Creating art on the fly: Busy Janesville mom to show work at Tallman fest

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Shelly Birkelo
Wednesday, July 23, 2014

JANESVILLE—If you visited Chantel Stried at last year's Tallman Arts Festival, you only saw one type of her artwork.

The 22 pieces were created from magazine pages. She applied a cleaning agent to them to loosen the ink. Then she manipulated the pages into new images and painted them with acrylic ink.

The 43-year-old self-taught artist will showcase at least twice as many works in a variety of mediums during this year's Tallman Arts Festival on Sunday, Aug. 3, on the Rock County Historical Society campus in Janesville.

Stried of Janesville will be among more than 100 Midwestern artists at the festival, which is expected to attract 3,000 visitors.

The event will offer art and crafts for sale, food, drinks, live music, a pie auction, a silent auction and an area where children can do fun crafts.

This year's theme is “Art in Nature,” said Michael Reuter, historical society executive director.

“Many of our activities will celebrate nature and how the natural world sustains us,” he said. “Because nature provides us life and sustenance through shelter, food and water, we are connecting it to our 'Breadbasket: Seed to Spoon' exhibit.”

He urges festival patrons to check out the exhibit at the Helen Jeffris Wood Museum next door to the Tallman House.

For her part, Stried will display her pastel drawings, scanned images of her work on greeting cards, alcohol ink pieces, needle felted animals and photography. The works, both framed and unframed, range in size from 5 inches by 7 inches to 16 inches by 20 inches and cost $45 to $125.

A full-time mental health therapist and mother of four boys ages 4 to 13, Stried is a hobby artist who has a whimsical style to her mixed media artwork.

“I tend to use a varied combination of at least three or four mediums—paper, paint, pastels, ink—with old sheet music I find at consignment stores and flea markets as a backdrop,” she said.

After two classes in college, Stried took a hiatus from art until three years ago, when she joined the Janesville Art League. Since then, she has taken a weeklong Create Chicago art course and day classes at Shake Rag Alley in Mineral Point to learn new techniques.

“I just needed to do something for me,” she said.

She and a friend also began meeting Sunday afternoons to create art.

“We'd teach each other or work on our own things,” Stried said.

That weekly “art club” has grown to five members.

Two of Stried's works earned recognition during the Janesville Art League's holiday show two years ago at JPAC. Ribbons adorn each piece, both of which hang on the wall of Stried's art studio/laundry room.

“I dream of someday having a room of my own that's organized. I've outgrown this space,” she said, referring to a table and cabinet full of art supplies that have overflowed to another table between the kitchen and family room.

Stried has little time to spend on her art, so it's a good thing she tires of working on one project for too long.

“I do get bored and don't like to sit down (to work on) a project more than two or three times,” she said.

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