THE AVENUE | ART AND THEATER Eco-friendly artists hold nature-based workshops at artisans’ guild The Eco-art Making Extravaganza featured four local artists who taught attendees how to create art from natural, recyclable materials
For artists like Hannah Banciella, onion skins are more than just food scraps. When the COVID-19 pandemic started, Banciella found herself without access to UF’s art studio. Inspired by the flora in her own backyard, she began collecting fallen acorns and loquats, boiling them to create natural color for her recycled sketchbooks. In the world of eco-art, natural pigments found in vegetation are often used to make sustainable art creations. Banciella was one of four artists featured in the Artisans’ Guild’s first Eco-Art Making Extravaganza Saturday. The extravaganza went from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Artisans’ Guild Gallery, located at 224 NW 2nd Ave. Rain or shine, the event included free art demonstrations, make-and-take workshops and eco-art displays. During the event, attendees were able to participate at each artist’s station, where they workshopped a variety of eco-art activities like flower hammering, eco-printing, sewing with recycled textiles and tea tasting. According to the EcoArt Network of international artists, ecological art, also known as eco-art, is “an art practice that intends to stimulate dialogue and encourage the long-term flourishing of the social and natural environments in which we live.” Eco-artists often use nature-based materials to advocate for environmental protection. In Gainesville, eco-artists are turning their focus from toxic paints and chemically bleached papers to concentrating on natural, reusable and recyclable art materials. Banciella is a 22-year-old UF graduate with a specialization in drawing and a certificate in ceramics. Her workshop station centered around helping attendees create collage art from handmade paper and hand-dyed fabrics. In addition to sourcing all-natural materials, Banciella takes free books from local bookstores and recycles them into sketchbooks, infusing them with natural pigments. She said one of her favorite aspects of eco-art is the unpredictability of the finished products. “At first, I was trying to plan them out and give them a nice composition, but I had to let go of that and think about different textures and different layering,” Banciella said. “It felt really cool to not know what was going to happen, to not be able to control everything that I was making like how it would be with charcoal, pencil or paper.” For eco-artists, plants can do much more than provide color to their artwork. Brittany Boyer, the founder of Eco Stitch & Cycle, uses food scraps and local herbs to create textile pieces. Boyer was another artist featured at the extravaganza. The mission of Eco Stitch & Cycle is to create art and reusable products from discarded materials. Through eco-art, the company hopes to build relationships within the local community and promote environmental awareness. On Saturday, Eco Sitch & Cycle taught attendees how to make abstract textile fine art from common food scraps. Participants also learned how to make natural dyes and incorporate them into their sewing practices. When it comes to sourcing natural pigments, some eco-artists depend on floriculture, obtaining colors from the flowers they grow themselves. Wendy Free, a fifth-generation Florida gardener and founder of Ecoglyph, taught attendees how to grow and make paint from the butterfly-pea flower. The flower is known for its strong blue pigment and can be used to make tea, which attendees were able to taste at the event. “It’s an unusual color because it’s so blue,” Free said. “That’s rare in the world of plant colors. It’s also pH reactive, so in the workshop, we're going to be adding a little bit of citric acid, and it changes color depending on how much you add.” Free said the modern art industry’s inclination to use artificial paint ingredients containing copper, micro-plastics and petroleum products influenced her eco-art mindset as both an artist and art teacher. “Some of those items are really cool, and I'm glad we have them, but as an art educator for 30 years, there were things that I really didn't feel comfortable exposing myself to, and certainly not to students,” she said.
In addition to utilizing art techniques that have been around since the Stone Age, Free also tries to avoid materials that use animal ingredients such as bone charcoal for black pigment and sable fur for paintbrushes. “I’m really trying to be conscious of the impact of what I use, buy and share with others,” Free said. “It's kind of like wanting to eat fresh, local, as close to natural as possible food with little processing, shipping and no dangerous human-made chemicals.” The fourth artist at the extravaganza, Kelly Perez, is the owner of Flower Fibers and has been eco-printing since 2018. She takes plants with high amounts of tannic acid and places them between two pieces of fabric. After steaming them for about 1 hour and 30 minutes, a print of the plants appears on the fabric. Perez said the beauty of eco-printing stems from the different tones and hues that can only be derived from natural dyes. “When you look at a flower or a plant, you're not going to just see one color, you’re going to see many different colors and many different shades,” Perez said. “If you get something that's just synthetic dye, it's a very flat, one tone color.” The artists at the Eco-Art Making Extravaganza propel the goals of eco-art in their own ways. Free said seeing community members’ excitement and wonder as they tried out different activities was the highlight of the event. “We were super grateful for the enthusiastic turnout and support from our community,” Free said. “It was really fun for us to witness how art-making can be made even more inviting, accessible, and creative with an eco-friendly focus.”
Guild artist Marilyn Gray's work is featured in the Oak Hammock Gallery's 2021 Invitational Exhibit Check out the online display at https://info.us/the-art-scene/
2020- Congratulations to Nancy Betty, Candace McCaffery, Peter Senesac, and Gretchen Brooks for winning Best in Show, Third Place and Awards of Merit in the Gainesville Fine Art Association's 'The Garden' virtual show! The exhibition can be viewed online, anytime, on the GFAA website.
BALA featured in 'Narrow' magazine
Read the full article here, page 13 in the January 2020 issue.
2019- Congratulations to Kate Murray for winning Best in Show in the Gainesville Fine Art Association's 'Winter Showcase'! The show showcases the area's best work from their member artists and runs from November 26 to January 6.
MARK MORCHEL featured in 'narrow' magazine
Read the full article here, pages 18 & 19 in the 2019 December issue.
Abby Hogan's 'artistic flame' is on view at the Harn Museum Store
By Kala Parkinson, UF '21
An eclectic spirit, Abby Hogan is unashamed to live a life as colorful as the clothes she wears. “My filters are nonexistent,” she says. Growing up in a family of artists, her creative spirit has always been alive. However, it was in her thirties when she moved with her family to Africa because of Navy duty that Abby’s artistic flame was truly ignited.
Living in Africa for five years, experiencing such places as Botswana, Ivory Coast, and Nigeria, as well as spending two years in the Caribbean, left a lasting imprint on Abby’s character. She tells of how life there is slowed down, with people not so concerned about the little things. “I learned to lighten up. I changed my attitude towards life,” she says.
Among her works of art, many of which are available in the Harn’s gift shop, are textiles, handbags, dolls, baskets, notebooks, pillows, lanyards, greeting cards, and African-inspired jewelry. She implements the ‘liberated quiltmaking’ style of art into her work, in which fabrics are freely, yet deliberately created to feature crooked seams and an array of colors. “Some of my color combinations in my designs are pretty unconventional,” she admits.
As much as Abby enjoys looking at her art, she knows that she can’t keep it all to herself. “I hope my art makes people happy, because that’s what it does for me,” she says. “I want it to spark people’s imagination. I hope seeing all of these colors opens them up.”
You can check out Abby’s latest creations at the Museum Store; Tuesday-Friday, 11 am to 5 pm, Saturday, 10 am to 5 pm, and Sunday, 1 to 5 pm.
Her works range in price from $5 to $70.
Harn Museum - Art of Inquiry, March 5th to July 7th, 2019
Congratulations to Artisans' Guild members Gretchen Brooks - Fiber, and Nancy Betty - Painting. The work of these two artists were among 52 works of art selected from 378 entries in the highly juried and prestigious Art of Inquiry show. Nancy Betty's oil on panel "Portal" received an Award of Merit and Gretchen Brooks' art quilt "Connections" was the only fiber work selected to be in the exhibition.
2018 - Congratulations to Glass Artist Jacquelyne Collett who won "Best In Show" and Wood Artist Chris Tatum who won an "Award of Excellence" at the 37th Annual Downtown Festival and Art Show held December 1st and 2nd in Gainesville, Florida
2018 - Gretchen Brooks received "Best in Show" at the judged Gainesville Fine Arts Association Art Exhibit in the Gallery at Oak Hammock. Her fiber art wall hanging, "Evening Flight" was chosen from 79 works of art of all media, including painting, photography, oils, watercolors, and 3D works. The show will run from October 8, 2018 through January 5, 2019.
2018 - Congratulations to Glass artist Jacquelyne Collett who won Best in Show at the 34th Annual Art Festival at Thornebrook, held October 13th & 14th, 2018.
2018 - Ceramic Artist Cindy Barnett won an Award of Merit at the judged Gainesville Fine Arts Association, Art Exhibit in the Gallery, at Oak Hammock. Her pottery, functional white stoneware nesting bowls, has an active black glaze over sprayed with a white glaze, resulting in a glaze reminiscent of a distant universe which is different on each piece. This durable pottery is food safe, usable in the oven, dishwasher and microwave, and adds art to your daily life. .
2018 - KATE MURRAY'S POTTERY FEATURED IN NATIONAL EXHIBITION
Congratulations to Artisans' Guild Gallery member Kate Murray, whose spotted bronze window jar (pictured here) will be featured in the Market House Craft Center's Strictly Functional Pottery National exhibition in Lancaster, Pennsylvania from Sept. 21-Oct. 27.
This national juried competition selects 95-100 quality pieces of functional pottery for its annual exhibition, which is recognized as one of the top ceramic exhibitions in the country. This marks the fifth time Kate's ceramics have been accepted into the exhibition.
2016 - DIANE TONNESSEN HONORED FOR FLORIDA OAKS
Florida Oaks (Quercus Floridiana), linoleum block prints depicting the leaves and acorns of Florida’s native oak trees, created by member artist Diana Tonnessen to support the Alachua County Organization for Rural Needs (ACORN) Clinic in Brooker, Florida. The clinic provides medical and dental services to residents of rural North Central Florida regardless of their ability to pay. Exhibit and reception honoring the ACORN Clinic during the downtown ArtWalk, Friday, October 28 from 7-10 p.m.
2016 - LINDA PENCE'S WORK ON DISPLAY AT LOCAL BANK
2016 - Diana Tonnessen's work selected for CEDAR KEY art festival poster
Diana's artwork was selected to be the poster art for the "Cedar Key's 52nd Annual Fine Arts Festival". The festival is April 9 and 10th, 2016.
2012 & 2014 - MANDY MACIAS AND ANA VARELA ARE FEATURED ARTISTS IN SENIOR TIMES MAGAZINE
Gainesville Artisans' Guild Gallery 224 northwest 2nd avenue, Gainesville, Florida 32601 Phone:352-378-1383 Gallery Hours: EVERy DAY OF THE WEEK FROM 11:00 AM - 6:00 PM ALSO By Appointment: Call or Email us to schedule
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