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June 16, 2014

Art on the Parish Green in New Albany hosts local artists

Proceeds benefit St. Paul’s feeding ministry

NEW ALBANY — Brenda Vernia makes jewelry out of rose petals. She dries them, cooks them into a clay and rolls them into beads.

That’s what she likes so much about Art on the Parish Green — resourcefulness.

“I’m just fascinated by these talented people that can take nothing and make something out of it,” Vernia, artist coordinator of the event, said.

More than 80 local artists were represented at Art on the Parish Green Saturday at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. All proceeds from the art fair go to the church’s feeding ministry that helps the hungry once a week.

Bob Battles, a Floyds Knobs artist, also makes something out of nothing.

He sculpts wooden bowls on a lathe from trees on his daughter Cindy’s boyfriend’s farm.

“Every time a walnut tree goes down, I get all the wood,” Battles said.

He keeps all his equipment in his four-car garage, and at 80 years old, spends as much time turning wood as he likes.

“So I can go down there and spend eight hours a day,” he said.

He quoted Michaelangelo’s views of the artistic process — like the Renaissance sculptor, Battles said his job is to take away everything from the fallen tree that isn’t the bowl.

“It’s inside the log,” he said, pointing at the tree rings along the side of a bowl.

Battles said he has a certain relationship with his artwork.

“Wood doesn’t say anything,” he said. “I look at the wood and I have a rapport with the wood.”

His daughter and granddaughter also use resourcefulness in their artwork. Cindy spins yarn from local sheep’s wool and makes clothing from that yarn. Her daughter polishes rocks and turns them into art.

“It’s my way of passing on my talent to my children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren,” Battles said.

Turning wood is more than just a hobby or profession.

“It just keep me young,” he said. “I’m not going to lie down and die because I’m too busy right now.”

Both new guests and veteran guests perused Battles’ and others’ artwork at the fair.

Sellersburg resident Jennifer Cheatham was there with her 4-year-old son, Gavin.

“I just moved to the area and my friends invited me,” she said.

She said she likes the family-friendly atmosphere.

“The art’s fantastic and the facepainting’s great,” Cheatham said, as Gavin showed off his snake-painted face.

New Albany resident Bev Woodruff said this is her third year at Art on the Parish Green.

“We were just impressed the first year we came,” Woodruff said.

She said she likes that the fair has juried artists with unique artwork.

“They have a lot of really good products,” she said.

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