With 140 visual artists of all media, CenterFest provided Durhamites with a diverse view of art in N.C. on Sept. 17-18. Here are some of the highlights of this year’s artists:
Morgan Harris Pottery
Morgan Harris describes his pottery as “his wheel to your home.” Harris is a potter from High Point, North Carolina. His work specializes in the use of crystalline glaze, which gives his pottery a unique effect. The clay is baked in a kiln at temperatures ranging from 1800 to 2000 degrees; at this temperature, the crystals in the glaze expand. Some of his pieces are fired twice –first in an electric kiln, then in a gas kiln. This changes the color and appearance of the glaze. Each piece he makes is unique. The patterns you see in the glaze of these pieces are real zinc/silicate crystalline formations that grow randomly in the glaze during the firing process. Macro-Crystalline glazes are one of the most difficult pottery process' to produce: the glaze is incredibly fickle and often just does not behave as expected. There are many steps between a raw ball of clay and the finished product, any of which could spell disaster. However, when it all comes together, the results are nothing short of spectacular.
Amy Barnard Wayward Stitch
Amy Barnard of the Wayward Stitch is from Raleigh, North Carolina. She creates vegan/vinyl leather handbags and leather goods. Her work is animal friendly, affordable, and comfortable. She also uses vintage buttons in her work, and all her purses are one-of-a-kind. Amy visits many local arts and crafts shows, and also has her work in some retailers.
Adrienne Oates is a local artist, and CenterFest was her fourth show. Her mother was at the tent, helping with packaging and sales, and supporting her daughter in “everything she does”. Adrienne specializes in colorful watercolor drip paintings of local buildings and sights. According to her, “something just felt right about doing the drips with watercolor.” Adrienne believes the drips complete her artwork.
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Susia Ayala Glass
The Susia Ayala Glass tent was a curated collection of glass artwork made by glass lampwork artist Sue Ayala. Born and raised in Daytona, Fla., Glass draws her inspiration from the beach scenes she observed every day. Living just across from the beach, Ayala cites her exposure to the environment’s beauty as the primary motivation to go into the arts industry, in order to best convey this beauty. Moreover, Glass’s passion for fishing manifests itself in her representations of seagrass and underwater scenes. Although Daytona is her true home, Glass now splits her time in between Durham and Daytona; this is now Glass’s fourth year in Durham.
Frosty Rankin, a Kentucky artist, is receiving accolades in art festivals across the state for his depiction of Kentucky landscapes. Rankin, who works in his studio/gallery and print shop located in picturesque Millersburg, Ky. has a lifelong passion for fine art. His paintings, print reproductions and note cards capture the peaceful beauty of the rural settings he loves and are rapidly growing in popularity at festivals and art shows across the state of Ky. and surrounding states. His new “Country Churches Series,” on exhibit at CenterFest, has received wonderful blessings from each church that he paints.
“I like to evoke an emotion or mood with my work. I use mist and smoke, strong light, and reflection to achieve these feelings. I am inspired by nature and the environment, If I thought I could save the world by capturing it on canvas, I’d be painting day and night!”
Duval hails from Wilmington, N.C., and this is his second year at CenterFest. He is a machinist by trade, which gave him the background to begin creating these kinetic sculptures. He has been working on this project for a little over a year. Prior to starting this project, Duval focused on creating more static metal wall art and outdoor wind-powered pieces. He primarily works with salvaged materials.
“I’ve always been interested in mechanical type things, things that move,” he said.
Matthew J. Leavell
Leavell is also from Wilmington, N.C., though he recently moved to Virginia. This was his first time at CenterFest, and he is enjoying it so far.
Leavell left a corporate job to pursue a career in the arts.
“I lived a life that didn’t have enough creativity in it,” Leavell said.
Leavell first tried to make all of his art pieces out of found materials, but did not achieve much success doing so. He then found lots of old spoons and used them to make these flower sculptures. He splits his time between doing flower sculpture pieces for art shows and doing larger scale pieces for permanent installations.
Sonday specializes in sculpting lifelike flowers. Many CenterFest attendees walked up to her tent under the impression that she was merely selling plants and walked away amazed. Sonday was inspired to create such pieces when she returned to her hometown in Thailand and saw people making them. She attended a course to learn how to make the flowers, and only started selling them in 2009.
The flowers are made from a special type of clay found in Thailand. Sonday sculpts them and then paints them. She studies plants to imitate real flowers. This is her first time at CenterFest.
McGregor’s photography varied in terms of subject matter, but his most striking pieces featured a time lapse of stars in the background. He takes photos for two to four hours continuously, ending up with roughly 400 photos. He sets up his camera facing the north star to show to set a central point for the stars to revolve around, as the north star does not move.
McGregor prefers doing night photography due to the lack of people and the challenge of finding the perfect spot. He also likes to take landscape photos, taking a camera when he goes camping and hiking.
He also likes cityscapes and has photos of prominent places in Durham and Chapel Hill at sunrise and sunset.