By Janet Wight
The four featured Minnesota artists for the 2022 St. Anthony Park Arts Festival on June 4 are accomplished inventors, designers or creators.
They were each drawn to the creative arts from a young age, and each artist has developed a distinctive style that will be on display during the upcoming festival.
Here are profiles of the four featured artists:
Twin Cities artist Emily Donovan enjoyed drawing, knitting and fiber arts as a young child, and she was heavily influenced by her parents who encouraged her creative streak, she said. Her interest in painting and multimedia arts evolved over time, allowing her to develop her own style.
Working with paper canvas mounted onto a birchwood cradle, Donovan utilizes batik techniques with different waxes to produce diverse effects. She said she delights in the sensory experience of working with fragrant materials including dyes and waxes.
Donovan said she likes to think about the process of making the dyes and pigments, along with the history and culture that is tied to the product. “Some of the work is abstract, collecting and encapsulating materials and experiences in nature,” she added.
Interested shoppers can view Donovan’s offerings on her website at http://emaluna.com or during open studio events in the Northrup King Building in northeast Minneapolis. The prices for her colorful paintings range from $50 to $5,000 depending on size and complexity.
Additionally, her artwork is available at selected galleries and nature centers and she also accepts commissions.
Donovan said she would advise young artists to “persevere and create your own individual artistic voice.” It is also important to keep working at making art and it will all come together, she added.
Taking classes at Northern Clay Center in Minneapolis was all it took for Sleepy Eye native David Menk to become hooked on pottery, he said recently.
Menk studied the craft for several years before obtaining his own studio space. He said that making pottery has fulfilled his need for a creative outlet.
“Art has always been something gnawing at me,” Menk explained. He appreciates the entire process of making something with his hands and seeing it from beginning to end, he added. He has enjoyed art since childhood but it has always been a side hobby.
Menk’s sleek and functional pottery is available in his product page on Etsy.com and occasionally at summer art fairs, with pricing ranging between $7 and $200 apiece. His wares are both handcrafted and useful, and this aspect of being a pottery artist is important to him.
An architect by trade, Menk noted that architecture is a creative vocation. He added that his background helps him to develop his lines and forms and the quiet Asian or Japanese aesthetic that he pursues.
Menk’s advice to other artists is to enjoy the process of making art without being too serious. “If you’re making things you enjoy, other people will also enjoy it,” he observed.
Working with her hands has always been important to Louise Payjack-Guillou, a contemporary jewelry designer currently living in Duluth.
Her passion for jewelry led her to focus on metalsmithing, she said. This specialty enables her to design and create her own products, which sell for $60 to $4,000 per item and up.
A fulltime artist for 10 years, she has always been fascinated with antique crafts, she explained. She likes to work with asymmetrical designs so that she can balance both the shape and color, and she insists on buying only ethically produced materials, she added.
Payjack-Guillou said she enjoys all of the creative aspects of running her own business. Marketing and showcasing your work are vital so that shoppers become engaged with your products, she noted.
Louise’s jewelry can be purchased through her website on Etsy.com, through Instagram or in galleries. She also attends a few art fairs every season.
Defining your own type of success is important, Payjack-Guillou said. For example, one of her goals is to sell at least one piece of jewelry in every state. She added that she would advise others to just get started without worrying about perfection.
Bold and whimsical upholstered handbags are the specialty of Mariella TerBeest-Schladweiler.
Growing up on a farm, she and her sister learned how to sew at a young age, and they were heavily influenced by their mother Helen’s love of crafting, TerBeest-Schladweiler said. Helen inspired her daughters to develop a deep passion for the creative arts, so they decided to name their handbag business Helen’s Daughters.
Initially, Mariella weaved her own fabric, but she now sources upholstery fabric to create jazzy handbag designs in her Preston, Minnesota, home. Each year she challenges herself to develop different styles or techniques.
TerBeest-Schladweiler, who has been a fiber artist for over 30 years and fulltime since 2004, sells her products at juried art fairs and during Facebook Live events. Her handbags are priced from $10 through $198 apiece.
Due to her fondness for studying genealogy, Mariella said she enjoys naming her creations after her grandmothers and great-grandmothers. She is especially interested in learning more about her grandmothers since they were also crafters.
“Creating something with my hands” is the most satisfying aspect of being an artist, TerBeest-Schladweiler said. She added that she takes pleasure in creating art that is wearable as well as inworking with different types of fabrics.
Artists just getting started should not worry if their designs are not perfect, she reflected: “It’s all a process. You keep working at it, and it will come to you.”
Janet Wight, a resident of Como Park where she lives with her husband and daughters, is a new freelance writer to the Bugle.