Carruth, St. Louis artist collaborate

11/15/2012
BY TAHREE LANE
BLADE STAFF WRITER

"Postcard" design by Carruth Studios.

Garden Smiles, the shop that sells cement sculptures by George Carruth, has added five styles designed by St. Louis artist Mary Engelbreit, including the Christmas-themed Madonna and Child. The plaques sell for $45 each and are about the size of the larger Carruth plaques (the largest is 7 1/2 inches by 10 inches).

The idea to use Engelbreit's images started with Carruth's wife, Deb Carruth, who was on Engelbreit's Web site one night and clicked on the option for licensing. An hour later, she was contacted by Engelbreit's marketing chief, who loved the idea.

"And so it began. The only issue was convincing me that it was a good idea. After all, I was living the artists' dream of creating whatever I wanted," said George Carruth in an email interview.

"Being aware that Mary Engelbreit was one of America's most popular and collected artists, my concern was that her work was bursting with bold colors, many layers of brightly colored floral borders, and patterns throughout. I was worried that being cast in monochromatic stone might not do the designs justice. So after much convincing from Deb and unwavering enthusiasm from Mary's head of marketing, I agreed."

He received more than 100 Engelbreit illustrations her staff had selected as ones that might fit a Carruth product.

He has previously created sculptures for the National Cathedral in Washington and his designs are incorporated into candles made by the Aspen Bay Candle Co. Molds are made at the studio in Waterville, filled by hand, then filed, and sometimes painted. Garden Smiles is at 211 Mechanic St., Waterville. Information: 419-878-5412 and carruthstudio.com.

Part of the Whitehouse Sculpture Walk.
Part of the Whitehouse Sculpture Walk.

A sculpture walk including three pieces has been installed around the small quarry in Village Park in Whitehouse. On loan from Tom Zitzelberger, one is available for purchase. Additional loaned and donated sculptures are sought by the Whitehouse Arts Advisory Board for the walk. Information: 419-877-5383.

With more than 85 sellers, the fifth annual craft and vendor show at the Fremont YMCA, 1000 North St., Fremont, will be 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. Information: 419-332-9622.

Wassenberg Art Center's 23rd artists' exhibit and sale will be 1 to 5 p.m. Nov. 23, 6 to 8 p.m. for a reception Nov. 24, and regular gallery hours, 1 to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Sunday through Dec. 15. Forty people will display their work at 643 S. Washington in Van Wert. Information: 419-238-6837 and wassenbergartcenter.org.

Autism: A Mexican Adventure, is a series of 17 panels that tell a visual story of a father who takes his autistic son on a journey through Mexico as a way to cope with the recent death of his wife. The artist is Craig Matis, who used folded paper and pencil drawings. The panels will be on view in the Grace Albrecht Gallery/Sander Visual Art Center at Bluffton University in Bluffton through Dec. 8.

Two documentaries about contemporary artists will be screened at 7 p.m. Nov. 20 at the University of Michigan Museum of Art. Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision (60 min.) won the 1995 Academy Award for best documentary feature. It follows a decade in the life of this Ohio-born sculptor, beginning with the bitterly disputed Vietnam Veterans Memorial, chosen in 1981 when she was 21. It also looks at subsequent works that confront American social issues including the Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, Ala.

Andre the Giant has a Posse (15 min.), by Helen Stickler, is about the OBEY sticker campaign by graffiti artist Shepard Fairey that targeted hip hop and skater subcultures and went viral. Information: 734-764-0395 and umma.umich.edu.

Send items two weeks before the event to tlane@theblade.com.