Jo Wood at the Grand Hand

I just saw Jo Wood’s work on display for the Minnesota Botanical show, on now through August 30th at the Grand Hand in St. Paul, MN.  I didn’t bring a camera (I haven’t asked if it’s allowed), but let me describe the seven pieces that were there.

The Iris Triptych is three panels perhaps 4 feet tall and 6 inches wide, of life-sized irises, each piece framed separately.  Beautiful intense colors with a really interesting use of suede (Ultrasuede?) for some of the leaves, and also the fabric of the blossoms — the long leaves were attached only on one long edge, giving the work more dimensionality.  The petals were attached only at the center with beadwork.

Blossom to Blossom is a really lovely set of flowers (echinacea?) incorporating corduroy and other fabrics, as well as embroidery, long stitches in the petals.  A lovely bumblebee flew above the flowers.  The flowers were in the distance with more of a pointillist look, and in the foreground with distinctive petals.

I believe I’ve seen three of the pieces before.  Two are small triptychs, with their three parts framed together.  Each portion of each triptych is perhaps 2×3″, and these two pieces comprise wood scenes.  There was also Spring Color, a piece perhaps 8×3″ depicting aspens and their undergrowth of flowers in spring.

The last two pieces were new to me.  They were two separate forest scenes, perhaps 6″ square.  All of these pieces are on the amazing wool felt that Jo uses, so these forest scenes have blue streaked skies, and greens and browns and gray for the ground.  One forest scene had rabbits in the foreground, and the other had white tailed deer.  The rabbits were facing front and side, but all the deer were facing away from you, so you saw a graceful arch of legs with a white flame of tail.  I love how an arrangement of only perhaps 60 beads clearly says “deer!” with Jo Wood’s skill and eye.

Altogether, there was beadwork, botanical drawings, oil paintings, lovely watercolor paintings of rocks and food and birds and turtles, pressed flower compositions, and rug hooking.  The full listing of artists is Paul Benson, Karen Engelbretson, Mark Granlund, Joan Lavine, Mary Anne O’Malley, Roz Stendahl, Kevan Willington, Jini Washburn (another bead artist — mostly peyote floral jewelry), and Jo Wood.  A lovely touch were some amazing plants from Leitner’s Garden Center, lots of really interesting succulents.  I loved the living stones.

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