The Bedford Art Gallery hosted a reception on Monday, April 11th to honor the featured artist of the month. Guests were in for an added treat this month, as April features not one but two local artists, Sammie Baker and local celebrity Veita Jo Blevins Hampton--both residents of Bedford County--whose talent and magnificent works are only best described through visual observation. I encourage you to come see their wonderful art work, which will be on display ALL month during regular business hours in the Bedord Art Gallery at The Fly. There is no charge, as it is always free to view the works on display.
Sammie Baker, April's co-featured artist's primary art medium is Indian beadwork. She has been beading since the age of six, when her grandfather--a full-blood Chickasaw Indian--taught her the craft.
Baker was awarded a blue ribbon in 1994 for her beadwork designs on the Missouri Indian pow wow dancer's costumes.
Baker credits the craft as providing her with a means of outlet during difficult times in her life. When her husband became terminally ill, she taught him to bead so that it would help keep his spirits up and provide him some distraction from the pain. This was especially challenging, since her husband was color blind. Baker constructed a method of distinguishing bead color by sorting them into separate areas and teaching her husband the location of each color, as well as the pattern of the art piece.
Baker states that Indian beadwork is a dying craft, practiced mostly by the older generations. She hopes that by continuing its tradition others will receive enjoyment from her work.
Baker's beautiful beaded works can be seen at the Bedford Art Gallery. Special art pieces have been put on display during the month of April, so please make a point to visit the gallery before these pieces are replaced.
Also featured during the Month of April is Bedford County's own celebrity writer and photographer, Veita Jo Blevins Hampton. Hampton began making photographs and writing poetry at about age nine. She gained an increased interest in cameras while teaching high school journalism in St. Charles, Missouri, and went on to complete a Master's in Photojournalism at Mizzou in Columbia, MO; in addition to a Master's in secondary school administration from the University of Missouri-St. Louis.
Hampton learned to mix words and pictures from her mentor and colleague, Angus W. McDougall, at UMC. She and Big Mac, as he was known, co-authored Picture Editing and Layout, a guide to better visual communication. (1990) Hampton continued writing poetry, novels, hundreds of articles for newspapers and magazines, stories and essays. After a 30-year career teaching and editing, publishing several photo-related books, she launched Bluestocking Editorial Services and printed her first small volume of poetry with photographs.
Among her many literary achievements over the years, Windows to Vietnam, A Journey in Pictures & Verse, in which Hampton wrote poems for the Los Angeles attorney, Scott Charles Clarkson's travel photographs of contemporary Vietnam, stands out as a compassionate depiction of Vietnam's people and its cultures.
Hampton's more recent accomplishments include a volume of her photographs and poems published under the title Light Travels II, which she now uses as a text for workshops in visual literacy and elementary picture thinking.
Writing, with a past of high school & university teaching aside, Hampton contributes to the community of service oriented groups through Liberty Lion's Club, the Not Yet Dead Poet's Society of Tullahoma, TN, Bedford County Arts Council and other author's and artist's organizations.
Hampton's beautiful photograph art and published works can be seen at the Bedford Art Gallery. Special art pieces have been put on display during the month of April, so please make a point to visit the gallery before these pieces are replaced.
The Bedford Art Gallery is currently open Monday, Tuesday and Thursday 11:00am - 4pm. New Spring/Summer hours will be coming soon, which will keep the gallery open later and possibly on weekends. As always, there is no admission charge or fee to view the many art pieces on display in the art gallery...all of which was created by local talent.