the artist studio | july 2016
In what mediums to do you work?
I am a textile artist with a background in fashion merchandising and a degree in teaching Home Economics.
When were you first interested in art and at what time did you know it would be a part of your life?
My Tennessee heritage is the reason for my southern accent, even though we have relocated 13 times to follow my husband's career with Kimberly Clark. I am most joyous over our family — raising four sons who have recently married and now started adding precious grandchildren to our family. Along the journey, I kept my career in teaching by offering textile related classes in communities and by establishing a home-based sewing business.
We lived in the UK for eight years and were greatly blessed by the kindness of the British people, the opportunity to travel and to feel our world as 'one.' Along with teaching, I have always enjoyed taking classes and volunteering in community projects. I served on numerous non-profit board of directors and looked for creative outlets in every place we lived. In England, I found my current passion, painting and creating art on silk fabric and started my business, Silk Sensations.
From where do you draw inspiration?
Although silk is a very adaptable medium and I have framed/embellished the silk into many art pieces, my business started with a focus on painting wearable art — most specifically Silk Scarves. They are individually painted, signed and numbered and available in galleries. To date, I have painted 1,745 scarves, so they continue to be a favorite! The flora and fauna found in nature is my most passionate form of inspiration and can be viewed on my website, silksensation.wix.com/silk-sensations. The shapes, colors and surprising blend of subtle and bold design by our Creator never ceases to amaze me.
How much of a role has living in Northeastern Wisconsin played in your work?
Moving back to the US from England, directly to De Pere, was a bit of a shock — our youngest son started College and I was left with a 'what now' for my direction. Participating in communities has always been important to me, and yet, a community needs to make way for newcomers. The greater Green Bay community is growing steadily in appreciating the arts and I was quickly offered an opportunity to connect with creative people as a founding board member for the ARTgarage. I served as chairperson for the Art Meets Heart public art project for 5 years which allowed over 300 people per year to come together in making a community art piece — the last of which is a 'flight' of aluminum airplanes, installed on a floor to ceiling sculpture in the grand lobby of Austin Strablel International Airport. Each community art piece is more important to me than any art piece of my own. It's incredible to hear people's stories of why they create art and what visual expression of their experiences means to them.
Where can others go to see your current work?
I am very honored to belong to the Green Bay Art Colony, the oldest art group in Green Bay, founded in 1915. We are a diverse group of women artists who are actively growing their art forms and promoting art in the community through exhibitions and scholarships. This spring, the Art Colony installed a permanent art exhibit at the YWCA in Green Bay in the Patricia Baer room. Marilee Jahn wanted to celebrate the memory and personal mission of her sister, Lela Jahn, and graciously sponsored this exhibit to honor the legacy of strong women in the community 'who give of themselves to support and lead the way for others.' The exhibit features 15 pieces of original art by the Green Bay Art Colony members and some inspiring quotes to celebrate the global empowerment of women.
If you have a favorite quote or words of advice you'd like to share, what would they be?
I am energized and inspired by the synergy that happens when a cross section of our community comes together to create art and lift up our public spaces. Art is for every person of every age. May we never cease to appreciate what creativity does for our community or cease to make room for fresh ideas!
The Green Bay Art Colony, founded in 1915, is the oldest art group in Green Bay. The Green Bay Art Colony is a woman's organization that promotes the arts in the community through exhibitions and scholarships.
More info is available at GreenBayArtColony.com.
For more of Melroy's work visit Silk Sensations at SilkSensations.Wixsite.com/silk-sensations.