Stringed things: DePover's jewelry art featured at holiday exhibit
WORTHINGTON -- When Cheryl DePover was just a young girl growing up in Inver Grove Heights, her eyes were opened to the wonderful world of art.
"I tell people that when I was 5 years old, I made the decision that I wanted to be an artist, because I wanted to be able to draw horses better than anyone else," she recalled. "For six or seven years, that's all I drew, and I still love horses.
"Then I had a wonderful art teacher in junior high who let me explore different mediums even though they weren't on the curriculum," she continued. "I started doing ceramics at 13. I took a summer school class that was supposed to include all the things the art teacher couldn't teach during the regular school year. But we started with ceramics and nobody wanted to quit."
She didn't become a professional artist or follow in the footsteps of that mentoring art teacher, but art is still very much a part of Cheryl's life. She and husband Phil DePover live in Fulda, and she is employed by New Dawn Inc. She has two grown sons, four grandchildren and "a bunch" of step grandchildren.
During her spare time, Cheryl makes jewelry and ceramics, dabbles in oil painting and sells her handcrafted items at events around the region. Her jewelry creations will be featured as part of the Holiday Exhibit opening this weekend at the Nobles County Art Center in Worthington.
"I started doing the jewelry about five years ago," she explained. "I was walking through Michael's (craft store) and saw a necklace on the front of a magazine. I thought, 'I want that necklace.'"
So Cheryl bought the magazine and the necessary beading supplies and set out, with the magazine instructions, to teach herself the intricate beading process it required.
"It was a challenge, but I got it done," she recalled.
Since then, Cheryl has expanded her jewelry-making repertoire to include such intricate techniques as the St. Petersburg Stitch, Russian Spiral and Right Angle Weave.
"A lot of what I do is stringing, but I do some stitching," she said.
While the stringing, weaving and stitching is the labor-intensive part of the process, Cheryl's artistic talents come into play long before she gets out the needle and thread.
"I love color, and I love texture," she said about designing the jewelry. "It really takes an eye for color and being able to put texture together."
Drawing from her stock of beads, Cheryl tries various combinations of color and texture until she comes up with something that satisfies her artistic sensibilities.
"If I get it laid out the way I like, it doesn't take me long" to put it together, Cheryl said.
Besides pleasing her own eye, Cheryl also has to pay attention to fashion and jewelry trends.
"I'm always looking at magazines and catalogues to see what's coming up," she explained. "There's one that actually forecasts colors coming up for the season, which does help, although I still do the colors I like."
Recently, Cheryl has incorporated metal chain into many of her designs, and she's also experimented with firing ceramic Raku pendants.
"There's a lot of stone and glass beads right now," she related about current trends. "And I like the chains; I'm getting into the chains. I look for different things, don't want everything to be the same."
In order to keep her designs fresh, Cheryl tries not to duplicate too many pieces, although if she sees a lot of interest in a certain style, she will create variations on that theme. She's also done some custom work, creating jewelry to match a person's outfit.
For the Worthington show, Cheryl has assembled a variety of necklaces with matching earrings and some bracelets. It's her second year exhibiting at the Nobles County Art Center, and she was pleased with the response to her creations last year.
At this time of year, with many craft fairs going on throughout the region, Cheryl could attend a different show every weekend, but she doesn't have the inventory for that, so she picks the venues carefully.
"I'd have no time to restock between shows," she said. "I try to stay pretty local."
The opening reception for the Holiday Exhibit will be from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Nobles County Art Center, located in the lower level of the War Memorial Building (Nobles County Library), 407 12th St., Worthington. Entertainment will be provided by Worthington Middle School orchestra students, and refreshments will be served. The exhibit continues through Dec. 27. Hours are 2 to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information, phone 372-8245.