jewelry necklaces earrings bracelets treasures andrea lyman

Treasures from Treasures — Jewelry by Andrea Lyman

necklaces andrea lyman jewelry vintage

A selection of unique, handcrafted necklaces by Andrea Lyman, featuring found, vintage, and unusual treasures from around the world

She creates treasures from treasures

Anyone who creates with their hands knows how long it takes to make beautiful things. Whether it’s a lace doily, woven basket, knitted scarf, or beaded necklace, handcrafted treasures require a lot of literal, hands-on work.

Jewelry maker Andrea Lyman treasures these treasures. On her global travels, she is on the prowl for what she calls “vintage ephemera” — the beads, antique buttons, and scraps of lace and trim and fabric that are sometimes all that is left of a project made long ago and now residing in a thrift shop. She ferrets out the unusual, the rare, the handmade, to incorporate into one-of-a-kind necklaces, beads, and bracelets.

jewelry necklaces earrings bracelets treasures andrea lyman

Fashioned from found and vintage treasures from all over the world, Andrea Lyman’s jewelry is literally one of a kind.

“I use a lot of vintage materials,” the Moscow, ID, artist says.

“I do this first, because I love them and find them unique and beautiful, appreciating their detail. But I also like the idea of recycling or repurposing things.

“My mother used to crochet, so I know the care and time it takes to make beautiful, handmade things. I love the idea of keeping these things circulating around, bringing joy to others with their beauty and good energy.

“Every piece of lace, every button, every old bead — these treasures delighted someone, were loved by someone, so I want to spread that love around!”

Treasure Hunting around the Globe

As a Director of Waldorf Music Teacher Training, a broad-based educational method developed in the early 20th century by Anthroposophy founder Rudolf Steiner, Lyman travels regularly around the world. And while teaching music in some form has been her career “day job,” fashioning jewelry is also a lifelong passion. The two forms of art, both requiring creativity, skill, and an eye for detail, complement one another, she feels.

“I have been making jewelry most of my adult life,” Lyman says. “At first, it was just for me. Then it turned into gifts for friends, relatives, then small commissions. Eventually, friends convinced me to start selling it at fairs, their small shops, and so on.”

earrings jewelry andrea lyman treasures beads findings

A wide selection of earrings by Andrea Lyman features treasures found from all over the world

Everywhere she has lived, Lyman carves out space for working on her art. Sometimes, this is no more than a corner of the room, but it is a well-used and well treasured corner. Right now, she has a studio in a spare bedroom, with an area dedicated to jewelry making, another to sewing and a third to painting.

“I make jewelry in spurts (when I have time, since I am quite busy), and am always reminded how much I love doing it!”

Lyman has sold her treasure creations throughout the U.S. and Canada and Mexico, as well as Ecuador and Europe. She operates under the business name of Awe and Wonder, which she says encapsulates her views on life and her art.

“It describes my personal world view, and it’s also something I would hope people feel when they see, experience, and wear my jewelry.”

Every Jewelry Piece Is Unique

Lyman especially loves commissioned work. It is an opportunity, she explains, of fashioning a piece or set unique to the person requesting it. During the entire creative process, Lyman focuses on thinking fond thoughts about the client, thoughts she hopes are imbued into the final piece.

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It’s a charm of a bracelet, featuring unique and unusual beads and finds from Andrea Lyman’s world travels

But whether the work she is making is commissioned or not, Lyman allows the materials themselves to speak, adding their voice to the final work, the finished treasure.

“I have all my materials very meticulously organized by color and shape.

“I may be inspired to ‘visit’ the pink and purple department/drawers; then things will catch my attention.

“I consider various aspects and start trying out a few things, and soon, I end up with the perfect combination or style it wants to be.”

No Duplicates

This is where the treasures that make up the finished jewelry truly shine: the vintage, the odd, the unexpected. They are the results of forays into flea markets, second-hand stores, artisan shops, and markets.

“I always have my eyes open to possibilities — even seeds or stones lying on the ground.

“My jewelry is fashioned from a huge variety of materials — found materials, vintage findings, beads and beads, semi-precious stones, felted wool, tassels. I also imprint and enamel brass pendants for my jewelry making — each and every piece is unique.

“I’ve never made two of the exact same thing!”

Wenaha GalleryAndrea Lyman is the Featured Art Event from Monday, December 2, through Saturday, December 28 at Wenaha Gallery. She will be at the gallery for the Christmas Kickoff Art Show Friday, November 29, from 2 to 6 p.m. Lyman will be joined by Colfax rope basket creator Nancy Waldron and Kennewick photographer Nancy Richter.

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.

 

bateman island fall autumn columbia river richter

Clouds Fascinate — The Photography of Nancy Richter

bateman island fall autumn columbia river richter

Bateman Island Fall, a photographic landscape of water, trees and sky by Nancy Richter of Kennewick

Clouds fascinate her

She is a grandmother now. But Nancy Richter has never lost a child’s fascination for a sky full of clouds.

As a kid, she did what lots of kids — even in today’s techno-world of substitutionary reality — still do: she lay in the grass and watched the world above.

“I grew up in Montana — Big Sky Country,” the Kennewick photographer says.

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Fog and mist are simply clouds that decide to come a little closer to earth . . . Foggy Drive, photograph by Nancy Richter

“I never tired of the surprising shapes and colors of clouds. Their randomness, unpredictability, and beauty are fascinating to me.”

It is no wonder then that from the time Richter received her first camera — a Brownie Instamatic for Christmas when she was ten — she has focused on capturing the form, the mystique, the emotion, and the feeling of clouds. As technology advanced and Richter exchanged her Brownie for a Minolta SLR, then a digital camera, she kept chasing the timeless yet ever-changing vista of clouds. And though she photographs much more than the sky overhead — landscape, macro, flowers, rusty abstract surfaces, portraits, events — she retains a lifetime goal of finding the perfect combination of landscape and clouds.

Moody, Brooding Clouds

In 2011, she met photographer John Clement, of whom she had been a fan for years. The two arranged a photography day trip to the Blue Mountains in Southeast Washington. And from 3 a.m. to 11 p.m. they went to one wonderful spot after another.

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In Nailed It, a country landscape and brooding, moody clouds form one of Nancy Richter’s favorite photographic combinations.

After this most amazing day, one Richter affectionately dubs “John Clement Day,” she discovered that she had taken yet another step on her photographic journey.

“I find my own way to the loveliness that’s out there, following dusty farm roads, stopping along the banks of lakes and rivers, and making my way up to the top of hills covered with wildflowers,” Richter says.

She likes her photos to be unconventional, a bit off balanced and moody, she adds. Art is best, she considers, when its subject or material is unexpected, inviting the viewer to stop beyond a first glance, teasing him or her to discover new elements and depth.

“That’s what I want to convey: something a bit off the beaten path, something that holds the observer’s interest.”

Clouds Combined with Landscapes

Within a short radius of her Kennewick studio, unusual and intriguing landscapes abound. Less than 15 minutes from her home are spots in the Horse Heaven Hills that open out into vistas of Rattlesnake Mountain and other significant ridges of the Tri-Cities area.  There’s the Palouse (“That place is divine. Nowhere exactly like it on earth”). And there are the Blue Mountains, a combination of bare grass hills with forest in the ravines, farmland interwoven between.

The roads to these places can be a little dicey, though, but than again, that adds to the adventure of it all.

“One time I got stuck in the mud up to half my tire,” Richter remembers.

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A flower peeks from its foliage in Pink, photography by Nancy Richter of Kennewick

“A man and his 5-year-old daughter just happened to be out in the middle of nowhere with a jeep and pulled me out with a strap.

“When I first told them of my dilemma, the daughter’s comment was, ‘My dad can do anything!'”

Such is the mindset of a child, a mindset that Richter maintains with that persistent, lifelong, deep-rooted fascination with clouds. And to this day, in the process of looking up, she often finds that the ground beneath her feet is steadier, firmer, more secure.

“Sometimes when I am dealing with unpleasant emotion, the sky provides pleasant distraction,” Richter muses.

“It gets me outside and moving and enjoying. It helps ground me.

“Funny, that the sky would help me touch the earth.”

Clouds, Light, Quality, and Emotion

Richter shows and sells her work throughout the Tri-Cities area, and participates in the Thursday Art Walk in Kennewick. She has exhibited at the Richland library, You and I Framing in Kennewick, the Crossroads and Carnegie Art Center in Baker City, OR, and the Larson Gallery in Yakima. At the latter, she received the Women in Photography Award, as a well as a Purchase Award.

Richter doesn’t remember whatever happened to her old Brownie — she could have sold it at a yard sale; it may be in one of those memorabilia boxes we all cart around. But what it started will never be lost, as she discovers, and captures, a world of possibility, imagination, and enchantment. These elements transcend time and technology.

“When I take photos I feel an attraction to the scene. I’m feeling excited or having fun or am just delighted with the amazing light in that moment.

“I want people to enjoy what they see, to feel pleasure in the colors, to experience the light and the quality.”

Wenaha GalleryNancy Richter is the Featured Art Event from Monday, November 18, through Saturday, December 14 at Wenaha Gallery. She will be at the gallery for the Christmas Kickoff Art Show Friday, November 29, from 2 to 6 p.m. Richter will be joined by Colfax rope basket creator Nancy Waldron and jewelry artist Andrea Lyman.

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.

 

 

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Old Ropes and New Baskets — Nancy Waldron Creates

Rope baskets team roping western gifts nancy waldron

A collection of rope baskets by Colfax artist and team roper Nancy Waldron

Turning Rope into Art

Humans innovate, figuring out creative ways to solve problems. For example, consider the difficulty of capturing and restraining a full grown steer.

While this is not something the desk worker worries about, cowboys on ranches did, and they developed a technique, called team roping, which eventually segued into a popular rodeo event.

kitchen rope baskets team roping western gifts nancy waldron

A collection of kitchen rope baskets by Nancy Waldrons. Waldron does not dye the ropes; their coloration is unique to the style and manufacturer of the rope.

“Team roping involves two people on horses, a header and a heeler,” explains Nancy Waldron, a Colfax artist who is also a lifetime team roper. “The header catches the horns of a steer and takes one or two dallies around his saddle horn. He then rides to the left so the heeler can rope both hind legs and dally his rope around the saddle horn.”

The whole process is fast (a professional team takes between four and eight seconds) and exciting, but for Waldron, it doesn’t stop there. She gets really, really excited about another element of the sport:

The rope.

“I make rope baskets from old team roping ropes,” Waldron explains. “A lot of old ropes get tossed or just piled in a barn, so I am recycling and repurposing material that often would end up in a landfill. Each basket is one complete and continuous rope. Each is free formed and hand crafted — I don’t use any molds.”

New Baskets from Old Ropes

Waldron started making the baskets 10 years ago, after seeing them in catalogs. Her first thought was one that many people have when they encounter artisan craft work:

“I figured I could make my own. Being a team roper, I had more than a few old ropes lying around.

“Well, I was wrong. I had no clue how to make them. My first attempt was horrible, but I kept at it, and now am proud of the products I turn out.” Those products are both decorative and utilitarian, ranging from planters and flower pots to kitchen utensil holders, from egg collecting baskets to ones for holding kindling, and, the largest basket yet — consisting of four ropes — a pet basket. (By the way, the ropes are 30-35 feet in length.)

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Using one rope, Waldron incorporates the handle into the finished rope basket.

From the beginning, Waldron determined to forego shortcuts, choosing not to glue but rather melt the nylon layers together using a soldering iron. Working with a hot tip has its moments — generally short — when something other than the rope gets burned.

“I have burned myself many times,” Waldron says. “One time when I was a guest speaker giving a presentation of my baskets I was asked, ‘What does the tip look like that you use?’ I was able to show the questioner a fresh burn that was exactly shaped like the hot tip. The audience all laughed, but I sure didn’t when it happened!”

Made to Be Coiled

One of the questions Waldron most frequently encounters is whether she makes square or rectangular baskets. And the answer to that is, no.

“Think about it: try coiling your garden hose in a square and see how well that works out. Ropes are coiled and are not made to be bent: they fight you the whole way.” This trait increases the challenge of shaping the final product, especially when the rope Waldron starts with is very old. Several times, people have given her ropes from their grandpa’s days. And while these ropes are unique and vintage, they were probably also used to break a horse to tie, meaning that the rope has been wrapped many times around a standing railroad tie. So, in addition to kinks is the pungent aroma of creosote.

rope baskets brightly colored western gifts nancy waldron

Brightly colored baskets by Colfax artist Nancy Waldron — each basket is hand-fashioned and is one of a kind.

It’s all part of the challenge.

Waldron markets her rope baskets at regional gift shops, and also attends fairs and festivals throughout Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. A chance meeting at the Pendleton Round-Up resulted in Waldron selling her wares through Woods Trading Company from Missouri, which sets up at larger rodeos and horse events throughout the U.S. Through this contact, Waldron achieved her dream to get her wares to the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas:

“I pretty much had no life except making baskets between September and December. But I was thrilled they made it to the NFR.”

Never a City Girl

Born and raised in Portland but never a city girl, Waldron raised her children in Pomeroy, WA, while also farming, raising and showing cattle and sheep, breeding and training Border Collies, and, of course, team roping. Often, she says, both work and play were done with rope from the saddle of a horse, and it’s only fitting that those ropes transform into an item that is both utilitarian and artistic.

“Part of my design and trademark is ending some of my baskets with a loop around the outside, almost as if the loop and hondo are catching the basket, completing the lasso image.

“My baskets are functional, but I try to maintain the authentic concept that a rope is intended to catch something.”

Wenaha GalleryNancy Waldron is the Featured Art Event from Monday, November 4, through Saturday, November 30 at Wenaha Gallery. She will be at the gallery for the Christmas Kickoff Art Show Friday, November 29, from 2 to 6 p.m. Waldron will be joined by Walla Walla photographer Nancy Richter.

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.

 

 

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Wildlife & Western Living — Paintings by Jan Fontecchio

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A horse finds itself in A Little Bit of Heaven by western and wildlife artist Jan Fontecchio of Moscow, Idaho.

Wildlife Wonder

Parents remember the oddest things about their children. And given that most adults do not recall their toddler years, we accept those memories with a gracious nod. Our own recollections often start later.

“I’ve done art since my first memory,” western and wildlife painter Jan Fontecchio says.

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Rancher, by western and wildlife painter Jan Fontecchio

“My parents say I drew a three-dimensional wedge of cheese when I was three. I don’t remember that, but my book covers at school were covered in sketches. A pencil was always in my hand, and if the teacher didn’t grab my tests quickly enough, there might be a little horse drawn in the corner of the paper.”

When Fontecchio was 10, a family friend who worked as an artist for Disney drew a horse portrait in charcoal for her. The resultant memory of this event stayed in Fontecchio’s mind and affected her life’s future plans: she went to art school.

“I think it took him two minutes or something. That little demo hooked me good!”

Western Upbringing

Raised on a horse ranch in the low deserts of California, Fontecchio spent her growing years immersed in the worlds of western wildlife. While earning a degree in fine art, she worked at California wild animal and big cat rescues, including the Wildlife Way Station, a non-profit sanctuary that for over 43 years housed, cared for and rehabilitated more than 77,000 wild animals; and the Shambala Preserve, which provides sanctuary to wild felines.

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Puma of Parowan Gap, portrait of a cougar by western and wildlife artist Jan Fontecchio

Later, while working in the craftsman department of Six Flags in Los Angeles, Fontecchio — who moved to Moscow, ID, ten years ago — befriended one of the dolphin trainers, who helped her get hired as the trainer’s partner. Every experience added to Fontecchio’s captivation with animals: their form, their thought process, their movement and grace and beauty.

A Fascination with Animals

“I became especially fascinated with the musculature of animals in stressful situations: stalking, fighting, running, etc., and in the case of dolphins, swimming and leaping.”

Fontecchio has explored this world of wildlife in a variety of mediums, beginning with baling wire, which was plentiful on the ranch where she grew up. She has sculpted in wire, clay, and blown glass. A stamped leather cover found itself on a Hollywood movie (“I wish I could remember the name of the movie, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a blockbuster or anything!”), and the first pieces she sold to her first gallery were colored ink on textured board. From there she moved to watercolor, then to pastel, and finally to oil, which she calls her dream medium.

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Summer Pasture, by western and wildlife artist Jan Fontecchio of Moscow, ID

Her studio situation is as eclectic as her experience. As the mother of four children, Fontecchio carves out a working space from what is available:

From Floor, to Washing Machine, to Studio

“I used to paint on the floor, then switched to the top of the washing machine in the laundry room.

“I did that for years until a room opened up when our two oldest moved out.”

While the space is still small (does any artist every consider the studio big enough?), it is Fontecchio’s sanctuary, filled with her collection of skulls, furs, Indian artifacts, cactus skeletons, a vintage can of her dad’s favorite beer, and the skin from the rattlesnake that Fontecchio shot in the barn when she was 15: (“It was coiled, so there are three bullet holes in it”).

Fontecchio is a member of the American Plains Artists, Women Artists of the West, and the Out West Artists. Through the latter, she has participated in Western Art Week in Great Falls, MO, the biggest art show of western and wildlife art in the U.S., revolving around the CM Russell Art Auction. Her art resides in the homes of collectors throughout the nation — including the CEO of Exxon Mobil — as well as from England to South America to Australia, with buyers from the latter especially drawn to her horse paintings. In 2016, her painting, On the Upper Pecos, juried into the prestigious London, UK, show, The Wildlife Artist of the Year Exhibition. What makes this notable event extra memorable is that it represented the very first time she applied for this particular show.

From Cheese to Western and Wildlife

Whether or not Fontecchio’s first foray into art was a three-dimensional wedge of cheese, her artistic portfolio today revolves around the western lifestyle, and the animals she loves. The subject matter is endless, and the main problem she sees is the lack of time to paint it all.

“I have so many things I want to paint. They’re stacked up in my mind and I’m always working on the comps for new work.

“I’ll never run out of things that I want to bring to life on canvas.

“That’s the reason I’ll live to be 100.”

Wenaha GalleryJan Fontecchio is the Featured Art Event from Monday, October 21, through Saturday, November 16 at Wenaha Gallery.

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.

 

 

 

bear bird wildlife scratchboard aniimals art sandra haynes

Wildlife Woman — The Artwork of Sandra Haynes

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Bear and the Bird, wildlife scratchboard art by Sandra Haynes of Heppner, OR

Wildlife Is a Way of Life for Sandra Haynes

The unusual nature of Sandra Haynes’ childhood is best evidenced by her baby blanket: a bobcat hide from an animal her mother found raiding the family hen house. As a little girl, Haynes’ first pets were domesticated, non-descented skunks (“They were pretty easy-going except in the winter when we left them to their semi-hibernation, undisturbed, as they were usually pretty cranky by then”) and a pet fox that she befriended by standing in a clearing, very still, and proffering biscuits.

By the age of four, she had learned to move slowly, talk softly, and keep her eye contact brief.

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Born Wild, colored pencil on Duralar by wildlife artist Sandra Haynes

“I was raised in Molalla, a timber town on the west side or Oregon,” the wildlife artist says.

“Being around wild animals was just part of my life as Dad and some of his brothers — all woodsmen — spent a lot of time in the heavy timber teaching me everything about the life of its inhabitants.”

Her favorite uncle, a government trapper, frequently brought an unknown animal to Sandra, then about eight. He enjoyed quizzing  her on what it could be and how it would live:

“He would ask me to tell him about it based on its fur color pattern, where it lived in the forest based on its anatomy, what it ate after examining its teeth, jaws, and claws, whether it was nocturnal, and was it likely to live mostly alone or in a group or herd.”

Later, a mountain man friend taught her how to sneak up on herds of 350 cow/calf elk pairs while remaining in their plain sight. Haynes also learned how to climb the sides of a cliff to feed apples to wild Big Horn Sheep rams.

Hunting Wildlife with a Camera

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Foxy Lady, graphite and pan pastel on Duralar by wildlife artist Sandra Haynes

Yes, it was an unusual childhood, and it’s not surprising that Sandra — who started drawing at the age of three — grew into a wildlife artist, capturing deer, elk, bears, cougar, moose and more in oil paint, pastel, graphite, watercolor, and scratchboard. Now residing in Heppner, OR, Haynes travels throughout the Pacific Northwest — especially its most remote spots — to photograph the animals she eventually turns into artwork.

“Hunting wild animals to photograph outside of animal parks is a difficult and far-from-guaranteed adventure, and is the reason why most artists who do their own photo reference gathering go to game parks or farms,” Haynes says, explaining that while she does visit animal parks, a photographer friend and she take the time now and then to go into the wild and do things the hard way. Accompanying them is Zora, Haynes’ Doberman bodyguard who more than once has kept her mistress from harm.

“One time my photographer friend and I were close to a herd of wild horses. We decided to walk to the other side of a pond when much to our surprise, the entire herd of about 12 horses decided to follow us.”

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Fire Cat, by wildlife artist Sandra Haynes

When two especially aggressive stallions sidled too close, Haynes and her friend bent to pick up rocks to chuck when Zora streaked past them and scattered the herd in a rush.

“After that, she went back to her playing without a glance at me or them. She knew she had done her job and did not expect a praise-filled fuss. But that showed me she had what it takes to protect me in any circumstances.”

Jumping into Scratchboard

Haynes’ medium of choice is scratchboard, a technique she first encountered 16 years ago when an artist friend gave her a small board and told her to get something sharp and scratch out an image.

“That was the end of my training.”

She persevered, found she loved the fine, etched lines that brought out details, and went on to enter shows and win awards with her work. A short list of shows includes the Phippen Western Art Show in Prescott, AZ; the Western Heritage Art Show in Great Falls, MT; Montana Charlie Russell Days; the Oldfield Art Show in Puyallup, WA; and the Western Art Show and Auction in Ellensburg, WA.

Haynes is a member of the International Society of Scratchboard Artists, and has published a series of scratchboard instructional books, as well as stories on her adventures as a wildlife artist.

In the Studio or Out in the Wild

It’s hard to tell where she is happiest — in the studio or out in the wild — but in both places she feels very much at home. The child who loved to draw, immersed in the world of wildlife and the woods, has grown into a mountain woman herself, one who shares, through her art and through her wisdom, the beauty of the world she knows.

“Art, to be good, only has to touch you in someway,” Haynes says. “Maybe it reminds you of someplace you have been or would like to be, or it makes you smile.

“For me, creating a piece that makes that connection is what it is all about.”

Wenaha GallerySandra Haynes is the Featured Art Event from Monday, September 23, through Saturday, October 19 at Wenaha Gallery. She will be at the gallery Saturday, October 5, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for a special Autumn Art Show, also featuring bead weaver Alison Oman and Yakima acrylic painter Paul Henderson.

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.

beaded amulet necklaces bead weaving alison oman

Beads by the Thousands — Alison Oman Weaves Magic

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A collection of beaded amulet necklaces by bead weaving artist Alison Oman

The next time you’re around a metric ruler, look at the size of a millimeter.

It’s really, really itty bitty. Jewelry seed beads of this size are problematic to pick up and work with.

Now, go out and look at a horse, which is . . . rather larger.

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Buffalo, beaded amulet necklace by bead artist Alison Oman of Clarkston, WA

Combine the two, and you have entered the world of beadweaver Alison Oman. The Clarkston artist creates what she calls tiny glass tapestries, woven drawings with beads that she fashions into bracelets and amulet bag necklaces. (This latter is a Native American “pouch” worn around the neck. It contains small treasures that ward off evil, enhance the wearer’s safety, or bring good luck.)

One of the many challenges of beadweaving, Oman explains, is fitting the detail and meaning of a much larger subject into a “canvas” of 2 x 2 inches in size.

“As an example, I have always loved horses, and have beaded many pieces featuring them. But an animal that big reduced to just a few beads must still make a statement. It needs to show freedom, grace, and intelligence!” Oman says.

“So I try to produce pieces that focus on emotions that I feel when I look at a certain animal, or remember a particular event, place or person.”

Beadweaving Design

Born and raised in London, England, Oman fell in love with the American West on a visit to Oregon in the mid 1970s. Now a U.S. citizen, she incorporates all elements of her background, travels, and experience into her designs — from childhood horse rides in the fields and parks around her London home to a mental image from the latest book she is reading.

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Iris Garden, woven beadwork bracelet by Alison Oman of Clarkston, WA

“I love to draw, so all the pieces are from my own designs,” Oman says. “I tend to shy away from most Native American designs. As a Londoner, I don’t think I can do their motifs justice!”

For the weaving, Oman works with primarily Delica beads — Japanese manufactured seed beads that are uniformly shaped to be as tall as they are wide — and incorporates a variety of beads for the finishing work and fringe: glass, silver, gold, metal, anything that catches the eye and works with the particular piece. Describing beads as “dangerously addictive,” Oman finds buying inventory a joyful and exhilarating experience.

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The Mermaid and the Seahorse, beaded amulet necklace by Alison Oman

“In London’s Piccadilly Circus, I found a small bead store with some beautiful, wooden, hand-carved creatures. Some have not yet been used, as they still have to ‘tell’ me how they want to be used.

“In Kona, Hawaii, I found beautiful glass beads forged with lava and ash to create amazing colors and designs.

“And in Ketchikan, Alaska, I walked out of a jewelry store without buying a silver mermaid, only to jog back later because I could ‘see’ this particular piece, which later became The Mermaid and the Seahorse.”

Thousands of Beads

Depending upon its finished size, each woven project incorporates from several hundred to multiple thousand beads. It can take months to complete, as the weaving is just the starting point of the process.

“Finishing, adding the neck piece, adding the fringes — this all takes time and, as I age, my eyes quit working for me after a few hours! So I bead often, but for short periods of time.”

Oman works out of a studio at the Dahmen Artisan Barn in Uniontown, WA, where she also teaches classes. Describing the studio situation as her “happy place” and one of the best gifts she has ever given herself, Oman enjoys interacting with the artistic colleagues surrounding her. They offer encouragement and criticism, are ready to share a glass of wine, and — most importantly — know how to leave each other alone when it’s time to create.

“I’ve been there for the last eight years, prior to which I worked in our family room on a desk with my back to the TV. I still use that desk, but the Barn is where I most love to work.”

Weaving Three Interests into One

Oman has shown and sold her beaded artwork in London, UK; as well as in galleries and gift shops throughout the Pacific Northwest.

She is delighted to, well, weave three longtime interests into one: animals (especially horses), drawing, and beadwork. If one is going to have an addiction in life, she feels, it ought to be a good one. And beadwork is just that:

“Thankfully, no matter how many beads I have, there’s no chance that I will ever suffer from an overdose!”

Wenaha GalleryAlison Oman is the Featured Art Event from Monday, September 9, through Saturday, October 5 at Wenaha Gallery. She will be at the gallery Saturday, October 5, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for a special Autumn Art Show, also featuring Western scratchboard artist Sandra Haynes and Yakima acrylic painter Paul Henderson.

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.

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Old, Bold, and Beautiful — Pickup Trucks by Randy Klassen

hand doodle card markers artwork jennifer schock

Doodle Art — Hand-Crafted Cards by Jennifer Schock

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Hand-doodled, one of a kind note card by Dayton artist, Jennifer Schock

Doodle Art explores the world of design and creativity

Technology changes constantly, and its siren call of something new — NOW — beckons and attracts. But the most important elements of human existence and ingenuity remain constant through time: our hands, our minds, our hearts, and our ability to create with these, using the materials around us.

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Blue doodle art on a vertical note card, by Jennifer Schock of Dayton

Jennifer Schock understands this concept. The Dayton artist is hard to pin down to one medium, because she does everything from dance to sewing, from jewelry making to her latest endeavor, creating one of a kind, hand doodle cards with “plain old fine point black markers” and fine point Sharpies in their full array of colors. She launched on this project a year ago, as a means of keeping herself busy as she, her husband, and five dogs made the move from South Carolina to the Pacific Northwest. Never one to sit on her hands, she found herself using them in the down times when there was nothing pressing to do.

“Doodling seemed the perfect occupation for these times,” Schock explains. She started with Valentine’s cards for family members, and then just kept going through the months and seasons, resulting in hundreds of one of a kind, totally hand-created cards. Later, as household items arrived in the moving vans and her vast supply of creative treasures arrived, she set up studio in a nook in a larger room, and embarked upon fashioning nostalgic collage cards as well.

“I have books, magazine, all sorts of things to peruse until one photo jumps out at me. Anything is game,” Schock says.

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Love Is in the Air, nostalgic collage card by Jennifer Schock

Doodle and Collage Cards

Because she never knows what she’ll make next — depending upon her mood Schock will doodle a card, sew a grocery bag from repurposed jeans, string beads, knot leather, or fashion wall art from old, scratched (“unplayable — promise!”) vinyl records — she collects all sorts of objects. These she stores in that small nook studio, which also houses one of the most important pieces of furniture in the house: her work table.

“It’s scratched and nicked. It was purchased by my parents when they married in 1945, and it’s the only dining table our family ever sat around. My small TV sits in a corner and is only on Channel 132, Turner Classic Movies, the only channel I really need!”

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Black and white doodle art card by Jennifer Schock of Dayton

It should not come as a surprise that Schock does not own a computer, nor desire to do so. And while she does not object to today’s technological wonders, she is concerned about how their overuse affects society, changing us in a way that is not necessarily positive. As a counteraction to digital overload, hand-crafted cards — both her doodled and collage creations  — add humanity back to the mix.

Adding Back Humanity

“We live in a text, email, social media world, our heads bent down seemingly unaware of surroundings,” Schock says.

“Maybe my cards will bring a moment of laughter, joy, gratitude, healing, tears, or reflection to the recipient.”

If she makes a statement with her art, she adds, this is it. She considers it “cool” that the people who purchase her cards make a statement of their own through the message they write within, and her art piece serves as a vehicle for love, sympathy, birthday, missing you — “plain old fashioned thoughts” from one human being to another.

“My mother was a wonderful note writer,” Schock says. “For this reason, my doodled and nostalgic cards carry her name: Winnie Cards.”

Incorporating Old with New

Humanity matters. And in every creative pursuit she, well, pursues, Schock seeks to connect what she makes or does with who people are. For years she performed and taught dance, eventually focusing on movement therapy, in which she worked with all age groups and backgrounds in a psychiatric facility. Later, she taught art to children in 4th through 8th grades. Whatever she does, wherever she is, her focus is on hands and heart, mind and human creativity.

These elements are timeless, transcending technology, trends, and technocracy. The old ways aren’t necessarily outdated, and the latest and greatest isn’t always the best. The simple note card, which seemed on its way to becoming obsolete in the light of its e-card competition, has a very real, very necessary place in the modern world.

“Isn’t it just so nice to receive something in the mail? And isn’t it even better to write a few words out and send it along?”

Yes, it is.

Wenaha GalleryJennifer Schock is the Featured Art Event from Monday, August 12, through Saturday, September 7 at Wenaha Gallery.

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.

 

 

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Plein Air Complexity — Watercolors by Jan Vogtman

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Sundance, plein air watercolor landscape painting by Jan Vogtman

Plein air painters get used to all sorts of weather. Because of the nature of their studio — outside, in the plain air — they operate without a roof over their heads. Unless, of course, they choose to bring one of their own.

“During the Paint du Nord Quick Draw competition in Duluth, MN, we painted in a huge rainstorm,” watercolor artist Jan Vogtman remembers. “The competition lasted two hours, exactly — they blow a horn to start and stop.”

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Bob’s Pond, plein air landscape painting by Jan Vogtman.

Told to paint what she saw, Vogtman took the challenge literally.

“My painting shows all the artists painting around me with colorful umbrellas.”

Another time, the Troy, ID, painter joined three plein air artist friends out in the wilderness, keeping watchful eye as a memorable storm took an hour to build up.

“When the wind and rain came, we huddled in the car, ate lunch, and had a few beers. But the storm had no intention of stopping anytime soon, so we gave it up and went home.”

Even Vogtman’s trip to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, had its moments. While the weather was grand during the Andy Evansen watercolor workshop she took there with a friend, sunny skies disappeared on the way back.

“We got stranded in Seattle during the Big Blizzard and got home two days later than planned.”

Not Just the Weather

Weather inconsistencies, however, are so much a part of plein air painting that one comes to accept them as constants. So is the issue of travel. Because landscapes do not transport themselves to the artist’s studio, it’s up to the artist to transport herself. And for Vogtman, who lives on Moscow Mountain, four miles from the nearest city of Troy (population 600), getting together with plein air artist friends for an afternoon of painting often involves significant time in the car.

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Exhibit Bee, watercolor painting by Troy, ID, artist Jan Vogtman

“Because I live rural, my travel time is normally one hour each way.”

Vogtman discovered watercolor 24 years ago while working at the University of Idaho. Side by side with students barely out of high school, she took as many university level art classes as she could while maintaining a full work load. Plein air she discovered in 2009, and since then has competed in regional plein air competitions as well as the event in Duluth. She is a member of the Palouse Watercolor Socius, the Idaho Watercolor Society headquartered in Boise, and the Northwest Watercolor Society in Seattle.

All A’s in Art, Not Math

And while art is something she was interested in from a very early age, it was not something she was able to focus on until she was an adult and had a “real career” in the business and academic worlds. That’s just the way things were when she was growing up, even though all her A’s in school were in art, and not math.

Vogtman recalls the time she entered a drawing competition sponsored by the Minneapolis Art Institute in her hometown.

“I was maybe around 12 years old — and when I saw this competition in the newspaper, I entered. I think the amount of the prize was $250, which had to be used for classes.

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Palouse Falls, watercolor painting by Troy, ID, artist Jan Vogtman

“My parents could not afford to send me then or at anytime for art education. I was told I could not collect the award.”

She went to school to become a secretary. In a career spanning 36 years, Vogtman worked up to Executive Assistant to the Vice President of Northern Europe for the Control Data Corporation in Minneapolis, and later, upon moving to Idaho, served as the Coordinator of the Executive Speaker Series, reporting to the Dean of Business and Economics at the University of Idaho. On retiring in 2000, she challenged herself to dive into the art world, returning to the passion of her childhood.

The Hobby That Became a Business

In addition to plein air, Vogtman paints in her studio, a daylight basement of her home where furry forest friends peek through the window and watch. Most recently, she has added teaching workshops to taking them herself, conducting an introductory course for 20 students at the Center for Arts and History in Lewiston, ID. She has had a studio at the Artisan Barn in Uniontown, WA; earned her merit membership with the Idaho Watercolor Society upon being juried into three annual shows; and served as treasurer of the Palouse Watercolor Socius.

What started out as a hobby has become a business. And what’s perfect about that is how the non-art experience blends and melds well with the brush work of paint.

It’s unexpected, and not something that could have been predicted when she exchanged an art scholarship for business school. Life, though, like weather for the plein air painter, is never static. The best stories — and often paintings — involve the stormy days.

Wenaha GalleryJan Vogtman is the Featured Art Event from Monday, July 29, through Saturday, August 24 at Wenaha Gallery.

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.

 

 

 

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Ceramics Dynamics — The Pottery of Kassie Smith

Ceramics Artist Teaches with Passion

By the time she was 17, ceramics artist Kassie Smith was done — absolutely DONE — with school, and wanted nothing to do with college.

So, in one of life’s unique twists, the Moscow, ID, artist found herself completing eight years of higher education, resulting in a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Studio Arts from the University of Idaho. She stayed on to work as a ceramics instructor. A short time later, she moved to Washington State University, where she joined the ceramics department there. When she isn’t at WSU, she’s the Dahmen Barn, an artisan instruction and studio co-op in Uniontown, where Smith both teaches and manages the pottery studio.

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Rocket-themed ceramic bowl, bottom view, by Kassie Smith of Moscow, ID

“I realized there was nothing I could do with my life without a degree,” Smith explains, adding that since childhood, she has always wanted to work with clay and glass art. The turning point came when she met an artist at a Baltimore gallery who created an “alcohol reduction” process similar to Raku.

“He took time to explain the process and connect with me, a 17-year-old rebellious creative soul who wanted to completely abandon academia, on a very human level. His passion was evident. After that interaction, I gave up the quest for glass art and focused solely on ceramics.

“I have kept his passion and philosophy, seeking to use my work and research as a way to connect with people, and hopefully spark a similar passion in others.”

Functional — and Beyond Functional — Ceramics Art

One of Smith’s specializations is functional pottery: she creates custom ceramics ware for local restaurants. She also focuses on female empowerment — both as a female entrepreneur and artist serving as a role model for other women, as well as with the specific subject matter she chooses.

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Smiling Teeth Mugs by Kassie Smith of Moscow, ID. The gold tooth in each features real gold.

“The content of my art often has imagery relating to the female body — either with objects that suggest a relationship or forms that allude.

“Most of my work is meant to be introspective, but recently I’ve been getting louder and more bold, getting closer to a ‘statement.'”

Although she has dug and processed her own clay — a process she calls both fun and incredibly labor and time intensive — Smith generally orders a pallet with 1,950 pounds of material. It’s cost effective. It also requires a lot of storage — in both its raw state and in the finished products.

“There’s never enough space,” Smith says, describing one of the many challenges of the ceramics lifestyle.

“Build shelves, fill shelves, need more shelves.”

The Benefit of Challenges

Finding enough space is just one challenge, or as Smith prefers to call it, life benefit. Another challenge/benefit is clay itself, because the material is a never-ending source of wonder. It adds a scientific element to the art that demands constant learning and experimentation.

“Clay is a fickle material, and all clays are different,” Smith says.  “Firing clay is an art form in itself.

“I am a super nerd for glaze chemistry. There is never enough time to run all the experiments I’d like. I could spend the rest of my life on glaze chemistry if I didn’t get tired of wearing a respirator.”

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Rocket-themed pottery mugs in red tones by Kassie Smith

Another challenge involves waiting, something every ceramics artisan spends more time doing than they’d like.

“Waiting for kilns to cool down is challenging. I want to see the things NOW!!!

“Patience . . . ”

Smith has shown her work at the Wallowa Valley Festival of the Arts in Joseph, OR, as well as at the Moscow Farmer’s Market, every Saturday from May through October.

She shuttles her work in progress between three studio spaces. One is at WSU, one at her home in Moscow, and a third at the community pottery studio at the Dahmen Barn. Logistical planning for transporting ceramics is a nightmare, she admits.

“And I break things.

“But having three studios keeps me on my toes.”

Clear as Mud

Learning, teaching, researching, experimenting, creating, even the interminable waiting. It’s all part of being a ceramic artist, well worth all the extra schooling it took to get here. Whether in classroom or studio, Smith is where she wants to be, doing exactly what she wants to do.

“There are very few things I’d rather do than be elbows deep in the mud.”

Wenaha GalleryKassie Smith is the Featured Art Event from Monday, July 15, through Saturday, August 10 at Wenaha Gallery.

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.