published Sunday, May 1st, 2011

In-town Gallerie’s Spring Showcase starts today

Every spring, In-Town Gallery clears its walls, and members bring their most recent work to debut in “Spring Showcase.” Opening today and with a special reception on Friday from 5 to 8 p.m., the exhibit offers visitors an opportunity to view paintings, photographs, pottery, jewelry and objects constructed from stained glass, wood, metal and fiber. Each original work was created by one of the gallery’s 30 artists.

In addition, “Spring Showcase” introduces two members inducted into the gallery in the past six months.

Mary Clor is a jewelry artist who combines her engineering knowledge with her creative side to produce sterling-silver and gold-filled wearable art.

Clor said she “fell into” designing jewelry about three years ago when she and her husband were in Tucson, Ariz. Their hiking trip was canceled and so, on her free day, Clor took a jewelry-making class.

“I was instantly hooked and once home, I found a lapidary school in North Georgia where I began taking classes,” she said.

Her primary jewelry instructor made a lot of Zuni and Navajo-inspired work, so Clor feels that her jewelry has a traditional look at this point. As she continues to gain more experience, however, her style is evolving.

Clor incorporates other materials into her jewelry. During the spring and summer, she uses bright-colored beads, Swarovski crystals, pearls and fused glass cabochons. In the fall and winter, she turns to the earthier tones of jasper, black onyx and turquoise. Her favorite piece is a traditional arts-and-crafts-style bracelet with a modern dichroic glass cabochon.

Tara Van Meter grew up in the Southwest, where she swam in the red waters of the Rio Grande, spent time in sweat lodges and lived near the Navajo people. These experiences and the natural world around her now inform her work as a self-taught glass artist.

Van Meter buys lead crystal and glass vessels or has glass objects blown for her and then etches and sand-carves designs on them. She begins by covering the surface with a resist material that will keep the smooth areas safe from the abrasive. Next, she draws a design on the glass, cuts each line with an X-acto knife and then sandblasts the object with silicon carbide.

“The final stage of blasting is the final challenge,” she said. “A hole in the 1⁄4-inch glass can occur in 10 seconds with silicon carbide if I’m not careful, so there is not much margin for error.”

Van Meter, who is self-taught, is known nationally and internationally for her skills as a technician and artist.

“Spring Showcase” continues through May.

In-Town Gallery, 26 Frazier Ave., is open 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 1-5 p.m. Sunday. Call 267-9214.

Email Ann Nichols at annsnichols@aol.com.

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