Linda Stephen, "Recess at Freeman School," Origami, Japanese handcrafted papers
Linda Stephen, “Recess at Freeman School,” Origami, Japanese handcrafted papers

Functional and decorative arts are in the national spotlight during American Craft Week, kicking off on October 4. Bringing attention to a select group of its regional practitioners, the Roberta & Bob Rogers Gallery has organized the exhibition Fine Craft in America, opening the same day and running through November 2.

The show features diverse works by Tim Axtman, Rhonda Baldwin, Allison Borgschulte, Art Ciccotti, Linda Garcia, Naomi Keller, Deb Koesters, Linda Stephen and Lars Voltz.

Axtman, Keller and Voltz take ceramics in different directions. Axtman, who hails from Sioux Falls, SD, makes raku-fired pottery and is known for hand-painted vessels with delicate images of birch trees.

Rhonda Baldwin, “Moderne,” fiber

Former Omahan Keller specializes in making slab-built sculptures that play with geometric forms and hard-edged construction. Des Moines artist Voltz’s wood-fired stoneware accented with porcelain and quartzite is rough and physical, as if wrested from stratified earth.

No craft-oriented show is complete without glass being represented. Ames glassblower Art Ciccotti will exhibit his colorful Venetian-inspired vessels designed with an interest in curvilinear form. Lincoln-based Allison Borgschulte works with fused and stained glass, but her wall hangings will also demonstrate her distinctive method of combining painting and weaving.

Other fiber-centric artists will be exhibited. Omaha’s Deb Koesters is a wet felter, fashioning wool fibers into sculpture, wall hangings and wearables. Grand Island’s Rhonda Baldwin uses fabric as support for her dyeing, embroidery and free-form machine stitching, creating pictorial wall tapestries.

Tim Axtman, “Birch Trees on Stand,” Raku

Linda Stephen of Lincoln is pictorially minded as well, but collages and forms paper to make her pictures, with folded origami providing dimensional interest. Omaha’s Linda Garcia is inspired by the history and design elements of Mexican folk arts, creating formed paper sculpture and cut paper artworks with themes of indigenous culture, women and nature.

Fine Craft in America opens October 4 and runs through November 2 at the Roberta & Bob Rogers Gallery, with free public hours Wednesdays-Saturdays from 10am-6pm. An afternoon of artist talks featuring artists Baldwin, Stephen and Koesters will take place on Saturday, October 12 beginning at 2pm.

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