Letters

Letters 05-02-2016

Facts About Trails I would like to correct some misinformation provided in Kristi Kates’ article about the Shore-to-Shore Trail in your April 18 issue. The Shore-to-Shore Trail is not the longest continuous trail in the Lower Peninsula. That honor belongs to the North Country Trail (NCT), which stretches for over 400 miles in the Lower Peninsula. In fact, 100 miles of the NCT is within a 30-minute drive of Traverse City, and is maintained by the Grand Traverse Hiking Club...

North Korea Is Bluffing I eagerly read Jack Segal’s columns and attend his lectures whenever possible. However, I think his April 24th column falls into an all too common trap. He casually refers to a nuclear-armed North Korea when there is no proof whatever that North Korea has any such weapons. Sure, they have set off some underground explosions but so what? Tonga could do that. Every nuclear-armed country on Earth has carried out at least one aboveground test, just to prove they could do it if for no other reason. All we have is North Korea’s word for their supposed capabilities, which is no proof at all...

Double Dipping? In Greg Shy’s recent letter, he indicated that his Social Security benefit was being unfairly reduced simply due to the fact that he worked for the government. Somehow I think something is missing here. As I read it this law is only for those who worked for the government and are getting a pension from us generous taxpayers. Now Greg wants his pension and he also wants a full measure of Social Security benefits even though he did not pay into Social Security...

Critical Thinking Needed Our media gives ample coverage to some presidential candidates calling each other a liar and a sleaze bag. While entertaining to some, this certainly should lower one’s respect for either candidate. This race to the bottom comes as no surprise given their lack of respect for the rigors of critical thinking. The world’s esteemed scientists take great steps to preserve the integrity of their findings. Not only are their findings peer reviewed by fellow experts in their specialty, whenever possible the findings are cross-checked by independent studies...

Home · Articles · News · Features · Partners in the arts; Julie...
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Partners in the arts; Julie Kradel & Steve Kostyshyn

Rick Coates - July 11th, 2011
Partners in the Arts: Creative Julie Kradel and Steve Kostyshyn of Blue Crow Farm
By Al Parker
Combine two different artists with two distinctive styles and the result
is one dynamic farm-based studio that’s producing eye-grabbing artwork in
Leelanau County.
Julie Kradel and Steve Kostyshyn share the airy, well-lit studio at Blue
Crow Farm, their 20-acre home on a quiet road near Cedar. While they each
have their own individual methods and techniques, the result is artworks
that are gaining a legion of collectors.
“For over two decades, my work has been exploring the relationships
between animals, their human admirers and each other,” says Kradel, whose
works are generally sculptures and tiles featuring horses, turtles, foxes,
rabbits and other animals. “The clay, being a very natural and Earth-based
medium, has allowed me a framework in which to capture these unique
interactions.
Observing the creatures that inhabit Blue Crow Farm allow Kradel to
breathe realism and life into her work. They’re a constant inspiration and
reminder “to keep her work true.”
“The creative process in which my clay art is produced, in concert with an
adherence to correct bone, musculature and form, allows me to express the
joy and beauty nature’s beasts possess using a unique blend of whimsy and
precise structure,” says the native upstate New Yorker who lived in
Davisburg, south of Flint, before moving north in 2007.

DRAWING INSPIRATION
Many of Kradel’s works focus on horses and their relationship with other
animals. She’s a longtime horse owner and draws inspiration from her
steed, John Henry. Her pieces are captivating, yet clever in their
simplicity and emotion. “All my life I’ve done artwork,” she says. “And
I’ve always loved horses.”
Kostyshyn has been making award-winning pottery, in one form or another,
for more than 30 years. He’s been featured in exhibitions in
Massachusetts, California, Wisconsin and Michigan.
The New Jersey native graduated from Adrian College in 1976 and worked as
a studio potter for 15 years. He apprenticed with Brumm’s Studios and Todd
Warner Studios in Charlevoix. “Todd really showed me the ropes of the art
business,” says Kostyshyn. “I learned a lot from him.”
From 1981 to 1993 Kostyshyn worked in porcelain, then crafted stoneware
with a Majolica influence from 1993 to 1997.
His focus then shifted to create mixed media baskets and vessels that
combine clay, fiber and wood. His popular, collectible works explore
texture, color, form and size that is impossible with pieces created only
of clay.
“My baskets are made with a combination of three materials – clay, reed
and wood,” he explains. “The clay is a high-fired stoneware with dipped,
brushed and poured glazes. The challenge here is to have a clear vision of
the completed basket before starting the piece.”
Using traditional wheel-throwing and hand-building techniques, Kostyshyn
finishes the clay parts first. Once he’s completed them, he’ll shape and
bend the green oak ribs for a larger basket. On other pieces, he positions
and glues reed or dowel spokes in place. This stabilizes the form for the
weaving.
The final process is the weaving of the entire spoked area. He uses
natural and dyed reeds and weaves plaited and twilled patterns. He often
chooses palm, vine rattan, red osler, willow or birch bark as accents.
They lend a natural feel and texture to his works.
“I have been continually inspired to work with the vessel as form,” says
the outgoing Kostyshyn. “Breaking from the ‘clay-only’ vessel and
exploring possibilities afforded by basketry as an aft form, has allowed
me to explore shapes and textures that were unattainable to me in the
past.”

THE SHOW CIRCUIT
Not only do Kostyshyn and Kradel differ in their artistic styles, they
also have divergent ideas about marketing their works. Kostyshyn’s been
doing art shows for three decades and prefers the hustle and bustle of the
show circuit.
In a typical year, he sets up at 11 different shows, from Northern
Michigan to Florida. In coming weeks he’ll be at shows in Glen Arbor on
July 20, Suttons Bay on Aug. 6-7 and Charlevoix on Aug. 13. His works are
also at the Bier Art Gallery in Charlevoix and the Michigan Artists
Gallery in Suttons Bay.
“I love the travel and meeting people from all walks of life,” he says.
“One nice thing about shows is you get direct, immediate feedback (about
your work). Sometimes you get ideas from people. But I miss my farm and
it’s always good to get back.”
At one recent show, the affable Kostyshyn sold one of his works to a
couple who had a unique way to pay for his pottery.
“They had been to the same show a year earlier and decided to save their
pocket change for an entire year and buy something at this year’s show,”
he recalls. “So they put away their dimes and quarters for a year and
walked all through the show to pick something they really liked to spend
their savings on. I was honored when they picked my basket for their
special purchase.”
Kradel prefers displaying her items in galleries, including Viola’s
Gallery in Elk Rapids, Bier Art Gallery in Charlevoix and Cog’s Creek
Gallery in Traverse City. But she’s not averse to doing an occasional art
show and will be setting up in Glen Arbor on July 20.
“My life is so great,” she says with a smile. “I’m doing the thing I
always wanted to do in my life with a man I enjoy being with so much.”
Blue Crow Farm is also the home of horses Abe and John Henry, a few dogs
and recently, several Katahdin sheep. Katahdin are hardy, adaptable, low
maintenance sheep that produce superior lamb crops and lean, meaty
carcasses.  They do not produce a fleece and therefore do not require
shearing. 
“We have an open studio,” says Kradel. “And people are always welcome to
come out.”

 
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