Letters 11-23-2015

Cheering From Petoskey While red-eyed rats boil fanatically up from the ancient sewers of Paris to feast on pools of French blood, at the G20 meeting the farcical pied piper of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thrusts a bony finger at the president of the Russian Federation and yells: “liberté, égalité, fraternité, Clinton, Kerry--Obamaism!”

The Other Mothers And Fathers Regarding the very nice recent article on “The First Lady of Yoga,” I have taken many classes with Sandy Carden, and I consider her to be a great teacher. However, I feel the article is remiss to not even give acknowledgement to other very important yoga influences in northern Michigan...

Drop The Blue Angels The last time I went to the National Cherry Festival, I picked the wrong day. The Blue Angels were forcing everyone to duck and cover from the earsplitting cacophony overhead...

Real Advice For The Sick In the Nov. 16 article “Flu Fighters,” author Kristi Kates fails to mention the most basic tool in our arsenal during Influenza season... the flu vaccine! I understand you might be afraid of being the victim of Jenny McCarthyism, but the science is there...

Keeping Traverse City in the Dark Our environment is our greatest asset. It sustains our lives; it drives our economy. We ignore it at our peril. Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) has submitted letters of concern to both the city commission and planning commission regarding the proposed 9-story buildings on Pine Street. We have requested an independent environmental assessment with clear answers before a land use permit is granted...

All About Them Another cartoon by Jen Sorensen that brings out the truth! Most of her cartoons are too slanted in a Socialist manner, but when she gets it correct, she hits the nail on the target! “Arizona is the first state to put a 12-month lifetime limit on welfare benefits.” That quote is in the opening panel... 

Unfair To County Employees It appears that the commissioners of Grand Traverse County will seek to remedy a shortfall in the 2016 budget by instituting cuts in expenditures, the most notable the reduction of contributions to various insurance benefits in place for county employees. As one example, the county’s contributions to health insurance premiums will decrease from ten to six percent in 2016. What this means, of course, is that if a county employee wishes to maintain coverage at the current level next year, the employee will have to come up with the difference...

Up, Not Out I would like to congratulate the Traverse City Planning Commission on their decision to approve the River West development. Traverse City will either grow up or grow out. For countless reasons, up is better than out. Or do we enjoy such things as traffic congestion and replacing wooded hillsides with hideous spectacles like the one behind Tom’s West Bay. At least that one is on the edge of town as opposed to in the formerly beautiful rolling meadows of Acme Township...

Lessons In Winning War I am saddened to hear the response of so many of legislators tasked with keeping our country safe. I listen and wonder if they know what “winning” this kind of conflict requires or even means? Did we win in Korea? Did we win in Vietnam? Are we winning in Afghanistan? How is Israel winning against the Palestinians? Will they “take out” Hezbollah...

Home · Articles · News · Art · Anna Farrell & Tyler Bier
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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
“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.

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.”

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