Art in the Gardens
Maurice Cook, whose folk art creations are in acrylic and oil, will make a return appearance as one of more than 50 artisans at Art in the Gardens, a juried show, June 13 and 14. Photos courtesy of Aldridge Gardens.
The creativity of Alabama artisans surrounded by the natural beauty of the outdoors – all of that can be yours at Aldridge Garden’s annual Art in the Gardens, June 13 and 14.
More than 3,000 visitors are expected Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., to view the work of more than 50 showcased artists for 2015, Jennifer Gowers, Aldridge Gardens art show project manager, said.
“Not only is this a beautiful setting for fine art, our artists are all based in Alabama,” she said.
According to Gowers, the art will range from watercolor and oil paintings to pottery to woodworking.
“One artist, Kennen Spivey of Vestavia, transforms railroad spikes into knives, jewelry and sculpture and will forge onsite,” Gowers said. “He is amazing.”
The show is juried and the panel includes art professors and gallery owners, Gowers said. The categories judged are clay, drawing, fiber, glass, jewelry, mixed media, paint, photography, print making, sculpture and woodworking.
This is Art in the Garden’s 13th year and Debra Riffe’s 10th to participate.
A resident of Shelby County and a graphic designer for the City of Birmingham for 16 years, Riffe’s specialty is linocuts, or linoleum block relief prints.
After sketching a design, Riffe puts carbon paper between it and linoleum to retrace it on the block for carving, which has to be done in reverse. The remainder is inked and, with her chosen material, rolled through a press.
Riffe said her subjects tend to be “anything and everything Southern” and features African-Americans performing routine tasks.
“It could be blues guitar players or a group of kids playing tug of war,” Riffe said. “I always sketch what I know and I know the community.”
Sherri Van Pelt creates kiln-formed glass and is new to Art in the Gardens this year.
A 30-year resident of Hoover, Van Pelt recently retired from her position of vice president at Glenwood Center of Autism and Behavioral Health. She devotes most of her day to shaping bowls, platters, vases, art panels and sculptures in her home studio.
The process includes handcutting glass and fusing it in her kiln at 1500 degrees F. Anything to be shaped goes back in at about 1200 degrees F so it can “slump and morph.” Some pieces are fired four and five times and finished using water-cooled tools to prevent cracking, she said.
“It’s messy, very messy. You’re going to get wet when you do this,” Van Pelt said. “But everything is on wheels in my studio in the basement where, my husband will tell you, he used to park his car.”
Art in the Gardens patrons younger than age 16 are admitted free and those over 16 are encouraged to make a five dollar donation. Visitors can view the art show but also explore the gardens and take advantage of the availability of vendor food for picnicking on the grounds, Gowers said.
“Because our fees are so affordable and we don’t take a percentage of their sales, the artists find it an excellent – and beautiful – venue,” she said. “And those who come to shop will find purchases they won’t find anywhere else.”