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Mother and daughter learn, show together

Sandra Dowie poses among several pieces of her art, including painting and pottery. She and her daughter have a joint show at the Nobles County Art Center beginning Sunday1 / 2
Marcella Slater stands with her clay/glass piece, "The Journey."2 / 2

WORTHINGTON -- Many mothers tease their children about following them to college, but Sandra Dowie actually did it.

"We both graduated from Augustana at the same time with the same degree," said Marcella Slater, daughter of Dowie.

"We walked through the processional together," Dowie added.

The mother-daughter pair studied art and are now co-owners of Prairie Moon Gallery and Art School in Luverne, where they teach classes in pottery, oil painting, beading and more. Their classes include both private and group lessons. The gallery contains a selection of art from approximately 25 artists.

A joint show of their work begins Sunday at the Nobles County Art Center, with a reception from 2 to 4 p.m. The show will run through June 11.

Both women work in a variety of mediums, but Slater said she creates mostly from ceramic. Dowie works in clay, but does a lot of painting. Both recently received $1,000 from the Southwest Minnesota Arts and Humanities Council. Dowie used her grant to purchase a slab roller, which she used to create statues. Slater used her grant to purchase a glass kiln. Masks she made using the new kiln are on display at the art center.

"I'm primarily a painter, she's primarily a ceramist," Dowie explained.

Slater originally entered Augustana College to study music as a harpist. Dowie joked that while her daughter was in school, she herself was spending too much money and time at the nearby shopping mall.

"Then Marcella invited me to go to school with her," Dowie stated. "She started taking some of my pottery classes, and eventually switched majors."

"Art was less stressful," Marcella said. "Music was very rigid, an old world style. With art, I could do whatever I wanted."

The items chosen for the show were created from a body of their individual work, but with an eye toward complimenting each other.

"This is a really big gallery, but we didn't bring everything," Slater said.

Dowie has been part of several different shows including one that was all pieces regarding horses. She started a group called Truth Seekers, which features all Christian art; the group's work will be shown June 25 in Luverne in the New Life Fellowship Church offices.

When asked what piece in the Nobles County Art Center show she likes best of her own, Slater gestured to a piece of hanging clay art she calls "The Journey."

"It is a self-portrait of the pathways through my life," she explained. "I did it right after I had surgery, and I'd work on it for a while then go lie down, then work on it for a while and go lie down."

Of her mother's work, Slater's favorites are the mixed media pieces.

Dowie said her favorite piece is one of the mixed media paintings Slater had pointed out.

"It is called 'Key to the Past' and I incorporated skeleton keys found in my mother's possession after she had passed," Dowie explained. "It was my very first mixed media."

Another painting she particularly likes is one of Jesus from what she calls "God's perspective."

Of her daughter's work, Dowie said her favorite is "The Journey."

The reason for creating art, Dowie said, is because there are stories she needs to tell, but also to bring others a little happiness and joy or to provoke thought on a subject.

Slater heard her mother's words and grinned.

"Art makes me happy," she said. "I'm a selfish artist -- I do it for me."