Tag Archives: open studios

Open Studios Artist: Meridith Brehmer Entingh

Meridith Bremer Entingh developed a fascination with textiles when she was very young. She started knitting at age seven, and continued to explore the things she could do with fiber. In the 60s and 70s, she worked with embroidery, macrame, and needlepoint. Under the guidance of her father, she switched her major from textiles to business in college, but she never lost her love for working with fiber.

“In the mid-1990s, I became friends with a wonderful weaver, Jane Kinzler Anthony. She had a studio in her basement where she wove beautiful tapestries she sold as office art, as well as functional weaving,” Meridith recalls. “Just seeing what she wove inspired me.” Meridith began taking classes at an arts studio in Old Town Alexandria, and volunteered to work in their yarn shop. She purchased her first loom within the year.

How long have you lived in Roanoke?
We moved here 11 years ago. Part of the criteria for purchasing our home was that there be a room for my weaving studio. Our house has this great little room, 11×11 with built-in cupboards. There was room for my loom and plenty of storage. I quickly outgrew the room with the purchase of my second floor loom in 2007. So, in 2013 , we built a new weaving studio. I bought another large floor loom this year, so now it has two large floor looms, and it is bursting at the seams. 

How long have you been involved with Open Studios?
This is my fourth year on the tour. I asked to be involved in 2014 when my new studio was completed. In my travels around the area to do demonstrations, people are fascinated with how the loom works and they want to know about the process. For this reason, I felt that my studio would be a good addition to the tour. By visiting the studio, people can see all of the tools and the process from start to finish.

Do you have a favorite piece? Why is it your favorite?
My favorites evolve over time. One is the first scarf I ever made 13 years ago. It was woven on a 4-harness table loom. It’s made of alpaca, in cream and a pale grey green. I found the design in a weaving book and was very pleased by the result. I know that creating it inspired me to continue weaving. Most recently, I’ve enjoyed creating table runners and wall hangings using many colors and geometric designs. It’s as close as I can get to drawing and painting with yarn.

Would you say that any of your work is more a reflection of living in Roanoke or your travels and experiences outside of Roanoke?
Both. I’ve lived in many places including up state New York, Oregon, Colorado, and Northern Virginia before moving to Roanoke eleven years ago. I think my work is a reflection of the diversity of the places I have lived in my life. Last year, I designed and wove a ministerial stole for my church. I wanted the stole to be representative of the Roanoke Valley. It is hand painted (dyed) in curves that remind me of our mountains with the Roanoke Star placed on top of the curves. When worn, the Star sits just below the minister’s left shoulder where he can touch it when expressing something heartfelt. 

Meridith’s work will be available alongside participating artists through Open Studios Roanoke, beginning on April 29-30. Visit www.openstudiostourroanoke.com for more information on Meridith and participating artists!

Open Studios Artist: Elaine Fleck

Elaine Fleck has been involved with Open Studios Roanoke on and off for the last ten years. However, her use of oil on fabric goes back to when she was a teenager. Eventually, she moved on to fabric and embroidery to create her work.

“After some time, I experimented with painting in acrylics on fabric and then completely switched to oil and fabric,” she explains. “So one could say I have been cutting things to bits for over 40 years!”

Who are your inspirations?
I tend to like artists that use either a lot of texture or color. For painters, I like Gustav Klimt and Matisse. Lately, I am inspired by mosaic artists and this has led me to creating some new mosaic sculpture–specifically my mosaic shoe collection that will be featured on the Open Studios Tour this year along with my paintings. Locally, I like the mural artist Toobz. His piece in the Wasena Tap Room rocks! I love the creative license he gives himself.

Do you have a favorite painting? What makes it your favorite?
Right now, my favorite painting is “Jesus Saves.” I think the couple in this painting look so comfortable under that iconic Roanoke landmark. I like the fact that the painting is pretty simple in design, mainly consisting of the sign, the field, and the couple. 

How does your work reflect living in Roanoke?
“Jesus Saves” is most definitely a reflection of my living in Roanoke for the last 20 years. I had been looking at that sign for years and did not know what kind of a scene I wanted to set up. One day, after walking by that sign for probably the 50th time, it unfolded before me. My favorite model and her husband are the models for that painting. 

Elaine’s work will be available alongside participating artists through Open Studios Roanoke, beginning on April 29-30. This is a great opportunity to check out her paintings and mosaic sculpture work! Visit www.openstudiostourroanoke.com for more information on Elaine and participating artists!

Open Studios Artist: Jamie Nervo

Jamie Nervo’s need for art started when she was a child. Her father was in the military, and she is the oldest of seven children who spent their early years moving around a lot. The joy to create art was the one thing that followed her throughout her travels.

“My work depicts life’s everyday events with a twist, masking the harsh realities of life and focusing instead on the positive and lighthearted issues we encounter each day,” she explains. “We are bombarded with negative imagery and events that echo over and over in our minds. My colorful abstractions shut out those unsavory events and look at life in a patchwork of pleasant ideas and color.”

How long have you been involved with Open Studios?
It has been about 10 years. I’ve been showing up with the same great group of artists for a while: Winn Ballenger, Barry Wolfe, and Nan Mahone. We all set up in Barry’s driveway and peddle our art. I’ll show up with them until they kick me out of the group. Rain or shine, it’s always worth doing the show.

What are your inspirations?
Attending museums or visiting galleries, travel, and studying people. Looking at other art excites me, and I can’t wait to get to the studio downstairs in my house to paint. I get all charged up and the energy builds. A couple cups of tea helps too! My landscapes are definitely a reflection of living on Bent Mountain. The view is mighty fine. Changing cloud formation, color, and shadows keep me inspired to paint.

Can you tell us a little about your creative process?
Without much thought, I usually just go for it. What I create is raw and immediate, using an open mind. I don’t second guess things, I just put down strokes of paint and add color. Sometimes I create ugly messes, but out the mess there is always beauty or something interesting. Discovering the unknown and pushing the envelope always feels good. There are a lot of times when I say to myself, “This looks like crap.” But I keep going, and then the painting either evolves, or it doesn’t. There are also the safe paintings that are within the bounds of the familiar like chickens and dogs. These are abstract realism with a twist.

What impression do you hope to leave with your work?
My work is upbeat and happy. When I’m not feeling it, I usually don’t paint. There is enough sadness and destruction in the world. I hope they bring a little happy chuckle to everyone.

Jamie’s work will be available alongside participating artists through Open Studios Roanoke, beginning on April 29-30. She will offer primarily oil paintings, but will also have a few encaustic paintings available for purchase. Visit www.openstudiostourroanoke.com for more information on Jamie and participating artists!