Artist(s) of the Week: The Artists of Tiadaghton House

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Yesterday, my boyfriend and I had a lovely outing filled with good food and exquisite, whimsical art.

We began at “Flamingo’s,” originally called “Maxwell’s” located off West Main Street in Belleville. You can see in the pics below why the restaurant ultimately changed its name. I was famished, so we ordered toasted ravioli, garlic cheese bread, and one of their famous thin crust pizzas.

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Next, we continued our historical venture to the ol’ town of Lebanon, a place just as rich in history and known for its liberal arts college, McKendree University, from which I graduated with my degree in Elementary Education.

I wanted to check out this art gallery, because at my current day job with Trinity Services, our art teacher had just retired from her position and said she was going to focus entirely on her art studio. I have never really seen her art, and so I wanted to take a look. The artist’s name is Alicia Scolarci, and while she wasn’t there yesterday, I did get to see her studio and gallery, along with loads of other amazing art.

Tiadaghton House is home to the works of many local artists–65 different artists at present, according to the owner, Holly Lovell; she owns the store with her husband, Jim Lovell. Three of the 65 artists actually each have their own studio inside the gallery: Alicia Scolarci, Nancy Young Spence, and Becky Ripplemeyer (Heirloom Soaps).

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As for myself, I’d like to feature three artists who really made an impression on me.

The first by name is T. J. Schuessler. His art is very bright and colorful, and I immediately liked it because it reminded me of the art of a friend of mine, Kiana McCormick. While I couldn’t afford any of his original water colors at the time, I did pick up a post card featuring the dragon picture; I really love the color, style, and the overall magical yet hardcore feel of his paintings. You can see more of his work on his website: milkymixer.jemcon.org

Next, I’d like to feature the artwork of Alicia Scolarci, because even though she was not there, her art was pretty inspiring. My boyfriend and I walked into a room filled with color, as well as various textures–fabrics, beads, jewels–and we just really loved it. Then, I saw a painting featuring cupcakes and knew we’d found Alicia’s room. What a compliment to her art, that we were stunned by her art before even realizing that was hers. There was also a desk, behind which were bucket loads of beads and jewels and other odds and ends, so it’s really cool to know she actually gets to sit there and do art whenever she likes. You can learn more about Alicia here: scolariciarts.com 

Finally, I would like to feature Nancy Young Spence, a very groovy lady if I may say so. Her art featured a lot of elemental themes, lots of water and trees and nature, which I really love, especially since nature features largely in many of my fantasy works. Even more awesome was the fact that we got to speak to her in person and learn a little about her craft.

You’ll see one of her paintings below done in blue tones with a woman and large raindrops falling; she told us a story of how there is a lake behind her house. One year, the lake was completely dry. This devastated her. She believes there must have been a hole in the lake leading into the caves below. However, over the years, the lake must have patched itself, because now it is holding water again, which makes her very happy. She has used this story and its emotions to create many paintings like the one featured below.

She also draws designs on rocks (I bought one that is an owl on one side, a rabbit on the other side) and does a lot with pottery. She talked about how, in the group of artists she works in, she is considered the “rebel” of the group because instead of using gloss on her pottery, she experiments with things like water colors.

It was really nice to get to meet one of the artists in person, to put a face to the person behind the inspiration for such beautiful, magical designs.

You can learn more about Nancy, Alicia, T.J. and their art, as well as the art of many other brilliant artists, at the Tiadaghton House website: www.TiaHouse.com