Six Members Added to the Arkansas Craft Guild

Six new members were welcomed into the Arkansas Craft Guild. Two jewelers – Melissa Orsini and Leanne Wingrove, two potters – Alexis Barber and Lisa Crews, a painter and sculptor who creates gourd art, Gail Kyzar, and a seamstress of children’s clothes and accessories using organic cotton, Nora Hinton. The Guild was incorporated in 1962 as a for-profit cooperative to market quality handicrafts, and to further develop the skills of these artisans, now headquartered in Mountain View at the Arkansas Craft Gallery. Jurying took place at the 40th Annual Christmas Showcase at the State Fairgrounds in Little Rock, Nov. 30-Dec. 2, 2018.

Melissa Orsini, Little Rock, has been creating jewelry since childhood, beginning by stringing beads, which carried over to today’s art, precious and semi-precious stones set and woven into the pieces. Influenced heavily by jewelry of the East, her pieces have an old world feel. Teaching at the Arkansas Arts Center Museum School in the jewelry and small metals department, she specializes in Metal Clay and Fiber Arts. Metal Clay starts in a pliable raw state then transforms in a kiln to a solid metal. Creating in this art form since 2010, she uses bronze, sterling, fine silver and gold, including black oxidation and the art of Keum-Boo. She is both on facebook and etsy, and at the Arkansas Arts Center Museum shop. She also has taught at the Arkansas Craft School, Mountain View.

Leanne Wingrove, In The Grove, Eureka Springs, the “Silver Goddess,” has been making one of a kind silver and gemstone jewelry for 25 years. Each piece is energized and balanced, stones are hand-cut and polished. Except for small beads, she makes her own chains, clasps, and findings. In The Grove is on facebook. A mother-daughter pair shared a booth at Showcase. Leanne’s daughter, Nora Hinton, Maple’s Organics, Wesley, AR sews kids’ clothing, blankets, washable wipes, bibs, cloth books, and more from organic cotton, using her own patterns.

Alexis Barber, Cross Plains Pottery, Russellville, aims to make functional dinnerware and unique pieces to make a cook’s life easier, emphasizing the beauty of her glazes. She received a BA in Fine Arts from Arkansas Tech University. Alexis says, “Clay holds the most creative potential of any material I have ever encountered. I love the freedom and accomplishment that I feel when throwing pots.” She is inspired by pottery. “I think God lets the potter share in a shadow of the creation process. We are centered, our hearts are opened, we are pushed, pulled, shaped, and put through trials and fires. The creation that results, for pottery and people both, is always worth the trouble. I am honored and reminded daily about my constant dependence on God. Every pot I make is my own testimony in physical form.” She participates at Artisans Market on the Square in Mountain View, and has a facebook page and an etsy shop.

Lisa Crews, WoodRidge Studio, Fayetteville has been making pots since age 14. She took pottery at Arkansas State University, with Graduate studies in Ceramics and Sculpture at the University of Delaware. She worked with an archaeologist in the Southeast reproducing Native pots using traditional techniques – including hand building and pit firing. She has created works for museum displays and historic sites, and also made pieces to be used in historic interpretations by living historians. Lisa recreates Mississippian era Native American pottery, and French Faience and blue and white English Delftware from the 1600s and 1700s. Exploring these past pottery styles has carried over into her line of original contemporary work, inspired by nature and quirks of human nature. Lisa is artist-in-residence at Terra Studios, Fayetteville. A Nov. 18, 2018 ArkansasOnline article titled “Adventures in Art,” described the educational activities at Terra Studios. Lisa’s historical pottery is pictured at the website for the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Arkansas State Committee, as well as History Meets the Arts, an upcoming show April 12 -13, in Gettysburg, PA. WoodRidge Studio and Terra Studios are on facebook, and Lisa also has The Flying Mermaid page on facebook for her original pottery.

Gail D. Kyzar, self-taught artist, with her husband Barney of Marion, started Hardin Gourds, where they grow 8 varieties of gourds. She seeks to turn her gourds into fine art. Her gourd creations are fanciful sculptural characters as well as large and small decorated vessels. She says, “I combine drawing, painting, carving, and wood burning on the gourds. Recently I incorporated polymer clay into some of my pieces.” She is a member of the American Gourd Society, and an award winner at the Missouri Show Me Gourd Show 2017. Hardin Gourds and Art by Gail Kyzar are on facebook.

The next deadline to submit 5 items to be juried for membership in the Arkansas Craft Guild is April 5. Applications can be requested by emailing or can be downloaded at the Guild’s website,

Thanks, Sue Lukens, Sec.-Treas.