February 11 Artisan Showcase highlights local talent
By Helene Ader
Celebrate the arts by attending the ninth annual Merrill Artisan Showcase, on Feb. 11 in Assisi Hall at Bell Tower Residence at 1500 O’ Day Street. The show runs from 1- 5 p.m. and includes 20 or more Wisconsin artisans who will display their talents in painting, photography, carving, pottery, fiber arts, quilting, jewelry making and more.
A new artisan this year is Shirley Gajewski who will display her “Nature Collages.” Her birch bark art was born when a friend asked her to do a wall hanging depicting the Northwoods.
“I’ve always been fascinated with the colors, textures and patterns found in nature, so I combined the collage process with Quilt Pattern designs. Only non-living objects found in nature are used to create the collages,” Shirley explained. Birch bark can be found in a wide variety of colors. The bark peels itself, is found in tans, yellows, grays, and pinks and if lucky, whites. Dead trees provide intense browns. Gajewski embellishes her work with other natural elements such as seeds, abandoned wasp nests and leaves to compliment her art. Shirley is a retired elementary and art teacher and has been inspired by her sister who is a Master Quilter. “Gathering and preparing materials is a challenge and as much fun as developing the work itself.” Friends and relatives enjoy making contributions to her stash of materials.
Her work has been on display at the CVA in Wausau and at other shows. She has also lent her talents to the Good News Project and painted a mural on the outside of their Wausau building as well as creating art in St. Lucia and New Orleans. A departure from her usual artwork was the illustration of a children’s book, “A Day in the Life of a Turtle.” Shirley donates all proceeds from her work to charity and locally has donated to Have, St. Vincent’s, Hospice and the Warming Center. Her proceeds from the show will go to Bell Tower Residence.
Admission to the event is $5 and includes the show, wine, cheese, appetizers, and on-going-piano music on the hall’s Steinway Grand by four Merrill pianists. Another attraction is the on-site raffle to which the artisans donate a piece of artwork and provides a chance to win a one of a kind creation. This show is an opportunity to rub elbows with talented artisans in beautiful Assisi Hall. So grab a glass of wine, and join us on February 11 from 1-5:00 p.m. and enjoy the celebration. Proceeds from the show go to Bell Tower Residence for debt reduction. Bell Tower Residence Assisted Living is a ministry of the Holy Cross Sisters.