By Bella Erakko
Becky Evans brings Doodleology to the Alliance Art Gallery’s next Second Saturday gathering, scheduled Oct. 8.
What, one may ask, is Doodleology?
For Evans, it began when being an at-home mom and yoga teacher collided with her professional training and passion for art. Having two energetic sons meant finding a more portable art form than easels and open tubes of paint.
Evans earned a bachelor of arts degree in art and art history from the University of Iowa. Painting, drawing, sculpting, crocheting, quilting and photography have found roots in her spare-room studio. But one component often seemed missing — the element of time.
The basic concept of Zentangles — taking a pattern and repeating it to form a design — appealed to her. She had been a childhood doodler who scribbled in the margins of notebooks and telephone directories. But whereas anyone can practice Zentangling or take classes from a certified instructor, using pencil to add depth, Becky’s Doodleology uses elements of design including texture, space, form and — occasionally — color. Developing her own style and technique, she eventually called it Doodleology.
Becky explains: “I didn’t need space — just a 5x7 notepad. I could doodle in front of the TV or watching my kids.”
Over time, she challenged herself to create bigger pieces.
“I use a pattern, and build it up. Ink smears (aka mistakes) can be turned into something else,” she said. “As an artist, I tend to want to control my medium and Doodleology gives me a way … it’s pretty black and white. If something doesn’t work, I can add to it or change direction. It can be a happy accident.”
Whereas Zentangles promotes the goal of calming the mind, Becky, being a busy person, doesn’t always seek inner peace with her ink-based medium. But, right now, it’s the perfect art form for a busy mother.
Ron Cook, Alliance Gallery’s featured member artist for October, creates free-form and wheel-thrown pieces of pottery, all fired in his hand-built, brick-based, propane-fired kiln. Five feet deep and six feet tall, the kiln can hold 100 to 200 pieces in one firing. When Cook moved from Quincy to a 100-acre property in Liberty, Ill., he took his kiln with him — brick-by-dismantled-brick. It took him a year and a half to add the studio to the house, and dismantle and reconstruct his kiln. During that time, he continued to throw pots on his wheel and create free-form pieces, carefully storing them for future firings.
Not to his surprise, the glazes reacted differently in the new Liberty location.
“The air flow will be slightly different,” he explains. “The glaze works differently. It may take three or four test firings.”
With more than 40 years of experience with his kilns, he knows that even the air itself is part of the beauty in creating a pot — or vase, plate, cup or bowl.
A firing takes a total of three days — one devoted to the actual firing and two to cooling.
He admits, “I have potter’s impatience.” Every kiln comes with a spy hole to check the temperature, but he also uses his to take potter’s peeks. Risking the cold air rushing in, he checks his work — always hoping he hasn’t placed a hot pot right next to his peekaboo.
Every potter carries a part of themselves into that wet moldable to-be-glazed clay. Starting in 1982 earning a degree in fine arts and business administration from Coe College in Iowa, Cook slowly found himself drawn to the world of pottery, which eventually became a business — Mill Creek Pottery. His pieces carry a quiet and satisfying organic quality. It feels as though you are sitting in the woods on a still day with sun shining through the leaves — they have that kind of quiet energy.
An opening reception will be 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 8. A piece of Cook’s pottery will be given away at 6 p.m. in a free drawing. The reception coincides with Hannibal’s Second Saturday Gallery Night.
More information about Alliance Art Gallery, 112 N. Main, is available by visiting allianceartgallery.com or calling 573-221-2275.