Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Art night to show jewelry, woodwork


Local art gallery owners will keep their doors open late tonight for November’s Art Night, where art lovers can enjoy new and old exhibits, cob oven pizzas and live music from 5 to 9 p.m.

Two new exhibits will open at the Kentuck Art Center, Art Night’s hub, and offer visitors a chance to meet the artists behind the works.

Working artist Jeanne Flint will show Southern-inspired jewelry and mixed-media pieces, while local woodworker and retired professor Norman Ellis will show hand-made furniture.

A mural of a tree on the Kentuck Gallery’s 30-foot wall will dominate Flint’s exhibit, titled “Flight of Fancy.” On the branches of the tree, Flint will hang birds made of wood, colored wax and vintage tin. All will represent birds of the South.

“I design in the Southern vernacular. I use nature-inspired themes and childhood memories,” said Flint, who grew up in the South and has lived in four different southern states during her lifetime.

“All of the birds, for example, are ones that I’ve seen through my childhood and life, everyday birds like the red wing, black bird and robin,” she said.

Flint also makes jewelry by hand, which she began doing in her mid-thirties. When the business she had been working at closed, she wanted to do something more fulfilling than trying to find another regular job, she said.

“I started designing beads, but that wasn’t enough,” she said. “I loved it, so I started metal-working. Then did a one-year apprenticeship with an enamellist, where I learned how to run a studio and perform some basic metal-working skills, and now I’m a working artist.”

As with her mixed-media pieces, Flint uses Southern-inspired themes in her jewelry also, incorporating photographs and found objects in many of them.

“I usually work in a series,” she said. “I think of a theme and then start riffing on that theme. I also don’t plan out most pieces. Usually, I just sit down and start working with metal.”

Like Flint, furniture-maker Norman Ellis doesn’t plan out his pieces either. Art Night participants will find his handmade tables, benches and chest of drawers in the Kentuck Annex.

Ellis doesn’t consider himself a professional artist, though, and he rarely makes a point to sell his work.

“It’s just a hobby, really,” he said. “I’ve never had any training, but it’s a lot of fun to do. I develop a mental image of what I want to build, and then I build it. If it’s not the way I want it, I change it. I’ve made every piece of furniture in our house. My children have houses now, and I’ve made stuff for them. I’ve made between 180 and 200 pieces, but I’ve only ever sold 8 to 10 of them.”

Ellis designs his furniture to be simple, functional and naturally beautiful, using only clear varnishes on all of his furniture pieces. He uses several different kinds of wood, including ponderosa, pine, poplar and cypress, to achieve different colors.

“The natural color of the wood is always better,” he said.

His designs fall in the arts and crafts tradition, which began in Victorian England as a protest movement against the Industrial Revolution and against factory-made, poor-quality furniture, he said.

“The goal of the movement was to build better products and to have the people making the furniture be artists and actually enjoy their work,” he said.

Flint, like Ellis, said she enjoys her work immensely.

“It’s hard work because I have a longer work day than most people, but I love being able to create every single day of my life,” she said. “It’s amazing to be able to go into your studio and make something new on a daily basis.”

Both exhibits will run through the end of November. For more information about Art Night’s participating galleries, visit or call the Kentuck art office at 758-1257.

If You Go

What: Kentuck Art Night

When: Tonight from 5 to 9 p.m.

Where: Kentuck Art Center

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