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color black white world

Colorful antidotes for a black-and-white world


Janice Spillane, MS, RN, of Ridge, New York, started her career as a critical care nurse, working in an environment she describes as “largely black and white. To counteract the sterile perspective, I began wearing wonderfully colored jewelry to provide a bright spot in an otherwise monotonous environment.”

Later, she started making her own jewelry and attending jewelry art workshops. “Now more than 15 years and 20 plus classes later,” she says, “I express my love of color and expression using hot glass—enamels and fused glass—and handmade paper.”

Ms. Spillane’s paper art tells “stories about life, hope, and humanity.” Asian Art Book was inspired by her trip to China. She made it from paper, binder board, filter paper, polymer clay, gold foil, and acrylic paint. She describes the book’s cover as “a collage of paper and magazine art, stamped with 24K gold paint.”

Ms. Spillane created Prague Book and its accompanying box as a journal of her recent trip to Prague, where she traveled as a way to feel connected with her Czech grandparents. “My sister and I wanted to learn more about the culture our grandparents came from,” she explains. “Our grandmother embraced her Czech heritage all her life, but shared little of what Czechoslovakia was like at the turn of the century and the years that followed. Last June, my sister and I went to Prague for 8 days on an art intensive. We visited numerous art museums and viewed works by Czech artists. We also attended cultural events and took painting and pottery classes with Czech and Finnish artists.

“Prague Book holds a record of our trip—photos, descriptions of the people I met, and my thoughts and observations during the trip. The box lid incorporates a collage of colors that are prominent in Czech art and culture. The book incorporates an antique Czech postcard of a girl in traditional Czech costume.”

Ms. Spillane made the book from binder board, Lokta oiled marble, Lokta bark, white drawing paper, and red ribbon, and painted its hand-torn edges with gold acrylic paint. She made the box from similar materials, plus a collage of papers and souvenirs.

Ms. Spillane’s work has been shown at the East End Art League in Riverhead, New York, Enameling Guild Northeast Conferences, and as part of collaborative works displayed in numerous children’s hospitals in the northeastern United States. She donates many of her artworks to charity for fundraising.

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