Maybe it’s the inspiration from the Mogollon Rim; the fresh air — some of the best anywhere it’s said; or the great stand of ponderosa pine in which we live — whatever “it” is, it has attracted outstanding artists for decades.
Many of those artists are part of the Payson Art League, which will present its annual Fall Show the weekend of Oct. 23, 24 and 25 at the Mazatzal Hotel & Casino Event Center.
The juried fine art and fine craft show will feature 24 artists offering a variety of mediums. The show will include works in oil, acrylic, fiber art, bronze sculpture, handcrafted jewelry, weavings, stained glass, pottery, scratchboard art, photography, and mixed media works. Participating artists represent varied art careers and backgrounds, many long-standing, and are originally from other states as well as Arizona.
Each artist will be present to share their passion in the arts and share their stories. Two of the artists shared those tales with The Rim Review — Patty Rockwell and Jackie Bond.
Patty Rockwell works with copper to create jewelry with a Southwestern flavor. The Pine resident began her journey as a jewelry artist as an apprentice for a Tucson silversmith about 20 years ago. The tasks were on the mundane side: polishing, cutting, soldering.
“After awhile my ego took over and I decided to do my own thing,” Rockwell said.
She chose to work in copper because she liked the colors and contrasts that could be fashioned with it. It was also easy to integrate with beads and wire, she said.
Rockwell came to the Rim Country about 13 years ago to participate in the summer-long craft show that used to be held in Christopher Creek.
“From Memorial Day through Labor Day people would be set up and selling their work.”
She rented a travel trailer and had a table out by the old Landmark and sold her jewelry. While there she met a man, they married and she never went back to Tucson.
The couple lived in Christopher Creek for a while, spent some time in Payson and then made their home in Pine. The move to Pine was nine years ago.
Rockwell’s work as an artist had her participating in a show every week for many years. Now she limits herself to only one or two a year. She has been in the PAL Fall Show before and a member of the league for two years, serving as its secretary.
Because her medium is copper, she has a good supply of sheets, so the recent increase in the price of copper did not have an impact on her bottom line.
The process Rockwell uses to create her jewelry starts with a sketch on paper. Most of her designs are Southwestern — from petroglyph-style hands and rams to birds, masks and cowboys.
Once she is satisfied with the sketch, she copies it onto a paper with an adhesive backing. The paper is put on copper sheeting and then the metal is fastened to her “workbench” (aka her kitchen table) with a bench pin and C-clamp.
Using a jeweler’s saw, which is like a coping saw with a very fine blade, she cuts the pattern (sketch) from the copper sheet.
“It is very lightweight,” she said of the copper.
She removes the paper sketch from the copper and then sands the surface of the metal and hammers it to give it a more rounded shape. She uses a cottonwood stump and rubber mallet for the hammering process. The sanding is necessary to allow the copper to absorb a chemical solution to give it a patina.
Once Rockwell is satisfied with the piece she applies a homemade chemical solution to create the patina. The number of solution baths she uses depends on the depth of the patina color she wants for the piece. She waits about an hour between the baths, but the rest of the process takes about two hours.
When the copper has the patina she wants, Rockwell then gives the piece a coat of acrylic.
Not all the work is embellished, but much of it is. Rockwell uses glass beads, shell, wire and sometimes bits of turquoise.
“I think of it as costume jewelry, so I don’t use gemstones and I never use plastic.”
She makes pins, bolas, earrings and an occasional pendant. She has made wind chimes in the past, but does not have any for the PAL Fall Show. Her work sells for prices that range from $16 to $100, depending on the intricacy of the design.
Jackie Bond is known for her landscapes and wildlife of the Southwest painted on sandstone.
Her work is now in collections all over the United States and in several foreign countries.
“I just can’t believe how doors keep opening for me,” Bond said.
One of those doors was opened two years ago by mine owner Ron Coleman, who also owns the Crystal Gallery in Hot Springs, Ark. After telling her to paint “as many pieces as possible,” Coleman showed up recently and purchased all the large pieces she had and would have taken the smaller ones as well if she hadn’t told him she needed them for upcoming shows here in Payson. The Crystal Gallery sells to art lovers worldwide and Coleman also sends some of Bond’s sandstone art to galleries in other states with several of her new ones going to Missouri.
Bond has now placed those smaller pieces in Artists of the Rim Gallery as guest artist for October and will be showing her work in the annual PAL Fall Show and Sale this weekend.
As a child growing up in Tennessee, Bond always loved to draw and was particularly drawn to Western scenes, Zane Grey novels and pioneer stories of the West. Her childhood dreams came true when she married husband Tom, and moved to Arizona.
She now lived in the West she loved so much and had a landlady who was an artist. Although she said she wouldn’t teach Bond how to paint, her landlady did guide her in obtaining the right paints and tools to get started and told her she had a natural talent. She started out painting local landscapes in oil, selling them in restaurants and galleries in the Phoenix area.
After moving to Show Low and becoming active in an art group there, Bond discovered the sandstone being mined in nearby Taylor and began to paint her Southwest scenes on the stone. In fact, the quarry’s gift shop is where she first sold her stone pieces.
The “design” in the stone tells Bond what image to paint on it.
Using a hammer and a small screwdriver, she hand chips the image and then cleans the stone.
“I soak the stone and a smaller stone in water and then scrub the large stone with the smaller one,” she said. In the cleaning process, Bond also smoothes the edges of the flagstone.
Bond said it’s “a lot of work to prepare the stone and chip out the design, but once I get the design, I can’t wait to get started painting.”
She said she is pretty addicted to the work — something she has been doing for almost 20 years.
Bond’s husband, Tom, makes the backings for her stone artwork so it can be used as a hanging or displayed on a stand. She also paints on sandstone coasters and refrigerator magnets that people use for gifts. Although canvas isn’t her usual painting surface anymore, she still paints on canvas and on saws when commissioned to do so.
After moving to Payson 10 years ago, Bond was hesitant to join the Payson Art League, but finally did and has enjoyed working with the art community here ever since. For the last four or five years she has been putting together the league’s monthly programs, bringing in artists from all over the state. “It gets me out there meeting people in the business and it’s a great opportunity,” Bond said.
The 2009 PAL Fall exhibition and sale opens with a reception from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 23. The public may attend for a donation of $5 per person at the door.
The balance of the event is free on Saturday, Oct. 24 and Sunday, Oct. 25 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
An art raffle of one of each artist’s works, open to all attendees, will benefit Payson Art League’s art education projects in area schools and programs for children. The proceeds of the raffle go to purchasing art supplies for the following: Payson Head Start, Julia Randall Elementary, Frontier Elementary, Payson Community Christian School, The Shelby School (Tonto Village), Wolf Impressions (Enrichment at Frontier Elementary), Payson Center for Success, Marcy Rogers and Payson Community Kids, Tonto Basin School and Whispering Hope Ranch.
For more information, contact event co-coordinator Glenda Roark at (928) 468-6965 or visit the PAL Web site at http://www.paysonartleague.org.
Editor’s note: The editorial material and photos for Jackie Bond were provided by Matalyn Gardner.