Louise Wheeler, detail of Memories of Alibaug #2, 2019, ceramic tile on wood, courtesy of the artist.
Louise Wheeler: Musings and Tesserae
December 3, 2019–February 2, 2020
Opening reception: December 13, 2019 6–8 PM
Much of my work in the last two years has been inspired by textile handicrafts and women’s stitchery. I have explored the contradiction of using clay to create quilts and textile block print patterns then stitching the tiles together with thread or ribbon. I enjoy using lace, doilies, and stamps as well as multilayered glaze patterns, to create and highlight textures traditionally found in women’s handicrafts, giving “old fashioned” materials a new life and look. I often get lace and doilies at estate rummage sales and enjoy saving handmade pieces that may be otherwise thrown out. Some of my other work has been similarly inspired by the form and colors of wooden blocks used in India to create block printed textiles. In other work, I look to nature to make wall pieces that evoke the delight of a bunch of flowers, the light and shadows created by tropical plants, as well as the simple beauty of lichen on wood.
About the Artist:
Louise Wheeler was born and raised in Ohio. Though she was always interested in crafts as a hobby, she followed a science career, earning a bachelor’s degree in Polymer Science at CWRU and PhD in Analytical Chemistry at U. of Minnesota. She and her husband settled in New Providence, NJ, after graduation, where they raised two sons. They have family in many parts of the world, including Sweden and India, so travel and experiencing different cultures have had a big influence in her life as well as artistic expression. Ceramics has been a favorite serious hobby for the past 17 years and Louise has enjoyed trying different techniques and styles.
Louise continues to take classes at the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey and recently taught a workshop in making framed tile art. She received the Martha Barnes award for Excellence in Ceramics at the VACNJ student shows in 2015 and 2018. In March 2019, she was the featured artist at “Ladies Tea Celebrating Women’s History Month” sponsored by the New Providence Diversity Counsel and participated in the exhibition “What Clay Can Be” at the Watchung Arts Center in April 2019. Louise volunteers as co-curator for art displays at the New Providence Memorial Library and in 2019 hosted a show of quilts made by New Providence residents as well as a show of 3D and non-traditional wall art including some artists from the VACNJ.