Dec 15th, 2017

Artisans Display: Handcrafted Stories

A colorful and artist quilt of Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, part of our artisans display.

The Conservatory as art, an I-Spy quilt by Regina Young, one of the artisans whose works are displayed at Dominion Energy GardenFest of Lights.

Dominion Energy GardenFest of Lights is the perfect time for us to showcase the rich variety and talent of Virginia’s artisans. Senior Horticulturists Laurel Matthew and Elizabeth Fogel worked with  Exhibitions Manager Kristin Thoroman to create an intriguing display in the Lora Robins Library. One that showcases the diverse talent of area artists and artisans, in the region, as well as mediums.  This is doubly-good because the Library serves as a great place to get warm after looking at the half-a-million outdoor lights! This exhibit weaves in the  Stories in Lights GardenFest theme, and provides stimulation and engagement for the heart and mind in a warm and cozy environment. This year, the Library also  features the classic children’s tales, Miss Rumphius & The Secret Garden, as well as two holiday trees (one made entirely with botanical decorations). We invite you to settle down on a couch, warm up by the fireplace in the Library Reading room and then explore handcrafted works from more than 20 local artisans and guilds.

Here’s a summary of what you’ll see:

Art from the Richmond WoodturnersRichmond WoodTurners 
Richmond Woodturners really “turned out” to participate in the Library display – twelve artisans brought in their best bowls, plates, vases, sculptures and more! Visitors will be awed by the details and designs in turned wood pieces by Ron Bishop, Royal Wood, Elizabeth Mack, Dan Luttrel, Robert Gundel, Chuck Bajnai, Cody Walker, Wally Ubik, Matt Baker, Bruce Robbins, Tim Warren, and Roland Sheneman. The Richmond Woodturners is a group of young and old who love wood and live to turn. Also, stop by this weekend (Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017) to see their artisan demo from 12-4 in the Kelly Education Center. 

Wool sculpture in rust and chartreuse.

Fiber sculpture by Shelley Jones. Photo by Taylor Dabney

James River Woodcarvers
James River Woodcarving Club (JRWC) Nine members from the club have work in the show: Wayne Thorton, Mike Pea, Kathy Overcash, Betsy Mack, Michael R. Menefee, Sr., Rollie Sheneman, Calvin M. Winfree, Amy Miller, Linda Garthaffner.

Crossroads Art Center: (four artists participating including Patricia Silva-Santisteban, M.S., Lily Snow Boykin, Alice Husak and Sven Arenander)

Sven Arenander, Woodwhisper Art, Crossroads Art Center
Sven Arenander is a self-taught sculptor and artist working primarily in wood, ceramics, and metal. He uses visioning and connectivity for ideation, and his works often originate from images that emerge in focused meditations. Arenander’s art is intentionally unaware of conventional guidelines and is more often driven by intuition. His work has been referred to as “tribal.”

Lily Snow Boykin, Raku Pottery
Lily Snow Boykin’s work reflects the imageries influenced by her Japanese heritage and by the environment that surrounds her — extremely visual and tactile; simplistic yet complex.  She experiments with a vast range of designs, textures, glaze applications, and firings.  Boykin approaches her work by manipulating contrasting colors, shapes, and patterns to create cohesive compositions in clay.

Justine McFarland, Tupelo Fiber and Design McFarland is a trained realist painter, photographer and designer who discovered weaving in 2011 while working at a school in Putney, Vt. There she learned weaving, spinning, and dying using plants from the garden. Weaving allows her to merge precision, narrative, composition, and color theory in a tactile, hands-on format. She is very interested in the impact of textiles on ethical and environmental levels. Also, stop by this weekend (Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017) to see their artisan demo from 12-4 in the Kelly Education Center. 

Colorful pottery in white, green, orange and blue.

Raku Piece by Lily Snow Boykin

Potomac Fiber Arts Guild 
Potomac Fiber Arts Guild members Eileen Doughty, Shelley Jones and Diane Mularz show Garden guests that fiber art can be “sew” much more than yarn! The Potomac Fiber Arts Guild is an association of fiber artists and artisans located in the greater Washington, D.C., metropolitan area that promotes and conducts educational programs in a wide range of fiber art, such as weaving, spinning, knitting, quilting, felting, dyeing, and surface design, for members and as outreach activities.  Doughty says, “I love the concept of place and so my preferred subject matter is the landscape.” She says her training as a cartographer has been useful in designing her fiber art since both require understanding how people view and interpret colors, pattern and symbols. Currently, her work focuses on exploring what makes fiber art so unique: texture, freedom of shape of the canvas, and employment of three rather than two dimensions.

Richmond Modern Quilters Guild
The Richmond Modern Quilters Guild display the works of five members: Christine Van Buskirk, Betty Ayers, Theresa Janicek, Phyllis Mondak, Regena Young.

Richmond Young Writers, Picture Book Project
The Picture Book Project is an annual collaboration between Richmond Young Writers and professional artists in the community. View picture book stories from 13 young writers (ages 11-17). They worked with their adult artist counterparts on the direction to take for illustration, which the artists completed over the summer.

Iron sculpture

Nicholas Vaughan, of Central Virginia Blacksmith Guild, Iron Dawn,
Mild steel on Quartz stone

Central Virginia Blacksmith Guild
Central Virginia Blacksmith Guild (CVBG) artisans Bruce Manson, Nicholas Vaughan and Jerry Veneziano display dozens of unique pieces of metalwork, showing off many different blacksmithing techniques and subjects.

artisans felted people dolls

Jo and Jina felted dolls by D for Dolls, a collection of unique work by Nastassja Swift, one of Virginia’s artisans whose works are on display at this year’s GardenFest. Photo by Lizzy Servito.

D for Dolls, Lena and Josephine 
D for Dolls is a collection of felted figures that display soft sculpture visuals of girls and women of color. Each figure is unique in that no two ladies are the same, and embody their own individual charm, personality and sass. Drawing inspiration from African figurines, each felted figure embodies the playfulness and familiarity of dolls with the statuesque nature of sculpture.

Shiela Weisensale, Bloomage
Weisensale first got the bug for pressing flowers when she read a magazine article about the process. She was fascinated by the idea of being able to press plant material from one’s own garden and enjoying it indoors for years. As an avid gardener,  she enjoys having another use for her plants.  “I make anything and everything I can think of featuring pressed flowers.”

Rug hooking art -- weathervanes

Whimsical Weathervanes (design by Bernadette M. Grzeda)

Rug Hooking 
Bernadette M. Grzeda began rug hooking in 2005 and describes her style as “Colorful American Primitive.”  She does her own wool dying and hooks both original patterns and purchased ones.


silver bracelet -- Virginia creeper

Virginia creeper bracelet by Cesar Sertzen and Sara Borey.

Shade Metals
Cesar Sertzen and Sara Borey share display their botanically inspired jewelry.

painted gourd with butterflies

Sue Sweder, Everything Sweder crafted the painted gourd with a nature theme.

Sue Sweder, Everything Sweder displays carved and painted gourds like the one above.

Leaf cut out by Silver Tree Art.

Leaf cut out by Silver Tree Art.

Suzanne L. Vinson, Silver Tree Art

Hand-felted wool sheep

Wool sheep from Wondering Cow Farm, hand-felted by Mary Murphy.

Mary Murphy, of Wandering Cow Farm
Felted animals and characters, including a nativity scene, all made by hand from the wool from their own sheep.

Wool felted creatures

Wool felted creatures by Two Pointy Stix LLC.

Two Pointy Stix LLC  
Ivonne Schuh owner of Two Pointy Stix LLC says she loves creating colorful, happy, one-of-a-kind items because the world is already crowded with gray and dull off-the-conveyor-belt-monotony.

Funky cat sculpture

Glass Bone Animal cat by Jude Schlotzhauer



Jude Schlotzhauer, Glass Bone Animals
Animals have played an important role in culture, religion, and art work of people around the world since the beginning of civilization.  Schlotzhauer creates his animals by sculpting their heads and bones from wax, then casting them in glass.  The bodies are comprised of metal parts; found, fabricated,

hammered, and bound by copper and brass wire.  Each one carries within a story:  of the previous function of the parts he chooses to use, of where and how he collected those parts, and of the stories of those animals gleaned from other cultures.  By stripping them down to partial skeletons, their bones become artifacts just like the metal components; relics of another time hints to other mysteries.


Richmond Modern Quilters Guild Piece and Luv and Giraffes by Theresa Sullivan Janicek

Richmond Modern Quilters Guild
Piece and Luv and Giraffes by Theresa Sullivan Janicek

Silver shell jewelry

Kate Loomis Jewelry, Seaside Reflections

The Richmond Modern Quilters Guild is open to all sewing enthusiasts and artisans who would like to learn about modern quilting.

Kate Loomis Jewelry, Seaside Reflections
Each piece Lomis conceives is not purely from imagination, but inspired by her travels. She is drawn to handmade wearable art mementos that remind her of objects, places, and the memorable times experienced on her journeys.  She found her creative spirit in metal clay, and it has become the method she uses to create pieces that have unique textures, hand-cut cabochons with interesting patterns, or colorful stones. A passion to produce one-of-a-kind pieces was married with her love of nature and travel. She says, “Each of my pieces connects with the individuals who wear them because, just like people, every one has a story.”

CapWorks, Bridal Bouquet
With the growth of the craft beer industry, CapWorks aim is to reduce waste through artistic re-purposing. “One beer at a time, we convert ordinary bottle caps into imaginative works of art.  Cap by cap, we stretch our imagination and see the potential in what could be!”


Felted cushion art

Felted work, Cushion Pod by Shelley Jones. Photo by Taylor Dabney.

Fiddlehead and Cushion Pod by Shelley Jones
Jones says, “I’ve always been a maker.” She has been felting for the past decade, using wool, silk, and other fibers to make both wearable and decorative sculptural pieces.  She says she is inspired by the myriad of colors and structures in her garden throughout the year.Orange origami snail created by Spencer Linkous

Life Boat, a sculpture by Kevin Box, now on display in the Lora Robins Libary.

Spencer Linkous, RVA Origami
Young paper-folding artist and RVA Origami member Spencer Linkous illustrates the book “The Blue Hour” with dozens of intricate origami creations set into a landscape of dried botanicals. RVA Origami is Central Virginia’s beginner-to-advanced paper folding club, hosting folding meetups at local libraries.

RVA Origami was founded in November of 2016 when Spencer Linkous and Daniel Brown joined forces. Prior to their meeting, they say they sometimes each felt as if they were the only origami enthusiasts in the Richmond area. Through their monthly folding meetups at local libraries, they have been able to build a community of folders and share the joy of paper folding. Want to learn more? Visit the RVA Origami Facebook page. Happy Folding!

Kevin Box, Origami in the Garden  
Life Boat is inspired by one of the oldest, most traditional origami designs of a paper boat. Lifted high into the air, this paper boat is balanced upon oars made from olive branches. On loan from the personal collection of Aaron Dotson. Stay tuned for more! The exhibition, Origami in the Garden, is coming to Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden this spring.

Jonah Holland is Digital Content Manager at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, where she has worked for 14 years overseeing social media, the blog, and the website. She is also a mom, yogi, open water swimmer, gardener, and seeker. She's been known to go for a walk in the Garden and come back with hundreds of plant photos, completely inspired to write her next blog post.

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