Niagara Gazette


May 30, 2013

LOCKPORT: The Kenan Center holds three-day 100 Craftsmen event

Niagara Gazette — It’s watercolorist Jody Ziehm’s first time as a participant at the Kenan Center’s 100 American Craftsmen show. But she won’t be bringing her paintings.

That’s because, despite the many award’s she’s won for her canvases, the annual juried show, which runs Friday, May 31, through June 2, does not include a category for paintings.

So now and then over the past two years, Ziehm has set aside her paintbrushes to create a whole new kind of artwork, restoring and combining unique pieces she finds scavenging through places where old things lie in wait. She calls it “upcycling.”  

“I started to branch out with some collage work. It just kind of snowballed from there,” said the artist, standing amidst her collection of tiles, glass pieces, frames and doorknobs. 

“And, oh, my, I love this so much,” she added of her newest creative outlet. “I love transforming things into functional art.”

Of course, this type of art, she is quick to note, is best not done alone. It requires the help of her husband, Dave, an engineer, who joins Jody donning grubby workshoes and old clothes when they go hunting for cool things to recreate. Son, Dan, and daughter-in-law, Kim, help too, sawing, painting and wiring the collected pieces into eclectic and whimsical works of art.

This leap into a whole new art form is admittedly scary for the artist, who has already established herself as a painter and recently shared an exhibit with another painter at the Kenan Center, where 100 Craftsmen is being held.

Her participation in the show is another element of excitement for show planners.

“This is a whole new genre for her and I think people are going to be really excited to see what she does,” said Elaine Harrigan, spokesperson for the Kenan Center, who noted that repurposing is showing up in a lot of categories of new American craft.  “People are really responding to it,” she said. “They’re seeing it in magazines and galleries.” 

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