Heaven & Earth

Friday, August 5, 2005
The Fourth Day of Creation, a mosaic by Juanita Herrell.

Artist Juanita Herrell had the perfect inspiration when she set out to make her themed mosaics called "The Seven Days of Creation."

For the devout Christian from Ava, Mo., the inspiration was both divine and earthly.

"We've got this big thing right now of people wondering whether there's a creator or whether we're evolved," said Herrell. "I'm a Christian and I believe we were created. That's why I created this, to tell a story."

About two years ago Herrell started work on a set of seven mosaics, each one depicting a day during the seven days of creation in the Bible.

Today Herrell will be one of many artists exhibiting work in Cape Girardeau during a First Friday opening reception at Garden Gallery from 6 to 9 p.m.

The mosaics tell the biblical story with vibrant color and intricate detail, from the contrast of darkness and light in "The First Day" to the kaleidoscope of creation in "The Seventh Day."

Each mosaic was crafted from individually sculpted ceramic pieces that were fired and glazed to create a certain color and texture, with thousands of pieces. When the inspiration for the piece first struck, Herrell didn't know how the ambitious experiment would turn out.

"It took off pretty good," said Herrell. "I guess it was inspired since it took off as good as it did."

Herrell's work isn't for sale, but prints of the mosaics will be sold, with all of the profits going to a Christian charity, Victorious Christian Living, that tries to give hope to the downtrodden through religion.

Downstairs from Herrell's Garden Gallery show in Grace Cafe, the River's Edge Pottery Guild will also be showing its work to the public. From 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., the members of the guild will display pieces both aesthetic and utilitarian for sale.

The display will include sculptures, a wall hanging and bowls and pots.

The guild was started in spring of 2004 as a networking organization for Southeast Missouri residents interested in pottery and other ceramic work. Eight to 10 of the group's 14 members will have work on display today, each exhibiting two pieces, said guild co-organizer Pam Duncan of Cape Girardeau.

"We're hoping it's going to be worth our while and we'd like to do it for the rest of the year," said Duncan.

The purpose of the show is not only to give the public a taste of guildmember work, but also to increase the group's profile among ceramic artists.

"We've only been fully functioning for a year, and we want to encourage more people who are interested in pottery to join us," Duncan said.

Judy Barks-Westrich, owner of The Artist Studio, will also be exhibiting original work in a First Friday opening at her gallery. Barks-Westrich will be displaying wreaths made from feathers and pelts, an artistic experiment for the arts educator.

Barks-Westrich used feathers from peacocks, turkeys, pheasants, ostriches and other birds to create the pieces.

"The colors are earthy and gorgeous and iridescent and vibrant," Barks-Westrich said. "It's all Mother Nature's colors all put together, and you sort of look at them and you gain a whole new appreciation for nature."

msanders@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 182

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