric and making friends with other quilters and artists.
There is something really liberating about cutting out different lines and shapes and piecing them together in an abstract form. Do you plan or sketch them ahead, or do you improvise?
For the Grief Quilt Series and the Joys of Life Series, all of the designs were planned and drawn out ahead of time. One of my challenges to myself for the Finding Voice Series was to work without a plan and only use hand dyed fabrics, which also meant that I had to learn how to dye fabric. It was amazing to see where the art would go, especially the larger pieces! I was learning to trust my instincts, believe in myself, and work intuitively.
You said that your favorite artwork is never a customer’s favorite. Are there certain ways that you would like the viewers to see your work?
I always believed that the fun of abstract work is that the viewer can see something totally different than I could. Just as it meant something to me, it can strike a chord and become personal to the viewer.
All your works explore the different stages of your life. How has your art changed in terms of technique and philosophy?
With each series, I grew as an artist and in a spiritual way, learning to pay attention and live with awareness.
Can you name some artists whose work have influenced you?
Margaret Anderson and Caryl Bryer Fallert are two artists that come to mind. I also love visiting the Columbus Museum of Art and The Wexner Center. Seeing what other artists were doing gave me the permission to create whatever I wanted.
What kind of things are you discovering as you have moved from quilting to writing poetry?
Writing poetry for me is my therapy. It is a place to put my feelings. The amazing thing is that a poem never ends the way I thought it would and I could say the same thing about my textile designs and that is the beauty of art in any form because it is the heart and soul of the artist.
One More Yellow Bloom by Diane Eyerman
One more yellow bloom
Is waving to me from the back yard
Even though today is
The last day of September
And fall is officially here
It’s cloudy, cool and blustery
A good day to stay indoors
It warms my heart
And makes me smile
To see one more yellow bloom
From my daylilies
Waving to me from the backyard
Interviewed by Connie Q.
During the gallery stroll last Saturday on July 10th, I got a chance to meet and speak with our featured artist: Terry Hitt, whose works range from landscape to abstract. Just a few minutes into our conversation, I immediately became fond of Terry’s infinite passion in art, appreciation of nature, and an overall awareness of his surroundings. His creativity and knowledge quickly inspired me to learn more about him and his art. Terry was nice enough to let me interview him through email.
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I am 75 years into seeing art everywhere. Sometimes the constant search for just the right scene or inspiration prevents me from enjoying the moment and I have to shut off the artist eye and just be at one with my environment.
My mother was an artist and my father very pious so I became a life long searcher for truth and beauty in all things. I attended the Columbus College of Art and Design and graduated from Otterbein College with a major in Psychology-Sociology and minors in Greek and Art. After graduating from United Theological Seminary I served as a pastorate for a year and realized my calling is in art. I was an illustrator for the Otterbein Press and then went from freelance to associate professor at the University of Dayton and retired from teaching at the end of 1997. I completed an MFA degree at the University of Cincinnati.
You have a Masters degree in Divinity. How did you transition from theology to art?
Since I view art as exploring the meaning of being human and since the meaning of life is central to religion, I think all artists are theologians in spite of ourselves.
Where do you draw your inspirations from? What have been some of your biggest influences when it comes to your work?
I draw inspiration from Nature and all the artists who came before me. Perhaps I am a Pantheist like my Celtic origins since I am awestruck in the presence of Nature. All of art history is of interest to me but I find special affinity with Kandinsky, Matisse, Diebenkorn and Native American rock drawings. Currently I am slowly learning to appropriate Impressionists and Hudson Bay school into my landscapes.
How do you see technology, such as photoshop, play a role in your artwork?
I photograph my subjects of interest in my garden or on hikes then use photoshop to combine various elements into a composition and try various color contrasts in search of the feelings I have while in nature.
Although the film industry and computer games are extraordinary in their detail and fantasy, I don’t think they can replace fine painting because the history of the artist’s process is preserved in the paint.
In excellent paintings, each stroke of paint is just the right mixture of observation and passionate response to evoke a sense of truth in the moment. In addition, the intensely personal act of seeking purpose through art making is at times shamanistic. The magic of art is to make the difficult appear to be easy.
Your work often involves unexpected elements such as animal remains. How do you incorporate different mediums into your art?
I have included natural materials in many of my works in tribute to native peoples and to celebrate the mysterious circle of life/death. The paradox of life is that he who eats is eaten in the end. The materials are dried and coated with either acrylic emulsion or varnish.
As a retired art professor from University of Dayton, what would you say to young artists?
Young artists must never forget that ninety percent of art is hard work and sweat. Trial and many failures precede success. Skill and process must become one.
What can we expect to see from you in the near future? Do you have any shows coming up or are there any projects that you are involved in?
Currently I am working on increasing both my observational skills and painterly response through my love of South Eastern Ohio and Daniel Boone State Park, Kentucky. The play of light on form and contrasts between illuminated areas and deep shadow evoke in me a feeling of primordial beginnings.
Interviewed by Connie Q.