BREMEN — The Bremen Public Library held the fourth annual “An Afternoon with Area Artists,” sponsored by the Delta Theta Psi lota Xi chapter. The chapter in Bremen supports local scholarship programs as well as charitable programs like Bethel’s American Sign Language Program. This year, the artwork displayed the manifold talents of the artists, which included leather making, photography, stained glass, painting and more. Visitors were allowed to roam from station to station, both viewing and purchasing the artwork at leisure while snacking on food provided upon entrance.
Of the local artists present, there were many from Bremen. Danica Clark, a Bremenite and also a veteran of the art show, is a photographer who attempts to make her subjects feel at ease in front of the camera. She brought a box full of props for visitors to try on and have their picture taken. When asked why she became a photographer, she said “I love to see people look at their photo and realize how beautiful they are.”
Both kids and adults alike spent some of the afternoon trying on outfits and posing for her, allowing her to work her magic.
Robin Reed and daughter Melody Stanton have found their passion in jewelry making. Their love for the craft began six years ago when Reed was given a necklace as a gift. After realizing she could make similar jewelry herself, she and her daughter have been creating unique gifts and selling them at multiple art shows. The two would like to expand their business by teaching classes and having parties in jewelry making.
Two artists at the show work with glass, though they use the material in completely different ways. Martha Nicolas had always been interested in stained glass, but it wasn’t until after retiring and taking a trip to Arizona that she took a class in the craft and became addicted to it. She stains glass for both window décor and also creates lamps, of which she had many at her booth for sale. Nicolas said she often gives her creations to her family and friends. Her work can also be seen at the local Catholic church, which displays her stained glass in two of its windows. Kris Cannon also works with glass and sees the objects she forms as both beautiful for people to gaze upon, but also a personal way to relieve stress. She builds garden sculptures out of glass objects that can be placed outside for decorative purposes, or as bird baths or bird feeders.
Virginia Manges showcased the colorful rugs she has been weaving for the past 50 years. She and her husband have been in Bremen for the past 27 years after retiring from the Chicago area. Manges not only makes rugs, but also paints landscapes inspired by her many travels around the world.
Lifelong resident of Bremen Betty Fox discovered her talent for card design when she began making personalized cards for her grandchildren and later, her friends. She takes photographs of nature and then mounts the picture on white card stock. She thanks God for his creation and says her slogan is, “God created it; I captured it.”
Tom Rzepka also enjoys artistically capturing nature, but uses a paintbrush instead of a lens. He has painted wildlife, specifically waterfowl, for more than 30 years. While he does sell his paintings, Rzepka says that he paints for himself and because of his longtime interest in waterfowl. His paintings differ from others because he portrays the birds anatomically correct, which takes a considerable attention to detail.
Bethany Pratt, another lifelong Bremenite, exhibited her ceramic pottery. Creating these abstract forms has become her passion since experiencing with the medium in college. She recently graduated from Bethel College with a concentration in ceramics, painting, and photography. Pratt said she desires to continue creating both sculpture and oil paintings for many years to come.
Cele Siefer Kralik, who displayed a wide array of leather goods at her table, has been interested in creating with leather ever since she was employed as a garment designer at The Leather Banana in Mishawaka. She enjoys taking items made of various colors of leather as well as hair-on calf and repurposing them into something functional like handbags and purses. Other local artists present were Thomas Dean, a violinist; Gail Janssen, who uses different fibers to create wearable items as well as wall art; Rob Krost, a photographer; R. Schafer, whose focus at the art show was printmaking and bookmaking; Brittany Fox, a florist; and Carol Spaid who played the Mountain Dulcimer and created mittens, magnets, envelopes and other items for sale.