By SUE SUCHYTA
DEARBORN – Bright bursts of color dominate “The Fine Art of Craft” through Feb. 24 at the Padzieski Gallery’s current show, which is matched by the intricate skill revealed upon close inspection.
The gallery showcases work in glass, china, ceramics, wood and fiber, and features the work of the Dearborn Porcelain Artists Club, the Detroit Area Woodturners, the General Henry Dearborn Quilting Society, Henry Ford College Ceramics, Michigan Rug Artistes and the Wyandotte Art and Glass Center.
Gallery curator Sasha Corder said gallery visitors often wonder where they can go to learn how to make the art they see on display.
“This exhibition is to introduce the public to the groups keeping these traditional craft techniques alive,” she said.
Corder said a great way to learn to make crafts is from one’s peers, as well as people who practice the craft and have knowledge to share.
From a practical standpoint, she said she selected craft artists who are within easy driving distance from the gallery and who were realistically accessible to gallery visitors.
“We looked at how they operated their group meetings and who was really focused on creating a larger, inclusive community,” Corder said. “We wanted to highlight these groups that do an amazing job of welcoming new members and keeping current members active and engaged in their craft.”
She said that while the gallery has exhibited traditional crafts in the past, it has never presented them in an educational format by showing in-process pieces, design and conceptual elements and displaying the machines and tools crafters use.
Corder said the vibrant color presence throughout the exhibit occurred naturally, with the presence of multi-colored fibers and fabrics, colorful specialty wood, colored glass and eye-catching ceramic glazes.
“Artists really love to explore pushing the boundaries with their own style and color combinations, to take a traditional technique and add a modern spin to it,” she said.
Corder said the wood crafts, which are functional with flair, express creativity, emotion and color.
“Infusing these elements into things that you might never have expected to be viewed as ‘art,’ like a salad bowl or glass, is fascinating,” she said.
Corder said that while the crafters have varying degrees of technical skill, the art starts with a basic design and concept, which is then translated to a pattern or plan, which then must be meticulously created.
“The process can be transposed from woodworking, rug making to painting and every art form in between,” she said.
Corder said she hopes viewers connect personally with the crafts as well as learn some of the history connected to the traditional practices.
“I am also hoping that some of our audience get inspired to create something themselves, taking in information about the tools used and the craft history, while offering some current resources on where they can go to learn more about these crafts,” she said. “I genuinely think new art and new peer-to-peer relationships will form from this exhibit.”
Corder said the public can “Meet the Makers” from 2 to 5 p.m. Feb. 18, with live demonstrations, artists on hand to discuss their media and an opportunity to try a hands-on craft.
She said “Paczki and Padzieski,” from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Feb. 21, sponsored by the Dearborn Community Fund and the Dearborn Senior Service Division, will blend demonstrations and treats with gallery viewing. Attendees should call 313-943-2412 to register.
The gallery is open from noon to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, and noon to 4 p.m. Saturday from, with free admission, at the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center, 15801 Michigan Ave.
For more information about the Padzieski Gallery, call 313-943-2358 or go to padzieskigallery.org.