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Today is February 23, 2020

There’s just no pattern to it

By Brad Barr

Ann Easley doesn’t follow the pattern of many artists and craft aficionados. In fact, she doesn’t really use a pattern at all — just a vision.

Much like her grandmother, an elaborate crochet artist in her own right, Ann can be likened to a creative chef — a  pinch of this and a pinch of that results in an artistic dish for all to enjoy.

Ann grew up in Murfreesboro, Arkansas, spending much of her time at the family-owned downtown mercantile. Ann and her husband Melvin have lived in the New Hope Community in Lowndes County since 1972. But much of her interest in arts and crafts came early in life from her grandmother, who lived just down the street from her in Murfreesboro. She crocheted and taught Ann. Every Easter, Ann remembered, her grandmother gave her gorgeous baskets decorated with handmade dancing dolls. “She was always into something creative. She had no patterns. She just made what she wanted.”

Ann’s mother created ceramics and glazes. She also sewed and painted china. “She taught us to be ladies,” Ann said of herself and siblings.

Ann graduated with an education degree from Henderson State College. She and Melvin have one son, Darrell, and four grandchildren.

At her mother’s urging, Ann (a busy wife and mother) took a painting class. “The teacher told me I should be teaching the class,” she said with a grin. Ann has been painting since 1975.

“A blank canvas called my name,” she said. Ann paints on canvas, cardboard and paper. “I’m an eclectic artist.”

Why did she start painting and working in arts and crafts?

“I felt like I needed an outlet. I find that through working with the arts.” She even takes up a needle and yarn now and again.

But today, Ann spends much of her time creating jewelry. She took up the hobby about five years ago. It works like this: Ann purchases carved pieces of jade from Asia and Africa, often hundreds of years old, and builds necklaces around them. “Every one of them has a story,” she said. But no story is the same. “I like for them to have their own identity.” She is also a jewelry collector, always ready to display several pieces of colorful accessories.

Her work is done in a garage, turned sunroom, turned art studio. “This is where it all happens,” she said of the 25-foot by 25-foot colorful space.

“I love colors. They’re my friends. But I do have a little serenity about me,” Ann explained.

Her advice for aspiring artists and craftspeople? “Acquaint yourself with colors. Get a color wheel. Remember, opposites attract. Start mixing colors and see what you get.”

Ann also recommends familiarizing yourself with tools of the trade — brushes, canvas and different types of paint.

Look at other art, she added. “I just like to create something from nothing.”

And don’t, she stressed, always rely on a pattern to create something magical. “Sometimes you have to think outside the box. Because there really is no pattern to it.”

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