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  • Kyle Coleman | Dawn Hunter | South Carolina Sunshine™

    To play, press and hold the enter key. To stop, release the enter key. Interview with Kyle Coleman of ArtFields: Celebrating the Artistic Landscape of the Southeast "I think the fact that ArtFields has no parameters concerning, media, technique, and content, makes our event an annual mirror for Artists across the Southeast." ArtFields, a thriving cornerstone of the Southeast's art scene, has significantly influenced the creative landscape of South Carolina since its inception in 2013. The brainchild of a small-town community, it boasts a nine-day celebration and competition honoring artists from the Southeast region. The event is a testament to the transformative power of art, helping to revive the prosperity of one of South Carolina's once-flourishing agricultural communities by turning the entire town into an art gallery. ArtFields is not just a contest; it is a showcase of the Southeast's artistic talent, embodied in a plethora of mediums and displayed in various locally-owned venues. From renovated warehouses and professional art spaces, such as the Jones-Carter Gallery and the TRAX Visual Art Center, to public places like libraries, restaurants, and boutique shops, art is integrated into every nook and cranny of the town. The Ronald E. McNair Life History Center and the local history museum also participate, solidifying the event's deeply-rooted connection to the community's heritage. ​ ​ A critical role in ArtFields' success is the Fine Arts Manager. This role, held by Kyle C. Coleman since 2019, facilitates and oversees every aspect of the competition. The Fine Arts Manager ensures a seamless flow from managing artwork submissions to coordinating with a team of professional jurors. Moreover, Coleman also acts as a liaison between the participating artists and the hosting venues, fostering an environment of collaborative camaraderie. ArtFields 2023 Second Place "40 Burnt Books" Artist: Kristen Tordella-Williams | LOCATION: Opeelika, AL. Title: 40 BURNT BOOKS, Burnt books on custom steel brackets, 180" x 180" x 12." 2023 Competition Year. ArtFields' prize structure is another crucial element of its success. The competition offers over $110,000 in cash prizes, including a grand prize of $50,000 and a second-place award of $25,000. Additionally, two People's Choice Awards are bestowed, chosen by votes from the attending public, ensuring participation from the community. Now, as ArtFields heads into its 12th anniversary in 2024, it continues to grow, fostering artistic talent. While simultaneously transforming the small town of Lake City, SC into a vibrant cultural hub, future plans include collaboration with other organizations and the expansion of ArtFields Jr. ArtFields is poised to uphold its unique charm while embracing the evolving Southeastern art world. ArtFields is a testament to the transformative power of art and a celebration of the beauty that arises when a community comes together to honor and support its creative talents. It is an event that not only cultivates artistic talent, but also invites everyone to engage in a dialogue about the soul of the Southeast by infusing art into everyday spaces. Darcy with Isabella K. Losskarn's "Did you make that all by Yourself," Trax Visual Art Center, Lake City. 2023 Competition Year. Q & A with Kyle Coleman Dawn Hunter: In your role as the Fine Arts Manager for ArtFields since 2019, what major changes or innovations have you observed or implemented in the event that significantly contributed to its success? Can you share some of your most memorable experiences in this role? Kyle Coleman: Even before I came on board, there has been a deliberate focus on ArtFields as a celebration and competition for visual artists. Those nine days do function as an arts festival, as well, but there is focused intentionality in consistently improving the art experiences for our participants, venues, visitors, and community. There have been several instances where we’ve seen the transition from doubters to believers. We do our best to describe who we are and what we do. Often, Artists who are not aware of us have some difficulty in truly understanding ArtFields. To see those Artists in particular who approach the event with trepidation to participate for the first time; to see the light come on when they “get it” and become staunch supporters is very satisfying. (continued below) ArtFields 2022 Grand Prize "of America..." Artist: Noah Scalin | LOCATION: Richmond, VA Artist: Anne Boudreau | LOCATION: LaFayette, LA Title: Climbing the Walls. 2022 Competition Year. Photo Essay of ArtFields 10th Anniversary Exhibit Dawn Hunter: ​ ArtFields is a unique concept that turns an entire town into an art gallery, which appears to have a deeply rooted connection to the community's heritage. How does the art displayed at ArtFields reflect the current sentiment and diversity of the Southeast region? Kyle Coleman: I think the fact that ArtFields has no parameters concerning, media, technique, and content, makes our event an annual mirror for Artists across the Southeast. That inclusivity naturally lends itself to prompting diverse viewpoints. We are able to see the experiences of our participating Artists through the lens of their artwork. Artist: Steven L. Anderson | LOCATION: Atlanta, GA Title: Half 483 Years. 2023 Competition Year. Dawn Hunter: ​ ArtFields invites everyone to engage in a dialogue about the 'soul of the Southeast'. How have you seen this dialogue evolve over your tenure, and what issues or themes have become more prominent in recent years? ​ Kyle Coleman: To continue the previous answer, I think those dialogues adapt and change depending on the year. For example, in 2021, there were many works that dealt with COVID and its effects on our lives. There has been a continual number of entries that discuss social justice issues and politics. There are always works that reflect the lives, motivations, and dreams of the Artists who craft them. The thought of this work as a mirror is probably the best description. ​ Dawn Hunter: ​ The competition offers significant cash prizes, which must be a significant lure for artists. However, aside from the prize money, how do you think ArtFields benefits the artists of the Southeast region? Can you share stories of artists whose careers were notably impacted by the event? ​ Kyle Coleman: Our prizes are intended to be life and career-changing for our Artists. Beyond that, ArtFields has become a living, ever-growing community of Art and Artists. The relationships built here, among practitioners from across the region have proven to be lasting. That we have a sizeable group of Artists and patrons that visit us every year, whether they are competing or not, shows the consistent impact of ArtFields. It is a big deal to be selected to participate in ArtFields, and that doesn’t come from us, but from the sentiments of the Southeastern Artist community. ArtFields 2022 Merit Award "Join Me - A Prelude" Artist: Noah Saunders | LOCATION: Athens, GA Dawn Hunter: Can you tell us more about the future plans for ArtFields, particularly the expansion of ArtFields Jr. and the collaboration with other organizations? How will these new initiatives help continue the growth and reach of ArtFields? ​ Kyle Coleman: We are striving to be better and better at facilitating meaningful art experiences for participants and visitors, alike. The recently launched "tours" of ArtFields Jr. artwork, which is a traveling exhibition featuring winners and partic ipants from each region. It will expand the exposure and opportunities for those young artists. Likewise, our Southeastern Partnerships serve to conceptually blow those dandelion seeds far beyond Lake City and provide similar opportunities to our participating Artists. Artist: Diana Farán| LOCATION: Greenville, SC Title: The Last Kiss. 2023 Competition Year. Exhibition Installation, The R.O.B., curated by Michaela Pilar Brown , 2023 Competition Year. ArtFields 2024 Competition Entry

  • SC People | Dawn Hunter | South Carolina Sunshine™

    SC People South Carolina Sunshine™ | Special feature interviews with people who build our communities and make South Carolina great! Table of Contents Icons Scroll and click on an icon image below to go an interview section you are interested in reading. Kyle Coleman Artfields Collective | Fine Arts Director More Mary Robinson Internationally recognized printmaker More Brian Rego Renowned Charleston, SC artist More Marius Valdes Professor, University of South Carolina More Ella Marushchenko Scientific Illustrator More Sara Schneckloth Professor, University of South Carolina More Nakisa Abdollahbeigi Critically Acclaimed Artist More Caroline DeSantis Entrepreneur More Bohumila Augustinova Director, Columbia Art Center More Upcoming Interviews Cedric Umoja, Multidisciplinary Artist Diana Farfán Valente, Ceramic Artist

  • Dawn Hunter Art ® | South Carolina Sunshine | Interviews with important people in South Carolina

    Welcome to South Carolina Sunshine! Dawn Hunter Art ® | South Carolina Sunshine™ is a lifestyle webzine dedicated to promoting all things South Carolina. The website is a collaborative project of visual artist Dawn Hunter and her daughter, Darcy. Together, they learn about and explore the state's vibrant culture, discover its hidden gems, and learn about the great people who make up its communities. They feature an online listing of outdoor activities in South Carolina. For the culture enthusiast, they regularly publish photo essays of art exhibitions. Dawn Hunter Art ® | South Carolina Sunshine™ provides curated content with a unique and intimate look into what makes the state special. Along the way, Dawn is committed to sharing her creative life and process with others in the Studio Visit section. New Content! Dive into the Heart of Southeastern Artistry: An Exclusive Interview with Kyle Coleman, Fine Arts Director of the ArtFields Collective! Discover the magic behind ArtFields, the festival that's revolutionizing the art scene in the Southeast and transforming Lake City into a creative paradise. Learn how a small-town community came together to create something extraordinary, offering over $110,000 in prizes and endless opportunities for artists. As ArtFields approaches its 12th anniversary, find out what makes this event a must-see, and how it continues to evolve and captivate. Unlock the story behind the festival that's not just shaping artists but building communities. Click Here to Read the Full Interview! Events | Get your 'SC Daily Sip' Unearth South Carolina's hidden gems with 'SC Daily Sip', your curated events compass to the state's best food, art, concerts, and more - click to start exploring today! More Cook Up Fun with Darcy's Tangy & Creamy Dip – Quick & Easy Recipe for Tween Chefs. Unleash Your Inner Kitchen Superstar Today! Recipe Popular Content Darcy and I are exhilarated to unveil our latest SC People interviews with the acclaimed Charleston, SC artist, Brian Rego, and renowned USC printmaker, Mary Robinson . Additionally, we are delighted to introduce a fresh photo essay feature that spotlights the raw, natural beauty of Bulls Island . Featured Sections About Experience South Carolina! - the inspiration behind our website, we are fueled by the remarkable talents and accomplishments of individuals in the Palmetto state. With a unique blend of art, science, and community service, we've crafted a vision for a site that transcends the ordinary. Browse our online webzine that celebrates and explores the exceptional people, enchanting culture and natural beauty of South Carolina. Learn More SC People Dawn Hunter's SC People section for South Carolina Sunshine™ provides exclusive interviews with notable individuals contributing significantly to their communities throughout the state. From community and business leaders to creatives, each story sheds light on South Carolina's rich diversity and evolving culture. Stay tuned for our following lineup featuring inspiring conversations with engaging artists, entrepreneurs, and educators shaping our present and mapping our future lives. In this photo, Nakisa Abdollahbeigi at her exhibition opening, Carry On. Learn More Outdoors South Carolina Sunshine™ | Outdoors section is your resource for exploring the stunning landscapes , hiking trails, and outdoor activities in South Carolina. We have organized a collection of must-see places and exciting things to do. Embark on unforgettable adventures and create cherished memories as you experience the natural beauty and charm of South Carolina's great outdoors. Learn More Culture Welcome to South Carolina Sunshine™, your ultimate guide to the vibrant cultural events that make the Palmetto State shine. Our specially catalogued content features an array of exceptional happenings across South Carolina, ensuring you stay informed and inspired. Immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of our state's culture and discover events that capture the essence of South Carolina Sunshine™. Learn More Dish with Darcy Join Darcy, Dawn Hunter's vivacious daughter, as she embarks on mouthwatering culinary adventures throughout the Palmetto State. Accompanied by friends, local talent, and a passion for food, Darcy showcases South Carolina's diverse and delectable cuisine. Embrace Darcy's motto, "food prepared is meant to be shared," and savor the scrumptious flavors of our beloved region with Dish with Darcy™. Learn More Studio Visit Join artist Dawn Hunter for a Studio Visit. Here you'll journey through her creative world. Explore a captivating photo essays and "Tumblr" page that showcases her past, present, and future projects, reflecting the depth and diversity of her artistic endeavors and gain a unique insight into the creative process of this talented South Carolinian artist Learn More Brought to you by artist Dawn Hunter as featured in . . . crazyhorse/ swamp pink CIRCULATING NOW

  • Featured Sections | Dawn Hunter | South Carolina Sunshine™

    Featured Sections Greetings, friends - let us help you find the best that South Carolina has to offer! Welcome to South Carolina Sunshine's Featured Sections, where we celebrate the vibrant and diverse facets of our beautiful state! Our mission is to immerse you in the unique charm and warmth that South Carolina has to offer, showcasing the richness of our community, the arts, and our natural environment. ​ Our SC People section puts the spotlight on the inspiring individuals who make South Carolina truly special. From community leaders to local heroes, we share their compelling stories and celebrate their achievements, showcasing the unique personalities that bring our state to life. ​ Within the Outdoors section we guide you through the breathtaking landscapes, parks, and recreational activities that make South Carolina an outdoor lover's paradise. Discover hidden gems and reconnect with nature as you explore the Palmetto State's scenic wonders. ​ Tailored and curated, our Culture section takes a deep dive, exploring the heart and soul of South Carolina's heritage, arts, and traditions. We focus on contemporary art exhibitions; however, we also feature local festivals and stories that highlight our region's history. We aim to weave a cultural tapestry that defines our state's identity. ​ Dish with Darcy is your go-to source for mouthwatering culinary adventures! Join our resident foodie, Darcy, as she uncovers the best eateries, local recipes, and gastronomic delights that South Carolina has to offer, providing a delicious taste of our regional cuisine. ​ Lastly, i n Studio Visit, we take you behind the scenes for an intimate glimpse into the workspaces and creative processes of South Carolina artist and USC professor, Dawn Hunter. Learn about her inspirations, techniques, and the stories that shape Dawn's artistic journey. ​ At South Carolina Sunshine, we believe that every feature is a main course, while our columns, departments, and spotlights provide a delightful assortment of appetizers, sides, and desserts to complement your reading experience. We invite you to explore our Featured Sections and indulge in the diverse flavors of South Carolina. Enjoy! About Experience South Carolina! - the inspiration behind our website, we are fueled by the remarkable talents and accomplishments of individuals in the Palmetto state. With a unique blend of art, science, and community service, we've crafted a vision for a site that transcends the ordinary. Browse our online webzine that celebrates and explores the exceptional people, enchanting culture and natural beauty of South Carolina. Learn More SC People Dawn Hunter's SC People section for South Carolina Sunshine™ provides exclusive interviews bi-monthly with notable individuals contributing significantly to their communities throughout the state. From community and business leaders to creatives, each story sheds light on South Carolina's rich diversity and evolving culture. Stay tuned for our following lineup featuring inspiring conversations with engaging artists, entrepreneurs, and educators shaping our present and mapping our future lives. Left, Caroline DeSantis of Fast Doll. Learn More Outdoors South Carolina Sunshine™ | Outdoors section is your resource for exploring the stunning landscapes , hiking trails, and outdoor activities in South Carolina. We have organized a collection of must-see places and exciting things to do. Embark on unforgettable adventures and create cherished memories as you experience the natural beauty and charm of South Carolina's great outdoors. Learn More Culture Welcome to South Carolina Sunshine™, your ultimate guide to the vibrant cultural events that make the Palmetto State shine. Our specially catalogued content features an array of exceptional happenings across South Carolina, ensuring you stay informed and inspired. Immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of our state's culture and discover events that capture the essence of South Carolina Sunshine™. Learn More Dish with Darcy Join Darcy, Dawn Hunter's vivacious daughter, as she embarks on mouthwatering culinary adventures ​ throughout the Palmetto State. Accompanied by friends, local talent, and a passion for food, Darcy showcases South Carolina's diverse and delectable cuisine. Embrace Darcy's motto, "food prepared is meant to be shared," and savor the scrumptious flavors of our beloved region with Dish with Darcy™. Learn More Studio Visit Join artist Dawn Hunter for a Studio Visit. Here you'll journey through her creative world. Explore a captivating photo essays and "Tumblr" page that showcases her past, present, and future projects, reflecting the depth and diversity of her artistic endeavors and gain a unique insight into the creative process of this talented South Carolinian artist Learn More

  • Tina Williams Brewer | Dawn Hunter | South Carolina Sunshine™

    Tina Williams Brewer Stories of Grace, June 10 -September 3 , 2023 Tina Williams Brewer, a West Virginia native, has a career spanning more than four decades, during which she has skillfully intertwined personal experiences, historical narratives, and vibrant textiles to create her signature story quilts. Her dynamic, hand-stitched pieces are often richly inspired by her extensive travels, including significant time on St. Helena Island in South Carolina. These inspirations infuse her work with diverse themes reflecting African diasporic history, spiritual connection, shared lineage, and migratory patterns. "My intention is to give dignity to human suffering, finding rhythms that are both mind-stirring and soul-soothing." - Tina Williams Brewer A remarkable collection of her work, the "Stories of Grace" exhibition, can be appreciated at the Columbia Museum of Art through September 3, 2023. The museum's doors are open Tuesday to Sunday from 10 AM until 5 PM, extending their hours to 8 PM every Thursday. Born in 1949 in Huntington, West Virginia, Brewer now resides and creates in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Columbus College of Art and Design, honing her unique artistic voice over 40 years. Her story quilts weave together symbolism, textiles, and an exploration of African-American history and spirituality, reflecting themes of generational healing and cultural resilience. ​ Her work narrates stories, channeling ancestral wisdom. It expresses the profound joy of communal gathering, spiritual strength, the sting of racial prejudice, and the steps toward progress. Her art captures the tenacity of African American families and the light that elevates them. She aspires to bring honor to human suffering, finding rhythms that are thought provoking and comforting. Tina Williams Brewer, continued: ​ Primarily hand-quilted, Brewer's artwork incorporates collage mixed-media, such as photo transfers, printmaking, and hand-beading. Each piece is adorned with symbols from African cultures and vibrant patterns that echo cultural and personal narratives, creating intricate, layered compositions that map out her heritage, the African diaspora, and the interconnection of past, present, and future. Her creations have found homes in both domestic and international exhibits, including the United States Embassy in Ghana and the American Craft Museum in New York City. Brewer has enjoyed recognition from the American Arts in Embassy Program for over two decades and has received the prestigious Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Governor's Awards for the Arts. Her pieces are also part of the permanent collections at the Westmoreland Museum of American Art, The State Museum of Pennsylvania, and The African American Museum of Dallas. Brewer's recent showcases include the 1-54 Contemporary Art Fair in NYC, selected by Omar Berrada, EXPO Chicago's Curated Selection by Eric Shiner, Christies, Rockefeller Plaza, NYC, "Knotted Ties" at DeBuck Gallery NYC, and "Threaded Memories" at the Untitled Art Fair, Miami Beach, 2021, selected by Natasha Becker, Curator, DeYoung Museum, San Francisco, CA. About the Columbia Museum of Art Situated in the vibrant downtown district of Columbia, South Carolina, the Columbia Museum of Art stands as a cultural beacon for the city. Boasting an extensive permanent collection along with intriguing temporary exhibitions, the museum establishes itself as a central hub for community engagement. With a dedication to lifelong learning, it offers comprehensive educational programs tailored for all age groups, from children to adults. Each exhibition is enriched by supplementary programming, emphasizing the museum's commitment to crafting an inclusive and enriching experience for every visitor. ​ Museum hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 10AM - 5PM Extended hours every Thursday until 8PM More

  • Mary Robinson | Dawn Hunter | South Carolina Sunshine™

    To play, press and hold the enter key. To stop, release the enter key. Celebrating Creation and Conservation: The Mixed-Media Journey of Mary Robinson "Printmaking is often a very collaborative process, so through many years of teaching printmaking I believe that I have also become more communally oriented" Hailing from Columbia, South Carolina, Mary Robinson is an artist of many disciplines, embodying the essence of creative re-imagination in her unique and thoughtful works. A mixed-media artist who relishes in finding the extraordinary in the mundane, she is currently the director of the Printmaking Program at the University of South Carolina School of Visual Art and Design, where she also teaches. Robinson's distinct approach to her craft involves printmaking in diverse media, creating objects from repurposed fabric, and making handmade paper. In her studio, she weaves together disparate elements to uncover new interplays of color and form. Robinson's works are intrinsically inspired by the natural world; from the intricate patterns made by acorn woodpeckers she observed in Inverness, California, to the pulse and rhythm of life, Robinson endeavors to convey the potent energy that unites all living things. This interconnection with nature is an underpinning philosophy in her artistry, beautifully highlighting a delicate balance between creation and conservation. ​ ​ Robinson's artistic journey has been one of exploration and education. She graduated with a BFA in Studio Art from the University of Colorado-Boulder, proceeded by an MA in Art History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and then an MFA in Printmaking from Indiana University-Bloomington. Robinson's passion for printmaking was sparked while assisting Master Printer Andy Rubin at UW's Tandem Press. Above, Pieced: Brown Small, collaged artwork by Mary Robinson. Image courtesy of Mary Robinson. Presently, Robinson is engaging with the community of Breckenridge, Colorado, as an artist-in-residence at Breck Create, a creative hub that's in partnership with the Saddle Rock Society. The residency offers artists from all over the globe a space to focus on their artistic process, interact with the local community, and foster a spirit of creativity and togetherness. During her residency, Robinson has led several impactful activities, ranging from teaching a Kids Camp to making filament from repurposed plastic sleds using a Precious Plastics extruder machine. A mixed-media artist in every sense, she has been involved in creating a braided rag rug, running a workshop on beading with repurposed materials, and making beads from repurposed paper and fabric. Furthering her ethos of recycling and repurposing, she gratefully uses fabric and yarn donated by the community for her projects at Breck Create. She hashtags her social media posts with #maryrobinsonstudion #repurpose, #breckcreate, #gratitude, #community, #cherishedscraps, #materialappreciation, and #artistresidency, reaffirming her commitment to community, creativity, and the appreciation of materials, however humble they might be. Above, Svalbard Seed Vault Exhibition Handbound books on display at Tromsø bibliotek, Tromsø, Norway. Image courtesy of the Global Seed Vault in Svalbad, Norway. Q & A with Mary Robinson Dawn Hunter: Mary, you've built your career around repurposing materials in your artwork. Can you share a story about a particular piece where the material's past life brought a unique depth or perspective to your creation? Mary Robinson: The series of works titled Pieced are made from my collection of fabric scraps, and I know where each little scrap comes from. For example, in Pieced: Brown Small, there are pieces of clothing belonging to my mother, my husband, my friend and myself. There are also leftovers from a quilt I made for my newborn nephew. There are pieces given to me at a workshop I took with Gee’s Bend Quilters Mary Ann Pettway and China Pettway. And there is fabric onto which I screen printed patterns in a natural dye workshop I took with Donna Brown who founded the Janice Ford Memorial Dye Garden in Denver. When I look at these scraps stitched together I can’t help but see the interconnection of a larger community—those mentioned above but also the unknown workers who manufactured the various fabrics. (continued below) Inspiration, patterns created by Acorn Woodpeckers. Inspiration manifests in Mary Robinson's work. Ovals carved into matrices which were used to create her relief monoprint series, Chorus. Dawn Hunter: Your inspiration often comes from the rhythms and patterns of nature. Is there a specific instance in nature that inspired you recently, and how did it manifest in your work? Mary Robinson: In 2017 I had a 3-week residency in Inverness, California at the Lucid Art Foundation. Every day from dawn to dusk I saw and heard acorn woodpeckers persistently creating hundreds of holes for storing the nuts they gathered. I had previously used a pattern of ovals to represent humans, linking the ephemerality of human lives to musical notes. Inspired by the woodpeckers and taking advantage of the reproducibility in printmaking, I carved many small ovals on multiple matrices and printed them in a variety of ways at the residency. I continue to use this pattern regularly, and it can be seen in the previously mentioned work, Pieced: Brown Small; in the printed, hand-bound books I created for the permanent collection at the Global Seed Vault in Svalbad, Norway; in many of the Regeneration works; and in the Chorus series of large woodcut prints. Mary Robinson, Regeneration 4 Handmade paper, thread, collagraph, relief print, gouache and glue on mulberry paper, 13”x 10.5”, 2021. Courtesy of the artist. Mary Robinson, Chorus 3, Relief monoprint on Shiramine paper, 46”x 38”, 2021. Courtesy of the artist. Dawn Hunter: As an artist, you've led various workshops and taught at a Kids Camp during your residency at Breck Create. How do you feel teaching influences your own work, and what do you hope your students take away from these experiences? ​ Mary Robinson: I have really enjoyed teaching a broad range of students over the years in terms of age, experience and cultural background. I believe that the flexibility and openness I have brought to teaching has made me more relaxed and open as an artist and human over the years. I sometimes see a fear of failing in students that I used to experience. Helping students to embrace process and flexibility has helped me get past rigidity and tightness in my own work. Printmaking is often a very collaborative process, so through many years of teaching printmaking I believe that I have also become more communally oriented. This summer I have been inspired by the wild and beautiful imaginations of 4- to 12-year-olds I have been working with. (One 8-year-old made a portrait of “Mr. Toast” and wove a sweater for him without worrying about whether or not this made sense.) ​ Dawn Hunter: You've spoken about your gratitude for the ongoing donations of fabric and yarn for your project at Breck Create. Could you describe how community involvement enhances your artistic process and impacts the resulting artwork? Mary Robinson: Involving interested participants in a community art project can make members feel more connected and invested in their community. This summer’s Invitation project at Breck Create has stimulated dialogue about art, home, community, environmental sustainability, and material waste. For me, the donated materials become creative prompts that trigger new ideas. The challenge of not buying anything new for the project has propelled me to use materials in ways different than what I’m used to. It has been exciting to see both kids and adults transform simple triangles of magazine paper into beautiful paper beads, and to see their perceptions of the material change. Mary Robinson, Regeneration 3 Relief print, screen print, digital print, gouache and glue on mulberry paper, 14”x 10.5”, 2021. Courtesy of the artist. Dawn Hunter: Having studied both Studio Art and Art History, how do you feel your understanding of historical contexts and movements has shaped your own artistic voice, particularly your focus on sustainability and repurposing materials? Mary Robinson: First of all, I credit a part-time instructor from my freshman year of college, in large part, for my pursuing a life and career in art. She drove from Denver to Boulder twice a week to teach our small art appreciation class, taking us to the studios and homes of artists. Before that, I didn’t really know that you could choose art as a career and, more importantly, as a way of life. The artists we visited seemed to live holistic, creative lifestyles in beautiful, unique homes. I remember feeling on a deep level at age 18: “I want to live like this.” Over the years I have been influenced by many artists whose work doesn’t necessarily look like mine: the pulsating marks in Van Gogh’s paintings; the sense of fleetingness in Stan Brakhage’s films and Francesca Woodman’s photographs; the dedication in Frank Auerbach’s paintings of the artist trying to capture something about his small group of subjects again and again for decades; Richard Long’s use of walking as a medium; and the rough, earthy sculpture of Magdalena Abakanowicz. Studying art history has given me a sense of connection with humanity across time and geography. ​ ​ Many of my art professors at the University of Colorado encouraged us to think about the content in our work and promoted social awareness. One of my painting professors gave us the assignment of addressing a social issue in a painting. I remember painting a man from behind looking out over a city covered in trash. A few years later when writing my art history master's thesis about the work of Betye Saar, I was impressed by Saar's appreciation of material, her habit of recycling, and her recognition of the power of objects, for example when she incorporated her Aunt Hattie's belongings in Record for Hattie. About her materials Saar states: "The objects that I use, because they're old (or used, at least ), bring their own story; they bring their past with them. I have no idea what that history is. If the object is from my home or my family, I can guess. But I like the idea of not knowing, even though the story's still there. Mary Robinson, Regeneration 2, Screen print, relief print, gouache and glue on mulberry paper, 9.5”x 13”, 2021. Courtesy of the artist. Artist and USC professor, Mary Robinson in her studio. Mary Robinson | Studio

  • Bulls Island | Dawn Hunter | South Carolina Sunshine™

    Bulls Island Bulls Island is a pristine, untouched barrier island, the largest among four islands in the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge. Established in 1932, the refuge primarily aims to protect and conserve wildlife and their natural habitats. Encompassing 5,000 acres, Bulls Island is a thriving maritime forest featuring a mix of fresh and brackish water impoundments and a beautiful beach area. The island's many roads and trails offer ample opportunities for hiking and observing the diverse wildlife. “I go to Nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put together.” –John Burroughs What is Bulls Island? Uninhabited and spanning 6.5 miles, Bulls Island remains largely unaltered by human activity, providing a haven for countless native and endangered species. The island is renowned for its thriving bird population, boasting over 275 species in and around the area. Situated at 5801 U.S. 17 North in Awendaw, the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge is approximately 20 miles north of Charleston. Access to Bulls Island is limited to private boats or ferry services. Coastal Expeditions provides a variety of tours to the island, including beach drops and sunrise expeditions. To reach the island from Charleston, take U.S. 17 North through Mount Pleasant and turn off at Garris Landing. A ferry operates twice daily during the summer season (Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays) and on Saturdays only in the winter. Embark on a journey through the estuaries, and, with a bit of luck, you may be greeted by a pod of dolphins as you approach the island. Coastal Expeditions Spring 2023 Bulls Island tour Schedule The Bulls Island Ferry is operated by Coastal Expeditions and they have an updated schedule for 2023, offering more flexible options for visitors during the Spring and Fall seasons. Coastal Expeditions’ current schedule offers visitors choices from 3.5-hour, 4-hour, or 6-hour day trips to explore the island every Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. The spring schedule runs from March through May, while the Fall schedule is from October through December. Morning trips depart at 9 am, with a choice of returning either at 12:30 pm or 3 pm, while afternoon trips start at 12:30 pm and end at 4:30 pm. The summer schedule runs from June-September, and it is a specialized schedule to accommodate the seasonal tides and environmental conditions of summer. The summer time day trips are 5.5 hours from the beginning to end. No need to specify the desired end time when booking a 9 am trip prepare for the duration you prefer and consult with the ferry crew on the day of your journey if you have any questions. There are dates that differ from the regular schedule, which include: on May 11th and 12th, the ferry operates from 10:30 am to 4 pm, while on May 18th, 19th, and 20th, the ferry runs from 9 am to 3 pm. What is Coastal Expeditions? Since 1992, Coastal Expeditions has been committed to guiding and sharing the beauty of South Carolina's Lowcountry: its lands and waters, plants and animals, people, history, and culture. Their mission is to put people safely and securely in the path of beauty, allowing them to experience meaningful connections with nature. As lifelong students and practitioners of environmental appreciation, they strive to create awe-inspiring moments that reveal the interconnectedness of our world. Coastal Expeditions is comprised of a passionate team of "guides, explorers, and storytellers" who continuously study Lowcountry tides, flora, fauna, and history. They work tirelessly to create new routes and maps, ensuring unique natural experiences that are awe-inspiring and tantalizing the imagination and senses. Experiencing the Lowcountry's natural, mystical, and magical aspects fosters a profound love and respect for this unique region. Their goal is to facilitate "soulful journeys" that allow individuals to become part of the beauty around them. Whether it's the shimmering sunlight on the water, an ancient shark's tooth, or the rush of air through a pelican's wings, they strive to create lasting connections between people and the natural world and believe fostering these connections cultivates a deeper understanding of our place within the universe and inspires a desire to care for our environment. Coastal Expeditions Website

  • Caroline DeSantis | Dawn Hunter | South Carolina Sunshine™

    Stitching the Past into the Present: an interview with a great gal who owns and operates FAST DOLL. An interview feature with USC Alumnus, Caroline DeSanctis, artist and owner of Fast Doll, "hand embroidery inspired by the golden age of North American traditional tattoo and other iconic vintage imagery. Above, Caroline DeSanctis, owner of FAST DOLL Hand Embroidery, Charleston, SC. Photo by Michelle Hart, Palmetto Snapshots, Charleston, SC. Palmetto Snapshots Q & A with Caroline DeSantis Introduction: Based on her original drawings and unique designs, owner and operator of FAST DOLL Caroline DeSanctis creates 100% hand-stitched patches, custom clothing & accessories influenced by the tattoo flash of the 1940s & 1950s. All embroidery and designs are drawn and stitched by Ms. DeSanctis. Most designs you see here are original to the shop unless otherwise noted (i.e., the Sailor Jerry designs and some custom commissioned work). The cost of her hand embroidered patches range from $20.00 - $125.00. Her shop additionally features hats, pennant, key chains, tattoo passes and custom orders. All patches are cruelty-free: made from eco-felt, which is made from recycled plastic bottles, and 100% cotton embroidery floss. Let's catch up with Caroline and find out more about her unique shop and business. Above, an example of some of Caroline's custom work. Hand-dyed, hand-stitched & hand-drawn patch flash sheets prior to being framed. Commission Inquiries Dawn Hunter: When and where did you establish FAST DOLL? Caroline DeSanctis: I started Fast Doll in 2015 when I still lived in Atlanta, Georgia. Back then it was still known as Fast Doll Fine Vintage, and I was exclusively selling vintage clothing from the 1920s-1960s online. When I first started I was still working full-time for MAC Cosmetics and was selling vintage on the side after clocking out at MAC every day. I resigned at MAC in April 2016 and I remember as I was leaving the counter that day my phone was buzzing with orders from Etsy, and I remember smiling, and thinking that I had made the right decision to leave. Hand-dyed, hand-stitched & hand-drawn framed "patch flash sheets."™ Dawn Hunter: Has the business always focused on hand embroidery? If not, how did that evolve? Caroline DeSanctis: It was exclusively vintage clothing & accessories for almost 3 years, until I taught myself how to embroider by hand and eventually evolving that into the current style of the things I make today. I remember stitching the first thing, which was the words Fast Doll on the back of one of my denim vest, and then thinking “oh no, I’m already addicted to this“. I started to post my creations on social media and there was immediate interest. They started to sell more and more and eventually became more popular than any other vintage items that I was selling. I got so busy during the holiday season of 2019 that it became the only thing I had time to do, and I officially stopped selling vintage clothing and renamed the company to simply ‘Fast Doll’. And I’ve been stitching full-time ever since. Above, Caroline DeSanctis, owner of FAST DOLL Hand Embroidery, Charleston, SC. Photo by Michelle Hart, Palmetto Snapshots, Charleston, SC. Dawn Hunter: When did you locate to Charleston? Caroline DeSanctis: I moved to Charleston in August 2020 in the middle of the pandemic! I got here and got straight to work and tried not to miss a beat. I think I took off maybe one full day to unpack when I moved, but that was it, haha. Dawn Hunter: How do you come up with ideas for designs? What is your inspiration? Caroline DeSanctis: I draw inspiration from a lot of vintage 1940s and 1950s iconography, ephemera, magazines, illustrations and tattoos from that era of American history. They had bold black lines and were limited to only a few colors — these designs translate so well to embroidery and look very clean and satisfying when they’re done. I also love pinup art and often make things that represent or remind me of vintage glamour and aesthetics. Dawn Hunter: What is your most popular design? Caroline DeSanctis: I think my most popular designs are any of the flowers that I do, any of the skulls, and the ‘Mama Tried’ patches & trucker hats, haha. The imagery in this work was taken directly from a Sailor Jerry sheet of flash featuring an eagle. This is not one of Caroline's designs. The embroidery is straight-up satin stitching. The eagle is embroidered with white, red, and dark & yellow gold embroidery floss. Flag is sewn with deep navy blue, white, red, gold and brown embroidery floss. Flowers are sewn with mustard yellow, green and black embroidery floss. Images are sewn to an off-white piece of sturdy felt that are then sewn on top of a black piece of felt with black embroidery floss (creating a border) and trimmed to fit. Since each patch is handmade, there may be slight, minor differences and no two patches will be 100% alike. If you'd like a different color scheme for your patch, feel free to make a custom request. Please allow additional processing time for custom requests. Hand-embroidered, hand-sewn and hand-cut black and off-white felt patch. The patch flash sheet features pointy-tipped daggers with a hearts detail and dots details. Image is sewn to an off-white piece of sturdy felt that is then sewn on top of a black piece of felt with off-white embroidery floss (creating a border) and trimmed to fit. Classic & timeless traditional-style rose that looks good on everything. Hand-embroidered, hand-sewn and hand-cut felt patches in 4 different color schemes. Patch features a traditional-tattoo-style rose with three leaves. Great for a leather or denim jacket / vest. Felt Pennants Dawn Hunter: Where can people buy your work? Caroline DeSanctis: My work is always available online at my website — — and you can also commission a custom piece from me there as well. I also sell items on my Instagram feed from time to time — @fast.doll. I do lots of local handmade & vintage markets regularly in the Park Circle and North Charleston area. I also have pieces available at The Station, which is located locally in Park Circle. In case you forgot — The boots stay on! ‘The Boots Stay On’ felt pennant featured in two different color ways. • 100% hand-stitched & hand-assembled (no machine!) • Each measure 12” x 6” Fast Doll Web Site

  • Sara Schneckloth | Dawn Hunter | South Carolina Sunshine™

    Welcome to CONVERSATION, interviews with Sara Schneckloth, Nakisa Abdollahbeigi and Stephanie Allen. SARA SCHNECKLOTH is passionate about teaching. Her excellence in the classroom was recognized this past spring when she was awarded USC's prestigious Michael J. Mungo Teaching Award - for the second time during the past ten years! The first was for her undergraduate teaching and the second was for her Graduate teaching. Professor Sara Schneckloth has been teaching at UofSC since 2007. She has a reputation among the student population as a great motivator who is prone to incorporating the unexpected and innovation in the art classroom experience. Students find her classes exciting, rigorous, and rewarding. South Carolina Sunshine has interviewed Sara and two of her recently graduated students: undergraduate Stephanie Allen and MFA graduate Nakisa Abdollahbeigi. Image above, by artist and UofSC professor, Sara Schneckloth from her Topographies series: Earth pigments, graphite, colored pencil, wax on Yupo, 2021. Dawn Hunter: Teaching is a great passion of yours. How did you become interested in teaching? Sara Schneckloth: It is indeed a driving passion! I had the pleasure of teaching for the first time in Cape Town, South Africa at the Community Arts Project from 2000-2002, where I discovered how grounding and satisfying it is to be in a studio classroom with people who are focused, engaged, and motivated – it has grown and expanded ever since, whether at the University of Wisconsin as a grad student and instructor, and here at Carolina since 2007. Dawn Hunter: You have won two Mungo teaching awards, one for undergraduate teaching and one for graduate teaching, what are your perceptions of similarities and differences among those student populations? Sara Schneckloth: Our students all bring different levels of experience into the classroom, and I believe it’s important to meet people at whatever level they are starting. In any level of drawing course, we engage with the questions, techniques, and processes that can help bridge the gap between what they aspire to create and a growing bank of skills and resources they have at their disposal. Like many of us teaching studio art courses to undergraduates, SVAD classes attract both art majors and students from across the university who are keen to bring artmaking into their lives – it’s these interdisciplinary conversations that can really take an undergraduate project in exciting directions, as students look to combine their other academic interests and cares with drawing. SVAD graduate students bring a host of life experiences with them as they engage in three years of creative and academic study and studio work, and I am perpetually inspired by the strides these artists and scholars take in bringing their creative visions to light while in the MFA program and beyond. Above: Sara Schneckloth working at her summer studio in New Mexico. Photo by Megan Clark. Dawn Hunter: When you pursued your MFA at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, at the time, did you envision teaching becoming such a big part of your life and studio practice? Sara Schneckloth: I did, if only because of recognizing early on the excitement and joy I feel when working with a group of inspiring and motivated students – that dynamic energy, the flow of ideas, the deep immersion in creative process – all of it elevates my overall approach to making artwork. There is a cyclical flow between what happens in my studio and what happens in the classroom – each feeds and inspires the other and I honestly and simply love working with people as they bring a vision to light. Dawn Hunter: Describe your teaching style. Sara Schneckloth: My approach to teaching combines rigorous attention to a range of traditional and contemporary drawing methodologies, encouragement of self-discovery, and active engagement in peer critique. I believe that every student brings a unique set of personal experiences to the university environment, and that one of my roles is to support undergraduate and graduate students in investigating and translating those diverse experiences into meaningful works of art, through drawing, writing, and speaking, becoming artists who move fluidly between ideas and images. ​ ​ From teaching to mentoring and advising, I work with graduate students to build solid technical skills in visual artmaking, confidence with materials and processes, and a critical and incisive language for talking about their work and the work of others. Students move forward with a better understanding of themselves as thoughtful practitioners they learn to ask questions of their artwork, each other, and of the enterprise of art making as it manifests across disciplines. In my career at UofSC, I am dedicated to training a generation of artists, scholars, and future educators who embody principles of open exploration and expression of ideas, and care for the aesthetic dimensions of being in the world. Dawn Hunter to Nakisa Abdollahbeigi: How or why did you decide to work with Sara Schneckloth as your mentor? ​ Nakisa Abdollahbeigi: Professor Schneckloth is a very kind and supportive person—also highly professional and experienced in studio art with main focus on Drawing. Since Drawing is my primary major, I have decided to work with Professor Schneckloth as my thesis mentor. Dawn Hunter to Stephanie Allen: How or why did you decide to work with Sara Schneckloth as your mentor? Stephanie Allen: I've worked closely with Sara since I was a sophomore. Even before I had asked her to be my thesis director, she had mentored me more than any other professor I had worked with. She understands my goals as an artist, knows my range of skills and where to push me. Choosing her just made sense. She was always willing to go above and beyond to support me and I am so indescribably grateful for how she's helped shape my undergraduate experience. Above, image from Nakisa Abdollahbeigi's MFA thesis exhibition, Carry On. Dawn Hunter to Sara Schneckloth: How does teaching a class or working one-on-one with a student in a classroom setting manifest differently from mentoring a long-term project? Sara Schneckloth: When working with any student on a project, long- or short-term, my hope is that they allow their thinking and processes to be fluid and evolve. That evolution can take on many forms, whether in how they approach the act of seeing, the drawing techniques and materials they use, or how they invent new conceptual challenges and questions for themselves. Being able to work with a student over an extended period of time is so rewarding, as often the project will go through a period of radical reinvention, as the person goes deeper into what is really motivating them to make the work. It’s that blend of discovery and excitement that can propel a project to even greater success, with momentum to keep making more work going forward. One of many mural walls created by Marius Valdes at the Richland County Public Library, Columbia, South Carolina. Dawn Hunter to Nakisa Abdollahbeigi: What qualities did Sara bring to the relationship that helped you progress your thesis in the right direction? Nakisa Abdollahbeigi: One of the most important qualities I admire in Professor Schneckloth is her organized and detail-oriented personality. As my thesis mentor, she played a key role in helping me coordinate committee meetings routinely and provided excellent mentorship for developing the idea, implementation, and management of my thesis project. She also evaluated my performance in the program and provided thoughtful feedback on each step of my project to help me complete it with the best quality. Dawn Hunter to Stephanie Allen: What qualities did Sara bring to the relationship that helped you progress your thesis in the right direction? Stephanie Allen: Sara has a knack for finding the most interesting and unconventional mediums and surfaces. I knew she would be a great resource to have when working on a project that required unusual materials. I wasn't sure what the pieces would be made of or how they would be hung, and she provided resources that allowed the project to look professional while staying within budget. ​ She has a great eye for abstraction. This show features some of my very first exclusively abstract pieces that would not have been conceptualized without her guidance on materials, abstraction, and the intuitive mark. Sara has worked with similar interview-based projects before— she knew where to look for weak spots in interviewing ethics and how to create successful visual narratives. While I technically have a drawing concentration, Sara has a very expansive definition of what a "drawing" is. I knew that this perspective would give me the creative freedom to work however I needed to and would allow me to take an untraditional approach to drawing. Above, Strive, a mixed media drawing by Stephanie Allen. Below, Stephanie Allen's BFA thesis exhibition titled, In My Skin, Her Skin. Both photos by Stephanie Allen. Image above, by artist and UofSC professor, Sara Schneckloth from her Topographies series: Earth pigments, graphite, colored pencil, wax on Yupo, 2021. Dawn Hunter to Stephanie Allen: Your thesis exhibition is a personal and biographical (of you and others) show. What did you want the viewers to learn, understand or experience from the show? Stephanie Allen: The ways in which the spoken word and the creation of art can lead to a larger understanding of self was deeply considered in the creation of this project: by understanding other queer stories, I could more clearly engage with my own. This exhibition is an artistic investigation of queer femininity and body image. As our bodies and identities are so deeply intertwined, this project explores the way in which the body and presentation create and structure perceptions of queerness, gender, and beauty. Each portrait represents a queer woman or non-binary person that I interviewed, directly rendering their appearance and abstractly interpreting their relationship with their body and queer identity. This project aims to visually record the feeling of being seen and one’s developing knowledge of their identity. Specifically, by realistically showing a variety of different body types that all relate to queerness and femininity in some way, we may expand our presupposed notions about the body enforcing identity. Additionally, despite these varying appearances of the body, the throughlines of body insecurity, navigating queer expression, and learning self-love unify these differences to reinforce the idea that the person is so much more than the body. Understanding that the body is art and art is the person is a key component of my work. In extending our definition of art to include the body, we can shift out of a sense of moralizing critique to one of understanding, appreciation, and respect for both the self and others. Dawn Hunter to Nakisa Abdollahbeigi: Your thesis exhibition, Carry On, was a personal/autobiographical show. What did you want the viewers to learn, understand or experience from the show? Nakisa Abdollahbeigi: One of the most important aspects of my thesis exhibitio n was to help the viewers feel and communicate with the emotional challenges immigrants face during and after immigration. Most importantly, I aimed to show them how feelings of living far away from loved ones, like parents, siblings, best childhood friends, and family members can have personal and emotional impacts on an immigrant’s life. Another aspect was to show how the sense of disconnection from the original culture, language, memorable moments, and nostalgic places in life can affect an immigrant’s personal identity. Lastly, my goal was to reflect on challenges that immigrants experience after moving to a new country such as adapting to a different culture and learning a new language. Above, image from Nakisa Abdollahbeigi's MFA thesis exhibition, Carry On. Below, Nakisa (center) with guests at her exhibition opening. Above, image from Nakisa Abdollahbeigi's MFA thesis exhibition, Carry On. Below, Nakisa (center) with guests at her exhibition opening. Dawn Hunter to Stephanie Allen: The work is created in layers, and each piece is a complete experience on its own, but the entire show works as an installation. Was that intentional, or did it synchronize in the installation process? Was that intentional when creating the works for the show? How did the choices in the installation evolve? Stephanie Allen: These pieces are what I have come to describe as "floating collages." The question of materials was something that long haunted me in the beginning stages of this project. More specifically, the question of how to hang said materials was one of the biggest early challenges that I faced. I was set on the pieces being larger than life and knew that the show had to function in layers. I wanted to have a layer that realistically described the body, and another layer to describe the person's relationship with their body femininity, and queer identity. This made it difficult for traditional materials (canvas, board, frames, etc.) to practically function. Acetate was light but durable, and had the transparent quality that I wanted. Ultimately, the installation came together because it had to. Once I had created the pieces, they needed to go up however would work. Based on the advice of Sara Schneckloth and my second reader, Brent Dedas, I used magnets and metal plates to hang the drawings. I wanted the pieces to invade the viewers' space, have intricate cast shadows, and have distinctly separate layers (i.e. I didn't want them stacked flatly on top of each other). The choices I made for installation then followed these requirements that I had established for myself. Above, BFA Thesis exhibition, In My Skin, Her Skin, by Stephanie Allen. Photo by Dawn Hunter Below, closing reception for In My Skin, Her Skin. Photo by Rachel Kaiser. Dawn Hunter to Stephanie Allen: You selected unconventional drawing materials for the works, and the figures are larger than life in scale. Why did you decide to use unconventional materials, and what was the process that led to the large-scale figures? Stephanie Allen: A big part of the show was subverting the expectation that the body dictates identity and expression. It was the perceived difference between these two things —body and identity— that I wanted to focus on. Because the two exist in different spheres, I wanted the visual representations of each aspect of the subject to have separate spaces on the piece. Yet, because they are combined to create one person, they had to exist within a singular composition. I didn't want to create separate pieces (one about the body of the subject and one about the identity of the subject) because that would strip the body of personhood and the person of body. Our identities and bodies are deeply and personally intertwined, so the notion of a floating collage seemed like an interesting challenge that fit my thematic goals. I wanted the pieces to command attention— these drawings are about real people and their stories, so they deserve to be on a scale that appropriately describes the complexity of queer identity. Dawn Hunter to Nakisa Abdollahbeigi: There was an installation piece in the show, Memories in My Carry On. However, one could argue that the entire show is an installation with sub or "mini" structures within it - like, Family Album or the diptych Family Tree. Was that intentional when designing the show? How did the choices in the installation evolve? Nakisa Abdollahbeigi: The central idea for my exhibition was developed based upon the concept of immigration and its challenges. The components of the show were designed to reflect on different aspects of this main concept with the goal to show how personal, cultural, and emotional challenges play a critical role in an immigrant’s life. The most challenging part for setting up the exhibition was the installation of the "Memories in My Carry On" as the central component. This theme was designed by wrapping a suitcase – as a symbol of immigration – in red straps inside a wooden box and visually connecting it with photos of family, moments, and nostalgic places printed on fabric. To develop the idea for this theme, I played around with the sub-components and changed their order and composition several times. The empty space between photo installations on the wall and the suitcase on the floor was filled with red-strap loops hanging from the ceiling. This latter component was designed to create an obstacle and make it difficult for the viewers to walk in the space between components with the goal to symbolize challenges that immigrants experience during and after their transition to a new life. Above, Stephanie Allen's mixed media drawing titled Skin. Photo by Dawn Hunter. Dawn Hunter to Stephanie Allen: How did your work evolve and change while at UofSC? Stephanie Allen: The biggest change that came to my work was increasing degrees of abstraction. I was almost afraid of working abstractly when I first came to Carolina I felt that I had to "prove" my ability to work realistically before delving into the abstract. This then resulted in an interesting combination of realism and abstraction: I love creating weird abstract shapes and images that functioned realistically within their compositions without being directly representational. This project was in some ways far more representational than I have worked in a long time but is simultaneously one of the most abstract series I've done. I honestly see myself continuing to spiral into more abstract territories. My work has consistently focused on feminine and queer identity while at Carolina, and I am interested in expanding and diversifying this thematic base that I've established. ​ Dawn Hunter to Nakisa Abdollahbeigi: How did your work evolve and change while at UofSC? Nakisa Abdollahbeigi: Studying art at UofSC was my first experience with an American educational institute after my immigration to the United States. At the beginning, I found it very different from my experience with an educational institute in my home country, Iran. I gradually adapted myself to the new environment and learned many new things about the art, culture, and language by taking different courses and working on studio art projects for my classes and the MFA thesis. The SVAD program has given me the chance to interact with amazing students and work with inspirational professors and artists who showed me how to think and work creatively and supported me along the way. In my program, I became familiar with a wide range of materials and learned many new techniques for creating art and these skills will be critical for my collaboration with other artists and exploring new things in my future career. Above, Nakisa Abdollahbeigi at the opening of her MFA thesis exhibition, Carry On. Below, detail of an installation piece. Dawn Hunter to Nakisa Abdollahbeigi: What are your future plans? Nakisa Abdollahbeigi: Personally, I enjoy working in academic environments and continuously exploring and learning from other people’s work. I also highly value teaching and am enthusiastic about having the chance to share my experience with students. As an immigrant artist with Iranian background, my plan is to continue working on projects that can help raise awareness about and promote appreciation for cross-cultural values and differences. I believe this is one possible way artists can contribute to building bridges between people from different personal, social, and cultural backgrounds. Dawn Hunter to Stephanie Allen: What are your future plans? Stephanie Allen: I majored in English and studio art while at UofSC and truly enjoyed both subjects. Right now, my career is aligning more closely with my English degree. This summer I am attending NYU's Summer Publishing Institute and I plan to pursue a career in publishing from there. However, as I'm always looking for ways to combine my passions, I am certainly keeping an eye out for publishers of illustrated books and art-based magazines. I plan on continuing my artistic practice regardless of my career path and hope to ultimately find my way back to grad school. ​ Dawn Hunter to Sara Schneckloth: You have initiated a lot of opportunities for teaching, outreach, and community engagement. Do you have plans to develop other teaching initiatives? - like in NM, is that a program/residency you aim to grow? Sara Schneckloth: The studio work I do in the summer in New Mexico is a central part of my overall creative research, and working out here in this remote and rural location is a point of ongoing inspiration and challenge. It’s exciting for me to be able to share the kind of work I do out here with others, and I am interested in growing that in the years ahead, but slowly and with care. I just hosted a small in-person gathering for six artists keen to integrate natural materials into their practices we gathered local clay and ground it into pigments, hiked though the San Juan Basin badlands gathering visual inspiration, and created drawings to connect mark to landscape. The act of uniting material to place is one that can be revelatory, and I hope to create more opportunities to do that with others in the years to come. Dawn Hunter to Sara Schneckloth: What surprises you the most about teaching? or, What event did you experience in education that gave you the biggest surprise? Sara Schneckloth: I think I’m most surprised by how new it always feels every semester, with the rush of jumping in to a full stream of potential, and being a part of such personal exploration, development, and growth. I am grateful for being a part of hundreds of people’s creative processes over the past twenty plus years of teaching, and look forward to many more. Sara Schneckloth, final thoughts on teaching: ​I would say my teaching style closely mirrors how I work in the studio – I’m driven by an ethic of play and experimentation, curiosity, and a willingness to hold things lightly throughout the process, even/especially when things don’t unfold as planned. By engaging in a blend of close observation, traditional drawing approaches, and experimenting with diverse materials and processes, my hope is for students to make discoveries about their own investment in creating images and artworks, and find satisfaction in process and image alike. Learn more about Sara by visiting her website link below.

  • Ella Marushchenko | Dawn Hunter | South Carolina Sunshine™

    Scientific Inspiration, an interview with Sasha and Ella Marushchenko of Ella Maru Studio, Charleston, SC. Ella Marushchenko and her scientific illustrations inspire me. When Darcy and I set out to make South Carolina Sunshine a serious endeavor, we reached out to the Ella Maru Studio to see if they would be willing to be interviewed for a feature in our SC People section. They replied "yes" within twenty minutes of receiving our email. I was thrilled by their generosity. I have followed Ella Marushchenko's career as a scientific illustrator, often incorporating images of the Ella Maru Studio into my Color and Composition syllabus. UofSC students are in awe of the visualizations of chemistry, nano, and biological concepts coupled with the compelling artistic expression of the subjects. They are inspired by Ella's career path, particularly drawn to her social media accounts, where she is authentic about who she is and sometimes shares challenges that she overcame in her youth. Which, for them, is relatable and makes them realize that their goals are obtainable. Sasha and Ella Marushchenko in KUDU Coffee and Craft Beer, Charleston, SC. Photo by Dawn Hunter South Carolina Sunshine is honored to feature Sasha and Ella Marushchenko, the co-founders and owners of Ella Maru Studio located in Charleston, SC. The business specializes in Scientific design and animation. Artistic Background Ella was born and raised in Ufa, Russia. Art has always been part of her life. Her grandmother was an artist, and her mother, who also has artistic talent, always supported her creativity. She received excellent training while she assisted the famous Russian painter, the late Sergey Krasnov, and his assistant Vera Asanbaeva for eight years. While training with Krasnov and Asanbaeva she learned the importance of observation and honed this skill. Above, painting by Sergey Krasnov. After completing her apprenticeship, she earned her Master's degree in art from Bashkir State Pedagogical University, Ufa, Russia. She eventually moved to the Czech Republic and began to explore many different art forms like ceramics, textiles, and watercolor, but she focused primarily on interior and fashion design. She fully expected to pursue a profession in interior design upon arriving in the United States however, she met Dr. Sergiy Minko, who insisted that she create an illustration for an article he planned to publish in the prestigious peer-reviewed journal Advanced Functional Materials. Her image was selected for the cover of the journal. Above, artwork by Vera Asanbaeva. Ella Maru Studio Other scientists recognized her ability to summarize their content with the well-designed components (texture, lighting, and color) of her images, and she received more requests for work. Sasha and Ella Marushchenko founded Ella Maru Studio to meet the demand. Sasha, who holds a Ph.D. in chemistry, organized a business plan so that Ella's creativity and scientific illustrations could flourish. In the beginning, it was just the two of them, but Ella Maru Studio has grown and now employs eight people. Their team is a combination of Ph.D. scientists and professionally trained artists from the top universities throughout the United States. In each commission they implement Ph.D. level scientific insight with top art design talent to create engaging scientific images and animations. Her illustrations have been selected as cover art for numerous scientific journals, which include: Nature, Nature Physics, Nature Materials, NatureNanotechnology, Cell, Nanoletters, Angewandte Chemie, and JACS. Sasha and Ella have teamed up for other endeavors outside of Ella Maru Studio in the Charleston area. An example is the conservation of eagles and other wildlife in the low country. Recently, an eagle's nest was threatened by new construction. Sasha is passionate about eagle conservation, so during the peaceful, organized protests against disrupting the eagle's home, they created a painting to put at the site for public display. Through their creativity for conservation, anyone who passed by could be educated regarding dynamics in the region that are threatening to wildlife and endangered species. Ella also continues to develop and is devoted to her personal artistic practice. Occasionally, she accepts special commissions, like the painting featured below. It was a work created for Ella's friend. The painting took three months, and it depicts in rich colors and fine detail the Russian fairytale Lukomorye. Ella's Lukomorye painting is as fascinating and as full of wonderment as her scientific illustrations. We don't know about you, but South Carolina Sunshine is looking forward to the next cover produced by Ella Maru Studio! Ella Marushchenko with her painting about the Russian fairytale "Lukomorye." Follow the link below and visit the Maru Studio website. There you will find lots of examples of her scientific illustration and animated work. Ella Maru Studio

  • Bohumila Augustinova | Dawn Hunter | South Carolina Sunshine™

    Did you ever wonder how the trees got their scarves? An interview with Bohumila Augustinova, by Dawn Hunter. An interview feature with 2021 Jefferson Award recipient, Cola City Yarnbombing leader and Columbia Art Center Director, Bohumila Augustinova. Above, Bohumila Augustinova, Director of the Columbia Art Center. Photo by Dawn Hunter. Q & A with Bohumila Augustinova Introduction: While aesthetically improving the forefront of a local business five years ago, Bohumila Augustinova, unwittingly launched a Cola City art installation winter staple by YarnBombers of Columbia on Main Street and beyond. The Yarnbombers of Columbia is a group that Bohumila spearheaded brings together over one hundred local artists who create unique, brightly colored, and patterned crocheted and knitted forms that they wrap around trees or parking meters during the winter months. The project evolved beyond aesthetics with the emergence of the “Giving Tree” located on the corner of Main and Taylor, downtown Columbia. As part of the tradition, artists hang hundreds of scarfs, hats, and gloves for anyone to take and use from that tree. This past December, Bohumila was recognized for her hard work and community investment with a Jefferson Service Award. Yarnbombers of Columbia art, downtown Columbia, SC. Photo by Bohumila Augustinova. Dawn Hunter: How did the "Giving Tree" get started? Bohumila Augustinova: Our first installation by the Yarnbombers of Columbia was on Main Street, and it was during the winter. At the end of our first installation day, an artist noticed a man "stealing" part of an installation wrapped around the bottom of a tree. Later, we saw him walking downtown, and he was wearing it as a scarf, and then we realized that it was not an act of theft but necessity. After that, the group created scarfs, hats, and gloves and offered them free at the tree site to anyone who needed them. It is now an annual tradition. Items are installed during November and are up until mid-March. Yarnbombers of Columbia art, downtown Columbia, SC. Photo by Bohumila Augustinova. Dawn Hunter: Your Jefferson Award is incredible and well deserved. The Jefferson Award, also known as Multiplying Good, recognizes members in the community who selflessly give of their time, embrace service to others as an essential part of life, and have a positive impact on the community. What are other initiatives that you participate in, other than Yarnbombing? Bohumila Augustinova: I have volunteered at Transitions for years. In that capacity I have offered classes in crafts, like teaching others how to crochet. I also collaborated in workshops with Brenda Oliver, the former Columbia Art Center Director, at Transitions and we were part of a team of volunteers. I haven't been able to volunteer as much as I would like to during the pandemic. I am able to continue community service and outreach through my role as director at the Columbia Art Center. Scraffito ceramic bowl by Bohumila Augustinova. Photo by Dawn Hunter. Dawn Hunter: Tell me more about that. Bohumila Augustinova: Other than our regular roster of classes that we offer at the Columbia Art Center, we work with members and organized groups from the community. Examples of groups that we work with are veterans, the Girls Scouts, homeless, and international groups. We also have a partnership with Sister Care, a national organization that assists women who are trying to escape abusive relationships. There are other initiatives that we participate in, too, like, Art Along the Trail, a dynamic visual and performing arts experience that occurs at Columbia's Riverfront Park. Scraffito ceramic bowl by Bohumila Augustinova. Photo by Bohumila Augustinova. Dawn Hunter: What is the most rewarding part of your job? Bohumila Augustinova: All of it. There are so many examples. I love our international programming because the event is for an entire family, and I witness multiple generations conceive of and create a collaborative art project on those occasions. Our programming features fantastic teachers who are dynamic members of the local art community. I am always looking for people who want to volunteer or participate in some capacity. It is exciting because it is a community-driven job, and my day-to-day activities change based on needs - so it is unpredictable. We offer Open Studio memberships to local artists who utilize the work studio space to create ceramic work. Through their membership, artists are given a 25-pound bag of clay, use of the studio, a shelf for storage, access to various glazes, and use of our kilns. They are able to hand build work or throw pottery on the wheel. Scraffito ceramic bowl by Bohumila Augustinova. Photo by Bohumila Augustinova. Dawn Hunter: Tell me about your art. Have you always created ceramics? Bohumila Augustinova: No, but I have always been creative. All of my life, I was sewing my own clothes as a young child - when I was the same age as Darcy! Dawn Hunter: Didn't you win the Columbia Design League's Runaway Runway twice? Bohumila Augustinova: Yes. Dawn Hunter: How do you decide what materials to use? Bohumila Augustinova: My mom was always making something creative, and she was very innovative. I didn't think it was unusual. Making things was just part of life, and it really didn't matter what the material was. I went to college for fashion design, but when I was done with school, I knew I didn't want to pursue a career in the industry. I have never felt afraid to try new forms of expression, and I have made a lot of art work from recycled materials, and I teach classes that focus on sustainability and use recycled materials, too. Dawn Hunter: You used wire for many projects, too, right? Bohumila Augustinova: Yes, that is correct. I am originally from Czechoslavakia, now known as the Czech Republic. One summer, when I was visiting home after moving to South Carolina, I borrowed my niece and took a class structured for mothers with small children. Not all of the projects were collaborative, and they offered workshops that were just for adults. One of the workshops was in traditional Slovakia tinkering. That is a tradition where experts in the craft travel from town to town to create a wire cover, or casing, for the clay cooking pots. It prevents them from cracking or breaking during use. I took to the medium naturally, and when I returned to the United States, I started making jewelry, too. I expanded the language of the wire beyond its traditional use, and I have created many projects out of it, including my Supper Table setting for Jasper. That table setting was symbolic and expressive of the late Elizabeth Evelyn Wright's life. Dawn Hunter: Your current sgraffito work in clay is expressive, too. How do you come up with the color and patterns? Bohumila Augustinova: When I first started, I found inspiration in mid-century design. Now I find inspiration from the natural outdoor surroundings of my home, like patterns and colors from my garden or ripples from the fish swimming in the pond. Dawn Hunter: What's next? Bohumila Augustinova: Well, this week I am participating in the Cottontown Art Crawl on March 12th, and as things slowly open up more, I hope to expand my volunteer work - both personally and professionally. The pandemic has made it challenging to gather in the numbers that some outreach initiatives require. Outreach has been a big part of my life and artistic practice, and I am looking forward to future projects. When I came to Columbia, I immediately felt a sense of community and belonging. I love my work at the Columbia Art Center, and it is rewarding to be part of the process that enables people to be inspired and create. That inspires me. Yarnbombers of Coulumbia art. Photo by Bohumila Augustinova.

  • Dish with Darcy | Dawn Hunter | South Carolina Sunshine

    Dis h w it h D arcy™ South Carolina Sunshine™ | Dawn Hunter's daughter, Darcy, takes you with her on cuisine adventures. Sometimes they are with friends or regional talent from South Carolina. Table of Contents Icons Scroll and click on an icon image below to go to the Dish with Darcy section you are interested in reading. Sour Cream Dip with Parsley and Dill Join us on 'Dish with Darcy' as we jump into the world of quick and tasty treats! This photo essay features Darcy's easy-to-make, delicious Sour Cream dip with parsley and dill. This dip is perfectly balanced in flavor and the perfect companion to fresh veggies, chips, or creatively cut pita bread. It's tangy, creamy, and crafted with love, making it an ideal recipe for tweens looking to explore their culinary skills. Whip up this delightful dip in mere minutes and become a kitchen superstar! Discover the joy of cooking with Darcy's fun, engaging approach only on 'Dish with Darcy.' More Gratitude Cupcakes "with" Dolly Parton Discover the joy of creative cupcake decorating! Witness the thoughtful and artistic gesture of Darcy, who intricately decorated unique cupcakes for her teachers as a token of appreciation. This fun and imaginative activity allows children to express their creativity and build connections while enjoying delicious treats. ​ Adding an extra twist, Darcy incorporated a limited, 1st edition chocolate Frosting created by Duncan Hines and Dolly Parton . As a devoted Dolly Parton fan, this playful inclusion made the cupcakes even more special and personal. The connection to an esteemed celebrity like Dolly Parton added a touch of excitement and made the experience of creating and giving the gift more meaningful. More Homemade Soft Serve Ice Cream We are introducing our new ice cream adventure! We're thrilled to have acquired a stylish and affordable ice cream maker by Tasty, allowing us to unleash our creativity. Darcy personalized it with a sticker from her adored YouTuber, Moriah Elizabeth , who inspires her culinary creations on Dish with Darcy™. While attempting to make ice cream the traditional way using a plastic bag, Darcy encountered less-than-desired results despite her efforts. Seeking a more reliable approach, we opted for a recommended ice cream mix: Junket Ice Cream mix. With simple instructions and available ingredients in our kitchen, we finally achieved the dreamy, smooth soft-serve ice cream we craved after a few trial-and-error attempts. More Inspiration from Patz Fowle Welcome to our Lake City art excursion! Join us as we explore the inspiring Onward and Upward exhibition at the Jones-Carter Gallery . This mesmerizing showcase celebrates the artistry of Patz Fowle (1954-2021) and Mike Fowle. Our visit left us in awe, so much so that we couldn't resist the impulse purchase of Patz Fowle's exquisite clay artwork titled "Every Artist...Has a Story." ​ This artwork is crafted with meticulous detail; the whimsical piece is composed of hand-sculpted stoneware, porcelain, oxides, underglaze, stains, and luster. It showcases references to iconic artworks by visionaries like Dali, Picasso, and Munch while incorporating significant readings of Art History. The tactile surfaces of this ceramic masterpiece rival the painted surface qualities found in Matthias Grünewald's renowned Isenheim Altarpiece (1512–1516), creating a truly awe-inspiring experience. More Lake City Re-Visited Discover the charm of Lake City, South Carolina, a delightful weekend destination that provided us with unforgettable experiences. Situated 90 miles east of Columbia, SC, and 60 miles west of Myrtle Beach, this picturesque city offers a diverse range of attractions. Indulge in the culinary delights of terrific restaurants, immerse yourself in the vibrant contemporary art scene at local galleries, and explore the serene beauty of the Moore Farms Botanical Gardens . And remember to visit our personal favorite, Baker's Sweets! Lake City becomes a hub of artistic excitement each spring as thousands gather for the renowned ArtFields and ArtFields Junior Competitions. This annual event showcases artists' exceptional creativity and talent from near and far, offering a truly enriching experience. More Mom's Baked Chicken Introducing a cherished recipe that holds a special place in the culinary repertoire in our kitchen. This delectable dish is a treasured creation of Darcy's mother, crafted during her culinary adventures at the tender age of twelve. Passed down to the next generation, it has become a favorite family mealtime tradition. The recipe is so ingrained in their cooking routine that measuring spoons has become obsolete, allowing creative freedom and personalization. Although Darcy has thoughtfully written down the recipe, embracing improvisation and adding personal twists to make it your own is highly encouraged. More Publix "Hamburger" Cake Welcome to a mouthwatering Memorial Day Weekend treat! As Darcy aptly puts it, "It's small, it's cute, it's from Publix, it's delicious - so go get it!" Indulge in the festive spirit with special edition holiday cakes from Publix, designed to elevate your celebrations. These delightful novelty cakes come in various summertime and Memorial Day themes, adding a touch of whimsy to your festivities. Not only are they reasonably priced, but they also offer a delectable taste experience that will satisfy every sweet tooth. These cakes are perfect for kids and those young at heart and promise a delightful and fun-filled treat for all More Darcy and the Donut Welcome to The Donut Guy , a delightful haven nestled in the heart of The Vista at 1215 Lincoln St, Columbia, SC. Indulge in the ultimate donut experience as we offer a delectable assortment of freshly crafted treats that are made with love and care right here. Step into our casual and friendly atmosphere, where you can choose to relax indoors or bask in the sunshine at our outdoor seating area. The Donut Guy is about creating a welcoming space to enjoy every bite. From classic glazed delights to innovative toppings like Fruit Loops, toffee, and melted chocolate, we have something to satisfy every craving and delight your senses. One of our popular picks is the strawberry icing sprinkled donut, a personal favorite of Darcy. More Darcy and the Cake Visit Baker's Sweets , a bustling culinary gem located at 129 E Main St, Lake City, SC. Known for its delectable lunch options and mouthwatering homemade cakes, this charming establishment is a must-visit in Lake City. Prepare to be enchanted as you feast your eyes upon the top of the display cases adorned with tempting slices of homemade cake. Inside, a delightful assortment of sticky buns, cupcakes, tortes, and cheesecakes awaits, each crafted with love and attention to detail. ​ We succumbed to the irresistible allure of a torte and a triple chocolate cake during our visit. Indulging in each delectable bite, we found it impossible to pick a favorite, as both desserts were absolute delights to our taste buds. More St. Patrick's Day Rice Krispie Treats Get ready to celebrate St. Patrick's Day in style! As the festivities approached, Darcy embarked on a delicious adventure by creating mouthwatering Rice Krispies Treats™ for her Dish with Darcy "Tumblr." While the traditional recipe initially left her craving for more flavor, Darcy's ingenious twist took the second batch to new heights. She achieved perfection by adding a delightful touch of store-bought vanilla icing and a pinch of salt. Peruse the delightful photos that capture her recipe journey, showcasing each step of this delectable creation. Accompanied by a charming drawing by Darcy, the recipe comes to life, enticing you to embark on your culinary escapade. More Baby's Best Buttermilk Biscuits Simplicity meets classic charm in our kitchen with an old-fashioned biscuit recipe. We take a traditional approach by incorporating shortening into the biscuit base, but we add a delightful twist by spiking the mix with butter. We brush the tops with butter to enhance the golden goodness before baking. Maintaining the proper proportion of shortening to butter is critical to achieving the perfect balance of flavors. This ensures the biscuits retain their rich taste without overwhelming burnt butter notes. While you have the freedom to brush your biscuits with butter at any time, we recommend waiting until halfway through the baking process for optimal results. More Silver Jubilee Cookies Welcome to our cookie haven! We're here to spread joy with our beloved cookies all year round—our secret lies in the classic Silver Jubilee Cookbook Sugar Cookie Recipe, infused with a delightful twist. Adding 1/4 cup of flour and chilling the dough creates the perfect canvas for rolling and cutting. Our pantry is always stocked with cookie essentials to fuel our delicious adventures. Playdates often end with a vibrant cookie decorating fiesta, where each creation becomes a masterpiece as creative as an art class. The Silver Jubilee Cookbook is special in our hearts, offering more than just a coveted sugar cookie recipe. It is a trusted resource in our culinary repertoire, from basic cakes to expert meat, poultry, fish, and vegetable dishes. More

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