Mixed nuts|Artists get together to toss it up downtown

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 20, 2010

Not to be confused with being crazy, local artists are showing their stuff for Mixed Nuts at Peterson’s Art & Antiques.

“The first thing I thought, they were talking about us three,” said Brenda Neumann, a painter-turned-clay sculptor who works from home who describes herself as “just a regular person.”

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Mixed Nuts will be from 5 to 7 p.m. each second Thursday, except March and September. The next installment, set for April 8, will feature Rob Mendrop with bamboo. Visit Peterson’s Art & Antiques on Washington Street for details.

Neumann and two other local artists were the first to be featured in the variety of local flavors to be featured on the second Thursday of each month, said Peterson’s owner Bobbie Marascalco.

“The reason we call it Mixed Nuts is because it may not necessarily be an artist each month. It could be a book-signing. We could introduce something in a food line — maybe do a tasting or something. We might be doing a thing on refinishing furniture,” Marascalco said. “We might get somebody to come give a class on antiques.”

On the first night, Neumann created coiled crosses, pinched pots and patterned bowls after taking a class given by Janet Akers, owner of an art studio on Halls Ferry Road.

“It was an accident. I liked it because it was different — working with 3-D,” said Neumann. “Art is the fun side of the world … for me.”

Marascalco said she wanted to throw different types of nuts (art styles) into the mix on the first night to build interest.

“For the first time, I thought of having more things to see instead of one thing,”  she said. “Stained glass might not appeal to everybody, but maybe the pottery would; maybe the pottery wouldn’t, and the stain glass would.”

Further seasoning the night, Akers created clay rattles with beads in the center to be wrapped in aluminum foil filled with salt, leaves, cow minerals, steel wool or even dog food for color.

“I never know what I’m going to get,” said Akers.

Although Akers doesn’t consider herself odd or “nutty” in any way, a store patron disagreed and laughed, “We’re all nuts.”

Akers shares a studio with SunCatchers Glass Studio owner Linda Jackson, who demonstrated fusing stained glass to metal.

“They’re good friends,” said Marascalco. “They work together and show together.”

A former student of Jackson’s, Sharon Wilson, said, “(Jackson) took a bunch of us who didn’t know anything. Now we have our own pieces hanging in our kitchens.”

Examples of the artists’ works are at Peterson’s on Washington Street. Jackson is also showing work at River Bend Galleries on Mission 66 and at P is for Primitive in Canton. Akers is showing at the Attic Gallery on Washington Street, the Walter Anderson Museum of Art in Ocean Springs and the Craftsman’s Guild of Mississippi in Ridgeland. Neumann also is showing at Riverbend.

Marascalco said Rob Mendrop is scheduled to give instructions on creating pieces with bamboo on April 8.

Each discipline will be featured on the second Thursday of each month, excluding March and September during Hit the Bricks, an after-hours event held periodically at downtown businesses.

Contact Tish Butts at tbutts@vicksburgpost.com