Letters

Letters 07-06-2015

Safety on the “Bridge to Nowhere” Grant Parsons wrote an articulate column in opposition to the proposed Traverse City pier at the mouth of the Boardman River. He cites issues such as limited access, lack of parking, increased congestion, environmental degradation, and pork barrel spending of tax dollars. I would add another to this list: public safety...

Vote Carefully A recent poll showed 84% of Michiganders support increasing Michigan’s renewable energy standard to at least 20% from the current 10%. Yet Representative Ray Franz has sponsored legislation to eliminate the standard. This out of touch position is reminiscent of Franz’s opposition to the Pure Michigan campaign and support for increased taxes on retirees....

Credit Where Credit Is Due I think you should do another article about the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund giving proper credit to all involved, not just Tom Washington. Many others were just as involved...

I’ve Changed My Mind The Supreme Court has determined that states cannot keep same-sex couples from marrying and must recognize their unions. This has happened with breathtaking suddenness. It took 246 years for Americans to decide that slavery was wrong and abolish it, but it’s been only a couple of decades since any successful attempt was made to legalize same-sex marriage, and four years since a majority of the American public supported legalization...


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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