Arts

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This year’s Art on a Limb pieces are a treat for both the eyes and the ears: Johns Creek artist Judy Isaak – creator of the clay birds and tiles featured in the 2013 Art on a Limb program – fashioned clay double bell wind chimes as this year’s winning entry. The wind chimes are stamped with various nature motifs, as well as the Suwanee “S” and the year.

“I thought wind chimes would offer a nice outdoorsy feel in the parks,” said Isaak. “I knew they could withstand being outside in the elements until someone found them, since that’s what they’re designed to do in the first place.”

Born and raised the daughter of a farmer in Manitoba, Canada, Isaak married Bill, her high school sweetheart. Five years into their marriage, and after multiple moves pertaining to Bill’s job, Judy had the opportunity to take a pottery class that would mold the rest of her life. After a handful of “Pottery 101” classes, Isaak was hooked – beginning a 30+ year career in the world of pottery.

Largely self-taught, Isaak “sometimes has had to make all of the errors before learning the right way to do things.” Her artistic education has taken the form of workshops, books, and observation of other artists in various fields.

Pottery became a full-time occupation in 2004, when she moved into her current studio at the Tannery Row Artist Colony in downtown Buford, where she still works and studies in the rich environment that the group of artists provides.

While the wind chimes are simply stoneware, Isaak is well-known for her raku-fired art pieces. Raku is a low-fire method in which the pottery piece is quickly heated, removed from the kiln once the applied glaze has melted, and subjected to post-firing reduction (or smoking) by being placed in containers of combustible materials, which blackens raw clay and causes crazing in the glaze surface. This exciting firing process lends an aura of unpredictability to the final product.

“My work is largely functional, but raku firing gives texture and excitement to the non-functional pieces I create,” said Isaak.

The greatest variety of Isaak’s work can be found in her studio at Tannery Row Artist Colony. Her work is also featured in the Spruill Gallery in Atlanta, GA.

A beloved Suwanee tradition, Suwanee’s annual finders-keepers, month-long Art on a Limb program will bloom along the Suwanee Creek Greenway as well as Sims Lake and White Street parks throughout the month of May. Designed to bring attention to Suwanee’s arts efforts as well as its parks, two pieces of original artwork are hidden each day; those who find a piece of art along one of Suwanee’s trails get to keep it.

For more information regarding the City of Suwanee’s Art on a Limb program, please contact Events Manager Amy Doherty at 770-904-3387 or adoherty@suwanee.com.