Sunday, September 14, 2014

2014 Artisans Road Trip Artist Karen Ruddy - Working at the Grotto of the Redemption this Past Summer!

2014 Artisans Road Trip artist Karen Ruddy has been busy this summer! Karen finished a commission over at the Grotto of the Redemption in West Bend, Iowa, contracting for work on the restoration of mosaics throughout the Grotto. The grant was for five weeks of work but ten weeks were spent working on in-place and new mosaic panels on the East Wall of the Courtyard.
Karen completed half (14 - foot long -mosaics) on one side of the pool around the statue of Michael the Arc Angel, and four 3x1 foot panels that will be implanted in the East Wall of the Courtyard when the leaks that blew out the hundred  year old mosaic panels are found and repaired. 
Ruddy says If you have never visited the Grotto, you might consider a trip there. It is a truly holy place. Father Dobberstein, the German priest that was stationed there in the early years of the twentieth century built it over his lifetime. There is a statue of him on the grounds and his work is known worldwide through the SAMA (Society of American Mosaic Artists) conferences. In fact, the last one Karen attended, the first presenter was a woman from France who studied mosaics all over the world and the first frame shown on the big screen was The West Bend Grotto in the middle of the U.S.A.
The tours are well worth a person's time as you learn things about Father's talent and ingenuity. For example, he made stones by melting children's crayons and glass during the war years when he could not obtain rocks, minerals, or Smalti glass for his grotto walls. You will find some in the base of the stations,  along the way of the cross.
The Restoration Expert wanted Karen to harvest the old gold Smalti and use it instead of new. The artist had already started building the panels when he called from Wisconsin, so she finished the one with the new Smalti as an extra project and began grinding the cement off all sides of each small piece to prepare it for implanting into the newly restored substrait. The pool project was really difficult as Ruddy had to hammer and chisel each piece out of the original mosaic so that she could create an even surface for the new Smalti image. That was after she clambered over a three foot high metal fence, the only way to get to the work site.
The artist states that if she is still around next summer, she may get to complete the fourteen mosaics on the other side of the pool. 
To find out more about the artist Karen Ruddy, read more about her at the Artisans Road Trip web site -  
And Remember - this year's Artisans Road Trip event will be held the second weekend of October on Saturday - October 11 from 9AM - 5PM and Sunday - October 12 from Noon - 5PM!  See you then!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

2014 A.R.T. Artist is September Exhibition Cove Artist at a Piece Of Work, INC.

"Breezy" - printed fabric, crocheted yarn, 24x 36"
© Tim Arand-McIlrath

Timothy J. Arand-McIlrath will be showing this summer's collection of new 2 D artwork and a small collection of recent 3D works. All of the 2D work uses recycled fabric from garments as backgrounds. The artist will be giving an artists talk at A Piece of Work about 6:10-6:15. Art on 16th (around the corner from A Piece of Work ) will also be featuring his work as well and  will be open until at least 7:30p.m.

Artwork © Tim Arand-McIlrath

Tim's artwork will be on display throughout the calendar month of September at A Piece of Work, Inc. in Spirit Lake, Iowa.  You can see more about Timothy J. Arand-McIlrath's work at the 2014 A.R.T. website at -

 Remember the 2014 Artisans Road Trip is fast approaching - coming up this October 11 and 12 - enjoy the beautiful autumn in NW Iowa and the wonderful artwork of the 2014 A.R.T.!!!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Two 2014 Artisans Road Trip Artists at the "Paint the Iowa Great Lakes" Plein Air Painting Exhibition!

Top two works (Acrylic paint, crocheted yarn) - ©Timothy J Arand-McIlrath
Bottom work (Acrylic painting) -  ©Marisa Sidles

The Pearson Lakes Art Center in Okoboji Iowa features two A.R.T. Artists, Marisa Sidles (Terril) and Timothy J Arand-McIlrath (Okoboji) as two of the participants in the "Paint the Iowa Great Lakes" Plein Air Painting Exhibition. The exhibition of painting done in the open air style will be on view through Oct 11th in the Pearson Lakes Art Center's Weaver Lobby Gallery.

 "Looking Down- Heuchera/Moneywort"
Acrylic paint, crocheted yarn, 12”W x 12”H - ©Timothy J Arand-McIlrath

Arand-McIlrath has four works in the exhibit and has chosen the concept of "looking down" as a theme for his plein air works for this exhibition. His works are acrylic paint combined with crocheted yarn. Juror Dennis Dykema selected "Looking Down- Heuchera/Moneywort" as second place winner in the exhibition.

 Look for Arand-McIlrath's artwork during  Artisan Roadtrip 2014 at the Pearson Lakes Art Center.  You can see more about Timothy J Arand-McIlrath's work at the 2014 A.R.T. website at -

 "The Trail At Lakeside Lab"
Acrylic painting - ©Marisa Sidles

Marisa Sidles has 2 works in the exhibit and has gone "outside" her comfort zone to create her plein air works for this exhibition. Her acrylic paintings include bright and bold colors creating a landscape of trees. Juror Dennis Dykema selected "The Trail At Lakeside Lab" as an honorable mention in the exhibition. Dykema referenced her bold use of color and painting style as having an innocent familiar quality of the "le fauves" (wild beasts) of the early 1900s.
Look for Marisa's artwork during  Artisan Roadtrip 2014 at her Studio in Terril, IA. And you can see more about the work of Marisa Sidles at the 2014 A.R.T. website at -

 Stop by the The Pearson Lakes Art Center in Okoboji and catch the exhibition through October 11th - which is also the first day of the 2014 Artisans Road Trip this year!!!

Remember the 2014 Artisans Road Trip this October 11 and 12 - enjoy the beautiful crisp fall air and the wonderful artwork of the 2014 A.R.T.!!!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

2014 Artisans Road Trip Artist Bill Lieb - "The Birder" Sculpture Dedication

"The Birder"
Sculpture ©Bill Lieb

2014 Artisans Road Trip member artist Bill Lieb recently installed his latest public sculpture, titled "The Birder", at the Dickinson County Nature Center in Okoboji, Iowa. The Birder is a memorial to LaVonne Foote for her generous support of the Nature Center.

(sculpture detail)
"The Birder"
Sculpture ©Bill Lieb

The Birder is constructed of 1/2" thick laser-cut weathering steel with stainless steel and aluminum accents in the walking stick, binoculars, and the bird. The bird's wings rotate in a breeze.  The sculpture is over eleven feet tall and is installed in the prairie grass field adjacent to the center.

The Birder is the ninth public sculpture Lieb has installed in the Lakes Region over the past eight years. To learn more about Bill's work, check out his page on the 2014 A.R.T. web site at -   

Stop by Bill's home in Spirit Lake during the 2014 Artisans Road Trip on October 11th and 12th this fall, to see his other works of art!

Monday, July 14, 2014

2014 Artisans Road Trip Artist Marisa Sidles Opens Studio During RAGBRAI!

Spoon Pendant by Marisa Sidles

2014 Artisans Road Trip artist Marisa Sidles, from Terril, Iowa, will have her studio open to RAGBRAI riders and visitors on Monday, July 21, 2014, for 5 minute art projects. The old Terril Post Office, located at 110 North State Street – south of the fire station, now serves as her art studio where she creates original works of art spanning from expressive acrylic paintings to whimsical sculptures made of left over building and farm supplies. 
Post Cards by Marisa Sidles
Marisa has come up with 2 fun art projects that will take only 5 minutes: spoon pendants and create your own postcards. 
For $10 you can stamp your own name, birth date, poem or whatever you wish on a spoon that has been made into a pendant for you, creating a personalized necklace or a key chain. For only $2 you can create your own postcard. Marisa will have blank postcards ready for you to put your original design on. She will then mail them for you from the local Terril Post Office to anywhere in the United States. You can even send them home so you have a memento from your ride. 

"I invite you to take a break and get creative," said Marisa. • 712-363-1307

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

2014 A.R.T. Artist - Timothy J. Arand-McIlrath in "Past and Future" Exhibition - Ruth Davis Design Gallery, University of Wisconsin - Madison,WI

2014 Artisans Road Trip artist Timothy J. Arand-McIlrath writes - " I am very pleased that twelve pieces of my current artwork are included in an exhibition at the Ruth Davis Design Gallery at the University off Wisconsin Madison. The exhibition will be on view from June 19- August 8. The exhibit features the work of three alumni who pursued professional careers in the arts  and  student work. There will be a closing reception on Aug 8 from 1:30-3:30pm during which I will be giving a gallery talk.

If you are in the area, please check out the exhibit. I would love to see you at the closing reception Aug. 8."
Thank you for stopping by to learn more about the artists of the 2014 Artisans Road Trip - check back again soon!

Monday, June 23, 2014

2014 A.R.T. Artist Bruce Morrison at Neal Smith's J.N. "Ding" Darling Art Gallery!

All images © Bruce A. Morrison
2014 Artisans Road Trip artist Bruce Morrison will be exhibiting a solo showing of "From the Tallgrass" at the Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge's J.N. "Ding" Darling Art Gallery from July 1 through August 21st.
The Neal Smith NWR is one of the largest federal refuges in Iowa - this refuge is solely dedicated to the Tallgrass Prairie. "The mission of the Refuge is to actively protect, restore, reconstruct and manage the diverse native ecosystems of tallgrass prairie, oak savanna, and sedge meadow. These were the native habitats existing on the Refuge’s 5600 acres prior to Euro-American settlement."  In keeping with the focus of the Neal Smith NWR, Morrison's exhibit will feature works in keeping with our state's natural heritage of the prairie.
Bruce has spent the past 40+ years painting, drawing and photographing in the Tallgrass Prairie and Prairie Pothole region, and has also worked within the scope of prairie restoration/reconstruction and education of this nearly vanished natural heritage, making it the focus of his work through the years.
The Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge is located adjacent to Prairie City, Iowa - just 22 miles east of Des Moines.  You can find out more about the refuge at their web site -
Morrison's works have been published throughout North America and his artwork has exhibited throughout the United States, Canada and overseas.
Check back again soon for more about the artists of the 2014 Artisans Road Trip!