Updated: Mar 26, 2020

The South Haven Center for the Arts fall exhibit consists of fiber art made with materials ranging from suede to steel.

The art center’s 10th Annual Juried Exhibition features creative explorations in fiber and textile by 26 artists working in Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio.

The artworks were created using traditional materials such as silk, cashmere, suede, denim, felt, string, and Toile de Jouy, which is a type of printed calico typically used for curtains and upholstery. Visitors will also see works created using materials one wouldn’t necessarily associate with fiber, such as clay, paper, plastic, vinyl, glass, porcelain, metal leaf, copper, brass, steel, birch bark, and sticks and stones.

The artwork hints at an underlying theme of repurposing discarded materials, which are in turn woven into themes of their own. T.J. Schwartz incorporated fibers from her grandmother’s clothes to create some of the weft threads in her piece entitled “Spirit Wolf”, borne of grief and dreams of wolves––the spirits of which have come to symbolize for her “guidance through grief”.

Kelly Hanson used acrylic, clay, craft paper and string to create her piece, “Sleeping Arrangements”, which represents the history of her marriage and divorce through various sleeping arrangements her family assumed as it grew to include three children. “The black squares symbolize nighttime, the gray squares, naptimes,” said Kelly. “The square highlighted with stitching is, to me, a moment of complete happiness.”

Edwin Shelton incorporated cat litter, plastic bags and a mesh window screen into various fabrics to create “Two Spirits, Shiny Intuition”, which reflects a life-changing experience he had while teaching art in Zibo, China.

The artists have also employed a wide variety of techniques such as hand stitching and embroidery, crochet, machine quilting, applique and weaving; and various mediums including encaustic (beeswax and pigment), metalwork, drawing, painting, felting, soft sculpture, ceramics and printmaking.

South Haven artist Sheryl Drenth, a watercolorist and former art teacher, created “Self Portrait: Unfinished” using applique, a technique of applying individual pieces of fabric to a larger piece of contrasting color or texture.

“My grandmother taught me to make clothes by hand stitching and using a sewing machine and I have made other art quilts,” said Drenth. “The image shows the state of my studio. I have a painting table and a sewing table and at some point seeing all of my materials at once seemed to migrate together and stimulated the piece.”

Drenth’s artwork represents a universal theme of humans as unfinished beings, always growing and changing in some way. “I started the piece quite a while ago and I have more ideas than time to complete, so I found myself adding to it and then taking elements of the piece away. I incorporated safety pins into the self-portrait to indicate that I, as a human being, am unfinished, as is the piece.”

The exhibition was juried by mixed media artists Helen Geglio and Judy Wenig-Horswell. Geglio often uses repurposed materials and enjoys working with fibers that have passed through the hands others to create a visual connection between women, work and textiles. Horswell co-founded the Goshen Jewelers Guild in 2012 and her focus is lost wax casting of jewelry, watercolor, drawing and ceramics. She has traveled extensively overseas to gain further experience and insight into her work.

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Updated: Mar 26, 2020

“Contemporary Ancients: A FUSEDChicago Exhibition”, features the work of 24 Midwest artists working in the ancient medium of encaustic––paint and beeswax––which opens at the South Haven Center for the Arts on Saturday, August 24, 1:00-4:00 p.m.

Encaustic is an ancient method of creating art using pigmented wax fused to a surface by heat, which is then enhanced by paint. The technique dates to the ancient Greeks who used wax to seal ship hulls and pigmented the wax to decorate warships. The combination of wax and paint can then be manipulated and textured using stamps and various tools.

“The encaustic technique can be a mystery to people from the outside,” said FUSEDChicago encaustic artist Cat Crotchett. Working in the encaustic medium encompasses a combination of artistic techniques, like painting with different tools. “It’s not always perfect; the artist must respond to what happens with the paint. I respect the process, going back and doing the additive work with the pigment until my image is resolved.”

Many artists use special paint that is specially manufactured for use in encaustic art. The colors are of higher quality and more vibrant than traditional paints, such as temperas and oils. “The paint was challenging when I first started working with it,” said Crotchett. “The pigment is so pure it was almost like I had to learn how to work with color all over again.” The paint dries as soon as air hits it, so you don’t have to wait for it to dry. “The tricky thing is that you have to keep the tips of your brushes warm, so the wax doesn’t turn into a glob.” Not your proverbial ball of wax.

Encaustic art can be two- or three-dimensional; if a surface is porous it can be used. The rule of thumb to test surfaces is to apply the wax, put it in the refrigerator until the wax is completely cold, and then whack it on a hard surface. If the wax sticks to that surface then it’s porous.

“One of the goals of the art center’s exhibition committee for 2019 was to explore artistic mediums that expand upon traditional mediums like drawing, painting and sculpture, and we’ve done that with mosaic, encaustic and our fall juried exhibition, “Innovations in Fiber”,” said SHCA Director Kerry Hagy.

A brief look into FUSEDChicago

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Updated: Aug 26, 2020

On wheels or on foot, residents and visitors may encounter one of 22 ART BIKES on display around town through September 15.

The South Haven Center for the Arts invited the community to decorate bicycles for display this summer to celebrate South Haven's designation as one of the first Pure Michigan Trail Towns and draw visitors to the neighborhoods, businesses and sights of South Haven.

The bikes were part of the Fourth of July parade and are currently being auctioned on the South Haven Center for the Arts ART BIKES Album on Facebook through September 15, with proceeds benefitting the work of the art center to enrich the community through the arts.

Diana Densmore created “Summer Flew by in a Day” to express the fleetingness of the seasons. “I always feel like summer goes by too fast and I wanted to capture that feeling, so I created a bike that represents a summer morning and an autumn night,” said Densmore. The bike is a mixed media collage of paint, leaves, feather butterflies, shells, sand and foam used to make flower arrangements. “I am honored to have my bike on display at Cookies on Call. We have been in South Haven for about a year and the art center has been amazingly welcoming. Their programming has something for everyone in the family in every season, and I’m very happy to contribute to such a great organization.”

Barb and Danny Raudonis created “Mardis Gras Party Gras Bead Bike” in honor of ArtPrize artist Nicole Hondros, who unexpectedly passed away last year at the age of 38. The bike is decked out fender to fender with a carload of beads gathered by Hondros at the 2018 Mardis Gras celebration in New Orleans, which she planned to use for large-scale art projects. The artist’s friends and family started the “Nicole Bead Project" to honor Hondros and her work.

“Nicole was all about spreading smiles and joy and sparkly beads are a great representation of her personality. It’s an honor to carry out her vision and complete a large-scale art project with her beads that can be enjoyed by all,” said Danny.

Theresa Frank created “Beach Dogs”. “I was excited to participate in Art Bikes because I love to paint on different, unique surfaces. Since I have a deep love for dogs and the beach is my happy place, I thought it would be fun to combine the two,” said Frank. She sanded, primed and spray-painted the frame, hand-painted each dog with acrylics, and then clear-coated the bike to protect it from the elements. “I painted my dogs, friends' dogs, Al-Van shelter dogs and my dog friends on Instagram. The proceeds from the auction are going to the art center to fund art enrichment programs, which makes me very happy. Art is good for the soul!”

Rock N' Road of South Haven, Cycle-Re-Cycle of St. Joseph and members of the art center donated the bikes, and Rock ‘n’ Road distributed them to the community. “Art Bikes” is brought to you by the SHCA and the Art on the Town Committee, in partnership with the South Haven Visitors Bureau.

The auction is currently open on the South Haven Center for the Arts ART BIKES Album on Facebook and closes on September 15.

ART BIKE Locations

Rock 'n' Road Cycle - 315 Broadway - Kathy Kreager

Hospice at Home - 05055 Blue Star Hwy. - Cari Copi and Joan Bonnette

Phoenix Farm Market - 71001 Cty. Rd. 388 - Cari Copi

First Congregational Church - 651 Phoenix St.

Crescent Moon - 413 Phoenix St. - Nichole Gulotta

Jaqua Realtors - 513 Broadway - Michele Blackmon

Decadent Dogs - 505 Phoenix St. - Theresa Frank 

Cookies on Call - 406 Phoenix St. - Diana Densmore

Maritime Museum - 260 Dyckman Ave. - April Sisters

Captain Nemo's- 407 Phoenix St. - Jakki Fox

Shores Vacation Rentals - 408 Eagle St. - Jenna White

South Haven Area Chamber of Commerce - 606 Phillips St.

Clementine's - 500 Phoenix St.

Deboer Baumann & Co. - 610 Phoenix St. - Joan Bonnette

Six Chicks Scratch Kitchen - 364 Broadway - Danny Donuts & Barb Raudonis

Liberty Hyde Bailey Museum - 903 S. Bailey Ave. - Stella Sutton 

Ward One Community Action Committee - Elkenburg Park, 309 Elkenburg St.

Epiphany Church - 400 block of Kalamazoo St. in the courtyard - Theresa Soloma 

Community Garden - 408 Huron St. - Jennifer Cohen

Outpost Sports - 114 Dyckman Ave. - Kelly Gleeson

Tipsy Brush - 515 Williams St, - Megan Cannon

South Haven Memorial Library, Children's Section - 314 Broadway - Carol Ellenwood

See all ART BIKES and bid on the ART BIKES Facebook Page through September 15.

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