Annual student art show will hang in the Spiral Gallery through the end of January

ESTACADA NEWS PHOTO: EMILY LINDSTRAND - Gail Booth's mixed media piece Retraining the Mind #1: Realization explores the thought process. This is the first year Booth has entered the student art show at the Spiral Gallery.At the Spiral Gallery's student art show, age is nothing more than a number, and paintings by preschool and elementary-aged students are displayed alongside pieces from those who are already established in the working world.

"(The show is) all ages," said Jami Berry, founder of the gallery. "It's a good mix of older and younger people. (This year's show is) very diverse. It's everything you can think of."

The gallery has held a month-long student art show since it opened in 2001, with the goal of giving back to the community.

"We want to help up and coming artists, and have kids come into the gallery and be aware that we're here and that they can participate," Berry said.

This year's student art show will hang in the gallery through the end of the month.

Megan Tuthill, a junior at Estacada High School and a photographer, believes the show has helped her grow as an artist.

"There's more freedom than in school shows," she said.

Tuthill estimated that she's entered the show five times. This year, she entered a photograph of a mushroom in her backyard. As her interests in art has changed, so have her entries to the show.

"I used to do sculpture and watercolor," she said. "But I've gotten really into photography in the last few years."ESTACADA NEWS PHOTO: EMILY LINDSTRAND - Megan Tuthill stands next to her piece in the student art show at the Spiral Gallery, a photograph of a mushroom she took in her backyard. Tuthill is a junior at Estacada High School.

Carolyn Eddy, who works with clay and also is a retired horse trainer and nurse, first learned about the show while taking classes with gallery member Am Griswold. She's entered for the past six years.

"The best part is being able to put stuff where people can see it, instead of just in my house," Eddy said, describing her style as a balance between "pretty and functional."

This year, Eddy entered multiple pieces into the show, including several vases and honey pots.

"I like things that can be put on the counter and used," she explained.

Because Eddy has entered the show for several years, many gallery members have been able to see the evolution of her work.

"Every year, I walk in with a box full of stuff, and people always say 'wow, you've really gotten better," she said.

Gail Booth often works with mixed media in her day-to-day work with the crafting supply company Paper Wishes, but this year is the first time she's entered a piece in the student art show.

"(This project) is my first venture on a larger scale," she said. "I'm excited about it."

Booth, who lives in Molalla, discovered the gallery after reading about one of their monthly first Friday events. Her piece, "Retraining the Mind #1: Realization," features metal and paper to depict a head, based on an ancient phrenology chart.

"(The piece) explores the thought process and what's on your mind," she explained. "It was an adventure mixing metal with papers, but I had fun playing with it."

Part of Booth's inspiration for the piece was her variety of spiritual readings.ESTACADA NEWS PHOTO: EMILY LINDSTRAND - Carolyn Eddy has a variety of pieces in the Spiral Gallery's student art show, including this planter and honey pot.

"They're across the gambit," she said. "I'm a Christian, but I also read Buddhist and Celtic wisdom."

Booth is also inspired by other people, which is why she's interested in eventually joining the gallery once she's created more pieces.

"I'd love to connect with people here and get inspiration that way," she said. "This is a good way to get my foot in the door."

Eddy also hopes to join the gallery, thinking it's something she might do in the near future.

"I haven't been happy enough with my work until recently," she said. "But I've been hanging around there for a long time."

In the meantime, Eddy is glad to have entered the student show again and spoke highly of her fellow artists.

"There's a little bit of everything at the show," she said. "There are some real surprises. The young artists are really talented."

Tuthill encouraged any aspiring artists to consider entering the show next year.

"You get more experience, and you have a better chance of making it big," she said.

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