Quilts by Martha Boschen
July 1st through August 31st
Quilter Martha Boschen has been making quilts and preserving memories for over 30 years.
In 1985, Martha’s daughter Liz was on a four-week break from her senior year in nursing school
and needed a stress relief project. She and Martha decided to make a quilt; it would provide some much-needed relaxation and be a project they could work on together.
Once finished, Martha was hooked.
Since that initial project, Martha has made hundreds of quilts. She has made them for babies, anniversaries, birthdays, graduations, and other milestone events. Most of her quilts have been given away as gifts. Her popular T-shirt quilts celebrate the memories and events of people’s lives. She has gifted her four children and seven grandchildren with numerous quilts. But she has also made and given quilts to friends and strangers.
Martha helped create the Scrappy Quilters group when she retired to the Smith Mountain Lake area. That group made quilts for the high school graduates who were members of the Trinity Ecumenical Parish congregation. Those quilts gave the graduates physical representations of memories of their youth and high school days to take with them to college. In addition to making these memory quilts, the Scrappy Quilters made quilts for schoolchildren in Tanzania. Although Martha no longer leads the Scrappy Quilters, she remains supportive of their mission.
Part of that mission is to educate younger generations. All ages have participated in the Scrappy Quilters, and children can hone their sewing skills while helping others. Martha herself has helped pass on sewing to her grandchildren. One grandson made and sold miniature pillows when he was young. Another grandson wanted to write a book on being careful of pins on the floor. Martha believes she’ll be remembered as always having loose threads on her from her projects. Loose pins, needles, and threads are just some of the consequences of an adulthood spent sewing.
Magical Realism Art MOarts Display Cabinet Exhibit
by Laura Pharis
July 1st through July 31st
Artist Laura Pharis works in many mediums. She says that as each idea develops in her mind, it suggests a particular medium. She might choose painting or drawing as these are, “gradually cumulative and can be directed along the way.” Whereas printmaking is, “indirect and done in discrete steps.” Then there are her pieces that are completed with many media. These include her artist’s books and her figurative sculptures. She says that the one-of-a-kind artist’s book is really a many page work of art and is a form that is a good receptacle for exploring a stream of ideas. There is a tactile quality to her work, whether in the finished piece or in the process of creation. She says, “Nothing can replace the pleasure that comes from making; the sensual reward of messing with tactile materials.” Her sculptures beg to be touched, and her prints are made through a process that is manual and labor intensive. Sensory involvement is a common motif of her work.
Some of the inspirations for ideas include but are not limited to: dreams; poems; traditional songs, music, and instruments; folk tales, fairy tales, myths, and legends; boats, ships, and maps of the Earth or heavens; real and imaginary animals and plants; and haints, shape-shifters, ghost lovers, and premonitions. Inspired by these varied subjects, Laura imbues her pieces with magical realism. She, “uses magic matter-of-factly and allows the real and the fantastic to be received in the same stream of perception.” In some ways, Laura herself is wooed by the magic of her pieces. She says, “The suspense of finding out how a piece will look is followed by surprise at how it turns out when finished.”
This surprise is magical as it comes after many years of creation. Laura was born and raised in Roanoke, Virginia, and wanted to be an artist from birth. She received a BFA in Painting and Printmaking from Virginia Commonwealth University; a Diploma in Special Advanced Studies in Printmaking at the Central School of Art and Design in London, England (now Central St. Martin’s); and an MFA from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. She managed the Richmond Printmaking Workshop for a time, and has been a professor in the Studio Art Department (now Visual Arts) at Sweet Briar College since 1990.
She was a founding member of One/Off, a group of printmakers who exhibited together for more than thirty years. She has also travelled to work in printmaking workshops in London and Ireland. In 2000, she was named Virginia Artist of the Year by the Richmond Women’s Caucus for the Arts. Her art has appeared on the CD covers of Robbie Wells, Mike Seeger, Elke Baker, and Nicolas Ross, and on the covers of books of poetry by Allison Seay and Susan Hankla. She recently had a solo exhibition at the Academy Center for the arts in Lynchburg, Virginia. A few of the public collections that include her work are the Federal Reserve Bank, the Knoxville Museum of Art, the Virginia Museum, and Trust House Forte Hotels in Britain. Private collectors include Mr. John Snow, former Secretary of the Treasury, and Kathie Lee Crosby, actor.