Liza Mackinnon - Lawrence, Kansas
Ms Mackinnon is a Lawrence, Kansas librarian. As a self-taught artist she is working in a variety of mediums. Her primary focus in the last few years is historical fashion made from paper. These fashion statement paper costurmes are approximately 2.5 -3' tall and very detailed in design elements. Liza considers the country and or time period of the woman as she is designing the dress. They are created from pages of books, maps, letters, photos and currency - domestic and foreign. Many of the characters are historic figures such as Marie Antoinette, Desdamona from Shakespear, Mary Todd Lincoln, Joan of Arc, and Marie Curie, some are personalities from fiction and a few are completely abstract.
Joe Malin - Plainville, Kansas - 1928-2010
Copper Rod Art
Joe Malin was a man of few words but loved to create with wire and sheet metal. After work in farming and the oil field, he became a self-taught artist in his last 15 years. Most of his welded creations were fashioned from a heavy 8-gauge wire.. Most relate to the old "Wild West", and his sense of humor is often quite evident. Joe and his wife Rita had 9 children who were the recipients of much of his work. If they needed a weather vane, a table to hold sheet music, or an office storage unit, he would get the creative juices flowing and design a piece with "A bit of attitute". he was very please with the farm machinery of day-gone-by, which he created from memory.
Inez Marshall - Portis, Kansas - 1907-1984
Inez Marshall was born in Burr Oak, Kansas in 1907, and started carving Kansas limestone in the late 1930s while recuperating from a broken back. She continued carving while working as an auto mechanic, truck driver, and traveling evangelist. Inez's sculptures include animals, politicians, scenes from small town life, a one-fifth size Model T Ford, and the wheel and battery of an uncompleted full-size Harley Davidson motorcycle. Inez Marshall exhibited her work in her Continental Sculpture Hall at Portis until 1968 when it was moved to a hall in Abilene, but she was not happy there and returned to Portis. She had a stroke and lapsed into a coma in 1984; her sculptures and other assets were sold at an auction.Inez Marshall said, "I get inspiration from a voice. When I first touch a piece of stone, I don't even know what I'm gonna create. I stew on it. I wait for the voice. I get inspired. Then it comes. The voice comes. There is an eagle in that rock, get it out!"
Jesse Martin - Salina, Kansas - 1868-1962
Painted Polka Dots on House
Born in Salina KS in 1868, Jesse Martin became one of the town's first mail carriers. His father, C.H. was it's first mayor. In retirement, he painted his house on Mulberry Street with polka dots against a striped background. "I take a tin can with the ends out and paint the dots. For variation, I paint square patterns on the circles." He also painted native American style designs on dead trees in his back yard and on his garage. His wife taught him to sew and he would decorate the collars and cuffs and the pockets by sewing colored material on them. He used writing ink to dye the fabric. He lived to be 96.
Jim Mathews - Garden City, Kansas - 1920-2014
Jim Mathews worked as a university librarian. In retirement, he created 1000's of pieces of decorative and functional pottery, as well as interpretive and abstract ceramic pieces. Before ceramics, he worked in pencil and ink, watercolor, oil, and acrylics, as well as printmaking. The wide diversity in his designs included a focus on Native American culture, western, Asian, Middle Eastern. His wife Jean and other family members inspired his artwork, which also focused on nature, politics, society, mythology, and humor. A large collection of his pottery was donated to the Grassroots Art Center after his death by Steve and Neva Quackenbush of Garden City, KS.
Easter Island Replica
Butch Mauer - Lyndon, Kansas
Butch Mauer saw pictures of the carved heads on easter Island, off the coast of Chile, in high school geography class and never forgot it. He and some friends were wanting to do an art project and he decided to replicate these heads and put them on bare hillsides in the middle of the Midwest. He was familiar with fiberglass from his car bodyshop work, built the first one in his basement and eventually made 7 total. They were displayed in Osage county, then went out to rural Lucas, sponsoered by the Grassroots Art Center.
Metal Fabrications & Wood Carvings
Russell "Bud" Mauk - Augusta, Kansas - 1913-2010
Rusty Mauk carved wood for 72 years - since he was 6 years old - with everything from knives to little hatchets and axes.His hands showed the wear of woodcarving. "I don't think my hands have ever healed up. They're always smashed or cut up or soemthing. But at least I've got all my fingers." Born in a sod house on the Cherokee Indian Reservation in Oklahoma, he was inspired to carve totem poles. He also carved wooden indians and revealed his secret: "What you do is take a log and cut off everything that doesn't look like an Indian." He liked a good joke and would keep up a steady conversation while carving. Some of his carvings weigh more than 500 pounds, and each has its own distintive personality. His work was sold to people from all over the country.
Barbara McCreery - Lucas, Kansas
Barbara McCreery has a love of plants and worked many years as a landscape specialist. Then one day she began her walk into the shiny, colorful world of sequins. A friend said to Barbara, "I've got these unusual sea shells and I want you to do something creative with them." Barbara said, "Do you want me to glue them on a frame?" The friend just laughed . The challenge had been laid down and Barbara spent months creating a large 30" x 15" display box called the "Underwater Bakery." There are two mermaids underwater preparing all sorts of delicious sequin covered fresh bakery items. The friend's seashells of course are included in the collage. Oscar, her husband, is an avid "dumpster diver" and quite often discovers small miniature items that are just perfect for a tableau created by Barbara. She prefers to create 3-dimensional art works that tell a narrative story. She refers to them as "little sculptures." Some of the names of the boxed art are "Spiced Middle Eastern Lamb with Apricots," "Eternal Baker", and her favorite "Dinner at Mary's."
Ole McKellip - Newton, Kansas
Ole McKellip works primarily in metal and wrought iron, fabricating animals - both real and imagined -out of steel posts, rebar, grating, and other objects. He considers himself somewhat of a perfectionist and wants the figures "just right". McKellip works primarily in metal and wrought iron, fabricating animals – both real and imagined – out of pieces of steel posts, rebar, grating, and other objects. His trademark for spinal columns of people and animals is a farmer's "t-post" used in fencing. He considers himself somewhat of a perfectionist and wants the figures “just right”. His career was doing paint and bodywork on cars. He restored antiques and cars before getting into metal sculptures. His wife Christine and his children are all big fans and enjoy the novelty of his pieces. McKellip is an Army veteran and enjoys making art for people to enjoy.
Clifford McNeely - Geff, Illinois
Miniature Wood Carvings
Clifford McNeely was a retired farmer when the art center first documented his farmstead. He created primarily with wood at Geff, Illinois. Clifford loved to visit and had a wonderful sense of humor that is conveyed through many of his sculptures. For instance, "Horse Sense is Seldom Hooked to a Waggin' Tongue." Clifford had a metal mailbox attached to the rafters at a height of 11' in his shop. Painted on it were the words, 'Suggestion Box.' McNeely spent hours upon hours throughout his lifetime creating hundreds of small 2"- 4" in height, carved, and painted wooden characters, vehicles and animals. The basement of his home was a life-time collection gallery of miniatures. One of the focal points of the gallery was his 8" tall train set complete with engine, cars, and caboose which he made and painted from wooden grape boxes from the local grocery store. Clifford's yard also was ornamented with metal sculptures.
Armin & Norma Meitler - Lucas/Ellsworth, Kansas 1912-2004 & 1917-2006
Armin and Norma Meitler were fascinated with birds. Together they carved and painted over 58 species after extensive research and observation. Armin would find pieces of native wood during walks, finding just the right one. He did the carving and Norma painted with oils. It was remarkable that he even carved birds out of poison ivy. Jointly they completed over 10,000 birds. Norma started painting scenes on grocery sacks in 7th grade. She embellished their home with elaborate painted designs on the walls coordinating the painting with the bedspreads or different themes. Armin also crafter coffee tables, lamps, and chairs. Their art work found homes in all 50 states and 27 foreign countries.
George Mercer - Eskridge, Kansas - 1918-2011
"Mercer Forty" yard art
George Mercer created his yard environment, the "Mercer Forty" on land his grandmother received as a wedding gift in 1872. He used metal and wood, fashioned into wagons, whirligigs and other yard scenes. George was known to never sit still and always had a smile while working.
Roy & Clara Miller - Lucas, Kansas - 1883-1964
"Miller's Park" yard environment
Roy and Clara Miller made more than 50 trips to Colorado, and each time came back with a load of rocks which they used to reconstruct their beloved Rocky Mountains in miniature in the yard around their house. Picnic tables and shelters were added, as well as playground equipment to make the site a favorite for family gatherings and club picnics. The sculptures were sold in the 1960s. In 2013, the sculptures were restored and returned to Lucas and are now displayed outdoors east of the Garden of Eden.