AACA’s retail space offers many holiday gift options

Published 12:02 pm Saturday, December 17, 2016

Are you ready for a holiday shopping experience that is calm and soothing with sprinkles of delight and humor? Give the Austin ArtWorks Center a try. The main floor of the old bank building at 300 North Main Street is a retail store where over 100 artists, many local or with local ties, offer their one-of-a-kind creations for sale. I want to introduce you to three of those artists.

Wine glasses by Margie Kline.

Wine glasses by Margie Kline.

Margie Kline lives in St. Ansgar, Iowa, and she creates pottery such as bowls and serving trays. Margie got started as a clay artist in high school and her high school art teacher kept several of her pieces to show others as examples of good work. After years away, Margie reconnected with pottery when she was given a kiln and pottery wheel as a gift. With a boost from a NIACC ceramics class with Bill Mateer, she was back at the wheel creating new art. She particularly enjoys working with a soda kiln because it is unpredictable. She says, “Each time you open the kiln, it is like Christmas.”

Ron Kraft is an Austin native and now lives in Pearce, Arizona. Ron graduated from the Austin Vo-Tech (now Riverland Community College) program in carpentry and worked most of his career in construction. He is now pursuing a full time art and ministry career. He sculpts crosses from rock and stone from all over the world. Ron chooses from his stable of six different saws to create different sizes and styles of crosses and often incorporates both smooth and rough textures in a piece. Ron says, “God is the real Artist and has created such magnificently beautiful rock …”

Tammy Rice lives in Rochester, Minnesota and is a self-taught artist. She creates jewelry, belts, wallets and purses from all discarded and used materials. Many of her items incorporate tire inner tubes sourced from tractor, dump truck and bicycle tires. Tammy enjoys hiking, reading and “getting down and dirty fixing things” in her spare time. Some of Tammy’s most popular pieces in Austin incorporate the pull tabs from SPAM cans.

Stop in to the ArtWorks Center to see works by these three artists and others. You might find that you complete your holiday shopping or find a treat for yourself! The ArtWorks Center is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. including Christmas Eve!