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June 9, 2011 Volume 32, No. 31

Arts showcase draws attention to MU staff’s off-the-clock talents

Arts showcase

STAFF SHOWCASE Crowds browse MU staff artwork on the second floor of Ellis Library during the Staff Recognition Week Arts and Crafts Show on May 17. The show featured a variety of arts and crafts, such as textile wall hangings, welded steel sculptures, and hand-woven baskets. Rachel Coward photo


Photography, painting and crafts on display

It was an exposition of juxtapositions: a grant writer who fashions fiber into decorative rugs; a billing agent who builds furniture; a research-reactor employee who sketches in charcoal.

That’s just a few of the dedicated MU staff members who showed their artistic side during MU’s Arts and Crafts Showcase. The three-day event, held May 17-19 at Ellis Library, was part of Staff Recognition Week. Other activities during the week included power walks and a seminar on stress management.

But clearly, some staff members have found their own methods of de-stressing.

Rebecca Calvin’s welded-steel sculptures of graceful torsos welcomed visitors to Room 201 with a stunning statement of movement in steel. Calvin works with the Chancellor’s Diversity Initiative.

A show of Mizzou pride, a felted tiger-stripe rug covered a display table with black and gold alpaca fiber. Grant writer Mary Licklider created the eye-catching piece in partnership with Linda Coats of Career Planning and Placement and retired MU employee Diane Peckham. Visitors who hovered nearby wondered aloud if the group would take commissions.

Sitting in a row, Gregory A. Cook’s chairs spoke to his talents as a furniture builder and restorer of pieces from yesteryear. Cook began acquiring woodworking skills as an 8-year-old in 4-H. Now the caning, upholstering, building and refinishing are an after-work respite that takes him into his backyard woodland in search of material. As a benefit of the endeavor, “there are power tools involved,” says Cook, who provides pediatric billing for Child Health-Administration. 

Hanna Pippin, an administrative assistant at MU’s Research Reactor, created delicate beauty with her hand-felted wool basket and flowers that radiate soft colors. The art classes Pippin took in beginning fibers enhanced her abilities in that genre, but she says her charcoal sketch of a tiger face is perhaps her favorite piece. 

As CAFNR Web specialist Genevieve Howard shared her photography with the public, the subject of her central photo — 2-year-old Jazzmyn Pallikkathayil — skipped happily around the room. Howard’s images of landscapes, flowers and the photogenic tot reflect her love of capturing beauty. Photography is “just a joy” for Howard. 

Ann McGinity’s hand-woven baskets of dyed reed, sea grass and willow called out to be touched, and some visitors found them too hard to resist. McGinity’s day job is with Environmental Health and Safety.

In the odd and unusual category, Dennis Murphy, an illustrator with Extension Publications, exhibited a fascinating acrylic self-portrait representing himself with images of brushes, pencils, erasers and other tools of his trade. Tab Leach of Energy Management displayed custom-made traditional archery. Leach teaches build-it-yourself bow classes for aspiring archery artists.

The artful specialties of Rob Taylor, Budget Office, and Janet Bradshaw, Graduate School, combine light and glass. Taylor crafts stained glass windows and light catchers; Bradshaw makes one-of-a-kind jewelry of tiger-stripe and floral glass beads. Her work can be found through her business, Beauty in a Bead, with a website coming soon.

Textile arts showed fun and function in all forms, from crewel and counted cross stitch to embroidery and crochet. Heiddi Davis of Campus Facilities paints with thread and does quilting and appliqués to create charming wall hangings. Karen Worley of Publications and Alumni Communication gives discarded upholstery scraps a second life in the form of colorful tote bags. Katrina Monnig of Landscape Services uses TV viewing time to work on counted cross stitch. And Julie Patterson of Child Health Administration spreads warmth with a black, white and gold quilt bursting with Mizzou images.  

Several pieces mentioned here are for sale, and many of the artists and artisans take commissions.

— Nancy Moen

Published with permission of Mizzou Wire