By Kelley Stanage
Art has been a passion for Spring Grove resident Vicky Kurk for as long as she can remember.
Kurk grew up in Sheldon Valley and went to high school in Caledonia. She went to UW-Stout in Menomonie to study interior design. She always thought she’d leave home and never come back, but came back to Eitzen in 1984 to start a family and has never had a single regret.
When her two sons were young, she had them painting and drawing when they could barely hold a brush. She remembers how much fun they had finger painting and making homemade clay with their cousins.
When her sons went to school, she picked up her paintbrush again. She thought she’d check out a Community Education class in stained glass, and she’s been working in the medium ever since.
After attending a workshop on traditional stained glass techniques in Chicago, Kurk began to integrate “stained glass painting” into her work. The technique involves painting on glass with paint containing crushed glass. The piece is then fired in a kiln, which fuses the paint into the stained glass.
On the nature of glass as a medium, Kurk said, “the beauty of glass is that it’s always changing from the sun, from the clouds, the shadows.”
Inspiration, Kurk says, comes from “the natural beauty around me.” She lives in Duck Creek valley. Kurk and her late husband started Clover Hills Studio in 2005, named after the original farm. Her studio inhabits the original barn, which was built sometime in the late 1800s.
About creativity, Kurk said, “Creativity is a gift, a God-given gift. I continue to learn each day by living. Creativity comes out from within and is from above.”
Works on display
“Easel” is a joint project of the Southeastern Libraries Cooperating (SELCO) and the Southeastern Minnesota Visual Artists (SEMVA) to create a “traveling art exhibit so everyone can experience art in southeastern libraries.” Kurk had received invitations to submit work for the Easel exhibit for the past couple of years, but hadn’t entered a piece until this year’s exhibit.
The theme of this year’s Easel exhibit is “the artist’s interpretation of books, letters, reading authors, or the library.” Kurk’s work, “Letters in Light” was selected, and can be viewed at the Spring Grove Public School library through May 7. Here’s what she says about the piece:
“I enjoy designing and creating unique pieces. Way up high in Letters with Light is the golden sun shining down on the blue sky and the green grass. Within them is the harmony of warm colors: letters sharing their form with grace. Great satisfaction fills me when the glass reflects my smile, I know it’s finished.”
Kurk has also participated in the annual Bluff Country Studio Art Tour for seven years. This year, the event will be held April 25 – 27. Visitors can see artists working in their studios in southeast Minnesota, northeast Iowa and western Wisconsin.
More information about the Bluff Country Studio Art Tour is available on Facebook, and on the web at bluffcountrystudioarttour.com.