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 · Art · Anna Farrell & Tyler Bier
. . . .

Anna Farrell & Tyler Bier

Al Parker - August 1st, 2011
A high school project has turned into a creative, popular line of detailed
ceramic guitars produced by Charlevoix artisans Anna Farrell and Tyler
Bier.
“I made one that was about two-feet high, a Fender, for a class project
years ago,” recalls the 24-year-old Bier, who has seven real guitars of
his own. “After that I just started making them, though smaller.”
For about two years, both Bier and Farrell constructed the guitars, but
now she specializes in the axes, while Bier has moved on to more
functional ceramics like dishes, mugs, piggy banks and serving bowls.
“Anna’s guitars are a lot neater (than mine),” says Bier with a smile.
“She’s incredibly talented and precise. I stick to the wheel now.”
Farrell’s 12-inch guitars have been well received by music fans and art
collectors across the country. In just the past year she’s sold more than
60 of them. They range in price from $125 to $285.
“I just sent an order to a guy in Chicago,” says Farrell. “He doesn’t play
at all, but just really likes guitars. I do sell some to guitarists or
family members of musicians. I get a lot of repeat customers”
Each guitar is crafted from clay slabs for the hollowed body and the
foundation for the guitar’s unique characteristics such as pick guards,
knobs and pickups. Then each instrument is fired for three hours in the
kiln at 1,900 degrees, custom glazed for two hours and fired again for up
to two hours at 2,250 degrees. The final stage includes stringing with
wires and applying tags.

STRATS & GIBSONS
About 20 different guitar body templates are used as guides, including
Stratocaster, Les Paul, Telecaster, Gibson SG and Hofner bass. “They’re a
lot of fun to make,” says Farrell, who isn’t a guitarist at all, but does
play the violin. “I get a lot of custom orders.”
She also gets asked to fashion other musical instruments, including pianos
and trumpets. “I may try some of those over the winter. I’m working on
designing a cello. And I do make some violins.”
Bier and Farrell have had a busy summer with art shows almost every
weekend. On Aug. 6-7 they’ll be at the Portside Arts Fair in East Jordan.
The Labor Day weekend will find them downstate at Franklin’s Art in the
Village on Sept. 6.
In addition to Farrell’s guitars, at shows the pair offers a variety of
Bier’s functional, yet beautiful, creations. Unlike some artists who use
commercial glazes, all of Bier’s items feature custom glazes created by
hand in his studio. “I think making our glaze is part of the art,” he
says. “A lot of it is trial and error. Even when you have an idea of what
will happen, you might be completely wrong.”
Farrell and Bier met at Charlevoix High School and have been together
for about six years. Bier’s parents – Ray and Tami – are talented
ceramic artists in their own rights and operate the Bier Gallery, about
six miles south of Charlevoix. “I grew up around clay,” Bier laughs. “I
can’t draw, can’t paint.”
After high school, Bier and Farrell went to Grand Valley State University
where he majored in finance and she in communications. Then they began
working as serious artists.
“It was always a dream of mine to be involved with art,” says 22-year-old
Farrell. “Some day I’d like to try painting landscapes. I’ve tried oils
and acrylics, but never done water colors.”

For more information, go to
www.biergallery.com.
 
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