Draw Inspiration in your life in 2019

Many people begin the new year with resolutions, but few make a plan to be successful with those resolutions. There are many tools that can be of use when trying to reach a goal such as an accountability partner, scheduled reminders from our technological devices, or, if you lean toward OCD/ ADD tendencies like me, a hand-made weekly rotating color-coded magnetic calendar. (It works!)

But maybe there is another tool that you haven’t considered yet – the creative process. Getting creative helps us to check in with ourselves openly and honestly to take stock of where we’re at. Ask any artist and they’ll tell you that it’s difficult to separate the artist from his/her art. It tells us what we need to hear, which is helpful because so many of us are used to ignoring ourselves. We can’t ignore our art because it stares us in the face and forces us to come to grips with the reality of where we are. Some might be tempted to believe that introspection is not valuable. But if you don’t know where you start, how can you know you are even on the path to your goal? It’s no secret that many people drop their resolutions by the time January is over. But if you have a goal, maybe try incorporating creativity as a tool to help you reach your goal.

Some might not know where to begin when getting creative. The local Barron Park House Gallery is a great place to start. It’s located on the river in Barron Park at 471 N. Lee St. This month there are two classes offered to the public to help you get in touch with your creative side. The first is a watercolor class with Penny Fox on January 18 and 19 from 1:00-4:00 p.m. The cost is $20 for members of the Arts of the Inland and $25 to everyone else. Visit our facebook page for more info or call Penny Fox at 239-292-7105. Also we have an Abstract Art workshop on January 26 from 1:00-3:00 p.m. for all skill levels designed to help you loosen up in your artistic practice and try new things. Find out more information by calling 239-240-2656, at www.heatheryish.com, or the @heatheryish Facebook page. Just visiting the gallery will also inspire you to get creative because the art displayed there is truly amazing. It’s open every Thursday – Sunday from 12:00-5:00 p.m.

You don’t have to look too far to be inspired to get creative. The artists at the gallery themselves usually create pieces based on the nature that surrounds them or even their own family. The artist of the month at the gallery, Sydney Roper, works in ceramics, and she has been inspired to work with clay ever since her family and community encouraged her while she living as a girl according to her biography submitted to the gallery.

(Submitted photo) Sydney Roper at work in her studio.

“Sydney is a self described maker, feeling a compulsion to create. From a young age she has been drawn to the arts, it was a passion that was encouraged by her family. Sydney recalls finding local clay while living in the West Indies and talking with local potters while she was still under the age of ten. As a small child she attempted to use a small record player as a pottery wheel. Sydney took her first ceramics course twenty-six years ago and has not looked back. Working with clay felt second nature, fluid, and an organic experience of expression. Despite earning the required college credit hours to gain a degree in Fine Arts in addition to her bachelor’s degree in Education, she declined because she did not wish to display her work. The process of sharing something so deeply personal was a struggle.

She is a wife and mother to six children. Sydney works in a variety of media; fiber arts, oils, printmaking, however her passion has always been clay. Her work is representative of the the conflict of the natural and inorganic, the playful and stern, the dichotomy that is present in daily life. Her early work was primarily hand building (slab, coil, pinch) non functional pieces. After the birth of her first child she could no longer attend the cooperative ceramic artist studio she shared. Sydney missed getting her hands dirty and working with clay. She and her family relocated to Labelle. Her husband found a used kiln and wheel and she began the process of communicating with clay once again. Presently she works on both functional and nonfunctional work but would not consider herself a “production potter” in the traditional sense. While some functional pieces may be repeated they are never identical, there is a simple beauty in the handmade that she does not want her work to be void of the human touch that created it. Her work now explores wheel thrown pieces, slab, coil, pinch, altered-wheel thrown, and sculptural pieces that range from rustic organic beauty of form to a whimsical play.

Sydney is the artist and owner of Muse Pottery (www.musepotterylabelle.com) selling work locally and online.”

Come visit Sydney Roper’s amazing pieces at the gallery, and please submit anything about LaBelle’s Arts and Culture that you’d like to spotlight at heatheryish@gmail.com. Best wishes for a creative 2019!

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