Arts and Entertainment

Show gives artists a chance to shine

Teri Alverdes seeks to find the form within the castoff wood in Arline De Palma’s driftwood sculpture class at the Ken Baxter Senior Community Center Oct. 23. -
Teri Alverdes seeks to find the form within the castoff wood in Arline De Palma’s driftwood sculpture class at the Ken Baxter Senior Community Center Oct. 23.
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MARYSVILLE — For the second year in a row, arts and crafts students at the Ken Baxter Senior Community Center will have a chance to show off their stuff during the Nov. 1 “Artistry in Nature” show.

From 10 a.m. to

8 p.m., the results of classes in watercolor painting, woodcarving, gourd crafts and driftwood sculpture will be on display for free viewing. While these pieces will not be for sale at the show itself, Senior Center Coordinator Maryke Burgess noted that attendees could obtain contact information from the artists to purchase their pieces afterwards.

“Last year we realized that we had all of these talented artists in our classes, but nowhere to showcase them,” Burgess said. “Many of our gourd craft-makers had never done this before, but now, some of their pieces are gallery-quality.”

On Oct. 23, the Senior Center was hosting more than a dozen students of Arline De Palma’s driftwood sculpture class, whose members were working busily to get their pieces ready for the show.

De Palma is an enthusiastic instructor who delights in explaining the spirit and aesthetic behind driftwood sculpture.

“It’s not as much about adding as it is about subtracting,” De Palma said of the abstract pieces produced by herself and her students. “What we’re really doing is giving these pieces a second life, by shedding new light on old subjects.”

De Palma trains her students how to scrape, sand, finish, burnish and mount their materials. She explained that, while woodcarving imposes forms onto wood, her driftwood sculpture follows the more organic “Luron method,” which seeks out interesting shapes, voids and curves in the hardwood cores of the castoff pieces of wood.

“It’s all discarded wood, found in streams and rivers and on shores,” De Palma said. “We never cut green or living wood for our pieces. We’re trying to resurrect deadwood, even in the bases, which are made of rock, bark or other driftwood.”

While the “Luron method” can accentuate the preexisting structure of the wood, the method’s emphasis on seeking out the “Hogarth curve” in pieces, likened to the “S-curves” of the female body by De Palma, can yield dramatic transformations.

“Sometimes, a piece doesn’t even resemble what it looked like when it started out,” De Palma said. “That’s why I have my students take before and after photos of their pieces.”

De Palma addresses issues as nit-picky as how to handle pitch on bark, and insists that none of her students use power tools on their first pieces, because “I want them to get a good feel for the wood” before they take that next step.

“There are forms for art that also exist in nature,” De Palma said.

You can see the work of De Palma’s students, as well as many other arts and crafts students, at the Ken Baxter Senior Community Center, located on 514 Delta Avenue in Marysville, Nov. 1 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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