Saturday, January 11, 2014


Yes, Jerome Artists Cooperative Gallery cohorts,  Sally Stryker and Judy Yescalis are together again- teaming up for the 3rd time in a new Featured Artists’ exhibition, “Rust & Dye Again,” which will open in conjunction with First Friday Art Walk in Jerome on January 4th.  Opening night festivities will take place from 5-8 pm and will feature food, wine and lively conversation with visitors, locals and many of the Jerome Co-op’s artist/members who will be on hand for the evening. The exhibition will be in place for two months.
The two artist-friends have much in common, including English teaching careers, deep family roots in the state and- like their fellow artists- long-term love affairs with inspirational local landscapes and life-styles. Their respective arts, however, have little in common. Stryker’s often whimsical, always thought-provoking character ‘assemblages’ are built from ‘found’ materials –iron scraps, bits of old objects, rugs, fabrics, buttons- all collected from her own southwestern surroundings. The large family of co-mingled folk and critters and the tales she creates to give them life are based in rich family heritage handed down from her maternal grandparents and from her mother who was born and raised among the smart, practical and earth-loving Hopi people in northern Arizona.
Yescalis’s batiks, however, are based on the ancient eastern fine art process of wax resist on fabric which requires natural undyed fabrics, hot melted wax, powdered fabric dyes and a large collection of hair art brushes. Her completed works are a departure from more traditional batiks which often depicted designs of culture-specific gods, objects of nature, and more recently, geometrical patterns for quilt block designs. “Many people think my batiks are elaborate watercolor landscapes,” she says. “That’s ok – the wax has been removed from the finished product in the final step, but there is water and color in the heart and soul of every one of them!”
Both Stryker and Yescalis were born in Arizona- in Jerome and Prescott, respectively, but both spent much of their earlier lives in California. Sally worked in her adult years as an Art and English teacher before moving back to the Verde Valley in the late 80’s and taking up residence on her grandparents’ homesteaded acreage in Page Springs. Here, she lives in her mother’s rustic cozy ‘schoolhouse’ home on the edge of Oak Creek where she maintains an outdoor workshop /birthing hospital for her ‘found art’ creations and continues to write and tell her delightful stories. Sally is also an active member of several area art groups. Her welcome mat is always out for whatever family of locals might come through her neighborhood-  javelina, coyotes, fox-and of course, her 2 legged friends. There is also a friendly ‘found art’ dragon outside her door which is currently waiting for its very own story. About her transformative art, Sally declares, “I love the idea of finding something that’s been used for one thing and tossed in the dump. That relates to our lives: we can toss pieces of our lives away, but somehow, they’re still a part of us.”
Judy became a southern California resident at 5 years old, returning to her home state with her husband in the 70’s where she began a 28 yr career teaching English and Foreign Language. Though she currently lives in the Village of Oak Creek where she is also actively involved in the Village Gallery Cooperative, she is quick to attribute her artistic inspiration to her parents who gave her the gifts of travel and music at an early age. Though most of her current batiks showcase the colors and landscapes of the southwest, her years of living and traveling in France and Spain as well as her frequent trips to California and to the east coast to see friends and enjoy the music of a favorite Broadway entertainer continue to provide much subject matter (and boxes of personal photos) from which she draws subject matter for her art.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Our Glass Obsession: New Works by Isabel Mathieson and Fred Reinhardt. October 5th through December 5th 2013


“Our Glass Obsession” :
New Works by Isabel Mathieson and Fred Reinhardt.

Jerome Artists Cooperative Gallery

PO Box 233/ 503 Main St

Jerome AZ 86331


Publicity Chairperson: Ellen Jo Roberts



For Immediate Release:

“Our Glass Obsession” : New Works by Isabel Mathieson and Fred Reinhardt. Opens at the Jerome Artists Cooperative Gallery on October 5th

“Glass has always intrigued me. I have always loved glass and collected glass,” said Isabel “Chacha” Mathieson, in trying to explain her obsession with this amazing material. Even when cooled to a solid form it manages to retain its liquid appearance, a swirl of colors and clarity. Chacha and fellow glass artist Fred Reinhardt will share their mutual fascination by showcasing new works in “Our Glass Obsession”, a featured show at the Jerome Artists Cooperative Gallery opening Saturday, October 5th.
Both long-time members of the co-op, Mathieson and Reinhardt have very different styles when it comes to glass, yet both share a brilliant color sense and passion for pattern and texture.

Isabel Mathieson, known by many as Chacha, is a third generation Arizonan, born in Jerome’s United Verde Hospital, now known as the Jerome Grand Hotel. Jerome plays an important part in Chacha’s family history. Her grandparents were both originally from Jalisco, Mexico, and met and married in El Paso, Texas. They moved to Jerome when Arizona was only a territory, settling on Main Street in 1910 where they lived with their children, one of which was Chacha’s mother. Chacha’s parents met in Jerome, married in 1940 and their family grew there for a time, prior to moving to San Manuel in Pinal County northeast of Tucson. After World War II, plexi-glass became plentiful and Chacha’s father, Frank Gallego began experimenting with it. He started out making lamps with shades and matching picture frames, carving roses and cactus into the plexi-glass. When orders were plentiful he created his art studio, Gallego Carvings, specializing in jewelry. “I remember watching him as he carved roses and cactus for pendants and earrings,” Chacha recalls, inspired by his talents, “As we were able to handle it, my dad taught us to use the grinder, buffer, and drills, and attach findings on the earrings and pendants. My dad and mother were always teaching and encouraging us to develop our own artistic talents.”
By the time Chacha was in high school, she acquired her father’s skill for plexi-glass carving. She continued to live in the surrounding area of San Manuel, carving out a career in city and county government while also managing to raise a family. During her 41-year career, Chacha took evening classes, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and Office Management. Three years prior to retiring, she decided to learn about stained glass, “a lifelong desire.” One instructor introduced her to fused glass, also referred to as kiln-formed glass, and she fell in love with it.
Her fused glass is an assemblage based on a design or pattern,“ I draw out my patterns and select glass colors. Either way, I hand cut each piece of glass and sometimes I use machinery for curves and intricate cuts.  Then I grind, clean the pieces and assemble them like a puzzle.” The assembled piece is put in the kiln to fuse, a process which takes 15 to 18 hours to complete, depending on the size and thickness of the piece..  A second process called the slump phase shapes the piece, “After the full fuse, in order to shape the glass into a pre-selected plate or bowl I use a mold for the slumping phase. ”
 Upon retirement, with her children grown, Chacha returned to her roots in the Verde Valley, and furthered her education in the art via additional glass classes.
Chacha states, “I love Jerome and the Verde Valley— it brings back so many happy memories of my family and childhood days. With the love of glass art, my wish is that my creations will bring as much joy to all those who use them as they do for me in creating them.”  

Nebraska-native Fred Reinhardt has been involved with photography, printing and graphic arts since he was honorably discharged from the US Navy in 1969. He completed his Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from Omaha’s Creighton University in 1972. The Reinhardts moved to Cottonwood, Arizona in 1981 and soon after purchased a small print shop and started the local ads and TV-listings publication, The Ad King. Fred retired from his newspaper business in 2007, allowing him more time to devote to his glass art.

“My glass obsession started in the late fall of 1996 when the owner of the local stained glass shops persuaded me to take a stained glass class, explained Mr. Reinhardt.The six week course covered the basics: glass selection, grinding, foiling, soldering and finishing. Fred enjoyed the results of those early lessons and continued to develop his skills with more complex designs. “The more complicated the piece the more imagination, and the more imagination the more time you take to select your glass. At a certain time you realize that the local stained glass shops have a limited supply, so you venture out to the big city to see a larger selection of glass colors and textures. That is the time you develop an obsession with glass…You can never have enough glass.”

Though he has no formal training in fine art, his innate knack for graphics, color and composition are evident in the bold style of his stained glass. His glasswork often depicts sunny desert landscapes, starry nights and other easily recognizable nature scenes, though Reinhardt also showcases fine mastery of abstract designs as well. He exhibits a keen sense of whimsy with many of his pieces, including his popular snowflake and star pieces. A fan favorite? His small terra-cotta pot-bound cactus plants.
“Glass isn’t just for windows!” he exclaims cheerfully. Using traditional stained-glass methods, Fred’s work is a blend of both classic and modern. “The stained glass medium not only deals in colors but also in texture, both of which can lend a dimensional effect to a piece, as well as one that will change with the intensity of the light throughout the day.”
“Our Glass Obsession” opens Saturday, October 5th, 2013, 5:30pm-8:30pm in conjunction with Jerome’s popular first Saturday ARTwalk event. The Jerome Artists Cooperative Gallery is located at 502 Main, in the former Hotel Jerome. Gallery hours are 10am-6pm daily. The show runs through December 5th.
For more information visit or call 928-639-4276

Monday, July 15, 2013

"On Being Present..."

“On Being Present...”

All new work by watercolor artist Judy Jaaskelainen
at Jerome Artists Cooperative Gallery. 
Opening celebration: Saturday Aug. 3rd, 5-8 P.M.

“My best artwork is not usually inspired by going off and seeking ‘something to paint’”, explains watercolorist Judy Jaaskelainen, “They are images that I happen upon and have the urge to stop time or somehow cause those moments to pass more slowly so that I can fully appreciate the experience.”

This is what happened to Ms. Jaaskelainen several Octobers ago while exploring the ruins at Canyon de Chelly in far Northeastern Arizona, “ I was walking up to get a closer look at the base of the magnificent Spider Woman Rock.  As I approached it a small whirlwind traveled across my path toward the stately pinnacle and it lifted and swirled the autumn yellow cottonwood leaves in a spiral that danced around the base of the rock. I stood mesmerized. I have not yet painted that picture but it is high on my list.”


Canyon de Chelly has provided  inspiration for the artist before. “In February in 1995, I was in the canyon with a group of photographers.  It was snowing softly and everyone had their light meters out searching for an image to photograph in the low-light conditions.  I did that too, for a few minutes but then with my camera to my eye I happened to focus on all of the other photographers in their bright colored parkas, standing in various poses hovered over their equipment to keep the snow from landing on it.  It was unexpected and was great fun to use that composition in one of my watercolor paintings later that I titled, ‘The Eye of the Beholder’.”

Ms. Jaaskelainen’s open-hearted way of seeing is the key to her art.
“At one of our local Farmer’s Markets one evening a young woman passed by dancing to the music of Dave Rentz and John Ziegler,” recalls Jaaskelainen, “She had on a colorful cap and bell-bottom jeans.  As usual, I had my camera with me and took a photo of her.  Years later I was attending one of Patty Mikles’ Advanced Watercolor classes at Yavapai College and we were toying with ‘distorting the perspective of common subjects’.  Looking through my resource photos I came upon that image and another of a clarinet player from Flagstaff who had performed at one of the Opening Receptions at our gallery.  He was hunkered down near the stairwell with his clarinet in his hand. My paintings ‘Old Town Dancer’, and ‘Sox to Match’, both, were so much fun to create and actually won awards in juried shows later that year.”

The artist finds inspiration in the day-to-day scenery of her historic Clarkdale, Arizona neighborhood. “My neighbor, Kahlil has a collection of the retro-metal lawn chairs.  One day while walking my dog, Gus, I glanced over at Kahlil’s backyard and saw he had all of his old chairs lined up along one wall of his house.  It was winter but the sun was bright and it created fascinating tangled shadows on the ground and wall from the tubular frames of the chairs. Of course I had my camera with me, took a few photos. My watercolor, ‘Warm Winter Sun’, another award winner, was the result.”


The new paintings Ms. Jaaskelainen is presenting as the featured artist at Jerome Artists Cooperative Gallery Saturday August 3 thru October 3, 2013, are more examples of her experience of life happening on a daily basis. The artist enjoys scenes that cause her to want to stop,“ take a deep breath,  and savor a moment here and there.” She extends her thanks  to Cornville wood artist Phil Wright  for creating some of the beautiful frames used in the exhibit .

   A new painting, “Moon-gazer”, is from photos taken of a young woman who was wearing a lovely beaded head cover, bent over looking at some piece of jewelry that caught her eye at the Jerome Artists Cooperative Gallery. “I asked if I could photograph her and she said, ‘Sure!’  Sorting through my resources over the past few months I knew when I looked at that photograph again that I would have fun composing a painting using that image. It was! Painting each bead was like a meditation… very calming…. And the moon…..well, I love the moon.”

    In addition to her new work at the Cooperative Gallery, Judy Jaaskelainen is also an participating member of the Verde Artist Challenge.  “I was invited to join 24 other artists in April, to do a three day kayak trip down the Verde River, arranged by the Verde Valley Land Preservation and funded by a grant.  One of the goals was for the artists to develop an emotional connection to our beautiful river and be inspired to create art that exemplifies our experience. The hope is that the persons who will see the exhibit of the “river art” will also develop a connection and sensitivity to the beauty and importance of all rivers, the Verde River in particular.”  “A River Runs Through Us”, a traveling exhibit featuring the art inspired by the river and the kayak trip, will be seen throughout Arizona.  The art will be available for purchase through an online auction with the proceeds going toward further river preservation efforts.  The paintings, sculptures, and photographs are scheduled to be presented to the public at the group’s opening reception Saturday, July 27 from 6:00 to 8:00pm at the Manheim Gallery in Old Town Cottonwood. The show will be on display there through the end of August.

“On Being Present…” is dedicated to Ms. Jaaskelainen’s mother.
“She not only taught me to walk and talk, but also to ‘see’,” explains the artist, “She would be 100 years-old this year, in November. I miss her every day.”
Opening Reception is on Saturday Aug. 3rd, 5-8 P.M. at Jerome Artist’s Cooperative Gallery, 502 Main Street, Jerome, Arizona 86331 (928-639-4276)

This exhibit can also be seen daily during regular gallery hours from 10 A.M. to 6 P.M. thru Oct. 3rd, 2013.