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Local glass artist teaches public some of her tricks

Mar. 18, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- Leona Mackey was in her element Sunday.

The retired high school art teacher turned award-winning artist shared some of her secrets in working with dichroic and reactive glass during a demonstration at the Renaissance Art Gallery in Huntington.

The event was part of the exhibit "Earth, Wind and Fire -- Class Acts," which is on display at the gallery through April 21. The exhibit features the work of Mackey, Vernon Howell and Rabert Fulks, all of whom are retired local art instructors.

Sue Tschantz, an artist who is in charge of promoting the gallery, said pieces by the three artists are often found in open and juried shows in the Tri-State, "but you rarely get a feel for their work through just one or two pieces."

Mackey, who taught at Huntington High School, transitioned from ceramics and painting to dichroic and reactive glass in sterling jewelry pieces. She is now concentrating on works featuring fired glass in stainless steel mounts, either as wall hangings or free-standing pieces.

"A lot of artists don't want to share their secrets in this medium, but I taught for so many years that I couldn't resist," Mackey said while taking a break from cutting colorful glass and placing it onto a canvas. "There are so many variables in this medium that I can't even produce the same results twice."

Fulks, an art and graphic design instructor in the Cabell County Career Technology Center, paints with oil and wax. His earthy portraits and landscapes are often subdued and draw on Appalachian life and countryside. Tschantz said he will host a painting demonstration at 1 p.m. Saturday, March 23, at the gallery.

Vernon Howell, a retired art instructor at Barboursville High School, has several three-dimensional, wooden collage pieces in the exhibit as well. Tschantz said he will give a demonstration on his work sometime before the exhibit ends.

The gallery is located on the ground floor of the old Huntington High building at the corner of 9th Avenue and 8th Street. It is open from noon to 4 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 1 to 4 p.m. on Sundays. For special appointments, call 304-453-3187.

Follow H-D reporter Bryan Chambers on Facebook or Twitter @BryanChambersHD.

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