art

Display: BOOKBINDING by Sullivan Book Arts

This display features the steps and tools of bookbinding as practiced by Sullivan Book Arts, a bindery based out of Pittsburg, Kansas.

Olive Sullivan is obsessed with books. She is a writer as well as a bookbinder and recently opened her own Little Free Library. Her poetry collection, Wandering Bone, was published in 2017 (Meadowlark Books, Emporia). She began bookbinding with Sharen May in 2011 and is now training her own apprentice, Angel Abshire, in this art.

Sullivan Book Arts specializes in restoration, custom bookbinding, art books, and more. For more information, visit them HERE.

Bookbinding is on display inside Joplin Public Library now through November 15, 2020.

Click HERE to see a news feature about Sullivan Book Arts’ Bookbinding.

Above: Bookbinding by Sullivan Book Arts
Above: Restoration In-progrss
Bookbinding by Sullivan Book Arts

Exhibit: PLACES I HAVE BEEN by Paula Giltner

We’ve resumed art exhibits in the library!

Now through November 30, 2020 Paula Giltner’s Places I Have Been is on exhibit in The Bramlage and Willcoxon Foundation Gallery and the Local History Room inside Joplin Public Library.

Places I Have Been features watercolor and oil paintings that take viewers to Colorado, Wyoming, California, and several Missouri locations, including Joplin.

Giltner is an award-winning artist who is part of Local Color Art Gallery in Joplin, Missouri. For more information, visit HERE. Click HERE for a news feature about this exhibit.

Artist’s Statement

If only I could show paintings of all the places I have been! Although I’m someone who has had very few dreams of traveling, my life events have taken me all over the globe. I have been to 48 states in the US and to 9 foreign countries.

Watercolor was the first medium to challenge me artistically. Eventually I experimented with acrylic and finally oil. What’s my favorite? That’s like choosing between steak and lobster. It’s all good, but in different ways.

I find that local people enjoy seeing paintings of familiar places around the four states. I love to paint the landscape in all seasons along with the wildlife, domestic life and architecture. I think the world is a beautiful place and there’s no place like home.

Paula Giltner | jnpgiltner@hotmail.com

Above: “Colorado Waterfall” by Paula Giltner
Above: “California 1” by Paula Giltner
Above: Places I Have Been Exhibition
The Bramlage and Willcoxon Foundation Gallery | Joplin Public Library

Paper-Mache Earring Workshop

We’re glad to partner with local artist Kristin Girard of Kristin’s Laboratory to offer a FREE Paper-Mache Earring Workshop–and just in time for Valentine’s Day!

During this hands-on workshop participants will learn the basics of paper-mache bead making with Jill Sullivan of Post Art Library and the basics of earring making with Kristin Girard of Kristin’s Laboratory.

After getting messy with paper, glue, and paint, participants will create a complete pair of paper-mache earrings to take home along with any other paper-mache beads they make during the program.

This is a FREE workshop, though space is limited and registration is necessary. Registration is open to the public, ages 16+, and spots are filled on a first come, first serve basis. Library card NOT needed. To register, call Jill Sullivan at 417-623-7953 x1041.

Sculpture Works in Wood

“Sculpture Works in Wood,” a solo exhibition by local artist M. Justin Hale, is on display in our Bramlage and Willcoxon Foundation Gallery, our display cases, and in the Post Reading Room inside Joplin Public Library now through September 30, 2019.

Hale sees anatomical references whenever he carves. Most of his professional life has been spent working in prosthetics. Leaving the prosthetics field in 1999, he now devotes his life to his artwork.

His work is inspired by the bent and twisting forms found in remnants of trees from a long and well lived life. Finding and releasing the stored energy of the wood into a new life as sculpture is a great experience.

For more information, contact Jill Sullivan at 417-623-7953 x1041 or jhsullivan@postartlibrary.org.

Library exhibitions and displays are curated by Post Art Library. Their mission is to enrich the community of Joplin by perpetuating Dr. Winfred L. and Elizabeth C. Post’s love of art, architecture, history, and history preservation through public access to arts-related library resources and services, educational programming, events, and exhibits. Visit www.postartlibrary.org for more information.

MSSU Senior Sneak Peek

MSSU Senior Sneak Peek, an art show comprised of artworks by recent or soon-to-be recent graduates of Missouri Southern State University’s Art Department, is on display in our Local History, Genealogy, and Post Reading Room gallery. A preview of the artists’ senior shows, Sneak Peek features art by Jocelyn Lechuga, Lydia Humphreys, McKenzie Wesley, Sydney Buffington, and Jacklyn Kidd.

Welcome to the Game: Human Trafficking in America

“Welcome to the Game: Human Trafficking in America” by Neosho artist Sarah Serio is on display now through March 2019 in our Bramlage and Wilcoxon Foundation Gallery.

Serio is a printmaker creating in traditional methods of hand-carved, hand-inked, and hand-pulled works. Her work focuses on and raises awareness about the millions of people world-wide who are victims of human trafficking.

“Welcome to the Game: Human Trafficking in America” is comprised of 12 reduction block prints, each layered with ink that builds a foundation upon which a narrative of those suffering from this violent and demeaning trade is told.

“I find that often the visual imagery used to bring awareness to the sex-slave industry is sanitized, such as showing a girl with a barcode and ropes around her wrist. My work strives to bring the harsh reality of this world to light,” said Serio.

Serio is a nationally exhibiting printmaker who received degrees in Fine Art and Graphic Communication from Missouri Southern State University. Her work has been exhibited in galleries in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, and in Southwest Missouri.

A brief artist’s talk and reception will be held in the gallery on Thursday, February 21st, from 6:00pm-7:30pm.

 

Book Review: PATTERNALIA

What are you wearing? Plaid (tartan)? Paisley? How about stripes or polka dots? Perhaps a fleur-de-lis pin graces your lapel? Regardless, these motifs and patterns and more have fascinating associations and histories as told by Jude Stewart in his book Patternalia: An Unconventional History of Polka Dots, Stripes, Plaid, Camouflage, and Other Graphic Patterns.

In addition to content, the book itself is somewhat unconventional by design, both physically and stylistically. Titles found in the adult nonfiction collection tend to be large and heavy, whereas Patternalia is small and lightweight. Stylistically, Patternalia defies the typical beginning, middle, end formula for telling such stories. The text is dotted with cross-references so readers may develop an alternate storyline. It’s also embellished with quotes and bold graphics throughout.

Stewart starts us on our journey with a crash course in patterns and pattern lingo as well as an explanation of how our brains perceive “symmetry, orderliness, and simplicity”–basically, a pattern–and how we define and process this into what we see. He discusses ‘pareidolia,’ “the process of seeing imaginary forms, especially faces, in random stimuli,” such as outlets, and ‘apophenia,’ which is the perception of pattern where there is none, which may be either visual or conceptual. A conceptual example of apophenia is that of “gambler’s fallacy.”

Before we delve into particular patterns proper, we learn a bit about the history of patterns and the textile industry. The gist is that as production became increasingly industrialized, patterned textiles became cheaper, easily portable, and shareable across cultures. As patterns and patterned textiles crossed national borders, their meanings could change or evolve, such as with popular “African print” textiles. (Why? Read the book!)

As pattern and textile technology continued to advance, patterns were able to be printed directly onto textiles, which led to disposable fashions. Think Paper Caper dresses and such. Imagine wearing your clothes a few times and throwing them into the trash can rather than the laundry basket. These sorts of disposable fashions didn’t fall out of fashion until the rise of environmental consciousness. (Thank goodness for environmental consciousness!)  

But what about the patterns? I dare say we take them for granted, no doubt due to their ubiquitousness–they’re everywhere! Patterns hold histories and connotations, whether we realize it or not. Take polka dots, for example. According to Stewart, dots and spots–polka dots–gained popularity “from an extended craze for polka music” that overtook Europe in the mid-1800s. But in Medieval Europe, polka dots were reminiscent of disease and death. Specifically, syphilis, bubonic plague, measles, and more. Yet we enjoy polka dot patterns on an array of items, from notebooks to scrapbooking paper, t-shirts to bathing suits, bedding to curtains, and so on, without considering their history. Not to mention the parallel Stewart draws between dot art and activism–bravo!

Overall, Stewart’s Patternalia is as charming as it is interesting. My only criticism is that it ends rather abruptly, not unlike this review. As for the other patterns–plaid, paisley, stripes, fleur-de-lis, checkered, houndstooth, etc.–you’ll have to check it out for yourself. I leave you with this anonymous quote: “Even a small dot can stop a big sentence, but a few more dots can give a continuity…”

As always, happy reading.

Lydia Humphreys’ New Portrait Series

A few weeks ago, local artist Lydia Humphreys popped into PAL and asked if she could take a photo of me to paint my portrait for a series that she’s currently working on. Between blushing and laughing as she snapped the photo, I managed to ask her a couple of questions about the series, which she’s been releasing via social media. Perhaps what intrigues me most is that she paints each portrait in the color that she sees the person. Not their auras, necessarily, but the colors that she associates with that person. Last week, I had the fortune of meeting with Lydia to further discuss her art and this portrait series in particular.

Jill: Could you tell me a little about your background? Are you from Joplin? How long have you been involved in Joplin Arts?
Lydia: I’m from Joplin, but I’ve been involved in Joplin Arts for about two years, since I started college at MSSU. Although I’ve always drawn, painted, and taken lots of art classes, I didn’t want to do art. I wanted to become a physical therapist and work with kids with disabilities.

What changed that?
I did an internship in St. Louis and art was all around. Living in a bigger city you catch on to trends more, see the arts more, and art is everywhere. Being there helped me realize that art was a possibility, that I could do it my own way, that it was something that was attainable. I started making art in St. Louis.

Why do you do what you do? Why art?
My brain works better with art. It’s easier for me to communicate through art. I can express things that I don’t know how to verbalize.

What if what you’re trying to communicate is viewed differently by the viewer?
If the person doesn’t see what I’m going for, then I’m either not communicating it right or they aren’t the right person for it.

How do you work? Meaning do you have rituals or routine?
I always have headphones on to tune everything else out because I work mostly at school. I work alone, mostly, but sometimes with one friend.

What are some of your favorite mediums?
Mixed media, installations, everything. I’m intrigued by big installations. I did one and it was exhaustingly fun.

In addition to making art, you’ve curated exhibits. What appeals to you about curating the art of others?
I like making a space pristine with art. Something about walking into an area to see the art and not being there for anything else.

What generally inspires your work?
Right now, it’s varied. …I’m upset with issues that are interpreted wrong, like the emotions and actions of others. So I want to destigmatize. For example, I did a series about depression and anxiety.

I’d like to talk about this portrait series that you’re working on. Why depictions of people?
People make up the community. It all feels like family and I love community. It’s another way to support the community. And the act of making the art breaks the ice, helps me to get to know the individual better. I’m inspired by spending so much time with the faces, getting to know a certain type of beauty that’s often initially dismissed.

You’re painting these faces in the color that you see the person. You said not their auras, but the color that you associate with them. Could you discuss this a little more?
I assign certain colors and patterns to things so that I remember them. It’s the same for people. I’ll remember a face and a color that I’ve assigned to that face better than a name. But none of the colors have particular meanings to me. I don’t know why certain colors, it’s just what happens. It’s not always personality based. Sometimes I see the same color for someone who I like and for someone who I dislike.

Does the color come to you more easily for some people than others?
Yes. Sometimes I start one color and change to another color. I might assume a certain color, but when I go to mix it I realize it’s a different shade, hue, or value. Or more than one color. Sometimes the background is another color I associate with that person.

How have those depicted reacted to the paintings? Has anyone been surprised or disappointed about their color?
Generally, people are excited to be painted. One person did think the color I chose was weird, but others agree.

Do you know how many portraits you will paint for this series?
I don’t have a certain number in mind. The project needs to evolve somehow. I like the idea of a large amount of portraits. I want to do a lot.

I have one more question. Do you have a certain color that you associate with yourself?
Pink. Vibrant pink.

At the time of this interview (2/2/2017), there were 14 portraits in Lydia’s series, four of which are shown here. You can follow Lydia and her artwork on Facebook (Lydia Humphreys) or Instagram (lydia_humphreys).

Words with Hiram Mesa

Throughout November, the Post Art Library is showing Hiram Mesa’s The Magic Mirror, which is comprised of mixed-media artworks, screen prints, jewelry, and wonderfully cut cabochons. Earlier today, I had the opportunity to ask Hiram some questions about his art.

Jill’s questions/comments are in bold,
whereas Hiram’s are not.

You’re making a name for yourself cutting stones. Could you tell me about what drew you to pursue lapidary work?
I was traveling with some friends through Colorado and New Mexico and we stopped at a rock shop. I noticed a nice piece of turquoise jewelry on display and I thought maybe I could do something like that. So I bought a rough, unfinished stone and I started buying Rock & Gem magazine and set about teaching myself lapidary work. Eventually I joined a gem and mineral club in Joplin and started borrowing some of their equipment and cutting stones. That was about 12 years ago.

Although you do buy some stones, you prefer digging for them. Where have you dug for stones?
Colorado, mostly. I’ve been to Canada, some places in Arkansas, and New Mexico.

What’s it like to dig for stones?
It’s the most amazing thing EVER!!! When you pull something out of the ground and it’s been there forever and no one has ever seen it and the light is shining on it—it’s very, very cool… I’d rather be digging for stones than doing just about anything else.

But tell me about the process. What types of tools do you use?
It’s actually a lot of work. It’s funny, I work harder on my vacations than when I’m working. I use shovels, pry bars, picks, chisels, brushes, things like that.

How do you know where to go?
This is a tricky question. I’ve read a lot of books and field guides so I have a pretty good understanding of how to read the geology. You have to know how to read the rock itself, the geology. There’s a host rock that most of the stones form in, so you have to know how to read the host rock and it will tell you where you need to be digging. But a lot of it is intuition and luck.

Some of your mixed-media art incorporates specular hematite. Could you tell me about specular hematite and why you like to use it?
Specular hematite forms in large masses. I take two of the stones and rub them together over a piece of paper and collect the flakes to use in my art. I love stones, so I feel the need to apply stones to my art. I like specular hematite because I like the way it feels.

You’ve mentioned that you’d rather be digging for stones than anything else. So how do you turn your attention away from that to your other art forms, such as metal work, jewelry fabrication, and mixed media?
The abstract images that I envision are more easily conveyed through paper and paint. Besides, I really enjoy painting.

What are some of your favorite mediums to use in your mixed-media pieces?
Markers, watercolors, fingernail polish, and acrylics.

Aside from the art that you make, what are some of your favorite forms of art and who are some of your favorite artists?
I like photography, poetry, music, watercolor, ceramics, and most all forms of art. In regards to my favorite artists, that’s tough. I like so many art forms and artists that if I answer this question I’ll just be thinking of the most famous and that’s not fair.

Thanks, Hiram, for answering questions about your art. Is there anything you’d like to add?
Thanks, Jill.

Left: “Seascape” by Hiram Mesa
Right: “Waterfalls from the Heavens” by Hiram Mesa

The Quirky Worker

This month’s exhibit in the Post Art Library features quilled art and watercolors by one Laura Horn. When I approached Laura about an interview, I asked her if she had a title or name for her exhibit: “Howard,” she said. …This self-proclaimed quirky worker was kind enough to share her time with me by answering the following questions.

(Jill’s comments/questions are in bold;
whereas Laura’s are not.)

Tell me about what inspires your art. This exhibit is comprised of watercolors and quilled pieces. I know that you also work with polymer clay, resin, fabric, yarn and other materials. When you’re of a mind to make a piece, how do you choose what to work with? Or do you choose a medium and see where it takes you?
It varies. Sometimes I get new supplies and just want to play and create with them. Sometimes I have a particular image that comes into my mind and I want to create it in a certain way. For example, I recently bought some new molds and now I am anxious to make something out of polymer clay that I think will be quite pretty. On the other hand, I went, the other day, to Firehouse Pottery because I wanted paint and I had a specific image in mind that I wanted to put onto a piece. I guess it is kind of circular whether the idea leads to the material or the material leads to the idea.

In your artist bio (for the exhibit), you wrote that your wish is for everyone to see the importance of art. This leads me to believe that perhaps you think art lacks importance in our culture. Outside of creating art, do you have any suggestions for how this could be remedied?
I don’t necessarily think art lacks importance in the culture…more that it lacks personal accessibility. People think of art and too many think only of famous artists long dead and gone rather than their own selves. Too many think of art as something only Artists (with a capital A) do. Too many say, “I wish I could…”
I think we need to continue to make art accessible and to make it clear that everyone can create in some way. Art needs to not just be a distant museum (though, don’t get me wrong, I love museums), but also something held by each and every person.
As a society, perhaps getting away from the grade school art class mentality: “You did this right, You did this wrong.” Or “I used to like playing with clay/colouring with crayons/using sidewalk chalk…” and now you think you’re too old to do so.

Why is art important to you? 
To me personally? I am compelled to create things. Big things. Little things. Whatever they are made out of, whatever they look like… I just like to take pieces and turn them into something new.

Does your perspective change, depending on whether you are the creator or the patron? If so, how?
I suppose I can’t help but look at my own stuff differently because when I see my own art, I see the time and the thoughts behind it. When I see someone else’s, I don’t know what they made. I only know what I see. Does that make sense? The art I see and the art you see are not the same thing.

How much time do you think you put into all of the quilling that’s included in this exhibit?
I can’t even begin to calculate the number of hours that I put into the quilling part of the exhibit. Hundreds, would be my guess. For example, if I have all of my supplies laid out and am uninterrupted while working (a rare thing indeed), it takes an hour or two to make a snowflake, depending on the complexity.

Do you have a favorite among the pieces that are included in the exhibit?
It seems that most people are drawn to the quilling portion of the exhibit. My favourite of those is “Be the Change” because that was a design that completely took shape in my own head. To me, anyone who wanted to put in the time could do quilling and, for those pieces that followed a pattern, could create a piece that was essentially the same to the eye.
So, my favourites are the paintings. It is a style I enjoy and find pleasing to look at. I would say “Chaos Theory” is my favourite. “We Are Family” is also special because those are the hands of the five people in my immediate family.

Do you have a favorite medium to work with?
My favourite is whatever one I am working with at the time. It will probably be a while before I do quilling again. *smile* I have been making quite a bit of soap and also doing a fair amount of knitting. As I mentioned earlier, I am thinking it might be time to pull out the polymer clay, but I also want to sew some new clothes for Spring.

Do you have a favorite style of art or a favorite artist?
I thought about this one for a while, and I really don’t. I know, when I look at something, whether I like it or not. Whether it is a painting, a sculpture, a garden, a building, a finely crafted meal or a tattoo. Whether it has a modern feel, Renaissance or ancient… There is just so much that, in my mind, qualifies as art that I can’t really peg any one thing as a favourite.
I also recognize the difference between liking a particular piece and appreciating the skill of it.

Have you any advice for aspiring artists?
Find your passion and don’t be afraid to go for it. Create in a way that is meaningful and enjoyable to you.

Final question: You’ve homeschooled/are homeschooling three children who are now in their teens; how did/do you find time for creativity?!
You find time for the things that are important to you and prioritize.
(My house is a mess!)

Quilled Art and Watercolors (or “Howard”) by Laura Horn is on display at the Post Art Library through March 2015–be sure to stop by and say Hi! To read more about The Quirky Worker, visit http://www.postlibrary.org/?cat=8.