"Rabbit Run Fast"

"Rabbit Run Fast"

Shown March 19th through June 17th of 2018

My work evolves from childhood memories, dreams, and fairy tales. In childhood, art and nature were my passions. Childhood, folklore, fairy tales, circus imagery, dreams and nightmares are some of the themes I’ve worked with. My memories from childhood experiences inspire my printed imagery, which in turn form the blueprints for both my sculptures and installations. My first love was drawing and painting and so swiftly printmaking has become my life for all its versatility and tradition.
We work out our understanding of the world through both experiences and dreams. My childhood was filled with dreams and memories revolving around the circus, folk-tales, and Grimm’s fairy tales. My only real childhood bond to my father was through the stories he would read to me each night. The original purpose of these fairy tales was to provide enjoyment but also to teach children social codes and values. Universally, people can relate to these tales as they are understandable and provide commentary on mores and social values. I have returned to these tales and replace their imagery and characters with my own, twisting them into references from my own memories and life. I enjoy the original duality to these tales, the truths hidden beneath the surface and attach my own meanings as well. I use dream-like fairy tale and circus references to things going on in my actual life currently as a means to adjust and adapt. I strive to prove to myself, that from those tales in an otherwise possibly meaningless act of reading them that they did impact me and make me who I am, even if they were in the end fiction.

The bulk of my work is in printmaking and consists primarily of etchings, engravings, or woodcuts. I treat my prints similar to how I work in my sketchbooks. With intaglio I do all the line work, texture and pattern, by etching, engraving, aquatinting and sometimes dry point. My prints primarily all mono-prints, hand painted with watercolor – no two will ever be exactly the same. I use saturated colors like the fairy tale illustrations I grew up with and the mediums I use are also historically traditional. My woodcuts are printed with layers of decorative paper chine coll’e below the solid printed block giving it subtle difference it pattern and texture. Each of my prints represents a personal memory that is significant to me and I feel my prints inspire me to push the boundaries between artist disciplines and mediums. To others, my images may reference folklore, fairy tales or childhood illustrations. I enjoy the work I make and the discourse it provokes people to talk to me about. I often find people will start to tell me their favorite story or memory as a child, and stories and memories are what my work is about at its core. ~Artist Statement on

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Sarah Fessler

 "Infinite DNA"

"Infinite DNA"

Liberated Quilter (Not her Day job)

Showing December 4th 2017, through March 4th, 2018

I began quilting with my mother around the age of twelve, and for me it’s an art form I seem to always return to after dabbling in almost everything else I can play with. Over the years I have made quilts to celebrate births, marriages, graduations, retirements, birthdays and just being. I have made quilts with prayers sewn into them for friends with cancer, and those dealing with loss. Quilts made from a friend are the most healing of all blankets.

I myself went through Chemotherapy wrapped in a quilt made for me by a dear friend, and then and now it brings me great comfort when I am in pain.

I am currently working on two different styles of quilts.  One series is based on the Lincoln Log pattern. Sometimes it is also referred to as courthouse steps. Traditionally the smallest, center square is red, and that tradition comes from the role it played with the Underground Railroad. Women involved with the Railroad would make a Lincoln Log quilt and hang it on a clothing line in their yards. The quilt would show slaves running for freedom that the house was a safe house. It was a sign hidden in plain sight, and a very successful one at that.

In today’s strange political climate, I find myself turning to these quilts, and to the work, once again of women for a passageway to freedom. A different kind yes, but still very prevalent. This series of quilts are made with a liberated bent, with out the edges meeting perfectly. The fabric is torn not cut with tools of precision. They are sewn with no more thought that what is pleasing and what gives me a sense of freedom.

The second series is completed by a technique known as paper piecing. Paper piecing became a very popular form of quilting over a hundred years ago. Women would receive the patterns in magazines, and then, use the sheets of the magazines themselves to make the paper templates. Paper Piecing,  to this day is almost entirely hand sewn. This form of quilting was and still is very popular because it made excellent use of old clothing scraps.  The final products are stunning, economical and quite possibly the most personal quilts made.

My Paper Pieced quilts, are hand sewn, and very much inspired by my garden. Traditionally these quilts follow a tight pattern of colors. I let my colors do what they will, much like flowers in a garden, and very much in a humble admiration of the Impressionist Monet.




'Observing Contrasts, Finding Balance' was exhibited August 20th through November 19th 2017

Julie Becker Polt is an experimental printmaker at Montpelier Arts Center in Laurel, MD. Julie enjoys the challenge of working with new and experimental materials and inks and is inspired when creating gestural marks in her prints. She is motivated to marry a painterly brush style with the more delicate line work of traditional printmaking. Her work is often inspired by observations of life, both from the natural world and the urban landscape. This juxtaposition of urban and natural, hurried and calm, happy and sad, peaceful and chaotic is seen throughout the body of her artwork. Through her exploration of these contrasts, she seeks to find congruity and the common thread that invariably weaves its way through the most unlikely circumstances. By observing natural contrasts, she seeks to find an overall balance in the natural world. 

Her most current work, “Observing Contrasts, Finding Balance,” draws inspiration from these juxtapositions. She has found her muse in the shifting of natural light, and in the way it carries the innate ability to change the emotion of a scene. 

Julie works as a graphic designer in Washington, DC and resides in Laurel, MD with her husband, daughter, and 3 furry feline children – all are models for her artwork.

Follow her on Instagram.