Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

October 5, 2012

Self-taught artist

Beckett’s creations include jewelry, hats, incense

Lee Ward
The Independent

ASHLAND — Creative endeavors always came naturally to Tonya Beckett, October’s artist of the month at the Pendleton Art Center.

Her current “obsession” is crocheting hats, which was inspired by her 8-year-old niece who is undergoing her second round of chemotherapy for leukemia.

“I had gall bladder surgery and I was laid up for three weeks,” she said. “I’m not one to lay around and watch television, so I taught myself to crochet.”

She said she planned for her recuperation time by getting materials together beforehand and spent her time studying instructions and practicing.

She has several styles and colors of hats reminiscent of a witch hat was well as pillbox and other shapes.

The 1986 graduate of South Point High School was a hair stylist for 20 years.

“After 20 years, I felt like that was enough,” she said.

She has taken up many artistic pursuits, including jewelry making, learning by watching YouTube videos and other informational entries online.

“I make a lot of pendants with wire cages,” she said, adding she likes to use odd metal pieces to create wearable artsy pieces.

Her handmade cloth maiche busts wear the hats and jewelry but incense is one of her most popular items.

Sticks are available as well as spray versions and smudging sticks, which freshen the air and help eliminate negativity in the room, all made with herbs she grew herself. She said her packaging is minimal, which helps keep her prices low.

Her studio also contains work by other artists – painter Isaac Ingram of Hurricane, W.Va., and  Oregon painter Hannah Miles.

Beckett is planning to take on candle making and potpourri next and is negotiating with a sculptor to display some of her work.

“You never know what I’m going to next,” she said.

Other First Friday activities tonight will be:

‰Jesse Stuart Foundation will be open from 5 to 8 p.m. with a book signing by G. Sam Piatt, author of “Men of Valor: Combat Stories of WWII Veterans from Southern Ohio and Eastern Kentucky.” The foundation is at 1645 Winchester Ave.

‰Awards in the pumpkin-decorating contest at the Pendleton will be presented. Music will be provided by Glo and the Emters, with Gloria Smith, Thom Marsh and Phil Osborne. Also, artwork from Belletonte’s “Create with Pink” art contest will be displayed.

‰CCC Trail Cafe is open from 5 to 9 p.m. every Friday and from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekdays. The cafe is inside the Pendleton Art Center, 1537-1539 Winchester Ave.

‰Featured artists for October at The Upstairs Gallery are Dan and Andrea Morgan, photographers. The gallery is at 1428 Winchester Ave.

‰“Earth and Sky,” a collection of photography by Jeff Ball, will be displayed at The 1414 Gallery at TSHD Architects, 1414 Winchester Ave.

The Pendleton Art Center’s artist for October is Tonya Beckett. Her items are available at her studio and on etsy.com.

LEE WARD can be reached at lward@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2661.