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Army Arts & Crafts Contest deadline is June 30 090616

PHOTO CAPTION: Chaplain's Assistant Sgt. Maj. Steven Carter won 1st Place in the Accomplished Jewelry division for his entry, “Waiting To Evolve”


Army Arts & Crafts Contest deadline is June 30 090616 (Posted June 16, 2009)


By Rob McIlvaine

FMWRC Public Affairs


Last year’s winners at the Army Arts & Crafts Contest in both categories brought intelligence, imagination and whimsy to the easel or workbench and elevated craft to fine art through their execution of design and technique.


Their works of art ran the gamut from representational and Trompe-L´œl to abstract, expressionism and surrealism.


The deadline for the 2009 Arts & Crafts Contest is June 30, 2009. Only authorized MWR patrons, except Arts and Crafts employees, are eligible to enter.


The annual contest has two separate groups – Group 1 (Novice-no formal training) and Group 2 (Accomplished-formal training or awards from professional competitions) – with 11 categories, including ceramics, drawings, fibers and textiles, glass, metals and jewelry, 2-D and 3-D mixed media, oil- and water-based painting, prints, and wood.


“It always amazes me how talented our Army Soldiers and Civilians and their Family members are. The annual Army Arts and Crafts contest is a wonderful way to showcase those talents and give them the recognition they deserve," Linda Ezernieks said.


Ezernieks is Community Recreation Directorate Arts and Automotive Program Manager at the U.S. Army Family and MWR Command.


Ten people won two awards each, including Yang Hand at USAG-Yongsan, Karen Reshel at Stuttgart and Natalie Lucht at Fort Detrick. Many of the garrisons had multiple winners with USAG-Yongsan garnering 13 awards, Stuttgart receiving eight, and Redstone Arsenal bringing home five awards.


Sgt. Maj. Steven Carter, a chaplain’s assistant who will retire this August, entered the Accomplished Metals and Jewelry category last year and won 1st Place for his bronze sculpture, “Waiting to Evolve.”


“I received a B.A. in Fine Arts in College and was a painter for about 10 years until I got into making knives for another 10 years as a member of the American Knifemakers Guild,” he said.


But Steve has a restless personality and likes to try new things.


“I went over to the crafts shop at Fort Lewis in ’83 to ’85, sometime around there,” Carter remembered, “and got hooked on the bronze foundry they had there. Those crafts people were the best, teaching me everything about the trade.”


The bronze piece, “Waiting to Evolve,” grew out of a lump of clay sitting on his desk.


“I started playing around with it until it began looking like someone sitting there. So then I thought, ‘what’s he thinking about?’ Well, we’re always evolving to be better, maybe not actually doing something about it, waiting, kind of like “waiting for Godot,” Carter said.


Asked why he likes to make art he replied, “I don’t have a choice. If I can’t make something, I get anxious so I just start trying to work with clay until something happens.”


This year’s contest will see more of his work.


1st Lt. John Arteche began his career with a degree in computer graphics design but now is a platoon leader in Korea.


“I’ve been working with art for about four years, primarily in digital media. With math and physics you spend forever and a day learning it, only to be tested on who can get the same answer more efficiently. Art, on the other hand, has no answer. It simply just comes to a point where the creator likes where it’s at. The pay, if any, is so-so, the hours are dreadfully long, but in the end it’s just the satisfaction of putting your ideas down on a piece of paper. It’s one of the things in life that can never be wrong.”


Asked how he came up with his winning entry, “Meeting of an Orange & a Venus Fly Trap,” he laughed.


“The idea was to take something ordinary and make it extra ordinary. Initially, I had absolutely no idea what to make. But after three days of chicken scratch and a whole lot of caffeine, I opened my fridge and saw an orange that looked bright, fragrant, healthy and inviting.”


The coffee and lack of sleep must have tipped him over the edge.


“I took each of those components and made it the opposite. You take an orange and supersize it and now it’s unnatural and freakish in dimension. Adding candy corn teeth makes it unhealthy and almost foul. I kept its distinct bright feature because now its orangeness served a different purpose…not to inspire health and wellbeing, but to draw you closer so it can chomp on you.”


Laura Irick and her daughter, Sarah, both Family members in Wiesbaden, Germany won 1st Place and 2nd Place, respectively in the Novice Drawing category. In addition, Laura won 3rd Place in Novice Mixed Media, 2-D and Sarah won 2nd Place in Novice Prints.


“We’ve been doing art our entire lives,” Irick said of herself and her daughter. “However, when Sarah was 14, she drew a portrait of a young girl with a pencil and we both realized she was likely headed for art school. My ambition for art paled in comparison with my passion as a mother to help shape my daughter’s character, and that was what kept me interested in doing art with her.”


This year’s contest won’t include entries from Sarah.


“Sarah is taking a sabbatical by working at a ranch in Arizona for the summer and will be making a decision about college. I’m preparing to return to America so I wasn’t going to enter this year,” Laura said.


But for these artists, art is life, or as the logo for a major motion picture company puts it, “Ars Gratia Artis,” – Art for Art’s Sake.


“Somehow I found time to enter the art contest again,” Irick said, “and I’ve also entered the Army photography contest, concluding this fall.”


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Taken on June 26, 2008