By Marcia E. Gawecki
More than 25 artists from the Idyllwild Arts Summer Program showcased a variety of works at the Opening Reception at the Parks Exhibition Center on Monday night, June 27.
The featured artwork came from instructors who are teaching workshops during Metals Week, Hot Clay, and Native American Arts Week, as well as select faculty artists and staff members. The items included jewelry, pottery, paintings, sculptures, and Indian artifacts and toys. The show ends this week.
“Everyone helped out to make this show a success,” said Christy Scott, who works at the gallery this summer. “David Wells (guest curator) came and helped us out, and so did his assistant, Ian Erickson-Kery. Kristin Coffin helped us arrange all of the jewelry. It was a group effort.”
Christy said that about 120 people showed up on Opening Night and several items were sold. Among them two female figurative sculptures by Debra Fritts, a studio artists from Georgia. Her husband, Frank Chelton, a painter/poet/teacher, was there taking pictures of her artwork, while she was teaching her figure class.
“By the Wings of the Raven,” a multiple fired stoneware of a nude woman inside a vessel. Debra’s price tag was $3,600 dollars, and it sold. “White Wing,” a larger nude female torso, sold for $3,200 dollars.
Although the facial images on Debra’s pieces looked similar, Frank said that it’s not anyone in particular.
“She’s just perfected the image over the years,” he said.
“Her work is incredible,” added Jessica Schiffman, an Idyllwild illustrator and painter, who teachers a summer class. She attended Opening Night and said that Debra’s work stood out.
Other items that sold were jewelry from Metals Week instructors, including Kristin Coffin, from Los Angeles. Last year, we featured a story on her jewelry making (see Idyllwild Me post entitled, “Metals Week at IA” on June 27, 2010). She had started to sell her jewelry on Etsy, a specialty web site for handcrafted gifts.
Since then, Kristin’s jewelry has become more specialized, making mostly wedding bands, said Jackie Ryan, her roommate in LA who is also a painting assistant in the Summer Program.
Alison Yates, from Idyllwild Arts Academy, was there looking at Kristin’s rings a couple of days after the show.
“I just love her work, and her prices are reasonable,” Alison said.
She purchased a gold band of Kristin’s for $65 dollars.
Another popular jeweler is Emma McMenamin, from the Summer Program. Her stone and glass beaded jewelry already has a signature style. One of her necklace-and-earrings ensembles was called, “Rain Forest.” Its green and gold beads and jewels was a fitting tribute to that marvel of nature in South America.
Ian read from Emma’s tag:
“It has jasper, Czech glass beads, Czech and Japanese seed beads, and gold-filled earrings,” he said. “It costs $525 dollars.”
At closer inspection, we noticed that the “Rain Forest” earrings were not identical. In fact, the styles were very different.
“That’s edgy,” exclaimed Ian.
Did Emma do that on purpose, or did she simply run out of beads?
“I thought since the necklace was asymmetrical, then the earrings needed to follow suit,” Emma said.
Although there are hundreds of beads in the necklace, Emma said that it only took her about 20 hours to make.
“I started it while watching ‘The Sound of Music,’ and it just took shape quickly,” Emma said. “It was actually one of my first tries at freeform bead weaving – a form that does not have a set pattern, but rather it takes on a life of its own.”
When a woman tried it on, it was surprisingly lightweight, even with the multitude of beads woven into it.
Emma said that she thinks her jewelry will remain in the case until the end of the summer.
Christy and Ian said that the Monday, July 4th show will focus on “Hot Clay” images.
The summer exhibition season at the Parks Exhibition Center runs from June 27 to August 20. Opening Receptions will be held on Mondays July 4, July 11, and July 18; and on Tuesdays July 26 and August 9.
For more information, call the gallery at the Parks Exhibition Center at (951) 659-2171, extension 2251, or visit www.idyllwildarts.org and click on “Summer.”
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