MICHIGAN CITY — Michigan City artists Laurel Izard and Edwin Shelton are using the medium of quilts to express their concerns for mass extinction and the duality of life while also raising money for a local children’s charity.
Their work will be featured in Layered, a new exhibition at the Chesterton Art Center. The exhibit explores two distinct approaches on the expression and structure of quilts. The artist couple will have their works exhibited from Sept. 8-27. The opening will be Sept. 8 from 2 to 4 p.m. Izard and Shelton are donating 25 percent of the sale of their artworks to Hey, U.G.L.Y. (https://heyugly.org). This nonprofit has a primary mission of preventing bullying.
According to the Chesterton Art Center, the focus of Laurel Izard’s quilts is the mass extinction of animals. She searches for vintage unfinished quilt tops, which symbolize the warmth and care she would like to extend to all things living on planet Earth. The old quilts and contemporary fabric are hand appliquéd, embroidered, and quilted with intricate detail to produce a new look at spiders, birds, beetles and mammals.
The wall panels by Edwin Shelton are comprised of layers, which can include discarded plastic cat litter bags, fabrics, window screens, beads, and acrylic paint, the Art Center said. He avoids conventional canvases, so the wall panels can be built even larger, some of them are up to eight feet. The theme of his artwork reflects his perception of the duality of daily life as people struggle in the day to day, and yet are also spiritual beings. Most recently, he had the opportunity to teach art in Zibo, China, in a middle school of about 3,000 students. He said working in China reinforced his experience living in two worlds, represented in the layers in his work.
Laurel Izard and Edwin Shelton met in graduate school at the University of Wisconsin- Madison. Izard earned her Master of Fine Arts degree in ceramics. Shelton completed his Master of Fine Arts in sculpture at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Izard went to Northern Illinois University for her B.A. in Art and Anthropology. Shelton earned his B.F.A. at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Izard taught art for nine years at Marquette Catholic High School. In 2016 Shelton replaced her. He will start his fourth year there in August 2019. Shelton previously worked almost five years as the program director at the Lubeznik Center for the Arts. Earlier in their careers, Izard and Shelton collaborated on “Izwin” for 23 years designing, marketing, and producing a collection of earthenware jewelry, ornaments and whimsical dinnerware.
The Chesterton Art Center is located at 115 S. 4th St., Chesterton. The hours are Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.