Iowa Artists 2013 State Show comes to FD

Top artists from around Iowa will show their work in a free exhibition in May.

The Iowa Artists 2013 State Show will be held at Iowa Central Community College, featuring the best art from each of the group’s 12 regional shows.

“Only the blue ribbon winners get to go, so it’s really an honor to go on,” said Delayne Segar, co-chair of the show and one of the regional winners.

Cash prizes will be awarded for the top three art pieces, Segar said. Iowa Central Art Professor Maureen Seamonds will judge the show and also give a demonstration at 11 a.m.

“I’m going to do a clay demonstration,” Seamonds said. “I’ll show them how they can use some geometric shapes to make some interesting pots.”

Seamonds has judged the Iowa Artist shows on and off for about 12 years now, she said.

“It’s always fun encouraging people to try their hand. Really, a lot of the regional artists are very accomplished.”

There will be about 60 pieces in the show, Segar said.

Some of the artwork will be for sale.

Co-chair with Segar is Joan Sullivan, whose winning entry is “White Dog Laughing.”

“(Iowa Artists is) a wonderful organization. It gives artists like myself the opportunity to find out about each other,” Sullivan said.

The co-chairs said the show is a great learning experience. The judges always give critiques of the winners, and then of the non-winners, as time permits.

“I always stay and talk about the work, what I see in them, what I think is really good and what I think could be better,” Seamonds said. “It’s a learning process for all of us.”

“It’s an awful lot of fun, and we bring in judges that have had a lot of training that can really help us when they critique our artwork,” Sullivan said. “They give us good critiques and inspire us on how to do our artwork in a better way.”

“The whole thing is just meant to encourage artists,” said Segar.

Segar’s winning entry is an arrangement of five baskets she wove from pine needles. She also paints portraits and farm landscapes – though none of those won first prize this year.

“Painting is my first love,” Segar said. “Baskets are what I do for fun and relaxation.”

She’s been making pine needle baskets for about five years now, after she took a class at the Blanden Memorial Art Museum.

“I’ve read it’s one of the oldest crafts,” she said. “They’ve found them from 9,000 years ago in some southern states. They pre-date clay pottery baskets.”

Segar starts with a cabochon stone – a flat-backed stone used in jewelry. Her favorite is picture jasper, which often has a pattern reminiscent of an Iowa farm. She takes pine needles from Florida, and ties together bundles with waxed linen thread from Ireland. She wraps the bundles of needles around the stone in a coil, like making a coiled clay pot.

The long, flexible southern needles are “one of the secrets,” she said. “Iowa pine needles, I’ve tried doing some, but they tend to be shorter and very brittle.”

Sullivan has been doing art full-time since 2003 and works in pastels from a studio outside Badger.

She met the canine subject of her winning piece after she did another portrait of the dog to benefit the Domestic/Sexual Assault Outreach Center.

“He’s half Lab, half Great Dane, and he belongs to Katie Deal,” Sullivan said. “Every year I give away a certificate at the D/SAOC auction for a free animal portrait, and she purchased it.”

“I primarily do commissions for dogs, cats and horses now. They seem to inspire me more than anything else,” she said. “Some people paint flowers – I couldn’t get into flowers, so help me.”