Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Sewing with Suzen: 50 Joyful Years

Exhibition Opens at Jerome Artists Co-op
In the final scene of Gone with the Wind, the besieged heroine, Scarlett O’Hara rips the lush green velvet curtains from the drawing room windows of her beloved Tara, and (with the help of her faithful maid), creates a dress “fit for a queen.” For Jerome Artist Co-op fashion designer, Suzen Brackell, her favorite film moment was a motivating factor in what has turned into an amazing, productive 50 year long career as a seamstress and free-wheeling designer of a unique line of ”Wearable Art for the Ageless Goddess.” She, fellow Jerome Artists Co-op members and popular, toe-tappin’ local music group, Christy and Friends will ‘joyously’ host the March 4th Art walk and opening night of her 2 month exhibition.
Like many who first became acquainted with a needle and thread in early school years, Suzen was introduced to her first sewing machine in her hometown of Windsor, Ontario in the 7th grade; she put her foot to the peddle, set the flywheel spinning and never looked back! At a young age, she was asked by her friends and family who greatly admired her clothing- to sew for them, but to their great disappointment, she would reply, “My clothes are just for me!” The seamstress continued to develop, design and hone her craft until after her daughters were born, and only then did she decide it was time to share her gift with the world.
Suzen describes herself as a “cloth artist,” a fabric sculptress who carves and shapes unique designs from material that is fun and easy care, wrinkle-free and always pre-shrunk to hold its form. The tops, dresses, jackets and scarves are a blend of chic and whimsy- casually elegant and subtly sensual. She playfully enhance her pieces with tiny loops of stitched thread, intentionally frayed edges, and carefully tied lengths of sculpted cloth strips. Her wearable art ‘one size fits most’ garments can be found in every color of the fabric palette- including rare vintage finds, and while she often uses natural fibers, she confesses, “The fabric content is not as important as the comfort, feel and flow of the fabric itself.”
Suzen specializes in custom work that is individually personalized “Just For You” and will guarantee a perfect fit. She is celebrating opening night of her “50 Joyful Years” with a Special $50 sale on many of her normally higher priced items, and will be available to answer questions and take names for custom orders.
First Saturday Art Walk and opening night festivities: March 4th from 5-8pm in the old Jerome Hotel, 502 Main Street, Jerome, AZ 86331    Open Daily 10-6
Jerome Artists Cooperative Gallery (928) 639-4276     www.jeromecoop.com


Thursday, December 29, 2016

Christine Ryback Exhibit, “Nature’s Own- Set in Stone”

Christine Ryback Exhibit, “Nature’s Own- Set in Stone” at Jerome Co-op Jan 7th

The opening night festivities at the Jerome Artists Cooperative Gallery on Jan 7th First Saturday Art Walk will ring in the new year with an exhibition by artist-member Christine Ryback, “Nature’s Own-Set in Stone.” Her show will run through the end of February. Also featured at the Art Walk in January will be live music by the Bill Kamper Ensemble.
The artist’s inspiration springs from a deep love and life-long appreciation of nature: “I have always felt at home with the natural world- it is my refuge and where I find my spirituality. A walk in the woods can be the best diversion from negativity and bring peace of mind,” she reminds us.
Christine was an art major at Montclair State University in her home state of New Jersey and has been reproducing nature’s bounty in the form of cast concrete leaves since her days as a stay-at-home mom when she was able to ‘dabble‘ in a variety of creative projects. Surrounded by the lush forests of the east coast, she began to collect leaves of all kinds- carefully chosen and gathered from the forests and fields in her native state to Florida’s tropics. From the first rhubarb leaves, her beautiful cast concrete finished pieces now include a large variety from her leaf collection, including maple, cabbage, elephant ear and many more. Although she and her husband relocated to Prescott Valley, Arizona in 2012, she has retained her home state/east coast leaf source thanks to her daughter’s connections to an organic farm where she resides back home in New Jersey. At her own southwest home, the “avid gardener” also grows her own plants.
Christine has perfected the process of observing, studying and casting each chosen leaf in concrete. “The piece is then cured, painted and sealed,” she says of her process which is on display at the gallery in the form of colorful wall art as well as functional items (birdbaths, table decor and more).  “Each leaf is unique, as nature provides the artistry.”
In the exhibition, she will be showcasing newer pieces as well- ‘3D ‘mulleins’ (four separate layers combined into a single flower) as well as new pieces which appear more sculptured from her series, “The Woods,” in which she uses bark and other natural materials from the forest.
In addition, Christine, who was taught by her live-in Hungarian grandmother to sew at a very young age, made her own high school wardrobe and later worked for decorators, now has developed a line of fabric and leather handbags based on her nature designs which will also be displayed at the show. “My sewing machine never gets put away!”
In a totally different ‘vein,’ Christine is delighted to debut an entirely new medium, gicl√©√© prints on canvas of her original oil paintings. “I am excited to present these because I have not painted with oils since high school… a very long time ago.”
Please join Christine and the Jerome Co-op Artists at First Saturday Art Walk, 5-8 pm on January 7th at the Hotel Jerome, 502 Main Street, Jerome Az 86331.  Daily Hours: 10- 6pm
For info: call 928-639-4276   www.jeromecoop.com

Friday, December 2, 2016


The talented clan of merrymaker-artists at the Jerome Cooperative Gallery will be decking the walls- and every other available spot in the old Hotel Jerome - floor spaces, windows, pillars and fitting room- in time for the opening of their annual Holiday Membership show on Saturday, Dec 3rd  from 5 – 8pm.
        The Opening is in conjunction with First Saturday Jerome Art Walk, and shuttle service will be available for visitors during afternoon and evening hours. The festive JAC evening will include impromptu singing and fa-la-la-ing by roving artist-members accompanied by guitars, ukes, maracas, tamborines and back-up vocals from everyone who comes in the door! Holiday cookies and hot mulled cider will be part of the evening’s menu.
   Membership shows at the Jerome Artists Cooperative Gallery are always fun and enticing because the artists, who are required to stay within guidelines of presenting only juried work during the rest of the year, may exhibit any kind of art or craft at one of the two Membership shows held during the year.
   At this show, for example, Nancy Norman will exhibit a piece of work which is related to her very popular juried rolled- paper beaded jewelry but is uniquely different in format; she has completed a framed 18 x 30 Rolled-Paper Bead Mosaic which has been in progress for several months.  
 For more information about the December Holiday Show, the Jerome Artists       Cooperative Gallery, or individual artist-members: www.jeromecoop.com
(928) 639 4276 in Hotel Jerome, 502 Main Street, Jerome, Az 86331
Hours: 10- 6 DAILY