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Double Decker brings artists in from all over the US

Double Decker attracts artists from all over the country.

This will be St. Louis resident Vic Barr’s first time to attend the event.

Barr, 73, will bring Matanda Wood Creations to Double Decker.

“I’ve never been to Double Decker, as it’s out of my self-imposed geographic range for art shows,” he said. “However, friends from Memphis invited me to stay with them over the weekend and make the much shorter drive to Oxford together for the event.”

Barr creates homes for jewelry and other treasures, writing instruments and table-top sculptural pieces from fine North American and exotic hardwoods of the world.

“After becoming enamored of the dizzying variety of beautiful woods, I expanded a lifelong interest in creating useful things with my hands,” he said. “Having gradually accumulated a workshop full of woodworking tools, I turned to finding ways to show people the amazing beauty hidden beneath the bark of the trees of the world.”

Barr quit his day job in 2004 to concentrate on doing what he likes most. His best-selling items are writing instruments, fountain pens, rollerballs and ballpoint pens. He turns and finishes them by hand on wood lathes.

“The price range for these pens is approximately $75 to $150,” he said. “My tabletop architecture, boxes and sculptural pieces range in price from about $250 to $1,200.”

Memphis resident Lisa Hudson, 53, has been coming to Double Decker since the festival began. She creates Lisa Hudson Pottery.

“I make functional stoneware pottery using a variety of techniques, including wheel throwing, slab building and sculpture,” she said. “I am interstellar in surface texture and use stamps, slip trailing and carving to decorate my user-friendly pots.”

Hudson said she’s been a ceramic artist for 30 years.

“I wanted to make my passion for clay pay off,” she said.

Some of her items include coffee mugs, trays and butter bells.

“Everything I make is a best-selling item,” she said. “If it doesn’t sell, I phase it out. My prices range from around $25 to $375, but almost everything is under $90.”

Missouri residents Kris and Al Clement own Clement Clayworks.

“We’ve been coming to Double Decker for three years now,” Kris Clement said. “We had heard good things about the show from other artist friends who have done it.

“We need a good crowd of intelligent people who have great taste and are willing to help support the artists. And so far, we’ve experienced just that here in Oxford.”

The two make stoneware pottery by hand that they say is functional, decorative and made to be used and loved daily.

Kris Clement said they have been making and selling pots for 22 years.

“Once we started playing with clay, it got under our skin and completely took us over, eventually leaving no room for anything else,” she said. “Fortunately, we’ve had very good success and have led a wonderful life as potters.”

Best-selling items include individual chip and dip bowls, goblets and tiny vases. Prices range from $20 and up.

Contemporary work

Atlanta resident Deeann Rieves is a contemporary artist who works with mixed media and abstraction. This is her first year to participate in Double Decker.

“I heard it was a fantastic show from a few other artist friends, and I am really looking forward to it,” she said. 

Her abstract paintings are inspired by transforming leaves.

“Nature can draw us in, and its forms can transcend time and memory,” she said. “A tiny variegated leaf can resemble a larger landscape and remind us of the beauty of life’s ever changing, drifting, renewing flow.

“I work with mixed media and draw on my paintings with machine embroidery. I love the combination of luscious brush strokes, carefree chalk contours, and the tactility of stitching, which embellishes each piece with delicate lines, like veins running through the painting.”

Rieves has been painting professionally for nine years. She was a painting major at Memphis College of Art and always loved mixed media and collage.

“I took several surface design classes, where I learned machine embroidery and sewing techniques,” she said. “After school when I began working abstract, I combined painting with stitching and found my own creative voice.”

Rieves said she loves to paint large and small. She said she’ll be bringing everything from prints and miniature paintings to large paintings that will make a statement in your home.

Her artwork ranges from $25 to $2,000.

First year here

Alabama resident Andrew Lee, 33, is an artist and owner of Andrew Lee Design. He sells fine art and commissioned artwork and paintings.

“I have not yet been to Double Decker, and will be attending for my first year as an artist,” he said.

Lee said his art is a way for him to truly learn about something intimately through the process of painting.

“Studying the details of my subject matter is a way for me to observe and become familiar with it,” he said. “And at the root of what I’m doing, is to provide an experience that resonates with my audience.

“It connects me to them, but hopefully, it connects them to a place, or time, or memory that reminds and memorializes the good of life and the good of the South. I hope they want to take something home with them for the conversation or story it might start, or simply to preserve a link between the present and the past.”

He said Andrew Lee Design has taken many forms. It started as a side project in 2008, but he began working more two years ago when his wife encouraged him to rediscover and cultivate his talent.

“It’s my side business,” he said. “I have a full-time position on the campus of Auburn University, and I get to explore my creative side outside of the office through this other avenue. Typically, I spend late nights and early mornings working, and it’s begun to expand and grow.”

Lee said a majority of his work is commission-based fine artwork. He mainly paints in watercolor, and much of his work revolves around the emotional experiences and nostalgia of the South, and the parts of it that mean the most to a client.

“I tend to get the most requests for dog portraits, but that trend has certainly expanded into many other subjects, as I’ve had the opportunity to connect with so many wonderful people,” he said.

“I love the sporting South and the thrill of the hunt, or capturing the things that remind us of the best it offers. One week, it may be a series of dog portraits, and another week, a series of oysters or cotton. I love to create in a variety of media — watercolor, ink illustrations, oils, charcoals, acrylics, etc.”

Lee said his work has a broad price range. Limited-edition reproduction fine-art prints may be around $30 for a smaller piece, while large original custom paintings hung in custom, handmade frames may be thousands.

One item that has been gaining popularity is handmade, old-growth, heart pine, fly boxes that are made from the salvaged beams of a pre-Civil War era home, built in 1857 in Pine Level, Alabama.

“There will only be a limited run created from that rare, nearly 350- to 400-year-old heart pine, and we’re proud to offer them,” he said.

About LaReeca Rucker

LaReeca Rucker is a writer, reporter and adjunct journalism instructor at the University of Mississippi's Meek School of Journalism and New Media.

A veteran journalist with more than 20 years of experience, she spent a decade at the Gannett-owned Clarion-Ledger - Mississippi's largest daily newspaper - covering stories about crime, city government, civil rights, social justice, religion, art, culture and entertainment for the paper's print and web editions. She was also a USA Today contributor.

This year, she received a first place award from the Mississippi Press Association for “Best In-Depth Investigative Reporting.” The story written in 2014 for The Oxford Eagle chronicles the life of a young mother with two sons who have epilepsy, and details how she is patiently hoping legalized cannabis oil experimentation will lead to a cure for their disorder.

Her website is www.lareecarucker.com.

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