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Latest exhibit at Lawrence Street has ‘Some Strings Attached”

Stephanie Sokol for Digital First Media

Alice Frank combined her favorite artistic elements — watercolors, fired enamel on metal and stitching — to create unique pieces in her latest exhibit “Some Strings Attached.”

“These works are my own recipe — I have never seen anything like it,”

One of Frank's works, Willy B. Threadbear.

One of Frank’s works, Willy B. Threadbear.

Frank says. “I tried to experiment and see if I could add all the ingredients I enjoy into my paintings, and I am really pleased with my results.”

With this exhibit, she wanted to make something fun and interesting for both herself and observers. Working on multiple pieces at once, she created her works by firing metal as much as 20 or 30 times to achieve certain colors, then working it together with watercolor and stitching.

In addition, this exhibit also showcases fired enamel tabletop sculptures, and fun projects like her homemade string teddy bears with clever names such as Willy B. Threadbear and Vera Threadbear.

This work is unique artistically, and her goal with it is to bring people happiness.

“When people look at my art, I want them to smile,” Frank says. “I think smiling can never be overdone. I want people to feel that the pieces they’re looking at and viewing are things they want to look at a little more.”

Frank said the works in this collection just came to her. Describing her art as “whimsical,” she says inspiration can be triggered by something simple she notices in everyday life, or from the influence of others.

While teaching in Michigan, New York and New Jersey, as well as at Seoul National University in Korea for a year, she has seen different ways of life by visiting new places, and been exposed to different ideas in the art of her students.

“Going to a new place for travel or work, I’m always looking around to see what’s there,” Frank says. “The colors and the light are different. Depending where I am, I might carry my sketch notebook. It could be the way light is shining on a building, or how some dishes in a cafeteria are lined up in a way that they become shapes in my mind. It’s kind of an abstract, difficult thing to explain. I also get a big kick out of watching kids create.”

For Frank, creating art is rewarding and relaxing. She says time flies when she’s working on a piece.

She tries to create her pieces in a way that makes people take a second look, adding details that will be found when someone is paying attention and really taking in the art.

After 25 years exhibiting at the Ann Arbor Art Fairs and other high-end art shows, fighting the elements of Michigan weather, Frank says she now prefers to take her art to smaller, indoor venues.

Recently, she’s shown at the Janice Charach Gallery in West Bloomfield with the Michigan Watercolor Society, at Michigan Fine Arts Competition in Bloomfield Hills and OUR TOWN Art show in Birmingham, to name a few.

She has also put her art on display at other places in six to 10 exhibits a year around Michigan and also making home visits to help people decide on the right painting to purchase.

“Art should be a feeling you have in your mind and heart. It should make you feel good about it, whatever it is,” Frank says. “Whether it’s a funny thing or a serious thing, it has to speak to you. I don’t put anything in my shows that doesn’t speak to me, so when it speaks to other people, that gives me a really good feeling.”

“Some Strings Attached” runs Nov. 4-28 at Lawrence Street Gallery, 22620 Woodward Ave., in Ferndale. The opening reception takes place 6-9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 6, and the mid-month reception is 6-9 p.m. Nov. 20.

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West Bloomfield artist exhibit at Lawrence Street Gallery in Ferndale

Stephanie Sokol for The Oakland Press

Folk art will be displayed at the Lawrence Street Gallery in Ferndale, as West Bloomfield artist Alice Frank presents her exhibit “Artful,” beginning Wednesday, May 1.

The gallery, run by the 27 resident artists, changes displays monthly. This month features Frank’s works, which she created in various media.

West Bloomfield Artist Alice Frank's exhibit "Artful" will be on Display at Lawrence Street Gallery throughout the month of May.

West Bloomfield Artist Alice Frank’s exhibit “Artful” will be on Display at Lawrence Street Gallery throughout the month of May. COURTESY PHOTO/ ALICE Frank

“I like folk art because you can create a feeling about something that might be local to a certain area,” Frank said. “It has a primitive but playful quality to it.”

Observing people and nature inspires Frank in her projects. She said art is a way for her to capture and remember the moment.

In addition to the Lawrence Street Gallery, The artist belongs The Michigan Watercolor Society, Farmington Artist Club, Michigan Guild of Artists and Artisans, Detroit Society of Women Painters, Crooked Tree Arts, Ohio Designers and Women in the Arts, according to a press release.

Frank has sold pieces to celebrity clients, including musician Bob Seger and actress Victoria Principal.

Elementary education was Frank’s original profession, after earning her bachelor’s degree from The University of Michigan in 1965. As a teacher, she incorporated art into her lessons. She provided other art education for children as well.

Frank says she loves working with children, “because they’re not swayed by any particular thing, they just go with the moment — they are pure and ready to absorb any ideas you may have.”

Frank produces art in a variety of media, including monoprints, fired enamel and metals, though she said watercolor is her favorite.

The folk works she created feature hand-painted paper and found objects united

"Africa" by Alice Frank. COURTESY/ ALICE FRANK

“Africa” by Alice Frank. COURTESY/ Alice Frank

in collage. She said she put a lot of thought into the pieces’ titles as well.

“I find her work to be very whimsical and different than any other artwork you see,” said J. Gordon Rodwan, photographer and Lawrence Street Gallery artist. “It’s sometimes abstract, sometimes whimsical. I like the way she uses images and colors, and her multimedia displays are quite awesome, very captivating.”

The exhibit will run throughout May at Lawrence Street Gallery, 22620 Woodward Ave., Ferndale. Gallery hours are noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday, noon to 9 p.m. Thursday, noon to 9 p.m. Friday and noon to 5 p.m. Saturday. Call 248-544-0394 or visit www.lawrencestreetgallery.com to learn more about the gallery.