The Noel Fine Art Center’s Carlsten Art Gallery is hosting Clare Verstegen’s ‘Connecting Threads’ exhibit until Oct. 26. It is free to the public.
Verstegen is a distinguished artist and University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point alumna. She attended a reception given in her honor to celebrate the exhibit opening on Sept. 22 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. In an intimate setting, students were able to interact with Verstegen and ask questions about her work.
Verstegen went into great detail, sharing her artistic processes, giving art students insight on how a professional artist operates. Eager to teach those around her, Verstegen encouraged attendees to pass around materials she used to create her showcased pieces. Verstegen hoped to enhance attendees’ understandings of what they were observing. A major focus of the collection was on an otherwise unnoticed safety pin.
“I like the idea of the safety pin– of safety itself,” Verstegen said. “I’m holding onto my memories and making them safe.”
Verstegen explored the idea of safety by holding pieces of her life experiences together through her collages. Verstegen said she wanted to remember details of her life and thought artistic expression was the best way to do so. Other focuses of her work included measuring devices and life cycles of nature.
Caren Heft, the director of the Carlsten Art Gallery, arranged for Verstegen to showcase ‘Connecting Threads’ while also showcasing the work of four other UWSP alumni.
“I thought it would be fabulous to have her here for homecoming,” Heft said. “The work of other students that is showcased shows very different techniques from embroidery to quilt making.”
Several art students attended the event as part of their curriculum and senior Amanda Wood appreciated that the exhibit gave her a chance to step outside the classroom to embrace art.
“I heard it was a fiber art show, so I wasn’t sure what to expect,” Wood said. “I initially looked at Clare’s work and was mesmerized by the use of color. Every little detail was well thought out and the eye is never bored when looking at the pieces. I appreciate the craftsmanship the most, as it’s hard to have time to focus on it, but it’s obvious that she made the time.”
It was clear to those who attended the reception that Verstegen was joyful when remembering her life experiences at UWSP that led to a full, creative career.