April 9: Chery Cratty, Fiber & Pulp Painting

Art: Up Close & Personal
Chery Cratty

Fiber and Pulp Painting
April 9, 6 - 7:30 pm

Sponsored by

County Public Library
(main conference room)
1314 Columbia Pike, Franklin, TN 37064     

           In it's fourth year, the Arts Council is proud to present this evening series for 2012.
Some of the most renowned local artists will share an up-close and personal glimpse into their lives and their work.


          Cratty explains, "My pioneering work with pigmented cellulose pulp puts vibrant color onto a heavily textured ground. The tiny barbs of a porcupine quill work well in applying this color-saturated medium. I spray a stretched canvas with 10 or more layers of cotton denim, that was beaten back to a pulp. And yet, when dry, the piece is very light, for it is now paper. After the pulp painting is finished, a protective latex coating is applied."

                      Cratty says she is "inspired by a deep desire to retain a sense of magic and connection to Nature in her life". She lives on a ridge in Tennessee, with treetops towering over her from the deep ravine filled with hidden paths behind her home. In her art, she translates this magical, mystical environment with colorful pulp paint. Cratty defies tradition by stretching her materials beyond their conventional limits.

            Appearing practically photographic from a distance, closer inspection reveals the highly impressionistic style dictated by her personal techniques with this medium. Painting on a dry background, building layer upon layer, Cratty creates a richly textured surface that invites touching. Her main tools are a porcupine quill and a palette knife. Pulp paint is environmentally friendly, consisting as it does of purified plant fibers and pigments. The manufacturing of these paints, which Cratty performs in her studio, is ecologically sound, keeping with her wish to preserve and stay connected to nature.

            The artist is playful with her materials and not afraid to take risks. Specializing in path filled landscapes, she also shows a sense of humor through paintings of talking fish and animals. Following her own mystical path through life has led Cratty to this ridge in Tennessee, perched on the edge of a ravine, ready to explore those hidden paths as they are revealed to her.  

            Cratty points out, "I paint for people who like realistic art and want the 'WOW!' of texture and color. Pulp is wet and gooey – and I get to paint with it!"

            She continues, "I make my own pulp paint, and apply it with a porcupine quill. Pulp paint is an almost lost water-based media that I use to create realistic images in an impressionistic style. This highly textured image takes on a life-like presence when viewed from a distance.

            "Pulp paint is environmentally friendly, consisting as it does of purified plant fibers and pigments. The manufacturing of these paints, which I do in my studio, is ecologically sound, keeping with my wish to preserve and stay connected to nature. One of a mere handful of artists working in this rare art form, I have developed my own techniques. Using a porcupine quill, I flick the thick, wet pulp onto the painting surface, adding even more movement to the already impressionistic quality of the work. Drying between each vibrant layer builds a richly textured surface that invites touching."

            Cratty's techniques of pulp painting involve pulling light from darkness, creating visually

dramatic scenes, whether landscape or still-life. She creates these paintings to express her sense of connection with the natural world. For more about Cratty's work, please visit www.cherycratty.com.

            Cratty studied liberal arts at Schiller College in Kleiningersheim, Germany, and in 1996 in Clermont, Georgia, began to explore her world of pulp painting. She relates, "I woke up one morning, in the mid '90s, with a perfect vision of WHAT I wanted to do with pulp - but not a single clue as to HOW. And so began an adventure that led me to where I am today."

            Since 2008, this self-taught painter has continued her love of the medium as a studio artist and pulp painting teacher in Smithville, Tennessee. In addition, she has taught her craft as an instructor in pulp painting at Bascom Center in Highland, N.C, at Appalachian Center for Craft in Smithville, and at Red Bow Studio in Smithville. She has been a lecturer at Abbazia di Spineto, Spineto, Tuscan, Italy, for the International Association of Hand Paper Makers and Paper Artists.

            In 2010, she was awarded an Honorable Mention at the Craft in America Show, Bascom Center, Highlands, and the Craftsmen's Choice Award at the Carolina Designer Craftsmen Guild Show in Raleigh, N.C. In 2011, she earned an Award of Excellence at the Piedmont Craftsmen Show in Winston-Salem, N.C.

            She was the 2011 president of the Off The Beaten Path Studio Tour, Smithville. She serves as a board member of the Tennessee Association of Craft Artists (TACA), and is a member of the Southern Highland Craft Guild (SHCG), Piedmont Craftsmen (PCI), International Association of Hand Paper Makrs and Paper Artists (IAPMA) and the Carolina Designer Craftsmen Guild (CDCG).

            Her work can be seen in the Piedmont Craftsmen Gallery in Winston-Salem, N.C.; the Burton Gallery in Clarkesville, Ga.; the Arrowcraft Gallery in Gatlinburg, Tenn.; and the Appalachian Center for Craft Gallery and Stella Luna Gallery in Smithville, Tenn.

            Her work has been included in exhibits at the Carolina Designer Craftsmen Guild Fair in Raleigh, N.C., and Piedmont Craftsmen Fair, in Winston-Salem, N.C., in November 2011; was a Featured Hallway Artist at the Sautee Gallery in Sautee-Nacoochee, Ga., from November to December 2011; was on the October 2011 Off The Beaten Path Studio Tour in Smithville in October 2011; and was shown in the Invitational, Womble-Carlyle Center in Winston-Salem, in October 2011. She was part of the Two Man Show at the Piedmont Craftsmen Gallery in Winston-Salem in August 2011; a One Woman Show at Burton Gallery from July to August 2011 in Clarkesville, Ga.; and the Faculty Show at the Appalachian Center for Crafts in Smithville from May to August 2011.


Come mingle with some of the notable artists from our area and beyond.
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

January: series resumes in February

February 13: Alf Sharp, Woodworker/Furniture Maker
March 12: Paul Harmon, Painter
April 9: Chery Cratty, Fiber and Pulp Painting
May 14: Roy Overcast, Ceramics

Series resumes in September

September 24: Lena Luca, Ceramics, Painting and Music

October 8: Bill Barnes, Painting and Graphic Design
November 12: Edie Maney, Painter

The lecture series is free and open to the public.
Light refreshments will be served.

For more information, call 428-3845 or email info@artscouncilwc.org.