meet the makers

Meet the Makers, Movers, and Shakers: Theresa Barger

Our next featured artisan is Theresa Barger. Theresa makes handmade jewelry and accessories from all kinds of materials for her shop Apple and Azalea (links below!). While she mainly focuses on beadwork, including natural palettes for her rosary bracelets and morse code necklaces. She also creatively repurposes and up-cycles used t-shirts, plastic containers, and broken flea market jewelry to make new pieces!

What is your background?

I have a BA in Literature from Thomas More College in Merrimack NH which has served - and continues to serve - as an incredibly strong foundation for a life of learning, exploring and delighting in beauty. An Italian-Irish American, I am of course a cradle Catholic. But when growing up in the northeast, it is easy to be "ethically Catholic" and not terribly religious. I was lucky enough to have parents who had rediscovered their own faith as adults and who instilled in me a healthy love and respect for the Church and her traditions on an intellectual level and not just an emotional or cultural one.

How long have you been creating or supporting the arts?

My mom is an artist, and I have been creative my whole life. I have been making jewelry for about 13 years now. It originally started as something to keep me busy while nursing my 4th child. Of course she quickly got too squirmy to multitask like that, but I was hooked.

What inspires your work?

Living in rural NH, nature is often a source of inspiration. Also, when making accessories it is impossible not to be inspired by other makers or the current trends. However, sometimes it is just the material in front of my that gets the creative wheels turning.

What role does the artist/artisan play in society?

An artist's role in society is to show us the beauty we may not necessarily see on our own. It is an absolutely indispensable role and I think this applies to all artists, crafters, and artisans. Each one of their fields is essential to helping the rest of us experience this life to the fullest.

What is your dream project?

I am dying to work with resin and/or leather but don't have the tools to start messing around with other mediums right now.

What couldn't you live without?

I'd love to say something lofty like the works of a particular poet, but with six kids, if I'm being honest, it would have to be my vacuum.

Shops

appleandazalea.etsy.com or psq.re/appleandazalea

Thanks, Theresa!

Meet the Makers, Movers, and Shakers: Anatoly Shumkin

Through large scale and small scale paintings, layered thick with mostly dark paint, Anatoly Shumkin sheds light on the Biblical Stories. His religious scenes focus mostly on Jesus before or during the crucifixion; and the images afterward study the sorrow of Mary and others. But despite the grief, there is beauty. And with beauty there is hope. 

About the artist: 

"Anatoly Shumkin was born in Chimkent (Kazakhstan) in 1984. He attended junior art school before going to the Department of Graphic Design at Chimkent Art College. Since 2003 he has been living in St. Petersburg, Russia. In 2012 he graduated from the prestigious Russian Academy of Arts. He studied easel painting in the studio of V.S. Pesikov and under the guidance of teachers: N.N. Repin, N.S. Lysak and N.D. Blokhin. The painting for his diploma "Rembrandt in the studio", was awarded a distinction from the Academy's Commission.   

"Anatoly's paintings are brilliantly executed for example psychological portraits and large canvases of narrative painting in the style of the Old Masters. Having received invaluable experience in Classical painting at the Academy, Anatoly has gone on to combine his training in Russian realism at the Academy with the Western European tradition of fine art.  His work is inspired by the paintings of Francisco Goya, Rembrandt van Rijn, El Greco, Gustave Courbet, Corneliu Baba, Théodore Gericault, Ilya Repin, Nikolai Ge and other famous artists. Anatoly's paintings demonstrate his knowledge and excellent technique and his talent captures the psychological features of the sitter. His rigorous and disciplined approach to painting conveys a style which leaves a lasting impression."

Two of Anatoly Shumkin's Biblical paintings will be included in the 2017-2018 Sacred Art Liturgical Calendar. You can learn more about the artist and see a more complete portfolio here: www.shumkinart.com

www.facebook.com/anatoly.shumkin.artist
facebook.com/shumkinart
instagram.com/shumkinart

Meet the Makers, Movers, and Shakers: Rakhi McCormick

Today I have a special interview with my friend, Rakhi McCormick of Rakstar Designs. Rakhi and I met through Zelie & Co. online in 2016. We also have a mutual friend, my sister-in-law Cristin (hi, Cristin!). Rakhi is a lovely, innovative, and encouraging soul whose work is an overflow of her faith and joy in the Lord. UPDATE: Since this interview, Rakhi and her husband, Tim, published the 2017 Advent reflections guide: Expectantly Waiting in Wonder

Tell us about yourself! 

Howdy! I'm Rakhi and I'm the maker behind Rakstar Designs (some say genius, others say hot mess - why not both?). I currently live in the metro-Detroit area with my love (the Hubs) and three babes (ages 7, 5, & 1). While I work outside the home part-time in parish communications, I'm also in the studio (aka all over the house) working on handlettered prints, watercolor, photography, jewelry, and twenty other unfinished projects due to my crafting ADD.

What is your background?

I have always been creative, but never really pursued it educationally/work-wise until recently. My educational background is actually in higher education, political science, and ministry! Having been raised Hindu, I converted to Catholicism as a junior in college at the University of Iowa. It's been a long, slow journey falling into the heart of Christ and discovering who He has made me to be, and I am still learning more each and every day!

How long have you been creating or supporting the arts?

Rakstar Designs began back in 2014 as more of a hobby. I've been a creative since I could hold a paintbrush. My mom and dad were both creative in their own way so the arts were always a big part of our lives - whether creating or supporting!

What inspires your work?

Inspiration comes in a variety of ways for me as a creative. Many times, I create based on what my own soul needs at the time. I'm also captivated by light and the way it plays against the darkness. Sunrise and sunset are my favorite times of day! (Sunrise is a recent, post-school-aged-kids phenomenon. I'm still getting used to it.)

What role does the artist/artisan play in society?

As an artisan, especially a Catholic artist/artisan, it is so important to provide a glimpse of the truth, beauty, and goodness that never fades - to tug on the heartstrings of that eternal whisper that lies in our hearts. We have such power to transform spaces, minds, and hearts. It is such a holy privilege to share our gift for the glory of God!

What is your dream project?

SO. MANY. DREAMS! My super-huge-pie-in-the-sky-dream would be to open a bookstore-coffeeshop-gift shop combo that the Hubs and I could run together to minister to those on the fringes of the faith. PIE IN THE SKY!

What couldn't you live without?

The right answer is Jesus, right? But also coffee. Lots of coffee.

Where can you be found online? 

Website: www.rakstardesigns.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/rakstardesigns
Instagram: www.instagram.com/rakstardesigns

Thanks, Rakhi!

Meet the Makers, Movers, and Shakers

Katie G. Whipple

We are thrilled to include a special triptych from Katie G. Whipple in the forthcoming 2017-2018 Sacred Art Calendar! Both her floral and figural works are astounding. You can learn more about her here and on her website, link below. Be sure to follow her process on Instagram as well.

About Katie:

"Katie (b. 1991) grew up in central Indiana. After graduating high school, Katie decided to forgo traditional college education and move to New York City to study academic painting at the Grand Central Atelier.  She has since been the recipient of many awards, including scholarships from the Grand Central Atelier, the Art Renewal Center, and a purchase award from the Indiana State Museum for the permanent collection.  Most notably, Katie was awarded second place and named “Protogenes” in the 2013 GCA Drawing competition and was also the recipient of the 2013-2014 Alma Schapiro Prize. The Alma Schapiro Prize sent her to the American Academy in Rome for three months to study the works of the old masters. Katie extended her stay in Italy,  journeying from Rome to Florence and Naples studying antiquity and the Renaissance intensively for eight months. She now works full time as a professional painter, teaches part time at the Grand Central Atelier, and lives in Queens, NY with her husband, artist Brendan Johnston, and their dog Theo. 

"From a very early age, Katie knew she had to become a professional artist. In choosing to become a painter, she has aligned herself with the rich and beautiful history of visual representation that dates back to the beginning of Man. Continuing this history is not a responsibility she takes for granted. It is her highest aspiration to gain a greater understanding of the human spirit and to cultivate joy and wonder through the launguage of oil paint."

Website: www.kgwhipple.com
Instagram: www.instagram.com/katiegwhipple/

Meet the Makers, Movers and Shakers

Kristyn Brown, The Saints Project

It always takes my breath away when artist Kristyn Brown reveals new work. Back in 2015 when I began envisioning the Sacred Art Calendar, I spent tons of time researching current Catholic artists. Kristyn's saints project was one of the first I that fit my vision for the calendar. Her work is fresh and modern, but timeless; steeped with symbolism. Her work conveys her faith with grace, strength, and beauty. 

From her website: "The Saints Project is a photo series of Catholic saints portrayed by everyday people bringing focus to the true role models of our world. The Project aims to involve the community by using 'average' people in its portrayals. Unlike paintings or self portraiture, The Saints Project calls people to stand in the shoes of a real Saint. To create unity during the creative process but also to bring us into communion with the saints of the past."

Working with Kristyn has been a true pleasure! One of her newest pieces will be featured in the 2017-2018 Sacred Art Liturgical Calendar, available in late September/early October. 

Please following the links below to visit her website and follow her on Instagram or Facebook. 

Website: www.thesaintsproject.org
Etsy Store: www.etsy.com/shop/kristynbrownphoto
Instagram: www.instagram.com/kristyn_brown_photo
Facebook: www.facebook.com/kristynbrownphoto