October's Artistic Gathering At Down The Street

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Beading is not just a thing Gwen Storybead does -- It is art.

"If someone had told me a year ago I would be part of a gallery, I would have laughed. This has been a whole new learning experience," Storybead said.

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Jan Ransom and Gwen Storybead are October's featured artists at Down the Street Art Gallery. Their reception is from 5 to 8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 5.

She has been beading necklaces, bracelets and elaborate powwow regalia for 14 years but this is the first time she has interacted with other artists in a business.

"The artists here acknowledge each others' opinions and differences.

"I feel like I am playing with adults, finally," she said.

Storybead recently incorporated her beadwork into ceramic vases and wall pouches, to further express the feminine in nature with her art.

Storybead is a name conferred upon her by a Lakota Sioux woman named Medicine Wolf White Eagle. Storybead is part Tuscarora, a band of Iroquois.

Her spirituality is an important part of her art.

"I believe it is not just me who creates art. Somewhere, outside of myself, I am guided to create things," Storybead said.

While she finds beading easier to start and stop, ceramics takes all her focus.

"Clay is more forgiving than beadwork... only the creator is perfect," Storybead said.

Storybead has been at the gallery since its Dec. 2006 opening, and Jan Ransom, an artist who joined later, are October's featured artists.

Ransom has artistic roots that were nurtured by her creative family.

Her oil and watercolor paintings adorn the gallery's historic walls.

Traveling the globe taking pictures is both hobby and inspiration.

She paints landscapes, florals and some portraits.

"Many pictures are in my camera, waiting to be painted," Ransom said.

"I always have a project going," the energetic 76-year-old said.

If Ransom is not traveling or painting, she is probably stitching fabric art by hand.

Fabric art is not "just quilting," she said.

Ransom uses the color and visual textures of fabric to design a pattern or create a scene.

"With art, I express my feelings. I am very bright in my choice of colors," she said.

This is also Ransom's first experience in a gallery.

"These people are great. We are all here for the same reason -- we love each other and we love art," Ransom said.

She and Storybead will be available to converse with art patrons at their reception, from 5 to 8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 5.

The public is invited.

Down the Street Art Gallery is located at 703 W. Main St., Payson.

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