Sometimes passion surprises even the creator.
One day, this month’s Alliance Art Gallery guest artist Minetta Heidbrink found herself literally stunned into photography when she visited the Valley of Fire in Nevada. Yes, of course, like every other American, she had pointed-and-shot hundreds of pictures: family, vacations, flowers. But now, the camera became a source of creativity. On that day, the brilliant orange glowing stones, the dusky sage, the brilliant blue sky with clouds texturing her newfound world, she began to click, and click, and click. Soon she hungered for wilderness.
“That got me to travel,” she said. Canada. North America. Mountain climbing. Though she had traveled to China, Japan and other places, those were pre-passion moments.
Minetta moved up from point-and-shoot to today’s Nikon D800 with its full-frame features, and a Luminex for its lightweight portability. Photography, for her, has become a form of fine art. In today’s world, with a camera embedded in every phone, and people snapping scenes at fast-food speed, she relishes digitally enhancing her images.
“People do not want straight-up photography. They say to themselves, ‘I can take that picture,’ ” she said.
Minetta pushes herself to find the deeper expression of the image, connecting the emotional impact she experienced when photographing the image to her enhancement techniques. In some strange way, the photograph becomes so much more than a recorded image; it becomes an expression of beauty or nostalgia or quietness.
Recently she began harvesting gray slate shingles from old New Orleans homes, adhering her images to them. To see pink lupines from a mountain meadow against the slate draws the viewer right into being on a granite-topped mountain. The effect of photography and stone does not stop in the wilderness. Old New Orleans homes and scenes from downtown Hannibal couple with the slate to take you back in time, to quietly be in and with the image she has so beautifully captured.
Bella Erakko, our featured member artist, often wondered what constituted the main “thread” of her creativity. Books, jewelry and hand-woven articles seemed to have nothing in common. But one day, as she revisited this question, she realized, “Oh! You are a weaver of words, beads and thread. You knit things together.”
The books she’s written focus on environment (history of electric cars), silence (a life
emphasizing meditation), Alzheimer’s (a slow transition from body to spirit).
Her jewelry focuses on peace — one bead for every country in the world: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria ... Zambia, Zimbabwe. Constructed by Hannibal women in fragile circumstances, these necklaces and bracelets are a tactile form of prayer based on a book she co-authored, “Peace Planet: Light for Our World.”
When weaving thread, she selects a poem, song, prayer — something she can repeat while weaving. A favorite comes from a female English mystic: “All shall be well. All shall be well. All manner of thing shall be well.” As she throws the shuttle, she mentally recites the chosen piece. In this way, it becomes “vibrationally woven” hundreds of times into the fabric. She believes the energy of the prayer is stronger and perhaps more beautiful than the fiber itself.
Her latest creations focus on the “lowly” cotton-looped potholder. Endless color schemes allow her to explore new handwoven ideas. She is, for the moment, a potholder addict. Its slightly oversized dimensions make it ideal as a wall hanging, trivet, potholder — in other words, a perfect kitchen accessory.
An opening reception will be 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday, June 10, at Alliance Art Gallery, 112 N. Main St. The reception coincides with the Hannibal Second Saturday Gallery Night.
More information is available by calling 573-221-2275 or visiting allianceartgallery.com.
— By Bella Erakko