"Variations and Consistency"
Sharron Eckert's "Variations and Consistency" is our featured artwork for September 2009.
Pleasant Hill artist Sharron Eckert has been creating art with Long Leaf Pine Needles for about 10 years. She learned the craft from a master teacher, Elisabeth McCutcheon, who taught her to use transitional materials and methods, emphasizing natural raffia (a fiber from the raffia palm) as the thread for coiling and embroidering. She also took a class from master crafter, Judy Mofield Mallow, who introduced her to other threads and natural materials.
In her artisan’s statement, her passion for her art is obvious.
“Pine needles - - - natural, earthy, abundant, often overlooked or thought useless. I am delighted that a fiber so simple can be so valued.”
“During the creative process of working with pine needles, I am aware of their balmy aroma. After a time, it lessens so that only a faint memory remains of that once-soothing fragrance.”
“As the needles are placed side-by-side with others, forming a bundle, there seems to be a sociological lesson. A solitary needle, so fragile by itself, gains durability as it is placed side-by-side with others.”
“Although I begin a piece with a particular design in mind, I strive to be sensitive to the unique formation that occurs within that piece during the coiling process. Granted flexibility, the piece evolves into something unrivaled to other pieces.” “Working within this medium requires patience as carefully placed stitches must occur one-by-one countless times throughout the completion of the piece.”
“During my original lessons, my master teacher, Elisabeth, no longer had the hand-strength to perform this skill herself. However, she could describe the techniques and carefully critique my progress. I often wish that I could ask more questions of her.”
Sharron Eckert’s work has been accepted at the consignment gallery of The Appalachian Center for Craft (Joe L. Evins) in Smithville, where she has been invited annually to demonstrate her skill. Her work is also exhibited at the Plateau Creative Art Center in Fairfield Glade and at the Fragrant Mushroom Gallery in Sparta. For several years her work has been accepted into the annual Open Juried Show at the Oak Ridge Art Center.
As a member of Tennessee Association of Craft Artists, Sharron often exhibits and sells in her own tent at the TACA Spring Show and the TACA Fall Show. She has also been accepted into the Foothills Craft Guild based in Knoxville, eastern Tennessee, and participates in their fall show.
“The piece that I donated to WCTE is titled “Variations and Consistency,” which I believe matches the public television mission – to provide a wide variety of programming with a consistent quality.”
Sharron uses various threads including waxed linen and raffia. The centers of her pieces often use nuts or wood and she has been known to use sculpted gourds as a base for the pine needles. Her work continues to be guided by the challenging legacy of her master-teachers.
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