Metal etching artist Eduardo Cruz Torres of McMinnville creates transfixing hummingbirds and other imagery of Mexico’s Aztec Empire out of one of the strongest materials: steel.
Cruz Torres’s art such as “The Spirit of the Warrior” will be displayed, along with works by more than 60 other local artists, at the 42nd Annual Wild Arts Festival to benefit the Portland Audubon Dec. 10-11 at Portland State University’s Viking Pavilion.
The nature-related pieces includes jewelry, painting, prints and sculptures, as well as one-of-a-kind glass, wood, fiber and ceramics. The fundraiser will also showcase books on birds, hiking and outdoor adventures in the Pacific Northwest.
Meet artists and authors such as Colin Meloy, New York Times bestseller and lead singer of the Decemberists, signing “The Stars Did Wander Darkling,” (colinmeloy.com) and his wife, award-winning artist Carson Ellis presenting her illustrations in Randall de Sève’s children’s book, “This Story Is Not About a Kitten” (carsonellis.com).
Nature inspired each artists’ choice of theme and sustainable materials. Here’s a sampling of works to be shown at the 2022 Wild Arts Festival:
- Eduardo Cruz Torres takes his time with a metal scribe to etch intricate images on sheetmetal left over from construction projects. The smooth, coated-steel canvas is durable, says the self-taught artist who finds inspiration from nature and his Mexican ancestry. He also uses his pyrography skills, known as writing with fire, on maple, African padauk and purpleheart wood, sometimes combined with watercolor or acrylic paint, to create textured, patterned pieces (@cruz14amuneuky).
- Gavin Tougher creates sculptural pollinator boxes for mason bees, nesting boxes for birds and interior wall decor in his Pith to Bark Studio in Corvallis using discarded wood, sustainably sourced lumber and found organic material (pithtobark.com).
- Artist Kim Black transforms gourds into decorative vessels, shards and wall art with painted designs and embellishments such as woven pine needles, leaves or reeds. She also creates another ancient form of art: pine needle baskets made of ponderosa or longleaf pine needles treated with glycerine to keep them pliable and preserve the woodsy scent (beavermeadowarts.com).
- Janel Pahl works with a natural beeswax and damar tree resin to create encaustic works such as “We Are In This Together.” Layers of wax mixed with the crystallized tree sap are fused with a blowtorch and finished with inks, oils and pastels. Her approach: “Living with beautiful art that pays tribute to the natural world reminds us to slow down and helps us reconnect with nature and each other” (janelpahlart.com).
- Silversmith Regana Begay employs triangular patterns and other Navajo cluster designs for her necklaces and earrings of turquoise, sometimes coral and white shell, and typically set in sterling silver.
- Painter and wildlife rehabber Erin Linton creates fine artworks, such as “Red Fox,” by painting gouache, made of ground opaque pigments, on emptied, treated teabags (orphangirlfineart.com).
- Sandy Tweed, who earned a degree in zoology at the University of Washington, captures whimsical images of wildlife with layers of acrylic paint on wood panels (sandytweed.com)
- Fiber artist Casey Newman uses cotton, silk and wool, and natural dyes to create botanical-printed wearable art such as her eucalyptus leaf wool wrap. She also teaches in-person and online workshops at Cedar Dell Forest Farm, an educational property outside of Gresham (cedardelldesigns.com).
- Clare Carpenter of Tiger Food Press, a letterpress and printmaking studio in North Portland’s St. Johns neighborhood, makes home goods like table linens, wall hangings and indoor and outdoor pillows out of hemp, organic cotton and linen (tigerfoodpress.com).
The 42nd Annual Wild Arts Festival to benefit the Portland Audubon is 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10, and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 11.
Tickets ($13.50, kids under 14 are free) can be purchased at the event, or at wildartsfestival.org.
Portland State University’s Viking Pavilion in the Peter W. Stott Center is at 930 S.W. Hall St. Portland.
— Janet Eastman | 503-294-4072
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