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Southeast artists shine, on blustery weekend

by: DAVID F. ASHTON - From large objects to tiny ones, artist Nancie Mann produces colorful fused glass art. The weather could have been less blustery for the annual Southeast Area ARTwalk on March 1st and 2nd this year – but four of the artists visited by THE BEE that weekend said that those squalls of near-freezing wind-blown rain didn’t dampen the spirits of many folks who braved the weather to meet the local artists and see their work.

Meet three artists, and the event’s originator, on THE BEE’s tour of the 2014 Southeast Area ARTwalk....

Artist: Nancie Mann

Location: S.E. Franklin Street

Medium: Fused Glass

Company: Red Thread Functional Fused Glass

Contact: HYPERLINK "mailto:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it." This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Now retired from a career as a Special Education teacher, Nancie Mann continues her life-long enjoyment of creative pursuits. “I’ve done art projects since I was a little bitty kid. I’ve always loved art.”

Describing her style as “pretty eclectic, with a lot of whimsy thrown in”, Mann told THE BEE she loves best the medium of glass. “I like the way light works with it; and I also like that one can create many different things with it. It’s magic!”

All of her works start out with a sheet of glass, Mann explained. “I cut it up pieces to make the design, and then fire it in a kiln.”

Thus, in her hands, pieces of glass become artwork, ranging in size from jewelry to serving trays.

Artist: Matthew Reineck

Location: S.E. Tibbetts Street

Medium: Wood

Company: Half Iron Design

Contact: HYPERLINK "http://www.halfirondesign.com" www.halfirondesign.com

It seems that craftsman Matthew Reineck simply can’t spend enough time designing and creating items made of wood.

When he was in high school Reineck learned woodworking from his grandfather, he said. “I enjoyed it a lot; and it led to getting a degree in Industrial Design. I love continuing to work in wood.”

By day, Reineck works at OMSI’s Exhibit Shop, performing Computer Aided Design of new exhibits, and operating a computer-driven precision woodcutting machine.

“But, when I come home, I create furniture, and electric guitars and ukuleles.”

The beautifully crafted furniture Reineck designs and builds has clean modern lines, and is as functional as it is handsome.

“I'm not a musician,” Reineck admitted. “But what I really like about creating guitars is that each one is a piece of art, in and of itself. And, it gives other artists the ability to create art through music. I really enjoy building a ‘tool’ for another artist.”

Artist: Adrienne Stacey

Location: S.E. Brooklyn Street

Medium: High Fired Pottery

Company: Adrienne Stacey Pottery

Contact: HYPERLINK "http://www.AdrienneStaceyPottery.com" www.AdrienneStaceyPottery.com

Unlike some people who come to fine arts as an adult, for Adrienne Stacey her journey started much earlier. “I decided that I would be a potter when I was 12 years old, in junior high. Now, as an adult, I see how important arts in the school truly are.”

Not only is Stacey a potter, specializing in high-fired stoneware and porcelain, but she also creates her own designs, and make her own glazes. Her home’s patio is filled with a large kiln for firing pottery.

Although she works at it full time, “It's almost impossible to earn a living with this type of thing. Before an art show, it’s more than a full-time job,” Stacey said.

“I also teach classes here at my studio, and have seven students,” she added. “It ‘takes a community’ to do pottery – to run this place. On days we fire the big kiln outside, we also clean the studio, have a big potluck, and a little bit of wine – it’s been a wonderful exchange of skills and support.”

Artist: Rin Carroll Jackson

Location: S.E. Brooklyn Street

Media: Locally made batik, mixed media, prints and illustrations

Company: Art Endeavors and Sleeping Bee Studio

Contact: HYPERLINK "http://www.rinzart.com" www.rinzart.com

Some people call Rin Carroll Jackson the “Mother of the Southeasst Area ARTwalk”.

“I initiated a group of people who I’d hoped would be interested in showing off artists in the area,” Jackson told THE BEE at her home studio. “I never expected that it would grow into the event it’s become. So yes, I was kind of a founder that way – but it definitely took a community of people to get off the ground.”

It kicked off with a bang in 2004 with more than 50 artists, and continued every year on the first weekend of March, and this year featured more than 70 artists showing their work in the ARTwalk.

“I felt like artists really need to be represented in their own creative zone – not necessarily in a gallery or in a public exhibition,” she said. “I wanted it to be in a space where the artists can totally express themselves, not necessarily be in a juried show. I wanted an event that showed a creative aspect of the community which, many times, gets overlooked.”

About her own art, Jackson was also an “early bloomer”, she said. “About seven years old, I began drawing, and I seemed to have an eye for it, a knack for it. I kept developing it.”

Currently Jackson produces wearable textile art using the batik process. Unlike silk screening, the images saturate completely through the cloth. She also has a line of hand-drawn greeting and social cards, printed on recycled paper, using soy ink.

Jackson thanked her 2014 Southeast Area ARTWalk Board members Terry Batte and Kim Brown, and the dozen artists and supporters who helped this year’s event be successful.