Rural Missouri - January 2014 - (Page 12)

Victoria Weaver turns unusual items into beautiful vessels. Her pieces have brought from $900 to $1,800 at art galleries. Sedalia artist Victoria Weaver turns natural materials into intriguing art by Heather Berry do people get color onto skin? Ah, tattoos!" So she hung out at tattoo parlors in t takes a lot of guts to do what Victoria Weaver Arizona while earning her master of fine * arts degree in college. While the tattoo does. As the curator of education for the Daum Sedalia Museum of Contemporary Art in Sedalia, she crowd didn't readily warm up to Victoria is surrounded by sculptures. Her focus on art and her artistic goals, eventually the artdoesn't end when she heads home from work. Victoists taught her a few tips. She used what ria switches gears, dons her smock and gets down and she learned to tattoo designs onto her hide lampshades. dirty with her own unique craft. Victoria also became friends with a group of To put it bluntly, Victoria makes art from hog Basque shepherds and began buying sheep hides to intestines. To state it more politely, she is a fiber work with, since they were much lighter than cow artist, taking what is commonly used as sausage cashides. ing and recycling it into beautiful vessels of various It was a day in 1982, however, that changed Victoshapes and sizes. ria's path. "I'm intrigued by how translucent the gut is once "Two women fiber artists held a show of their it's dried. It's a beautiful parchment," says Victoria, art," recalls Victoria. "They had taken single layers who earned a fine arts degree from Northwest Misof gut, layered them on fragments of old bottles souri State University in 1975. "And what once had and sprayed the pieces with iridescent paint. With only one life now can leave a lasting impression for the gallery dark and the lights on each piece, they years to come." looked like thin pieces of colorful glass. It was Victoria originally made sculptures with lamisimply breathtaking." nated wood. She also worked with metal and The artists held a workshop, which she animal hides. attended, and that was that. But finding "I've been working with the perfect gut ever since," she says. components If you see the Sedalia with which to native picking up vases work has taken the and other odd-shaped artist years. glass or metal objects "I started working with at garage sales, it's leather. I'd soak a half of likely she'll soon turn a hide in the bathtub, but them into forms for her it was really heavy, physical casing art. work," says the petite 5-foot"The official name for 2-inch woman. "I'd wrestle the what I do is called 'casting over hide around, cut it with utility a form,'" she says. knives, poke holes in it, stitch it back To make a piece, she buys containers together around a form of some sort, fill of hog intestines, then rinses the brine it with sand and let it dry. It was really A gut teapot off and slices the gut lengthwise, giving exhausting work." with dried seed her square sheets with which to work. Then Victoria decided she wanted to pods, sticks Victoria places the gut in a container add color to her work and thought, "How and bark. I 12 WWW.RURALMISSOURI.COOP of water and, one by one, she places a layer over the form she's prepared. After she casts four to five layers over the form, Victoria lets the piece dry completely, which takes several days. The process is similar to paper maché. Once the vessel is dry, the piece is coated with an ultraviolet resin and a light wax to protect it from the humidity. She strategically removes the hardened shape from the form, which sometimes means cutting it in half. Then Victoria begins using a rotary tool to drill holes around the edges of the dried casing and begins sewing everything from pieces of crochet or torn cheesecloth and even seed pods back onto the piece, giving it character. Legs of a bowl might be pieces of shed antlers or branches that have fallen from a tree. Tiny seeds might even be used between layers of casing as she works. "While working with gut isn't well known to many people, it does have historic ties," adds Victoria. "Inuit women used to inflate the intestines of whatever they ate - sea lions or whales - and let them dry. That gave them flat shapes to work with to make hoods, parkas and even covers to go over their kayaks, because it would be waterproof when dried." Sedalia resident Nina Freed owns two of Victoria's works and loves their luminescent quality. "Each piece offers a mysterious beauty," says Nina. "Once you see her work, it's easy to get past what the art is made of and see the beauty it offers." One of Victoria's pieces brought $2,800 at a gallery fundraiser, but most average $900 to $1,800 at shows. She is happy to take commissions, too. "I look at what I do as sort of recycling things that were going to be nature's leftovers in most cases," says Victoria, who adds she's made about 400 pieces over the years. "Casing, seed pods, leaves, branches, bones - it's giving new life to each piece." You may contact Victoria Weaver via email at or at 660-281-2286. http://WWW.RURALMISSOURI.COOP

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - January 2014

Rural Missouri - January 2014
Healing on horses
Gut instinct
Out of the Way Eats
For the birds
Missouri Snapshots
Hearth and Home
The company behind the meter
Around Missouri

Rural Missouri - January 2014