published Sunday, January 12th, 2014

A blend of styles: 7 regional artists on display at River Gallery

Jay Pfeil created this three-panel etching in her North Carolina studio.
Jay Pfeil created this three-panel etching in her North Carolina studio.
  • photo
    Potter Mary Lynn Portera has several pieces in the latest showcase at River Gallery.


What: "Contemporary Arts and Crafts Show."

Where: River Gallery, 400 E. Second St.

When: Through Jan. 31.

Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 1-5 Sunday and by appointment

Phone: 265-5033 x5

Admission: Free

Featured artists: Chris Barber (Tennessee), Clay Binkley (Tennessee), Laurey-Faye Long (North Caroline), Lynda Metcalfe (North Carolina), Jay Pfeil (North Carolina), Mary Lynn Portera (Tennessee) and Robert Taylor (Alabama)

A trip to the River Gallery this month will offer a blending world of metal, ceramics, print and wood.

Seven regional artists are showcasing their works at the gallery.

Jay Pheil works in several mediums and has had her pieces on display in the gallery for years. She currently has several paintings, as well as prints, on display at River Gallery. But for this showcase, she is featuring three of her etchings which depicting scenes in nature she found while on one of her many hikes, where she says she finds inspiration for most of her pieces.

Two are from around her home in North Carolina and the third is from a recent trip to Colorado. She employed a lost wax method with soft ground metal plates to create the pieces. The process involves drawing or etching the lines on a piece of paper that covers a soft wax coating on the plate. When the paper is lifted off, it removes the wax where the pencil pressed. The plate is then washed in nitric acid, etching the metal where the wax has been removed.

"They are very sensitive," she says. "If you touch them, your fingerprint will remain."

To make prints, ink is spread over the plates, with the excess then wiped away from the etched areas, and the plate is then pressed onto paper.

All three pieces of Pheil's etched pieces feature arches, a common motif she paints or etches into many of her works. "I like arches, especially as I've gotten older," she says. Pheil says she first used these borders within borders then placed within frames on a piece she found herself struggling to start.

"I thought, 'Well, I'll put a frame around if just to be doing something.' I liked it and it worked well. I like playing around with borders. It's like a Tiffany piece or stained glass."

Also in the show are functional pieces by Lynda Metcalf, Clay Binkley and Roycroft Master Artisan Robert Taylor. Each uses repurposed and found objects such as wood and metal to create frames, mantle clocks and other pieces.

Mary Lynn Portera and Laurey-Fay Long have both created Appalachian-inspired ceramics. Chris Barber, a Tennessee-based artist who works with wood has constructed several original furniture designs.

The collection is designed to showcase the Arts and Crafts style in many forms, according to Angie Supan, assistant director in sales at River Gallery.

"All of these artists create beautiful pieces that we are proud to showcase," she says.

Contact Barry Courter at or 423-757-6327.

about Barry Courter...

Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...

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