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ROOTS, SOARING VISION COMBINE IN ART

Her work ranges from soft-looking nests stuffed with cut paper to intricate layered photo collages and modern, brightly colored boxes.

But whenever she creates, Cheryl Louise Olney of Rochester remembers her roots, and evokes them in the name she has chosen for herself: "Louise's Daughter."

Dozens of pieces of art by Mrs. Olney will fill the display case at the Niagara Falls Public Library, 1425 Main St., until March.

Library Specialist Connie Molak invited Mrs. Olney, a Detroit native, to display her work at the library after seeing her at the Kenan Center's 100 American Craftsmen show.

She became accustomed to being called "Louise's Daughter" during her youth. Her business card features a photo of her mother, Louise.

Mrs. Olney did not start out as an artist. "I never took art classes," she said.

She spent 24 years as a social worker before leaving to work with her husband Don's company, "The Toycrafter," a firm that constructs wooden spinning tops, kazoos, mazes, puzzles and sculpture kits. There she did "some assembly, some trade shows, the newsletter . . . but the important thing was that I was around the materials all the time," she said.

And once she began to create, her work burst forth in a wide range of forms.

"I started really late and so I don't have that 20 years to sort of develop," she said. "If I think it's interesting and I want to make it, I make it!"

Her work ranges from freestanding painted wood figures called "Women of Color in Color" to ornaments, jewelry, bowls and shadow boxes.

"There is a lot of focus on the women right nowe because that seems to strike a chord for so many people," she said. "Each one is painted differently."

Another of her pieces, a single construction that contains 120 different individually made figures, can be seen on her website, www.louisesdaughter.com.

Her plan to deliver her pieces to the Niagara Falls library for display were thwarted by the relentless early January snows, so she shipped them, and went back to the drawing board, literally.

"I'm in the middle of making a wooden quilt," she said, "because I don't sew, but I thought the same kind of idea made out of wooden blocks would be good."

"It's all kind of an adventure," she said.

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