Art aficionados enjoy big, tall paintings that stretch across their living room wall, but collectors will eventually run out of space in their homes, so the Cherokee Arts Center and Spider Gallery are tackling the problem by hosting a exhibition with miniature creations.
“We have a lot of people who like the work of particular artists and they’re like, ‘We’re out of space, do they have something smaller?'” said cultural expert Matthew Anderson. “So we kind of try to meet that demand.”
This particular exhibit has a holiday theme, so people will have the chance to pick up a gift with Christmas just around the corner. The exhibition includes pieces such as raku pottery, paintings, thread works, etc. Outside the window display space, miniature moccasins and clay medallions are available, “if anyone wants to make a Native American Christmas tree,” Anderson said.
As more work continues to be brought in, Anderson is working to place all tags and prices next to the works, which are expected to rise on Tuesday.
And as items are sold, new miniatures and Christmas-themed pieces by Indigenous artists will be added to the exhibit.
“We have 142 artists in the Spider Gallery and most of them are Spider Gallery artists,” Anderson said. “There are a few who are also part of the Southeastern Indian Artists Association. They are all southeast tribes. Currently everything here is Cherokee, but there is supposed to be an artist from Muscogee Creek and Choctaw who said he was participating.”
People like Kenny Glass, Candessa Tehee, Jerry Sutton, Tom Farris and Robin Champagne are just a few of the artists featured.
Farris has a piece in the exhibit that confused a customer on Friday, Anderson said, because it’s a painting of a Superman logo that the customer thought was saying “Come on.”
“It’s not, ‘Go’, by the way,” Anderson said. “It’s a piece by Tom Farris who is a comic book fan. So it’s ‘S’ in Cherokee, but it’s upside down, so it’s Bizarro’s [emblem].”
Anderson also has two of his own pieces in the gallery, as he submitted a digital scan of a pencil sketch and a computerized modification of a photograph he took.
Another item included in the exhibit is a vase that was created using raku firing, where the vase was thrown on a potter’s wheel, fired in an electric kiln, and then glazed with metallic properties. It was then placed in a gas fire, brought from room temperature to 1,700 degrees, then placed in a trash can with combustibles while remaining orange and hot.
“So what’s happening is that this object is so hot that it’s still trying to burn, and although the oxygen is exhausted by smothering it with the lid, what the fire then does is is that it steals oxygen molecules from the glaze — and that’s what creates that metallic sheen and look,” Anderson said. “It’s a very, very neat thing.
Artists set the prices for their works.
Although some of the work is small, Anderson said there is a lot of work dedicated to it.
“It will probably go around $30 to $150,” he said. “There are some small jobs – sculpting jobs – that will be reasonably priced. These miniature pots on top, for example, are $30 each. People don’t realize…they’re like, ‘Oh, it’s so small. There’s a lot of work to do to make those details so small.”
There might also be a few items added to the exhibit that aren’t miniature, but still Christmas-themed. The gallery will run through New Years, so those exchanging gifts after Christmas will still have the option of buying a last-minute gift that might spruce up someone’s decor.
check it out
The exhibit is located across the lobby from the Spider Gallery, located at 215 S. Muskogee Ave. in Tahléquah. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Tuesday through Friday; and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. For more information about the exhibit, call 918-453-5728.