By Barbara King
The end of summer is calling, and it’s getting harder and harder to find fun and creative ways to keep the kids entertained.
Piddlin’ Pottery is the place in town to have fun, share some special moments, and make memories to display in your home or office.
The studio itself is a myriad of color, with large work tables and walls and walls of pottery pieces. You can walk in, make your selection of a pottery item with a huge selection from animals to figurines, banks, and picture frames.
The studio is a hidden jewel in itself, tucked back in the corner of the plaza, with the shelves of pottery on display in the huge front windows.
Then there’s the color wall, where you can plan your piece using unique variations including “wine about it,” “carrot top,” “cutie pie coral,” “butter me up,” and scads more.
Pottery pieces range in price from $6-$75, and the atmosphere in the studio is laid back, fun, and at all times creative.
Owner Dianne Tiller says, “We support creativity and want to help you achieve your vision, and we can guide you through the process to make that happen.” No special skills are required, just the desire to make your own art!
Dianne’s love of pottery came from summers shared with her grandmother in Oklahoma, where “all we did all summer was create pottery pieces. It’s kind of my family history, and what I love.”
Painting pottery is just one step in the process as the pieces are glazed, then fired in the huge kilns in the back room, so normally guests can pick up their pieces about a week to ten days after they come in to create.
Walk- ins are always welcome, but there are lots of other opportunities to express yourself through artist-led classes. It’s also the perfect place to have a bridal shower, team-building pottery session, or to bond with the grandkids. You can bring your own treats (including your own wine!)
“We have a lot of healthcare professionals who come in, kind of like stress relief therapy,” says Teller. “It’s a great tactile calming experience that can be very beneficial.” The studio has also hosted pottery events for local schools and nonprofits.
Birthday parties are also big at Piddlin’ Pottery, and you can take your pick of packages, starting at $175 for a basic package for ten kids, up to a specialized package with pizza, cake, and goody bags. The studio recommends that parties be booked at least three weeks from your planned event.
Sylvia Morse, a talented local jewelry designer and artist who is an instructor at Tyler Junior College, teaches unique classes at the studio, including copper enameling, which is an intricate, heat-driven process that produces stunning results. The classes generally cost $45 and last 2 ½ hours, start to finish.
The studio also provides all materials, including glove, goggles, and other safety gear as required. Starting with a simple square of copper, Sylvia leads her class through the process, including cutting a design, texturing the piece, and then adding glass rods and chunks of color. When adding the propane torch to the piece, it comes alive, first red-hot then cooling to variations and striations of vivid color.
“It’s really a give and take process,” says Morse. “We all inspire and learn from each other.” Morse also teaches in clay and metal classes, including jewelry items like earrings, pendants, and brooches. “Anyone who walks through the door can use their freedom of expression to create a piece that is unique and unlike any other.”
The studio also encourages folks to bring in their own designs and visions, as Tiller recalls the studio creating a popsicle bank and a fish coffin for a dearly departed pet. “If you can dream it, we can help create it,” she said.
Learn and adventure in art and have fun in the process at Piddlin’ Pottery Creative Arts Center.
The studio is open seven days a week: Monday-Wednesday 10am-6pm, Thursday-Friday 10am-8pm, Saturday 10am-6pm, and Sundays 1-6pm. Piddlin’ Pottery is located at 322 ESE Loop 323 Ste. 132 next door to Tuesday Morning in Tyler. They can be reached at (903)939-9111 and can be found on Facebook.
“David Bates: Selected Works from Texas Collections” on Exhibit
This Month at Tyler Museum of Art:
The Tyler Museum of Art (TMA) is located at 1300 S. Mahon Ave. on the Tyler Junior College main campus. Regular TMA hours are 10am-5pm Tuesday-Saturday, and 1-5pm Sunday. The Museum is closed Mondays and most major holidays. The Museum is supported by its members, Tyler Junior College, and the City of Tyler. For more info call the museum at (903)595-1001, tylermuseum.org, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
David Bates, one of the most acclaimed artists in Dallas, is the focus of Tyler Museum of Art’s summer exhibition, “David Bates: Selected Works from Texas Collections” on view through September 9th.
Curated by the museum’s Caleb Bell, the exhibition features close to 30 works surveying the prolific career of Bates, one of the most versatile and widely collected contemporary Texas artists. Spanning art from 1982 to 2016, works in the show highlight several of Bates’ most celebrated series and include a wide array of media: oil painting, lithographs, woodcuts, screenprints and bronze sculpture. The show was assembled from art in public and private collections throughout the state, including the museum’s own permanent collection. Bates’ work is widely exhibited and included in several museum and corporate art collections.
Admission is $6 for adults and $4 for seniors. Museum members, students, TJC faculty/staff and city of Tyler employees are admitted free. Support for exhibit is provided by The Byars Foundation.
Through August, close to 70 kids ages 7-13 and older dive into hands-on art experiences in a series of half-day and full-day camps. Each session is supervised by degreed artists and educators, and culminates with a small exhibition of campers’ work and a community reception.
Camps are held Monday-Friday (9am-4pm) for ages 6-12. Cost is $40 per day or $175 per week. To register online, fill out a form available at tylermuseum.org/creativity-camps-2018.
July 9th-13th: Upside-down and Backward – Everything looks different from a fresh perspective. Drawing underwater, painting with spaghetti, there’s no telling what will happen when you change the way you make art. This camp is all about real creativity, and young artists will help brainstorm up new, exciting projects all week long.
July 16th-20th: Beachcombers’ Paradise – Love the seashore but hate sunburns and foot-scorching sand? Come explore marine environments through art. Biology, art, and fun merge into one great experience as you learn about the weird, wonderful world of sea life and environments, and express new knowledge through art.
July 23rd-27th: 5 Days Away from Rose City – Some of the country’s greatest artists call the Lone Star State home. At this camp, you will explore the geographical regions of Texas and the artists who gain inspiration in them, ending up right here in East Texas.
Free admission, interactive art projects, light snacks and a festive atmosphere for all ages are on the menu from 2-4pm the second Saturday of each month with the Tyler Museum of Art’s Family Day. This popular program focuses on fostering a deeper understanding of the Museum’s spotlight exhibitions – and, above all, having fun! To RSVP for groups of 10 or more, please call (903)595-1001 or e-mail email@example.com.
The first Friday of each month, the TMA offers a full day of free admission plus guided tours of its spotlight exhibitions at 11am. From contemporary Texas art to Hudson River School to Andy Warhol, each tour is unique.
Art Events Warming Up For Summer
Events & Classes
Every Wednesday (6-8pm) and Sunday (1-3pm) – Acrylic Painting Classes will be held at Michael’s, 5839 S. Broadway, Tyler. Cost is $15. Topics include landscapes, life, and floral. To RSVP go to michaels.com and select the Tyler location. This class features master classic painting techniques while completing an image selected by the Instructor. Supplies are not included.
First Saturday of every Month (10am-2pm) – Eastside Fiber ARTist Meeting – The monthly meeting will be held at the Tyler Public Library, 301 S. College Ave, Downtown Tyler on July 7th. Please join the monthly meetings and participate in a variety of fiber arts from quilting, weaving, embroidery, knitting, crocheting, jewelry making, and mixed media and tons more. Guests and visitors are always welcomed. For more info go to facebook.com/Eastside.Fiber.ARTists. It is free to attend.
July 10th and 24th (both days 3-5pm and 6-8pm) – Painting on the Patio at Rotolo’s – Lauren O Neill has created a one of a kind painting and is hosting a painting session at Rotolo’s! Invite your friends, sip your favorite beverage, and enjoy step-by-step instruction with Lauren an experienced and enthusiastic local artist. You’ll leave with a one-of-a-kind creation and a new found talent you’ll want to explore. All painting supplies are included. Tickets are $35. Rotolo’s is located at 8970 S. Broadway, Tyler. For more info go to eventbrite.com.
July 12th (10am-1pm) – John Randall York Watercolor Workshop – Come out for this fun workshop! Bring your paper, brushes, paint and ambition to capture some downtown, iconic scenes in watercolor. To register, email Arojas@tylertexas.com or call (903)593-6905.
Inside the Artist’s Studio: I Think I’m Goin’ to Katmandu
The Therapeutic Creations of Stephanie Smith
By Derrick White
“Art as therapy demonstrates the profound healing potential of using the creative process. Art as therapy appears to be as old and continuous as human culture with decorated artifacts existing from prehistoric civilizations to now. It manifests in active form through the artist’s opportunity for self-expression and in receptive form through the response of the viewing audience. The artist’s experience of creating a meaningful work of art and the audience’s capacity for recognizing its meaning can lead to a multitude of healing responses including increased positive influence, relaxation, catharsis, social cohesion, and strengthened spirituality. The creative process can also act as an analgesic for artists who experience a lessening of physical pain while making art. Creating art can be a largely unconscious process providing a window into the mind of the creator. Through an analysis of visual elements such as the placement of an image on the page, the colors, type of lines created, the use of space, the number and integration of drawn items, and the apparent movement of the image, a psychologist, art therapist, or other trained professional can assess the emotional state of a person, provide counseling, and monitor the progress of the person through analyses of subsequent works produced.” – from an article by Tobi Zausner, PhD, on a web site dedicated to the Society for the Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts.
When I experience the artwork of local artist Stephanie Smith (aka Steph Renea), I physically feel a release of tension, and I am metaphysically transported into her rich and subtle, seemingly simplistic, yet intricately complex, abstract compositions of color, shape, and line with their geometric elements. They are powerful and understated. It is a mental remedy for the chaos of the world. I would encourage you to experience this sensation as well. You can find Stephanie and her art popping up here and there around town at different art and Downtown Tyler community events from True Vine Brewing Company, 903 Handmade, and The Foundry Coffee House.
Stephanie graduated from the University of North Texas with a Bachelor’s Degree in Visual Art Studies. “I took a wide range of studio classes such as fibers, screen printing, watercolor, figure drawing, and sculpture. I learned a lot of skills in those studio classes I still use today,” states the artist. Smith works with a variety of different materials from acrylic paints, pens, pencils, watercolors, and occasionally embroidery thread. Most pieces are on watercolor or mixed media paper but the artist enjoys painting on canvas as well. Stephanie says, “The media I use is not always the same for each piece. I typically start with the material I feel will best represent the idea I have in my mind and then I add to the piece from there.”
Some of Stephanie’s artistic inspirations include: Heather Day (California-based artist making abstract interpretations between what is known and how it is felt. This artist seems to have the strongest direct influence on Smith’s own work), Chuck Close (painter, famed as a photorealist through his massive-scale portraits), Ron Mueck (amazing, hyper-realistic, super detailed sculptor), Georgia O’Keeffe (painter of enlarged flowers, skyscrapers, and Southwest landscapes, recognized as the “Mother of American modernism”), and Ben Sasso (hip, photographer and educator who lives with his lady in a van down by the river).
“I have always enjoyed the arts. I grew up dancing and was always interested in photography. I would draw and paint occasionally as well. It was after spending time in Nepal I discovered my love for teaching. So I decided to combine these two loves, art and teaching. After starting at the University of North Texas I learned I really loved exploring in my studio classes and staying late into the night painting or screen printing. After college I took a short break from creating physical pieces and started work as a wedding photographer and started a family. I still painted whenever possible and was asked for a commissioned piece for an album my church was putting out. I had a small art show at a friend’s house. But still at this point, I never really considered myself an artist. I just really enjoyed making art and hoped people liked it. In 2016, my life changed drastically and I moved back to Tyler. It was then I rediscovered my love for making art and really pursued being a full time artist. Since then, I have been in art shows, and artist markets (or pop ups), and I have started selling my work on a professional level,” enlightens Smith.
She continues, “Art has been my therapy. It has easily been the best way for me to decompress and really process my emotions. Since most of my work is repetitive shapes and loose brush strokes it is easy for me to find a rhythm. It is in this rhythm I am able to find clarity and peace of mind. Many times I have broken down crying as I recall certain events in my life during this process. It is in these moments I find myself releasing the pain and replacing it with joy and healing. I am so thankful for art and how it has played a large role in my healing.”
Stephanie has some advice for those daunted by the impulse to pursue a creative, artistic life. “The most frustrating thing about being an artist I think would be with me. I have been working on moving past my own insecurities and doubts when it comes to my art. Working through those things is not always easy but most times it leads to my best work. So although it is frustrating at times it is well worth it,” avows Stephanie. I could not agree more. Find yourself a creative outlet. Use art as therapy and a remedy for all life throws at you. Let your imagination and creative processes allow you to overcome your own insecurities and self-doubt. Enjoy the ride and have some fun or just go spend a little time in Nepal and report back.
To find some original art work, art prints and cards, check out the following:
Stephanie will also take custom orders so if you see something you like and want to personalize it, shoot her a message and collaborate.
EGuide Magazine’s Gig Guide
September 22nd: Pineywoods Ultra 5K Race and more races!
Make a Splash This Summer at The Waterpark at The Villages Resort
Blue Moon Gardens: More Than a Family Nursery
Liberty Hall: July 20th (7pm) – “Sail On: The Beach Boys Tribute”
July 26th: Daddy Daughter Date Night returns to the Rose Garden Center
It’s Time for Ice Cream: Move Over Summer Heat
July 27th: SFO, A Journey Tribute Band at Bergfeld Park
Spend the Summer Reading
New Cocktails inline for “A Toast to CORE” at Razzoo’s this Summer!
Connect With Us!
Free Stuff To Do
July 27th: SFO, A Journey Tribute Band at Bergfeld Park
The City of Tyler will host the annual Bergfeld Summer Showcase at Bergfeld Park, located at 1510 S. College Ave.,...
5th Annual #SchoolisCool, August 2nd
The annual event “School is Cool is back and will be held August 2nd at Harvey Hall and The Rose...
Enjoy Free Family Concerts in Kilgore This Summer!
Fridays After 5 Continues “Fridays After 5” is a free live music concert series that takes place under the stars...
Teen Mentors needed at Tyler Library!
The Tyler Public Library is seeking volunteers aged 12 to 17 for its “Read with a Teen” program. Teen mentors...
Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Story Times
[dfads params=’groups=110&limit=1&orderby=random&container_html=center’ Barnes & Noble Booksellers Story Times Every month Barnes & Noble (B&N) has a variety of events. All...