butterfly blooms photography fractal art tulips debbie lind

Fractal Fascination — Photographic Art by Debbie Lind

butterfly blooms photography fractal art tulips debbie lind

Butterfly Blooms, Debbie Lind’s first, and prize winning, foray into photographic fractals art.

You don’t have to like broccoli to admire it.

Seriously.

Broccoli and its close friend, cauliflower, consist of the same small shape multiplied into a larger one, a phenomenon both scientists and artists call fractal or algorithmic art. The term, coined in the 1960s by Polish mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot, describes using mathematical formulas to create digital artwork from the same repeating shape.

love layers red heart flower fractal art photography debbie lind wallowa

Love in Layers, photographic fractal art by Wallowa, OR, artist Debbie Lind

“Fractals are a repeated shape that I didn’t give much thought to until I discovered them when reading a book about shapes to kindergartners visiting our public library where I’m the library director,” says photographer Debbie Lind of Wallowa, OR.

“I read to them about shapes like circles, triangles, squares and all the basic shapes we know, but when I read to them about fractals, a light went off and I thought right then, ‘How can I use fractal art in my photography?'”

Fractal Tulip Turns into Butterfly

Lind’s first experiment with fractal art involved her photographic image of a red tulip with rain drops on it. She began playing about with the shape, intending to create a conch-like snail shell from the repeating tulip blossoms, but “it wasn’t meant to be.

“What I created instead was a butterfly wing. From that I created a butterfly I named ‘Butterfly Blooms.’ I entered it in my first professional art show and won a blue ribbon.” (As an added bonus, a monetary prize accompanied the ribbon, a fact Lind says came as a complete, but welcome, surprise.)

Money or not, from that point on, Lind was hooked on fractal art, experimenting with more flowers and butterflies, then moving on to other shapes and subjects, such as a bright orange Koi fish, repeated smaller and smaller, in a series of bubbles. She prints her images on canvas and paper, as well as large format art cards that she sells in galleries, gift shops, and local businesses.

dragonfly delight purple insect fractal art photography debbie lind wallowa artist

Dragonfly Delight, photographic fractal art by Wallowa, OR artist Debbie Lind

Describing herself as a photo artisan, Lind has been playing with imagery, cameras, and technology since she was 15, when she received a 110 pocket camera as a gift. From there she moved onto an Olympus OM-1 35 mm, and once she entered the digital age, she found that the time spent behind the computer screen playing with an image was as fascinating as time behind the camera lens.

Fractal Art and Emotive Photography

“My goal is to create photography — fractal or not — that moves me first: it can be a child, flowers, landscapes, or a person leaning up against a truck,” Lind explains.

“My other goal is if my art can give someone a good feeling — to enhance their good day and help them on their bad day — then this is what I hope my art can do for them, even if it’s just one person.”

koi joy orange fish fracta art photography debbie lind wallowa artist

Koi Joy, photographic fractal art by Wallowa, OR, artist Debbie Lind

Since that first memorable and financially satisfying professional art show, Lind has entered many others, as well as published her work in calendars, telephone books, brochures, and flyers. Wherever she goes she has an eye out for the next intriguing shot, and while she describes herself as not a photojournalist, she seeks to create images that spark conversation, imbue emotion, and catch the viewer’s eye and soul.

“If I’m in the right place at the right time, I’ll be taking photos of it.”

Living in a rural area provides plenty of subject matter, but the downside is that if the printer runs out of ink, only two sheets of photo paper remain in the packet, or none of the frames in her studio are the right size, she can’t pop down to the local office or art store to replenish supplies. For this reason, she has commandeered the largest bedroom in the house for her studio, occasionally spilling into the guest bedroom with supplies and inventory.

Letting the Creative Process Lead

Prominent on the studio wall is a quote she found in a magazine, which she says encapsulates how she approaches her photographic and fractal art:

“Let go of needing to know what you will create before you have begun. Instead, allow the creative process to be one of self-discovery, moment-to-moment revelation, and pure freedom.”

Every day is a new opportunity to learn more about art, photography, the digital world, fractal creativity, running a business, and life in general, and while trying new things has its unnerving side, it results in great satisfaction as well. Lind reminds herself of this as she experiments with new ways of marketing her photography, the latest involving selling fine art cards at local farmers’ markets where, incidentally, one finds broccoli, and cauliflower.

“As I get older, I feel a little braver in putting myself ‘out there.’ I’ve been telling myself, if not now, when?” Lind muses.

“I’m almost, or already, considered a senior citizen: I already get discounts at restaurants.

“So what’s next for me? I’m taking chances.”

Wenaha Gallery

Debbie Lind is the featured Art Event artist at Wenaha Gallery from Monday, October 22 through Saturday, November 17.

Contact the gallery, located at 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA, by phone at 509.382.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.

acrylic pour abstract painting home decor art joyce klassen walla

Acrylic Pour — The Happy Abstract Art of Joyce Klassen

acrylic pour abstract painting home decor art joyce klassen walla

Acrylic Pour 9, original painting by Walla Walla artist Joyce Klassen

We’ve all heard of peculiar artists and capricious ones, edgy sculptors and angry painters, those who love to offend and shock, unsettle or antagonize. They are the stuff of movie fantasia and social media hype.

acrylic pour abstract painting home decor art joyce klassen walla walla

Acrylic Pour 5, original painting by Walla Walla artist, Joyce Klassen

But in the real world, populated by real people,  there is another kind of artist: a happy person, loving what they do, creating with the idea of making others happy as well. Fitting into this paradigm is Joyce Klassen, a Walla Walla artist who has worked in everything from watercolor realism to her present abstract acrylic pours. She uses words like “fun,” “rewarding,” and “beautiful” when she talks about her art, as well as life itself.

“I’ve been interested in art since I was in preschool when I cut up my mother’s Simplicity patterns to make my own paper dolls and dress them in pieces of fabric — I only did that ONCE!” Klassen remembers.

This is a person who launches into the room with a smile, who experiments with new techniques and recognizes that failure is as much a part of success as, well, success is. It’s an attitude worth honing when it comes to the challenge of acrylic pour, a process that involves layering multiple colors of paint in a cup and cascading it onto the canvas:

Fun, Caution, Wisdom

The FUN comes from quickly flipping the cup upside down.

The CAUTION demands that the artist upright the cup quickly, then tilt the canvas back and forth so the colors run from top to bottom and side to side.

The wisdom of EXPERIENCE shouts “Stop!” when the pattern looks just right.

“Knowing when to stop is the secret to a successful acrylic pour,” Klassen explains. “Once you have learned to do this — EXPERIMENT and come up with your own unique method.

acrylic pour abstract painting home decor art joyce klassen walla walla

Acrylic Pour 6, original painting by Walla Walla artist Joyce Klassen

“When you find something that really works for you, keep it a secret! You want this to be your creation.”

Acrylic Pour Discovery

Klassen discovered acrylic pour literally by accident when she spilled mixed paint on a surface. Fascinated by the resulting texture, color formation and shape, she researched the technique, spending “hours and hours” learning from YouTube.

“I’ve done many forms of art, but I think I love this one the very best because I get so excited as I watch the colors evolve and mix — it often gives me terrific surprises.

“If the surprise happens to not be a good one, I simply wash it down the drain (followed by a healthy dose of drain cleaner) and start over. It’s a ‘Can’t Lose’ process.”

Acrylic Pour: Breaking and Following Rules

As Klassen is discovering, acrylic pour painting involves breaking the rules at the same time one adheres strictly to them, celebrating spontaneity in perfect proportion to meticulous thought. In some ways, this mirrors the yin-yang relationship she enjoys with her husband Randy, also an artist, but in a polar opposite sort of way:

acrylic pour abstract painting home decor art joyce klassen walla walla

Acrylic Pour 1, original painting by Walla Walla artist, Joyce Klassen

She does abstract; he paints realism.

She’s messy; he’s neat.

She takes up three quarters of their shared studio; he carved out a small space against the window, just enough for his easel and palette.

“When I work on encaustic, he leaves when I light the blow torch.

“When I work on acrylic pour, he covers his work and leaves to avoid the mess.

“He has to find a lot of errands to run .  .  . ”

Oddly, for a person who describes her creative process as messy, Klassen spends a lot of time cleaning their house, because both she and Randy sell from the studio within their home.

“We never know when someone might ‘drop in’ to view the art. We love to share a glass of our local wine as we go from room to room looking at art.

“I’m often told that a viewer is amazed that I work in such a messy art form while still being such an intense ‘neatnik.'”

acrylic pour abstract painting home decor art joyce klassen walla walla

Acrylic Pour 8, original painting by Walla Walla artist, Joyce Klassen

Helping the Homeless

When she isn’t creating in the studio — something that can happen anytime of the day or even at 2 a.m. if she finds she can’t sleep — Klassen works with the homeless through the Walla Walla Alliance for the Homeless, coordinating the weekly shower project held Mondays at the Pioneer United Methodist Church.

She and her crew of 10 volunteers serve the needs of 10 to 17 people who would otherwise have nowhere else to shower, providing basic toiletry needs along with clean socks, underwear, and other clothing.

It’s all part of a happy artist’s life — giving, experimenting, dreaming, doing, making a mess and cleaning it up. With so much creativity and beauty, there is no place for angst, anger, shock, or awful.

“I love to watch ideas and colors evolve.

“And I love it when someone looks at an acrylic pour that I’ve done and sees something totally different than what I do — it’s almost like playing the game of ‘find Waldo.’

“Art should be rewarding, and especially, fun!”

Wenaha Gallery

Joyce Klassen is the featured Art Event artists at Wenaha Gallery from Monday, September 24, 2018, through Saturday, October 20, 2018.  She will be at the gallery Saturday, October 6, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., as part of Wenaha Gallery’s Autumn Art Show, which also features jewelry artist Venita Simpson, a tribute to the late astronaut/artist Alan Bean, and a talk and visit by retired astronaut Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger.

Contact the gallery, located at 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA, by phone at 509.382.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.

Joyce Klassen

Joyce Klassen

Joyce Klassen is an extremely versatile artist from Walla Walla, Washington — she has been painting, and experimenting with all different forms of art for as long as she can remember. Joyce designs, finding precisely what she needs in piles that look suspiciously like random jumbles of indiscriminate stuff. Joyce, in addition to creating mixed media works spanning abstract to realism, participates in community theater across three states. Klassen’s work with encaustic drives her eye to look everywhere, all the time, for potential “junque” to incorporate within an artwork, the less perfect, the better.

Joyce Klassen

slab built curved pottery out of box dave raynalds

Out of the Box — The Slab Built Ceramic Pottery of David Raynalds

slab built curved pottery out of box dave raynalds

Curves and eclectic shapes don’t fit into a square box — Salt Cellar, slab built pottery by Portland ceramicist, Dave Raynalds

It doesn’t matter how big the box is: human beings simply don’t fit in them.

Creativity, experimentation, exploration — these elements rage against the sides of the box until they knock them down, freeing the spirit within. And the more stubborn and determined the person, the more he or she resists the box — and the more interesting their story.

floral slab built pottery ceramic platter dave ranyalds out of box

Floral Platter, slab built ceramics with a painterly flower glaze, by out of the box ceramic artist, Dave Raynalds of Portland.

So it is with Dave Raynalds, a Portland potter who specializes in slab ceramics, a technique that involves hand-shaping slabs of clay into finished platters, plates, and bowls.

Not a Box: Slab Built Ceramic Shapes

“All my work is slab built,” Raynalds says. “I prefer the spontaneous, loose, lively and organic shapes that slab building can give.”

Raynalds first experimented with the slab ceramic technique in college, when he took an art class every term, from drawing to macrame. During his pottery class, he created a vast and impressive array of items, all slab built, and then was mildly . . . irritated when he received a lower grade because he had done no wheel work. It was 40 years later that persistent insistence by his wife, enrolled in a pottery class at the Multnomah Arts Center, convinced Raynalds to give it another try.

“I knew I would love it, but I didn’t want to intrude on her thing,” Raynalds explains. “It didn’t take much convincing, though, and now we both spend four or five days a week at the studio at the center.”

Inspired by Betty Feves

globe round sphere slab built pottery ceramic dave raynalds out of box

You can’t get much further from a box shape than a round globe — Globe, slab ceramic pottery sculpture by Portland artist Dave Raynalds.

Raised in Pendleton, Raynalds attended junior high and high school when Betty Feves, the nationally famous ceramicist and musician, was on the school board, so all through his pre-college schooling, he received excellent education in the arts, due to the district’s commitment to providing it. In college, he took his degree in geology, and because of his tendency toward kicking the box, embarked upon a career as a cabinet maker, or as he puts it,

“I got into woodworking by buying so many woodworking tools that I had to turn professional. I worked as a cabinet maker for 30 years.”

Now retired from cabinet making, Raynalds incorporates his woodworking experience into  his pottery, as he takes a woodworker’s approach to clay using similar building techniques.

Out of the Box Woodworking Tricks for Slab Built Ceramics

“Many woodworking tricks translate well to slab-built ceramics. But unlike wood, if you cut something too short, you can add more clay and move on.

“Clay lends itself to more organic shapes than wood. This appeals to me because complex shapes and curves can be generated very fast, as opposed to wood.”

paper doll platter slab built ceramic pottery dave raynalds not box

Even shapes that are polygons aren’t conformed to the square box — Paper Doll Platter — slab built ceramic pottery by Portland ceramicist, Dave Raynalds

His geology studies come into play with painting watercolor landscapes, a pursuit he adopted five years ago on a canoe trip in Utah, complete with sketchbook and portable paints. And coming full circle, the painting incorporates back into the slab ceramics, as he chooses and uses glazes and creates designs. Nothing is isolated, and no experience is wasted.

“I am a born tinkerer and maker,” Raynalds says. “I’ve made my own recumbent bicycle, a replica of an Aleutian skin kayak, a ten-foot computer-controlled telescope, and many other gadgets.

“I enjoy sewing my own camping equipment — panniers, backpacks — as well as participating in family quilting round robins. As a cabinet maker, I worked for artists making large installations and custom framing.

“I was one of the first bicycle messengers in Portland, and have crossed the country twice on my bicycle.”

Eclectic, Unique, Out of the Box Resume

It’s an eclectic, highly personalized resume, one that evidences the owner’s willingness to try not only new, but seemingly unrelated things. For instance, regarding being a bicycle messenger, something many people have encountered only through Kevin Bacon’s 1986 movie, Quicksilver, Raynalds says,

“I got the job from an ad in a newspaper. At that time, there were no bike messengers except an old guy who delivered office supplies.

blue platter slab built ceramic pottery dave raynalds

Blue Platter, slab built ceramic pottery by Portland artist, Dave Raynalds, incorporating painting of non-traditional designs into the artwork

“I delivered mostly legal papers, real estate documents, and blueprints on a one-speed Schwinn with coaster brakes. I did this for four years.”

Citing Goodwill as a favorite source for texture materials and tools for his work, Raynalds creates his own molds and stamps to embellish his pottery, with the focus on each piece being as highly individual as its creator.

“While I was a cabinet maker, I tried to do high end work, or interesting work,” Raynalds says. As a potter, “I rarely make commissions or sets of things — I would be bored if I have to make something twice.”

Always a Surprise: Slab Built Ceramic Art

Tinker. Tailor. Potter Guy. Dave Raynalds is as eclectic, and unexpected, as the art he creates. And because he refuses to acknowledge the box, much less crawl into it, the end result often comes as a surprise to the artist himself.

“I usually have some vague idea about what I want to make when I start a project, but this can change as I progress.

“Many times the finished project is not recognizable from the starting ideas as other ideas are presenting themselves.”

Out of the box.

Wenaha Gallery

Dave Raynalds is the featured Art Event artists at Wenaha Gallery from Monday, September 10, 2018, through Saturday, October 6, 2018.  

Contact the gallery, located at 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA, by phone at 509.382.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.

 

Tobias Sauer

Tobias Sauer

As a child, raised in the Montana outdoors, Tobias Sauer and his father biked, hunted, kayaked, and hiked; evenings, he joined his artist mother in trying to paint what he had experienced that day, frequently getting frustrated when what he saw in his mind did not make it successfully onto canvas.

“These are 40-year-old artist’s hands,” his mother would tell him. “You have little 5-year-old hands. When you have 40-year-old artist’s hands, you’ll be able to make it look just right, too.”

Long before those hands could be 40, however, it looked like the dream had died.

“I started off as an art major in college, but quickly became disillusioned with the emphasis of abstract expressionism and the lack of instruction in form and technique,” the Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, oil painter says. “I graduated in environmental science and worked in that field for years.”

Though he tried to continue painting, an injury followed by surgery and a series of painful life events drove him into what he calls a personal “wilderness,” one that drained him of time and energy, of dreams and the desire to create.

Tobias Sauer

big sky mustangs dream old west montana horses tobias sauer

Montana Dreams — The Western Art of Tobias Sauer

big sky mustangs dream old west montana horses tobias sauer

Big Sky Mustangs, capturing the old west and the new, by oil painter Tobias Sauer. Sauer’s childhood dreams, while growing up in Montana, were to be a full time painter, and he is turning this dream into reality.

Dreams. Goals. Aspirations.

All humans have these, born within our childhood when we don’t realize how impossible what we want to do actually is. Some people abandon these dreams entirely, citing the need to be “realistic,” but others, who combine realism with hope, hard work, and a stubborn tenacity to get up when they’re knocked down, keep chipping away, moving forward, walking steadily toward that dream.

ogalala cowboys horses night dreams tobias sauer western art

All Night to Ogalala, oil painting by Coeur d’Alene artist Tobias Sauer, who is turning his childhood dreams into a very realistic art career.

Tobias Sauer is one of these people. As a child, raised in the Montana outdoors, he and his father biked, hunted, kayaked, and hiked; evenings, he joined his artist mother in trying to paint what he had experienced that day, frequently getting frustrated when what he saw in his mind did not make it successfully onto canvas.

“These are 40-year-old artist’s hands,” his mother would tell him. “You have little 5-year-old hands. When you have 40-year-old artist’s hands, you’ll be able to make it look just right, too.”

Dreams Die before They Live

Long before those hands could be 40, however, it looked like the dream had died.

“I started off as an art major in college, but quickly became disillusioned with the emphasis of abstract expressionism and the lack of instruction in form and technique,” the Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, oil painter says. “I graduated in environmental science and worked in that field for years.”

Though he tried to continue painting, an injury followed by surgery and a series of painful life events drove him into what he calls a personal “wilderness,” one that drained him of time and energy, of dreams and the desire to create.

herdsire cow bull livestock cattle Montana rancher's dreams tobias sauer western art

Herdsire, embracing the rancher’s dreams of the future herd. Oil painting by Coeur d’Alene oil painter Tobias Sauer

But he kept chipping away, continuing to get up each time he was knocked down. After a long hiatus from painting, Sauer found an old watercolor set while going through his storage unit, and gave it a try.

“I wondered if I could still paint, or if I had lost it all . . . but you know, after all that time of not painting, I had somehow gotten better. It was the weirdest thing, and I still can’t figure it out — I don’t know if it was that suffering or just age had made me a more mature artist, or just a more patient person.”

Visions of Montana

Whatever it was, it impelled him forward, and Sauer found that his hands — still not yet 40 — were capable of making things look just right. Bison, elk, moose, cowboys, mountains, meadows — Sauer draws, literally, upon the scenes of his Montana childhood in celebrating both the Old West and the New.

“I grew up in Charlie Russell country, and I grew up wanting to ranch,” Sauer says. “My heroes were cowboys. I loved rodeo, ranching, and outdoors, and since I couldn’t live the life of a cowboy, I like to paint it.”

intense montana mountain lion puma wildlife cat western art tobias sauer

Intense, a moment of big cat reflection and dreams by western artist Tobias Sauer.

As paintings began to sell, Sauer gained confidence along with skill, and he soon entered the world of major juried and invitational shows: The Cowboy Classics Western Art Show in Phoenix, Arizona; Heart of the West in Bozeman, Montana; Miniatures by the Lake in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; The Oldfield Art Show in Puyallup, Washington; and, appropriately, The Russell Exhibition and Sale in Great Falls, Montana.

Because he is gregarious and enjoys connecting with clients and art lovers, Sauer attends many of these shows in person, traveling back to back from March through September with his wife in a camper trailer.

The Reality of Living Dreams, In and out of Montana

“I see new places, go to places I never thought I’d go to,” Sauer says.

“I like the personal connection with the collectors and the feeling that the collector is buying a part of me.

“I also travel to workshops because I want to seek out the best artist to study from for the kind of work I want to do, and the artist who will most likely help me with specific goals I am trying to achieve.”

office space Montana cowboys herding cattle livestock cows western art tobias sauer

Office Space, embracing the dreams of office workers everywhere, by western artist Tobias Sauer of Coeur d’Alene, ID.

And then, when he isn’t traveling, Sauer is painting, marketing, blogging, connecting with collectors and galleries who are increasingly noticing his work. He presently sends his art to galleries in Sedona, Arizona; Coeur d’Alene and Moscow, Idaho; Whitefish and Billings, Montana; and, most recently, Jackson, Wyoming, resulting in his paintings residing in homes throughout the nation, west and east, north and south.

Dreams Achieved

It’s a lot of work for those not quite yet 40-year-old hands, but Sauer delights in the busy schedule, in the challenge, in the fulfillment of dreams that are very much imbued with reality. Because achieving dreams is not necessarily unrealistic:

“I thought an art career would be like the closing credits of Little House on the Prairie, with Laura Ingalls running through a beautiful field without a care in the world, but it’s not like that,” Sauer observes.

“It’s hard, stressful, nerve-wracking, self-esteem killing, and filled with deadlines and insecurity.

“But I wouldn’t trade it for the world. It’s the most rewarding thing in my life outside of my marriage and my daughter.”

Wenaha Gallery

Tobias Sauer is the featured Art Event artists at Wenaha Gallery from Monday, August 27, 2018, through Saturday, September 22, 2018.  

Contact the gallery, located at 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA, by phone at 509.382.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.

 

Venita Simpson

Venita Simpson

“It’s a sanctuary to leave the world behind and become the artist I dreamed of being for a long time,” the Richland jewelry artist says of her DIY studio. A computer programmer for more than 30 years, Simpson turned to glass jewelry making in 2006 as a mental antidote to the rigidity required by high tech. Now retired from programing, Simpson spends uncounted hours in her studio sanctuary, fashioning her own one of a kind beads using Murano glass from Italy and a flame torch.”

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happy place necklace earrings murano lampwork glass bead jewelry venita simpson

Murano Glass — The Lampwork Jewelry of Venita Simpson

happy place necklace earrings murano lampwork glass bead jewelry venita simpson

Happy Place, lampwork Murano lampwork glass beaded necklace and earrings by Richland jewelry artist, Venita Simpson

It started out as a palette full of wood and screws and instructions, delivered from Costco. By the time Venita Simpson had finished with it, however, the 80-square foot storage shed had turned into a fairy tale cottage, its inside painted cheery yellow, the path leading up to it bedecked with flowers, windows and glass door inviting in light and view.

desert sand necklace earrings jewelry murano lampwork glass beads venita simpson

Desert Sand, necklace and earrings set by Richland jewelry artist Venita Simpson, featuring handcrafted lampwork beads from Murano glass.

“It’s a sanctuary to leave the world behind and become the artist I dreamed of being for a long time,” the Richland jewelry artist says of her DIY studio. A computer programmer for more than 30 years, Simpson turned to glass jewelry making in 2006 as a mental antidote to the rigidity required by high tech. Now retired from programing, Simpson spends uncounted hours in her studio sanctuary, fashioning her own one of a kind beads using Murano glass from Italy and a flame torch.

Lampwork Murano Glass Beads

Employing a technique called lampwork, Simpson melts the glass at temperatures reaching 1200 degrees. She then forms the molten glass into shapes by using tools and hand movements. The beads are then placed in a kiln to anneal, or gradually cool.

“Working with molten glass requires a steady hand, attention to detail, and a healthy respect for a 1200 degree torch,” Simpson says. “Mixing colors and chemistry of glass results in wonderful reactions in the glass.”

You only burn yourself once, she adds.

sandstone turquoise desert earrings necklace jewelry lampwork murano glass bead jewelry Venita Simpson

Sandstone Turquoise Desert, necklace and earring set by jewelry artist Venita Simpson of Richland, WA, featuring handcrafted, lampwork Murano glass beads

After creating a series of beads using lampwork from the Murano glass, Simpson assembles the finished pieces, generally consisting of necklace and matching earrings, in a spare room in her home. Seasonal colors drive her design and color choices, and she showcases the finished work at Girls Night Out parties in her own home of that of others.

Murano Beads at Girls Night Out

“I’ve sold my work at craft fairs, but I really enjoy explaining my process in a more casual setting,” Simpson says. “I love bringing people into my studio so they can see first hand how the glass is melted. Girls Night Out is a way to bring women together in my home, to enjoy each other’s company, network, and have a great glass of wine.”

The glass that forms the basis for Simpson’s unique accessories is made only in Murano, Italy, a Venetian island that has specialized in the process for centuries. The beads adorn not only the necks and ears of  varied clients — “I like to travel and have been known to sell my jewelry right off my neck to a flight attendant or two!” — but also those of children battling a serious illness, through a program called Beads of Courage at the Children’s Hospital in Orange County, CA.

dreamy blues necklace earrings murano lampwork glass beads jewelry venita simpson

Dreamy Blues, necklace and earring jewelry set by Richland artist Venita Simpson, featuring her handcrafted lampwork, Murano glass beads

“Each time the child goes in to receive a shot, an appointment, surgery, x-rays etc., they are able to choose a bead and add to their necklaces to show how each milestone gave them hope,” Simpson explains. “Some of these treatments were painful episodes, but each bead told a story of the brave children and their courageous achievement.”

Since moving from California to the Tri-Cities, Simpson has also donated her Murano lampwork glass beads to Beads Behind Bars at the Benton Franklin Juvenile Detention Center, which, in coordination with Allied Arts of Richland, provides incarcerated juveniles a creative outlet in learning to make jewelry.

murano glass lampwork bead jewelry necklace earrings Venita Simpson

Natural Wonder, necklace and earring set by Richland jewelry artist Venita Simpson, featuring lampwork Murano glass beads

Right Brain Left Brain

In between her career in computer programming and retirement, Simpson took time off to earn her certificate in commercial and residential interior design, and for several years freelanced and did side jobs in a field that used what she calls the right side of her brain. But finances called her back to full-time programming, and her left brain demanded total attention. With retirement, her full brain joins with hands and heart as she enjoys the slower pace of the Pacific Northwest, four definite seasons, and freedom from corporate life.

“Programming makes you very rigid in that you have to test for every scenario, test for every system hiccup, and document each step,” Simpson says of her former life. “I was process oriented, following strict specifications to complete tasks, so it’s been challenging to come out of the box sometimes.

“But since retirement, I’m making great progress with my imaginative side of my brain. Using both sides of my brain has become an asset, firing up both burners, so to speak.”

It’s a jewel of an opportunity.

Wenaha Gallery

Venita Simpson is the featured Art Event artists at Wenaha Gallery from Monday, August 13, 2018, through Saturday, September 8, 2018.  See a selection of Simpson’s work online for purchase at this link.

Contact the gallery, located at 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA, by phone at 509.382.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.

 

Joyce Anderson

Joyce Anderson

Joyce Anderson has been painting on watercolor for many years. Watercolors became her primary pursuit because she liked the fact that they could meander in a direction she hadn’t intended.

Due to painting, not a day goes by that Joyce doesn’t observe a subject that could become a painting.  The interplay of colors in clouds, the effect of light or lack of, or the patterns of nature.  Painting allows her to appreciate the “eye candy” around each of us.  Joyce’s favorite aspect of watercolors as a media is the luminous layering of color.   Watercolors are transparent and any color underneath will influence the color laid on top.  That can also be an aspect to consider, since layering a combination of red on top of blue on top of yellow will ultimately produce neutral grays or browns.  

Joyce Anderson

Timber Bronze 53

Timber Bronze 53

Garrett and Beth Lowe are the owners of Timber Bronze 53 in Wallowa, Oregon. They hand craft solid, cast-bronze hardware and decorative accessories for log, timber frame, and other rustic home. They also presently are developing a line of farmhouse and rustic chic decor for a growing market.

Timber Bronze 53 has all different kinds of doorbells, knobs, pulls, hangers. Each item is unique, and will add a rustic charm to your home!

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