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Tokatee Falls by award winning nature photographer Nancy J. Smith

By Vintage Wood Artist Sharon Jones

This year’s three-day Heart of the Country art show and sale features artists known for their expertly crafted works. Most have exhibited widely; and each is known for creating unique pieces that bring Northwest character to life.

Seven-time national award winning nature photographer and Pacific Northwest wall calendar creator, Nancy J. Smith, has been capturing her stunning images for 27 years. Known for her ability to bring waterfalls, landscapes, flora and fauna to life in large format prints, she is now transferring those images onto metal so that the frame-less pieces transform surfaces on which they are mounted.

Artist and retired educator Sharon Jones commented on the genesis of her work “My love of art goes back to 1974 when I

By Glass Artist Lyn Palmer

began my 33-year teaching career. I loved working with children and watching their creativity. In planning my lessons, I found that I could incorporate art into the curriculum, and discovered my students were more involved and retained more of what I was trying to teach.

“After retirement, I found myself exploring other art avenues. My journey has led me to re-purposing children’s chairs, rockers, and an assortment of vintage wood pieces. The JOY is in the hunt. During the summer months, I frequent garage sales searching for that unique $5 chair or rocker.

Happiness, for me, is finding that special piece. The next step is scrubbing it, having my husband do any necessary repairs to sturdy it up, and then finally the painting. Most of my pieces are one-of-a-kind. Rarely do I paint two the same. Much thought and love go into each piece that I paint. Also, I hand-varnish everything, usually three coats, so that it will last many years.

“I guess through the years, I have discovered that it does my heart so much good to find something, re-purpose it and paint it with love, so that it has a new life that will bring joy to someone.”

Stained glass artist Lyn Palmer also creates one-of-a-kind pieces. In describing her process, Palmer shared “Glass has always been a passion of mine. About 35 years ago, a friend taught me how to make wee glass boxes and I was hooked. From there I made a bull elk box, a hummingbird box, and many assorted sun catchers, along with more elaborate boxes. I used a lot of bevels and if you see my work now, the love I have for bevels has transcended into the construction of many of my lampshades.

“I do not use very many patterns. My brain is too active to just follow one and I create my own designs. They are one-of-a-kind and are like jigsaw puzzles, without the picture on the box. I never know how they’ll turn out; but so far I have not been disappointed in my own creativity. About 20 years ago, I joined Larch Mountain Country Artisans (LMCA) and was in a show. I had about 8 lamps and half of them sold. It made me feel good. Then life interrupted and I stopped. But now I’m back with 13 lamps for the upcoming show. All of my lamps have names: Purple Haze, Sunny Dayz, Emerald Crown, Lemon Drop, Pamela, Oregon Wood, etc. Naming them may seem odd, but it makes it very personal for me.

“I’m not into high tech glass cutting as I’m a one woman operation, and I take great pleasure in the process of making a lamp. The glass cutting, taping, soldering, and the final surprise. My arms and fingers take a bit of a beating, but the end result is well worth it.”

Smith, Jones and Palmer are just three of the 34 talented artists featured in this year’s 39th annual Heart of the Country show. The event will occur Friday through Sunday, November 16-18, under cover in Troutdale’s Glenn Otto Park, 1106 Columbia River Highway.

Admission and parking are free and drawings for artists’ pieces will be held hourly. For more information go to www.LMCA-Artisans.com.

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