Edgewood hosts artists in residence
The Edgewood Cottage's Artists in Residence series continues
this week as watercolorist Gale Champion exhibits her work until July 10.
On Tuesday, July 12, fabric artist Ineke Thomas will display a number of original works at the Edgewood Cottage in downtown Blowing Rock. Thomas' work will be on exhibit through Sunday, July 17, with the artist on hand at the Cottage from 1 to 4 p.m. each day.
The second annual Artists in Residence series features local artists displaying a wide range of mediums including oil, acrylic and watercolor paintings, handmade papers, pencil drawings, collages, sculpture, pottery and photography. All participating artists are members of the Blowing Rock Historical Society.
Edgewood Cottage is the historic first home of painter Elliott Daingerfield.
Ineke Thomas' art is influenced by her Dutch heritage, early life in Indonesia and travels through many parts of the world. Thomas's attraction to fiber and fabric began at age 3 or 4 in Sumatra, Indonesia, when she would be seated on the floor watching her mother's work on her sewing machine.
Her mother gave her scissors, thread, a needle and sewing scraps and encouraged her to make dolls and clothes for those dolls. Thus a journey of 20 years started that led to Thomas' quilting and her quilt based art.
Some 40 years ago, when expecting her first child, Thomas acquired her first quilt. When she came to the USA from the Netherlands in 1964, she had never seen a quilt until her mother-in-law gave her one in 1970 at her baby shower. Star struck by the handwork and the multiple fabrics, Thomas developed an instant desire to create quilts.
Traditional bed size quilts made from available patterns soon became the products of Thomas's spare time. Following step-by-step directions, after 20 some years, eventually lost its appeal, which in turn catapulted her into a realm of independent design.
For the last 10 years Thomas has produced mainly abstract "wall quilts" or an occasional traditional quilt constructed of recycled men's silk ties. Recently one of her pieces was selected for exhibition in the Halpert Biennial '11 Visual Arts Competition and Exhibition at the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts at Appalachian State University.
Thomas' daily activities always include some element of designing, creating and working with fiber.
Her embellishments include strands of silk "roping" from recycled Indian saris, twisted tubes of fabric, small pottery articles, feathers, beads, buttons, wire, dryer lint, cardboard and anything that appeals to her and augments her sense of expression. Recycling discarded materials strongly motivates her.
It is Thomas' principle to adhere all "foreign objects" to her abstract expressions with a needle, a variety of threads and very thin fibers. All fabrics are commercially available, though occasionally she alters these with paints to suit her needs. All pieces are individually cut, hand-pieced, hand-quilted or embellished for maximum texture. Her works are canvas mounted and ready to hang.
Professionally, Thomas trained as a foreign language teacher with an undergraduate degree in German and a master's degree in French. She has taught over the last 40 years and still occasionally substitutes in schools systems across North Carolina.
She is an avid gardener and enjoys cooking. She and her husband have two daughters and four grandchildren and will soon celebrate 45 years of marriage. Twenty-five of those years have been in Blowing Rock.
The Edgewood Cottage's next artist in residency is painter Ted Eikman, from July 19-24. Primarily a plein air oil painter, he finds inspiration in everyday scenes, as well as in majestic natural formations.
"Most people just don't take the time to really look at the subtleties of nature," Eikman said. "The artist brings attention to the small beauties many of us overlook."
Most of Eikman's paintings are views of nature and landscapes. The view through his window in Huckleberry Knob is always available for reference when he is mixing colors for the myriad natural greens his work requires. Even as a child growing up in rural Indiana, Eikman learned his appreciation of nature close-up. The woods behind his home were full of moving water, plants and mosses at which he could observe at leisure.
In St. Petersburg, Fla., he taught art classes ranging from jewelry and ceramics to drawing and painting. After experimenting with these media, he settled upon painting as his medium of choice.
"Painting can be done anywhere and does not require a lot of equipment," Eikman said. "It can be done at any age, and your arms don't wear out."
Eikman's art has been influenced by the plein air movement and the Hudson River School, as well as by impressionism. Two local artists who have offered him guidance are Egidio Antonaccio and the late Richard Evans Younger, a world-renowned wildlife artist.