Although Judy Shreve is best known in Macon as a frequent participant in Fired Works, she has re-invented herself as a painter after taking a path from stoneware pottery to earthenware to painting -- after her impatience with waiting for a finished product to emerge from the kiln led her to the easel. In her paintings, she uses the same earthen colors that captured her imagination in the earthenware pottery.
Not often do you hear people laughing out loud in an art gallery, but on First Friday the work of the two featured artists elicited everything from a mild chuckle to thigh slapping laughter. Shreve was joined by sculptor Rachael Zaudke Wilkins for the monthlong show titled, “Whimsy!” at the Macon Arts Alliance Gallery on First Street. As if telling a story, Shreve uses the most elementary strokes to paraphrase her environment, with a touch of fantasy, using acrylic, pastels and charcoal in paintings similar to the French arte naif method.
Some children who had accompanied their parents for First Friday could relate to the simplicity of one dimensional houses and wide eyed rabbits, a few of which with “who, me?” toothy attitudes.
According to Shreve, who is self taught in pottery and in her newest media, she paints something every day in her studio in Ellijay, surrounded by the intoxicating mountains of north Georgia.
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WHEN PIGS FLY
Wilkins is no stranger to Macon patrons. She has participated in other Macon Arts shows with her gangly legged horses on wheels, deer in the wild, and others in the animal kingdom -- which is the focus of her work. Hand built from earthen ware clay molded around metal frames, her creatures are adorned with metallic foils over matte glazes and paint.
The intricacy of the majestic rack on a deer is subtly offset by the awkward long legs wobbling under a buck in one stunning sculpture. An intriguing sculpture of a disfigured dog is a touching homage to her favorite pet, done while trying to cope with what could have been a tragic loss. However, what had tongues wagging were the mobiles of tiny pigs romping and flying in circles from the ceiling. What a conversation starter and great accessory for the sun porch.
After familiarizing herself with Shreve’s paintings on Facebook, Wilkins added bison, black bears, rabbits and pigs to the collection for this show, with finishes that complement the colors in Shreve’s works.
Wilkins’ childhood fascination with horses and the equine form earned her the Equestrian’s Badge in Girl Scouts when she was 9 and the affinity for horseback riding keeps her outdoors where she continues to explore and interpret animal life in her sculptures. Although Kennesaw is home, Wilkins’ has Macon connections including her mother-in-law Katie Tosh, who was there to celebrate the opening night reception.
Thanks to Ocmulgee Traders, the downtown grocery store with old world ambience and now the toniest hang out in downtown Macon, for catering the event.
TO MARKET, TO MARKET ... OR NOT
With list in hand, carefully prepared on Friday night to make sure none of the specialty items were omitted, a rainy Saturday was not a day conducive to outdoor shopping even with all of the vendors under tents at the First Saturday Village Market at Mercer Village. We were disappointed since a day in the village is an outing we can enjoy after the market closes at 1 p.m., taking advantage of all of the eateries and shops along the small corridor.
However, we knew we had another chance to go to market Wednesday when some of the same vendors would be at the Mulberry Market in Tattnall Square Park. Handmade soaps from Bone Creek Farms have introduced the absence of detergents in body soaps. They smell different from the ones purchased off the shelves in the grocery store and the fragrances are so much more user friendly.
Joseph Egloff, fourth generation cattle farmer and owner of Rocking Chair Ranch Beef Cattle in south Monroe County, is always at the Mulberry Market not only selling his prime grass fed beef but dishing out ideas for what you should cook for dinner tonight! If you haven’t experienced a great steak or short ribs from Rocking Chair and don’t like to cook, you can find the best cuts being served at Grits Cafe in Forsyth or at Dovetail in Macon, just a few of the regional restaurants taking advantage of locally grown beef.
For the budding beef connoisseur, pick up some of their best cuts at Off the Vine on Vineville Avenue in Macon. Both the Mercer Village Market and the Mulberry Market are promoting the “Buy Local” initiative.
Katherine Walden is a freelance writer and interior designer in Macon. Contact her at 478-742-2224 or firstname.lastname@example.org.