Sticks & Stones II: Nature Finds

Sticks & Stones II: Nature Finds

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An exhibit of varied works from Mary Carroll, Sharon McCartney, Bobbie Salthouse, and Andrea Zax. These four local artists celebrate the common themes that flows through their art.

Seven years ago, several artists formed a group to share work, ideas, and inspirations. Each was looking for creative community, for a way to temper the isolation of working independently.

Initially, their work seemed to have little in common. The artists have diverse styles, differing approaches, and a use wide variety of mediums and materials. Paints, textiles, hard components; small intimate pieces, large canvases, wearable art, public installations. Despite these differences, they share a dedication to creating art and an eagerness to share thoughts and ideas.

They soon learned they had much in common. All had relocated to the Pioneer Valley to embrace its slower pace and natural beauty. They share a deep appreciation for nature, which is strongly reflected in their art;  similarities in subject, surface textures, and the use of found objects in nature inspires, enriches, and connects their work. They continue to influence and inspire each other along this common path.

The intent of first Sticks & Stones show at Hope & Feathers in 2014 was to reflect the similarities found amongst their work. The concept has since developed deeper meaning for the impact they have had on each other, and the strong bond between them and their works.

This new body of work celebrates the ways that objects found in nature feature in the content, materials, and intent in their art. Viewers will enjoy the way the art works together yet still represents them as individual artists. Also on display is a large, compelling group piece: "Foundlings"; a collection of numerous small and precious pieces using found objects.

An opening reception will be held on Thursday, July 6th, in conjunction with Amherst Arts Night Out, from 5pm to 8pm.

About the Artists:

Mary Carroll: Terra Cotta Ceramics
Mary has been making pots all of her adult life. Most recently she has been exploring low-fire terra cotta; she loves the warmth of the red clay. She alters the surface of her pieces with textural objects she finds in the natural world and adds color with tinted clay slip. Terra Sigillata slip (the literal meaning is “sealed earth”) was used by ancient Romans instead of a glaze to finish ceramic work. The ultrafine slip burnishes to a lovely satin finish that begs to be touched.

Sharon McCartney: Textile Constructions
Sharon's work is about collecting and a life-long passion for objects found in the natural world, her source of sanctuary, wonder, and personal rhythm. Birds, wildflowers and insects rendered in extensive detail, are set within layered histories of surface pattern. They have become personal icons, representing themes of vulnerability, transformation, and survival. Integral to her work is the use of layering and collage. Images are embellished with stitching and personal “text” markings.  These elements reflect encounters with the natural world where with collected views and flashes of details pass through our senses and form our experiences.

Bobbie Salthouse: Mixed Media / Assemblages
Bobbie is fascinated by cast off objects from beaches, forest floors, boatyards and other places she might pass by chance. These objects often find their way into her work, either by suggestion, or by their physical presence. She never knows precisely what’s going to happen when she starts creating and she enjoys the process of experimenting with combinations of color, texture and form. If she's lucky she has something she's happy with at the end of the process.

Andrea Zax: Weavings
Andrea loves the whole process of weaving. She's always felt the relationship to life with weaving, the way we have to move on and make space for the new experiences in our lives. She learned how to weave at the Worcester Craft Center when she was 15. Along with her weaving she has worked in theater doing costume design and all facets of costuming. She has a studio at Cottage Street Studios in Easthampton where she weaves and has a bridal business. Andrea has her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Massachusetts College of Art and Design, but she has been designing costumes and clothes since she got her first Barbie Doll.