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Mizzou Wire

Art off the clock

Arts and Crafts Showcase brings out employees' creative side

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  • Story by Nancy Moen
  • Photos by Rachel Coward
  • Published: May 23, 2011
Staff art show

Just for fun, the dedicated staff members who manage MU’s offices, supply its electrical power, provide custodial services and solve computer problems showed their artistic side during MU’s Arts and Crafts Showcase.

The three-day event was part of Staff Recognition Week, and it was an exposition of juxtapositions: participants included a grant writer who fashions fiber into decorative rugs, a billing agent who builds furniture and a research-reactor employee who sketches in charcoal.

Ellis Library hosted the May 17-19 glimpse of surprising talents.

Stress be gone!

Other staff-appreciation activities throughout the week featured power walks and social hours as release from the end-of-semester workload. There was even a seminar on stress management.

But clearly, these staff members have found their own methods of de-stressing.

Rebecca Calvin’s welded-steel sculptures of graceful torsos welcomed visitors to Room 201 with a stunning statement of movement in steel. Calvin works with the Chancellor’s Diversity Initiative.

As evidence of Mizzou pride, a felted tiger-stripe rug covered a display table with black and gold alpaca fiber. Grant writer Mary Licklider created the eye-catching piece in partnership with Linda Coats of Career Planning and Placement and retired MU employee Diane Peckham. Visitors who hovered nearby wondered aloud if the group would take commissions.

Sitting in a row, Gregory A. Cook’s chairs testified to his talent in building new furniture and restoring pieces from yesteryear. Cook began acquiring woodworking skills as an 8-year-old in 4-H. Now the caning, upholstering, building and refinishing are an after-work respite that takes him into his backyard woodland in search of material. As a benefit of the endeavor, “there are power tools involved,” Cook says. In his job at Child Health Administration, Cook provides billing services for pediatric physicians. 

Hanna Pippin, an administrative assistant at MU’s Research Reactor, created delicate beauty with her hand-felted wool basket and flowers that radiate soft colors. The art classes Pippin took in beginning fibers enhanced her abilities in that genre, but she selects her charcoal sketch of a tiger face as perhaps her favorite piece. 

As CAFNR Web specialist Genevieve Howard shared her photography with the public, the subject of her central photo — 2-year-old Jazzmyn Pallikkathayil — skipped happily around the room. Howard’s images of landscapes, flowers and the photogenic tot reflect her love of capturing beauty. Photography is “just a joy” for Howard. 

Ann McGinity’s hand-woven baskets of dyed reed, sea grass and willow called out to be touched, and some visitors found them too hard to resist. McGinity’s day job is with Environmental Health and Safety. Her baskets are soft with rounded edges. 

In the odd and unusual category, Dennis Murphy, an illustrator with Extension Publications, exhibited a fascinating acrylic self-portrait representing himself with images of brushes, pencils, erasers and other tools of his trade; and Tab Leach of Energy Management displayed custom-made traditional archery. Leach teaches build-it-yourself bow classes for aspiring archery artists.

The artful specialties of Rob Taylor, Budget Office, and Janet Bradshaw, Graduate School, combine light and glass. Taylor crafts stained glass windows and light catchers; Bradshaw makes one-of-a-kind jewelry of tiger-stripe and floral glass beads. Her work can be found through her business, Beauty in a Bead, with a Website coming soon.

Textile arts showed fun and function in all forms, from crewel and counted cross stitch to embroidery and crochet. Heiddi Davis of Campus Facilities paints with thread and does quilting and appliqués to create charming wall hangings; Karen Worley of Publications and Alumni Communication gives discarded upholstery scraps a second life in the form of colorful tote bags; Katrina Monnig of Landscape Services uses TV viewing time to work on counted cross stitch; and Julie Patterson of Child Health Administration spreads warmth with a black, white and gold quilt bursting with Mizzou images.  

Several pieces mentioned here are for sale, and many of the artists and artisans take commissions.

Read more in:  Special Features & SeriesArts & CultureFamily & CommunityOn Campus

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Last updated: Feb. 22, 2012