Gifts of art

Gifts of Art event at Aldridge Gardens set for Dec. 8

 

Written and Photos by Aldridge Gardens Sculpture and Arts Committee

 

Where can you enjoy fishing and bird-watching, a nature-walk, original art and sculpture; take a cooking class or yoga class; hear a live concert; or plan a wedding, all in one setting? Right here in Hoover, of course, at Aldridge Gardens.

Ever since Aldridge Gardens opened to the public in 2002, it has been serving the Hoover community through its motto: Nature and Art in Balance.

Over 80,000 people come to the Gardens every year. They come to walk the path around the lake; to admire the enchanting bronze sculptures and installations throughout the Gardens; to educate themselves through workshops led by experts in the fields of horticulture, culinary arts, fine arts, wildlife and more.

Hydrangea and camellia blooms draw people from all over the country. Children come for hands-on field trips and summer camps. Families come to celebrate reunions and weddings, or simply to enjoy picnics.

Eagle Scouts contribute with projects that enhance the dynamic experience of the Gardens. Annual events like “Whispers from the Past” celebrate Native American culture and contributions, while “Taste of Hoover” highlights the variety of culinary styles found throughout the city. Plant sales and horticultural workshops bring the beauty of native plants to Hoover residents.

Aldridge Gardens brings artists, ranging from local to international fame, here to Hoover. The “Art in the Gardens” show is an anticipated annual event. In the indoor gallery, artwork can always be found, open to the public, for sale, by different area artists. The largest collection of Frank Fleming sculptures is also available to see and enjoy year round in the gallery.

On Dec. 8 from 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Aldridge Gardens will host “Gifts of Art,” the first event of its kind at the gardens. Nine Alabama artists were hand-selected by the Art and Sculpture Committee just for you.

With pottery, woodwork, glass, iron, jewelry and painting, there is something for everyone. Sizes and price points are just right for the holiday season. We welcome you to come by during your morning errands, your lunch break, or enjoy refreshments after 5 p.m. “Gifts of Art” hours are 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Dec. 8 only.

Aldridge Gardens is located at 3530 Lorna Road in Hoover. For more information, visit Aldridgegardens.com.

 

Meet the artists:

Larry Allen, Leeds

“All the designs in my pottery are my own, but I am most inspired by Native American and African works. The technique that I use is called “sgraffito,” and the theme that dominates my designs is unity. Like most people I was affected by the event of 9/11 and the lesson that I took from it was how important unity is.”

Daniel Browning, Hoover

An award-winning artist and active wood worker for over 20 years, Browning is recognized as a master craftsman in the area of box making and design. He is especially known for his skill and creativity in blending various exotic woods in his pieces. Browning is the past president of the Alabama Woodworkers Guild and an active member of the West Alabama Woodworkers Association.

Mary Ann Casey, Auburn

Mary Ann Casey is a writer, painter and sculptor from Auburn. She relies on her faith and Southern roots for inspiration. Mary Ann’s work has been displayed all over the Southeast, including the Malone Gallery of Art at Troy State University and the African-American Museum in Dallas, Texas.

“My images are promises infused with love, encouragement; instilling hope, the shoring up of hearts. I want my works to reflect individual heritage and at the same time, share my concerns for society’s connection with the environment. I desire that my work move the participant beyond a superficial level to a deeper one that provokes, heals and inspires.“

John Cleage, Birmingham

John took his first glassblowing class in 2008, and has done his best to make art glass his career. Because there is no soft glass, glassblowing in Birmingham, John has had to venture out to learn his craft. After his first class he was accepted to Pilchuck, school outside of Seattle, started by Dale Chihuly. He desires to push the limits of color techniques and combinations based on the logic that, “Most shapes have already been done.” After more classes in Atlanta, John went back to Pilchuck and from there moved to Tucson, Ariz., to submerse himself in the glass scene for six months. After returning to the Southeast, John got a job in Atlanta, Ga., and has been there since hoping to soon move back to Birmingham and start his own glass studio.

Barbara Dollar, Hoover

“I have been designing and crafting gem and precious metal jewelry for over 30 years in the Greater Birmingham area. Inspired by nature, utilizing precious metals, copper, genuine gemstones and occasionally just an ordinary rock; I love to create pieces with an organic look. My jewelry is hand fabricated, using forging and piercing techniques, fusing and soldering; combining different metals in one piece. I also enjoy incorporating bead stringing and gemstone setting into my designs.”

Donna Leigh Jackins, Hoover

“I am a Southern, American, female Artist. At age 4 (maybe 3) someone gave me a box of crayons and I’ve been making art ever since. For years I was a painter, then a paper maker, then a quilter – an art quilter. Sometimes as I play with words a poem emerges. It then becomes part of the art – part of the quilt. Original art—original poetry—that is my offering. I seek no profound statements about society; instead I would attempt to interject a sense of the positive. That’s the way I feel thus that’s the way I work.”

AC Reeves, Selma

“I love to take broken, discarded items and use them to make something beautiful.” Wife to Allen, mother to Lizzie and Anne Smith, thinks of herself as an artist, but probably “crafty” would be more honest, yoga instructor, realtor who flies her freak flag every day in Selma, Alabama.

Joanna Sanders Earthware, Hoover

“I have always been astonished by the natural, unaltered beauty of our earth, which is why I have dedicated my life to it, along with my two beautiful children and my husband. I’ve worked with plants for most of my professional life, but the creativity and inspiration I had could not be fully conveyed in this way. It was not until I began researching different minerals and gemstones that I found a way I could properly convey nature’s beauty through jewelry. That’s why I founded Earthwear in April of 2011, as a way of lifting the veil and presenting earth as more than just a planet, but as a muse. Earthwear’s core principle is to pay homage to Mother Earth and my art is simply my way of doing so.”

Ajene Williams, Birmingham

At the age of 23, Williams has mastered the craft of carving into wax what he sees beyond the surface of his subjects. He began his art training while attending Woodlawn High School, where he was encouraged by Jena Momenee. Momenee enrolled him in the Summer Youth Program at Sloss Furnaces, where he was quickly recognized as a gifted artist. Williams was invited to work at Sloss Furnaces in 2011 as a paid intern, and is currently Artist in Residence there, where he studies the art of casting metal under the tutelage of Senior Artists in Residence, Marshall Christie and John Stewart Jackson. He was honored with the Emerging Artist Award at this year’s Magic City Arts Connection.

Dan Browning, Hoover

An award-winning artist and active wood worker for over 20 years, Browning is recognized as a master craftsman in the area of box making and design. He is especially known for his skill and creativity in blending various exotic woods in his pieces. Browning is the past president of the Alabama Woodworkers Guild and an active member of the West Alabama Woodworkers Association.