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Jamestown Gazette Staff

Jamestown Gazette Staff
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From Trash To Treasure

Contributing Writer Jill Bladh   Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but when looking at tangled piles of junky costume jewelry and broken watches there's really no beauty to be found.  That is until Terry Lair, head of the art department at Aspire on Mall Blvd (Facebook page iXpress), gets ahold of those tacky odds 'n' ends. Along with the help of her students at Aspire, extraordinary collages and mosaics are created, a la Trashe Art. I discovered the Aspire art department years ago when I would bring my dog, Carmen, to Aspire for pet therapy. We visited with challenged adults who worked in the art room and that is where I met an incredible artist, Terry Lair. The paintings she and her students created were and are terrific, selling at art shows and being made into greeting cards. I also noticed that Terry could take any arbitrary item and cultivate a lovely artistic production that ranged from fun and winsome to exquisite. That level of creativity astounded me and embedded in my memory. Soon after a visit to Terry's studio, I was at a local thrift store. A friend who works there told me that any junk jewelry that didn't sell within a few weeks was thrown into the garbage. I'm no fan of jewelry, let alone costume jewelry, but I couldn't stand the thought of a grocery bag full of plastic and metal was routinely being thrown away; more garbage in the landfill. I asked if I could buy those bags for a nominal amount, knowing that I had a use for it. Wait-what?? A "use" for junk jewelry?? Yep-I put a call in to Terry. Almost as if by magic or casting incantations, she and her students use the junk jewelry to create stunningly beautiful mosaics; these unique, one-of-a-kind treasures are astonishing in their incredible detail. Almost weekly I'm astounded by their creations. After a few years of pet therapy, Carmen's career as a therapy dog had to end due to heart disease. In appreciation for the years of fun and smiles that Carmen elicited from the staff and students alike, Terry and ten of her students created the most magnificent composition they have ever made (in my opinion): A recreation of Carmen's face. They used chain necklaces, beads and decorative pins to recreate her precious face. To this day I continue to drop off bags of junk jewelry that will ultimately be transformed into jaw-droppingly (literally) marvelous mosaics. I'm happy to report that these wonderful works of art are available to be seen and possibly purchased at the Lakewood Memorial Library for the month of June.   

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