March 17, 2022
Artists Stephen Driver and wife Louise Halsey will display their artworks in the exhibit “Pairings: Fiber & Clay” at the ASU-Beebe England Center Art Gallery through March 31.
The Arkansas State University–Beebe Art Department exhibit for March is titled “Pairings: Fiber & Clay.”
The exhibit features artworks by Stephen Driver, who is a potter, and his wife Louise Halsey, who is a weaver. Artist remarks are as follows: “When given the title, Pairings: Fiber & Clay, both of us were intrigued by the possibilities this presented. We found a variety of ways in which to articulate this concept. First, it is about our mediums, each with its own skill sets and processes, as can be seen in the work in this exhibition. It also refers to our decades, 43 years of marriage, together with our shared love of art. In our partnership we raised two children, Alice, a writer, and Ian, a scientist, whose lives continually enrich our own. The shared creative activity radiates out from our home to our studios, to the kilns and to our gardens. Here in the Little Mulberry Valley, we strive to make a sustainable lifestyle, a very challenging art of its own, underpinned by the work we manifest in Pairings: Fiber & Clay.”
Driver has been a professional potter for 48 years. He stated, “Seventeen years ago, I started making ceramic effigy vessels using fish, birds, and frogs as storytellers. My intention with these sculptural vessels was to start a dialogue about climate change.” During the late 90’s, Driver said he began traveling to Central and South America. “During a trip to Ecuador in 2004, I was introduced to the pottery made by the indigenous women potters of the upper Amazon basin and to Ecuadorian Pre-Columbian ceramics. Both cultures’ ceramics tell stories using imagery formed in very powerful and beautiful ways.” Driver combined these influences of storytelling with his concern about climate change and its effects on the planet.
Halsey is a 2017 Arkansas Arts Council Living Treasure fiber artist award winner. She attended workshops in weaving at Arrowmont School of Crafts, Penland School and then took courses at the University of Georgia. In 2007, she completed a Master’s in Fine Arts in Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College. Halsey stated: “My tapestries are influenced by my life in the Ozark Mountains and my love of color and design. As a child I wove potholders, made God’s Eyes of yarn over sticks and eventually sewed my own clothes. Following my interest in fibers, I learned to weave which became my chosen method of expression. Weaving allows me to explore ideas and influences from other cultures, as well as colors and designs which I combine to become a tapestry.” Four of Halsey’s tapestries were chosen for the exhibition “High Fiber: Women to Watch 2012” at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. In 2021, one of Halsey’s abstract tapestries was chosen for the American Tapestry Biennial 13 held at Highfield Hall in MA, and the San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles in CA.
For more information about the artists, view the website link to a January 31, 2022 article published in the Arkansas Online/Democrat Gazette at: Arkansas Potter Built Massive Kiln.
ASU-Beebe is the only two-year college in central Arkansas that offers an Associate of Fine Arts (AFA) degree. The AFA degree has an emphasis in vocal music or instrumental music, theater, graphic design, or creative arts enterprise. This degree is a comprehensive two-year curriculum designed specifically for transfer toward a bachelor’s degree in fine arts.
The exhibit at the England Center Art Gallery will be on display through March 31. The England Center Art Gallery exhibits works of art by students and featured artists throughout the academic year. Admission is free and the gallery is open to the public. The gallery, located at 201 N Orange St. in Beebe, is open from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Friday. For more information, contact Thomas Fernandez at (501) 882-8913 or the England Center Art Gallery reception office at (501) 882-4495.