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The Gallery

Come browse our extensive gallery of local arts and crafts by members of the East Alabama Artists Association. Enjoy award winning photography, exquisite jewelry, beautiful gourds, pottery in all shapes and sizes, and eye-catching oils, watercolors, and acrylics. 

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Artist carves her niche in gourds
Saturday, July 5, 2014
By Madasyn Czebiniak
Special to The Star - The Anniston Star

Soggy, moldy, smelly.
Those are the words most people use when they see a gourd. Peggy Mayo, on the other hand, sees a canvas.
The award-winning gourd artist didn’t always feel that way, she admitted. The first time she was asked to paint a gourd, she wasn’t really feeling it.

“My sisters and I used to get together on Tuesday nights and do art. One night, my sister Sandra said, ‘We’re going to paint a gourd,’ and I thought, ‘I do not want to paint a GOURD!’” Mayo remembered, chuckling.

Now it’s hard to catch her without one, said her husband, Howard. Mayo has been a gourd artist for more than 12 years. (Now that he’s retired, she’s even convinced Howard to get in on the act. He won a blue ribbon at a gourd show for a powder-blue windmill he crafted out of gourds.)

Mayo learned about gourd art when she and her sisters attended a craft show in Bell Buckle, Tenn.

“What really got me into it was seeing all the different things you can make with gourds. I mean, they make everything,” she said.

So does Mayo. Her workshop is filled with gourd vases, hanging gourd lanterns and stands filled with gourd wind chimes. One gourd is painted to look like a red-and-yellow gas pump, another to look like a Sprite bottle. “It looked like a bottle so I painted it that way,” Mayo said. “I just look at something and I feel sometimes it just tells you what it ought to be.”

Mayo’s gourd art isn’t just painting. It’s also wood-burning and carving. Her work combines texture, sculpture and even pine-needle weaving. After seeing handwoven pine-needle baskets at an art show, Mayo decided to use pine needles to make tops for some of her gourds.

Art shows and nature are where she turns for inspiration. Her favorite piece is a mustard-yellow gourd vase embellished with carved leaves.
“I love everything carved with leaves,” Mayo said, holding the vase gently in her lap. “Plus, it still looks like a gourd.”

Making gourd art starts from the ground up — literally. The process takes about 120 days, starting with growing the gourds, which the Mayos do in their backyard. After they’re harvested, the gourds are left to dry for about six months. “We leave them on the edge of the woods on pallets to let them dry out,” Mayo said.

“In May or June, they’re finally dry enough for her to wipe the slime off of them,” Howard chimed in.

Mayo scoops out the insides and scrapes the gourd walls smooth using a sweat scraper — a flat plastic blade more often used to scrape sweat off of horses. It was a gift from her son.

Mayo bent down and gently rapped her knuckles against a dried gourd.

“When they’re done, they look like wood,” she said.

Once the gourds are clean, she can finally set to work. Some of her creations have taken her as long as seven hours to finish.
“Easy hands make heavy hearts,” she said.

This story originally appeared in Northeast Alabama Living magazine.

WHERE TO BUY
Peggy Mayo's decorated gourds are available at Noble Gallery,
1014 Noble St., Anniston, AL  256-237-5921


 
 
 

Down Art Avenue: Art exhibit at Nunnally’s Noble Street Framing & Art Gallery
Tuesday, June 3, 2014
By Hervey Folsom
The Anniston Star

One thing for sure, this exhibit will make an art lover out of anyone. The East Alabama Artists, Inc.  is currently displaying an exhibit at Nunnally’s Noble Street Framing & Art Gallery  at 1014 Noble Street.  The show has a special charm in every imaginable way and newcomers to visual art and experienced artists alike will find themselves in lush, colorful surroundings once inside. The featured display is Sarah Cavender’s Metalworks. About 13 Jacksonville artists have work there, too  and it’s interesting to see their personal achievements; these are, after all, performances with pen, brush and lens and the variety of mediums used make the display even more worth the viewing. 

The event of seeing this assortment of works can be summed up by repeating  one of Marsha Nelson’s water colors: “A Place for Reflection”.

Nelson, a self-taught artist, has enjoyed art all of her life.  Last year, she was awarded Signature Membership in the Watercolor Society of Alabama. It’s been rewarding to her, she says, to have received recognition for several of her paintings juried into the WSA exhibits.
Betty Mills Groover has also loved art and thought of herself as an artist for her entire life so far. Her style is abstract landscapes and color is the single most important element to her in her paintings. “How Green is My Valley” is one of her large scale works in the gallery. Now retired, Groover works in her studio and garden. 

Max Norton’s works are also large, but his communication with viewers results from a different journey.  The Jacksonville native, an abstract expressionist, has exhibited in New York, Los Angeles, Mexico City, and Anniston.  Some of his paintings are on permanent exhibit in Classic II restaurant on Noble Street.  Landon Shirey’s abstract is placed  above the couch on the second floor of Nunnally’s , a retreat of sorts, and his painting to this viewer, brings to mind a city scene  seen from a river’s opposite shore.

A bit of history goes along with Sara Rutledge’s calligraphy. This form is described in reference books. It is “the art of elegant writing”. It dates back to the Middle Ages when monks wrote texts in books before the advent of the printing press. Calligraphy survived after this after the reintroduction of the flat-edged pen. The writing in this style is popular today for addressing wedding invitations and poems to be framed.

For Rutledge, working at Anniston Army Depot after graduation at University of Alabama was a very significant training ground, she said, because her work there was in printing and illustrating for brochures and publications—on deadline. 
Artistic penmanship is especially appreciated in this age of technology. Diane Cadwallader echoes this feeling in conversation about the abundance of design available today.  “People really like the hand-made touch,” the retired JSU instructor commented.  She is known for her color pencil works and has recently become a self-taught print maker.

Jauneth Skinner also creates prints.  She is also a graphic artist known for her drawings, portraits, hand-pulled prints, and illustrated journals. Her works have been shown in more than 135 exhibitions in six different countries including The National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington D.C. and in  the Smithsonian National Museum of Art Print collection. She currently teaches printmaking in the JSU Art Department.

Craftspeople in the display include Meredith Aderholdt, a furniture maker, and Robiin Hopkins, who creates pearl jewelry. Hopkins has a full display in the gallery with freshwater, Tahitian, and Golden South Sea pearls strung on a high grade leather. Her company is Norman Christina Jewelry.

Anita Stewart is known for her photography but in this display she has made book assemblages.  Pete Bernstein, a retired Spanish teacher, has painted a grist mill scene with colorful flora and now enjoys art full time.

Handmade greeting cards have been defined as “a hug with a fold in the middle” according to artist Fran Kennedy who does decorative cards. She teaches card making and scrapbooking in her Piedmont craft house and has done card ministries for three churches in the past. Her students also learn techniques for making small gifts for senior citizens.  “It’s the little touches in gifts that people really like,” said Kennedy.

The exhibit is on through June 30. Everyone is invited to come in and browse.

Our popular Gallery Opening Receptions, catered by a local restaurant,
are held each quarter and introduce new art and a feature artist. Sign up to receive an invitation for the next one.


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