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Gallery to feature pottery with ‘pop’

PRINCETON — Karen Russell, a ceramicist who lives in Barrington, will be the Prairie Arts Council’s featured guest artist during the month of May.

The first Friday night opening reception for Russell will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday at the Prairie Arts Center, 24 Park Ave. East in Princeton.

Russell creates hand-built pottery, each piece containing some kind of botanical embellishment and most always a ladybug for “a pop of red.” Her creations are both beautiful and functional. Her plates, platters, bowls and ever-popular berry bowls are each decorated with hand-built, three-dimensional botanical embellishments. From flowers to fruit, leaves and pinecones, she carefully fashions these embellishments in a realistic way and then attaches them to her pieces.

Eleven years ago, Russell signed up for a pottery class and took another and another and “pretty soon ended up with two kilns in my basement,” Russell said.

Russell has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and a master’s in education. She has taken countless classes in pottery and studied botanical drawing with an instructor from the Art Institute of Chicago.

She continues to sell her works at art shows across Illinois and Wisconsin. She has traveled as far as Pennsylvania, Minnesota and Delaware with her pottery. Last summer she was juried into the Chicago Botanic Garden Art Festival. Several stores in the Chicago area have carried her pieces. Her pottery can also be seen at Sweeties Caramel Creations in Princeton who has carried Russell’s pottery for several years.

Russell’s exhibit at the Prairie Arts Center will be open through May 18. Open hours at the Arts Center are Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to noon, and Saturdays and Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m. All of her pieces are for sale and can be purchased and taken on the same day. The opening reception on Friday is open to the public.

All art exhibits, as well as the opening artist receptions at the Prairie Arts Center, are open and free to the public. For more information, call 815-875-2787.

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