Monday, May 01, 2006

One Stop - Double Joy - Mary Bishop Memorial Art Gallery

If you slowly saunter into the Public Library from spring's flowery profusion outside, you will discover a creative profusion inside the Mary Bishop Art Gallery you won't want to miss. From May first until May thirty-first, Out My Back Door Photography of Tom Campanelli, and the Joyful Japanese Quilts of Toshi Kazahaya & Friends, await your viewing pleasure.

Since 2002 Crawfordsville resident and active Sugar Creek Quilt Guild member, Toshi Kazahaya, has taught quilt classes at Trinity Lutheran Church in Indianapolis for nine Japanese ladies who share their Christianity through quilting.

Toshie, born in 1964 in Hyogo Prefecture near Kobe, Japan, studied editing and sewing in college for two years. After graduation she worked at a major craft and interior magazine company in Tokyo as an editor of Watashino Heye (meaning My Room). While working there she met many famous Japanese quilters and saw their highly artistic, intricate quilts, too beautiful for everyday use. After seeing these quilts, Toshie thought making quilts would be too difficult for her.

In 1992, Toshie, her husband Ryohei, an accounting manager at Heritage Product, Inc, and their two children, were transferred from Okayama, Japan to Crawfordsville, Indiana. When she arrived, she spoke no English, but was eager to learn the language and all about American culture. While walking downtown one day, looking for something to do, her eyes flashed to a quilt that displayed in a former fabric shop. The quilt was very beautiful and more practical than the quilts she had seen in Japan. She was fascinated and signed up for classes with Anita Hardwick, who taught her to make beautiful quilts with so much patience for her non-English speaking student. After working hard, Toshie joined the local Sugar Creek Quilt Guild.

One incident in 1996 brought Toshie closer to quilting. When her youngest son suffered a life-threatening illness, she received a hand-made baby quilt from her quilt guild friends. That quilt gave her the comfort, courage, hope and cheer to get through that very difficult time. It was then she realized that quilts could show love, as in the following bible verse: "And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity." Colossians 3:14.

After her son recovered and turned six years old, Toshie was ready to share her wonderful quilt experience. She started teaching quilt-making techniques to the nine Japanese ladies at Trinity Lutheran Church in Indianapolis where she shares in a Japanese worship service monthly.

Currently, a mother of three children and wife of a well-known Boston Marathon qualified Crawfordsville runner, Toshie is a dedicated Christian and member of Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Crawfordsville and the Japanese Worship Service at Trinity Lutheran Church, Indianapolis.

Born last century in Hartford, Connecticut, Tom Campanelli's early childhood was spent in Wethersfield, CT, where he made his first stab at photography while still in grade school on a class trip to the Connecticut State House in Hartford. He used an old Ansco Shur Shot box camera, without a flash, which he still has. Later the family used S&H green stamps to upgrade to a camera with a flash that took color pictures, which Tom still has as well.

In 1959, Tom's father was transferred to Springfield, Missouri with Royal Typewriters. All Tom remembers about the trip west was all the snow encountered along the way. Coming to a small town of 85,000, where there were large spaces between towns, few TV stations and lots of country music, was a major culture shock for the whole family who were used to living in a major metropolitan area. Tom's interest in photography waned while in Missouri.

Before Tom's last year in college, he worked part-time for the Argonaut Division of General Motors in Detroit and purchased an inexpensive Polaroid camera. After college, he married Margo and moved to Detroit to work full time for General Motors. Shortly thereafter, a small glitch came into play when he was invited to participate in the draft or join the Air Force. Tom joined the Air Force and while on TDY in Taiwan, he purchased his first quality camera, a used Yashica Mat 124 twin lens reflex camera, which takes excellent pictures, but is awkward to use. Later in Thailand he purchased a Minolta SRT 101 SLR and used the base photo hobby shop dark room to develop and print his black and white pictures.

In 1979, Tom and his family moved to Crawfordsville to accept a position at R. R. Donnelley. His photography waned until 2000 when he purchased his first digital camera, a Canon Powershot G1. With 3.3 megapixels, it was the top of the line at the time. Later he added a 420EX external strobe, which eliminated redeye problems. In 2004 Tom purchased his 6.1 megapixel Canon Digital Rebel SLR.

Tom's artistic photography began in Margo's butterfly garden. Margo would plant things and then forget where she planted them, making spring a not-so-welcome surprise. When she asked Tom to take pictures of the flowers and foliage together so that she could identify the plants in future springs. As the butterfly began fulfilling its intended purpose, attracting butterflies, Tom was hooked and began to enjoy watching for and photographing tiger swallowtails, black swallowtails, painted ladies, meadow fritillaries, commas, monarchs, and silver spotted skippers. In addition ruby throated hummingbirds and hummingbird moths were attracted to the garden. We can only imagine the photo opportunities. We're so happy Tom could not resist the urge to enjoy, preserve and share the wealth of his photographic delights with the community for the first time!

Don't miss the opportunity to see these joyfully creative musings on Tom's back yard butterfly garden etc. and the interpretation nature's world by joyful Japanese Quilters. -- Diane Hammill

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