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If you go
What: Small Squares exhibit
Where: Orchard Gallery, 6312 Covington Road, Fort Wayne
When: During business hours, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday
Learn more
Visit the Orchard Gallery at
Courtesy photo
Kimberly Rorick uses small items in her art squares.

Small spaces inspire artists’ creative leaps

Kristy Jo Beber’s squares employ new techniques.

A while back I received an invitation from local potter, and Orchard Gallery member, Kristy Jo Beber about the gallery’s specially themed March exhibit.

I get a lot of e-mails from Beber as I follow her pottery business and many of the organizations in which she’s involved, but this e-mail caught my attention because it talked about artists working outside their typical medium.

The only parameters for this show were that artists had to complete works that were no larger than 14 inches.

The gallery, located on Covington Road near the intersection of Getz Road, will feature the small squares the entire month.

Many of the artists were pushed outside their comfort zones artistically, Beber said.

An artist who works primarily in clay with bright, whimsical colors, Beber found herself painting on canvas in more muted tones. Another clay artist who uses a neutral color palette and makes lots of bowls and circular plates found herself making more squares, or incorporating more squares in her designs and coming up with new techniques for making clay squares. In another instance, an artist who is known for her clothing took her paint brush to canvas to comply with the square rule.

Peggy Brown, a painter, did quilted squares. Her paintings can be found at

That’s what the “Small Squares” exhibit, which started March 1 with setup, seems to do.

It gets artists’ creativity flowing in a different medium, said Beber and Orchard Gallery director Sue Davis.

For example: Kimberly Rorick is a potter ( whose work I’m constantly drawn to because it’s colorful and whimsical, two qualities that seem to really grab my attention.

Her work for the small squares exhibit had to be pointed out to me. I would have never guessed it was hers.

Rorick took items such as golf tees, buttons, nuts and bolts, among other items, fitted them on a square canvas and then painted each canvas in a color palette.

Davis, whose work includes jewelry, said it’s good for artists to step outside what they are used to creating to try something new.

“As an artist, it’s good to have a chance to experiment and play,” she said.

The creative break from one’s typical medium is needed.

Beber, whose neutral colored pottery is elegant and fun, tried a casting technique to create some of her squares and used a different color palette.

Becka Strachan, of “eye 4 d tale,” typically creates wearable art – as in she hand draws and paints to embellish clothing. She didn’t necessarily go too far outside her comfort zone in creating on canvas, she said.

I think Beber described the concept of this themed show best in one of her first e-mails to me: “For this show, many artists choose to work outside their usual medium or often try new techniques within their own medium. For me, that meant making square molds of various sizes from plaster and trying my hand at slip casting. I considered the molded squares to be ‘blanks.’ Then I drew my designs into the wet clay on each one. I used colorful under glazes (think paint for clay) and stains to enhance my designs and fired to a lower temperature than I typically work with. It’s a whole new look for me ... and I had tons of fun with it!”

Judging from the varied works hanging on the walls and sitting on display cases at the Orchard Gallery, so did the other artists.

Joyce McCartney is not a craft expert. She is, however, interested in crafting of all types. She shares her experiences and those of area crafters. To reach her, call 461-8364 or e-mail Also, visit her blog at There, you will also find the weekly knitting podcast Math4Knitters.