December is often the most welcome month of the year and so it is in the Mary Bishop Memorial Art Gallery in the Crawfordsville Public Library. This month we celebrate Butterfly Moments: Calligraphy by Erika Woods and world crèches from Nancy Hardy.
Carmel, Indiana's Erika Woods is an award-winning calligrapher and graphic designer born in Vienna, Austria, where she received her degree from the Vienna Institute of Fashion Design. Fascinated by letters most of her life, Erika delights in infusing character and beauty into those letters by choosing a stylistically playful, ponderous or regal alphabet. She combines her calligraphy with watercolor or mixed media techniques by adding a unique blend of innovative and artistic creativity.
A faculty member of the Indianapolis Art Center, Erika, is also an active freelance calligrapher/teacher in the Indianapolis area. She is an expert in the art of doing traditional calligraphic projects: mission statements, resolutions, certificates, murals, wedding invitations and countless other personal requests.
Erika's environmental concerns, social justice issues, and the human condition are foremost in her mind and central to the type of letters she chooses to use. Lately, Jean Shinoda Bolen’s book, "Urgent Message from Mother," has captured her imagination. With Bolen’s permission, Erica has created a series of pieces voicing her message of change in world affairs management, hoping in her small way to contribute too much needed change. As Desmond Tutu said in acknowledging Ms. Bolen's book, "We men have had our turn and made a proper mess of things. We need women to save us."
Nancy Hardy was born in Minneapolis, MN, graduated from IU with a BS in Elementary Education, taught Elementary school in Bloomington for one year, married Charles Hardy and retired as an IU administrator, moving to Crawfordsville in 2006. After teaching in Crawfordsville for a year, she had two sons and retired from teaching. Her hobbies include any kind of needlework, reading, traveling, summers on a northern Wisconsin lake and family time.
Sometime in the late 1980s, Nancy found herself at a presentation by a woman who collected crèches as souvenirs from her world travels. She was fascinated! Returning home from the lecture, Nancy's head was swirling with crèches. She realized she herself had the beginnings of a collection with three crèches she already owned. An upcoming family visit to Mexico would be a perfect time to enhance that fledgling collection.
Nancy and her husband love doing "crèche hunting" while traveling. Her collection has been enhanced by friends who know of their interest and bring gifts from their world travels. In all these years and many crèches later, Nancy still loves each and every one of them. Lovely memories float her head as each crèche set is unveiled.
From this collection you will notice the crèches are not elaborate, but simple "folk art sets," which Nancy prefers. Each crèche has a minimum of three pieces: Baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph as the main characters. Some have shepherds, wise men, angels and even camels, but these are not essential to Nancy’s dream.
When Nancy's grandsons come to help her arrange the crèche sets right after Thanksgiving the sets come alive. With all this valuable help, paper flies and crèches jump from their tissue paper packing landing in special places all around the house. Each grandson chooses his favorite crèche set which he then has the honor of placing under the Christmas tree for that season. What a lovely annual family tradition has developed around Nancy's crèches and grandchildren