Shameless promotion of local artists

I’ve been remiss in my Moments of Unexpected Beauty entries partly because I’ve been writing a lot for the blog at the library where I work. I don’t know how many people that might see this entry live in West Central Wisconsin, but I figure it couldn’t hurt to give these artists as much publicity as possible. That said, here are my profiles of the artists who shared their work at the Falling Leaves Art Tour last Saturday:

This is part of the library when it's been set up for the Falling Leaves Art Tour, a self-guided tour of various art studios around this region.

This is part of the library when it’s been set up for the Falling Leaves Art Tour, a self-guided tour of various art studios around this region.


Judy Dorf of Jazzy Jewels by Judy

Lovers of jewelry—especially jewelry that’s unique, vintage, and handcrafted—adore Jazzy Jewels by Judy. Artist Judy Dorf uses genuine stones, shells, and vintage pieces to create original necklace and bracelet sets.

Judy began creating her jewelry eight years ago, when her mother talked her into making necklaces. Although she doubted she’d have enough time for a new hobby, she was quickly hooked, and she’s made thousands of necklaces and bracelets since then. She’s especially passionate about vintage jewelry. “I love vintage!” she said. “I use it to create new masterpieces. I’m inspired by years of travelling and having an eye for creative stand-out pieces of jewelry.”

Although the art Judy creates is beautiful in and of itself, she especially loves the happiness it brings to her customers. “The biggest appreciation I have for what I do is when someone just loves their new jewelry piece,” she explained.

People interested in viewing or purchasing Judy’s jewelry—or in having her repair jewelry they already own—can call her at (715) 286-2063 (home) or (715) 533-8386 (cell). They can also write to her at

Katie Kaufman of ArtByKatieK

Katie M. Kaufman was raised on a small farm outside Fairchild, WI. Art has always been a major part of her life; even as a five-year-old, she was drawing birds and creating bird books. She’s worked with many different media over the years, but she prefers to work with oils; she also often incorporates small found objects into her pieces. She describes her art as “surreal/dreamscape with some impressionism.”

Katie’s paintings are especially notable for their intensely colorful compositions. “A late artist mentor of mine once told me he thought too many artists are afraid of color,” she explained. “That always stuck with me and made me feel OK about my bold use of color.”

Her art, which is heavily inspired by nature, is also inspired by her grandmother. “My grandma Gagnon was a crafter,” she said. “I feel close to her spirit when I paint.”

Anyone interested in viewing Katie’s work can see images of it at her Facebook page, and find her shop on They can also contact her at or call her at (715) 597-2151.

Ann Preston of Live Wire

Live Wire is an ideal name for Ann Preston’s beautiful, intricate artwork. Her sculpted wire trees really do give the impression of being live bonsai trees at first glance. Their verisimilitude is no accident, though; as a child, her grandmother taught her the names and characteristics of Wisconsin hardwoods, and she’s been inspired by a wide variety of tree species since then. “My tree sculptures depict trees that have spoken to me in my travels,” she explained. “I place them on bases that reflect their natural environment: rock, driftwood, and occasionally glass.”

Ann currently lives in the Green Bay/Door County area where, in addition to being a mother and grandmother, she’s also a teacher, tutor, and small business owner as well as a sculptor. Anyone interested in viewing or purchasing her work, commissioning a piece, or attending one of her art classes can go to, write to her at, or call her at (608) 475-2546.

Kris Crowe of Out of My Gourd

Kris Crowe knows how to take a humble squash and Cinderella it into a beautiful piece of art. The gorgeous bowls and flowers she creates from ordinary gourds attract a great deal of admiration whenever she puts up her display at the Falling Leaves Art Tour. The beauty of her work has its price—her husband complained that listening to her drill gourds is like living in a dentist’s office—but the diverse array of art she’s produced has rendered his sacrifice more than worthwhile.

Fortunately for him, Kris also works in the much quieter medium of watercolor. She’s a member of the Chippewa Valley Watercolor Artists, who meet at the Beaver Creek Reserve from 9:00 a.m. to noon on the first Wednesday of each month. She also notes that any aspiring artist is welcome to attend an informal gathering of artists who meet at the Augusta Community and Senior Center on Tuesday afternoons at 3:00 p.m. during the fall, winter, and spring.

Kris has recently begun painting on Yupo, a non-absorbent plastic medium, and she’s willing to teach anyone interested techniques for working with it.

While Kris—or more specifically, her compost pile—has only grown four gourds, she’s created many intricate and unique pieces from gourds she’s obtained elsewhere. If you would like more information about Kris’s art, you can write to her at


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