Arkansas Craft Guild Welcomes New Members
Six new members were welcomed into the Arkansas Craft Guild. Two jewelers – Melissa Orsini and Leanne Wingrove, two potters – Alexis Barber and Lisa Crews, a painter and sculptor who creates gourd art, Gail Kyzar, and a seamstress of children’s clothes and accessories using organic cotton, Nora Hinton. The Guild was incorporated in 1962 as a for-profit cooperative to market quality handicrafts, and to further develop the skills of these artisans, now headquartered in Mountain View at the Arkansas Craft Gallery. Jurying took place at the 40th Annual Christmas Showcase at the State Fairgrounds in Little Rock, Nov. 30-Dec. 2, 2018.
Melissa Orsini, Little Rock, has been creating jewelry since childhood, beginning by stringing beads, which carried over to today’s art, precious and semi-precious stones set and woven into the pieces. Influenced heavily by jewelry of the East, her pieces have an old world feel. Teaching at the Arkansas Arts Center Museum School in the jewelry and small metals department, she specializes in Metal Clay and Fiber Arts. Metal Clay starts in a pliable raw state then transforms in a kiln to a solid metal. Creating in this art form since 2010, she uses bronze, sterling, fine silver and gold, including black oxidation and the art of Keum-Boo. She is both on facebook and etsy, and at the Arkansas Arts Center Museum shop. She also has taught at the Arkansas Craft School, Mountain View.
Leanne Wingrove, In The Grove, Eureka Springs, the “Silver Goddess,” has been making one of a kind silver and gemstone jewelry for 25 years. Each piece is energized and balanced, stones are hand-cut and polished. Except for small beads, she makes her own chains, clasps, and findings. In The Grove is on facebook. A mother-daughter pair shared a booth at Showcase. Leanne’s daughter, Nora Hinton, Maple’s Organics, Wesley, AR sews kids’ clothing, blankets, washable wipes, bibs, cloth books, and more from organic cotton, using her own patterns.
Alexis Barber, Cross Plains Pottery, Russellville, aims to make functional dinnerware and unique pieces to make a cook’s life easier, emphasizing the beauty of her glazes. She received a BA in Fine Arts from Arkansas Tech University. Alexis says, “Clay holds the most creative potential of any material I have ever encountered. I love the freedom and accomplishment that I feel when throwing pots.” She is inspired by pottery. “I think God lets the potter share in a shadow of the creation process. We are centered, our hearts are opened, we are pushed, pulled, shaped, and put through trials and fires. The creation that results, for pottery and people both, is always worth the trouble. I am honored and reminded daily about my constant dependence on God. Every pot I make is my own testimony in physical form.” She participates at Artisans Market on the Square in Mountain View, and has a facebook page and an etsy shop.
Lisa Crews, WoodRidge Studio, Fayetteville has been making pots since age 14. She took pottery at Arkansas State University, with Graduate studies in Ceramics and Sculpture at the University of Delaware. She worked with an archaeologist in the Southeast reproducing Native pots using traditional techniques – including hand building and pit firing. She has created works for museum displays and historic sites, and also made pieces to be used in historic interpretations by living historians. Lisa recreates Mississippian era Native American pottery, and French Faience and blue and white English Delftware from the 1600s and 1700s. Exploring these past pottery styles has carried over into her line of original contemporary work, inspired by nature and quirks of human nature. Lisa is artist-in-residence at Terra Studios, Fayetteville. A Nov. 18, 2018 ArkansasOnline article titled “Adventures in Art,” described the educational activities at Terra Studios. Lisa’s historical pottery is pictured at the website for the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Arkansas State Committee, as well as History Meets the Arts, an upcoming show April 12 -13, in Gettysburg, PA. WoodRidge Studio and Terra Studios are on facebook, and Lisa also has The Flying Mermaid page on facebook for her original pottery.
Gail D. Kyzar, self-taught artist, with her husband Barney of Marion, started Hardin Gourds, where they grow 8 varieties of gourds. She seeks to turn her gourds into fine art. Her gourd creations are fanciful sculptural characters as well as large and small decorated vessels. She says, “I combine drawing, painting, carving, and wood burning on the gourds. Recently I incorporated polymer clay into some of my pieces.” She is a member of the American Gourd Society, and an award winner at the Missouri Show Me Gourd Show 2017. Hardin Gourds and Art by Gail Kyzar are on facebook.
The next deadline to submit 5 items to be juried for membership in the Arkansas Craft Guild is April 5. Applications can be requested by emailing email@example.com or can be downloaded at the Guild’s website, arkansascraftguild.org.
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Cathy Drew is a lifelong resident of the region that she loves to promote. As a matter of fact, she was born in downtown Batesville in the late ’60s, which is in one of the eight counties she now enjoys encouraging people to visit.
Jeff Drew is her husband of almost 29 years. They have a son, Jonathon (Jon) Drew, his wife Devyn Stewart. Drew is also grandmother to Jon and Devyn’ s son, Jase Drew.
However, Drew can’t skip the other part of her family: the pets! Lady Bird (a stray dog welcomed into their home in June 2012) and of course, Howard – – a puppy compliments of Lady Bird shortly after arriving at the Drew home. They also have Kasha whom Drew inherited when her mother passed in 2016, and they adopted Bullet, a stray in November of 2016.
Drew, became associated with the Ozark Gateway Region in 1990 while working at the ad agency (The Media Market Inc.). The agency handled marketing for the regional association where she along with her co-workers produced an annual tabloid publication. She began work as the director of the Ozark Gateway Region In June 2000.
After Drew became director, she took the region to the next level by helping the tourism organization create a new website and moved it from the old newspaper paper tabloid publication to a color magazine format.
Over the years Drew has helped the organization meet new marketing goals, such as in- and out-of-state marketing, assuring that all 105,000 copies of their magazines are distributed each year.
Drew also helped the region create a heritage trail map that is still on posters in many establishments across the region and Arkansas. She oversaw development of a motorcycle route map that folds into a credit card format for riders, as well as those seeking scenic routes to enjoy the beautiful Ozark Mountains.
She has attended several AARP Shows across the U.S., representing Arkansas. She helped open a visitor center for the Ozark Gateway, allowing visitors to pick up information from across the entire state 24/7.
In 2016, she assisted creating the first Ozark Gateway Region Golf Classic and the tournament continues to grow each year, allowing the organization to grow its co-op program, helping each county have dedicated promotion. Drew stays busy at Ozark Gateway as the ad sales manager, magazine editor, day-to-day office operations, trade show representative, as well as magazine distribution representative all while making sure that the region is represented all over Arkansas and southern Missouri.
Drew has been featured in several local and statewide publications over the years as well as the 1997 cover of the Ozark Gateway Region tabloid along with her then 4-year-old son, Jon. She has received several awards such as the Batesville Rotarian of the Year in 2010 as well as a three-time Paul Harris Fellow.
She also has served as an Independence County election commissioner for several years and now serves as their co-election coordinator, helping with behind-the-scenes management of voting equipment, day-to-day election deadlines as well as poll worker training.
Drew serves on the Arkansas Travel Council Board of Directors, Ozark Foothills Film Fest Board of Directors, Batesville Rotary Club Past President and is the Rotary Clubs current publicity chair.
In March of 2018, Drew was honored with induction into the Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame for her many years of dedicated service to the tourism industry.