A Real Jewel

The Summit’s premier juried
art show returns to Louisville

Award-winning jewelry designer
Needham to appear

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (June 2011) – Mark Needham exhibits at 11 to 18 juried art shows a year, and is always impressed by the other artists he meets and the diversity of their work. But few can measure up to his one-of-a-kind jewelry in all of its geometric shapes, sizes and overall aesthetic quality.
“My forms are very geometric utilizing circles, squares and triangles of many materials alone or in combinations. They are simple, yet bold,” said Needham, who grew up in Knoxville, Tenn.

Mark Needham

Photo provided

Mark Needham now
resides in Louisville,
where he crafts
his jewelry.

“I approach each piece of jewelry as a work of art,” he said. “What I’ve learned in the years I have spent designing everything from houses as an architect, to wooden games as a woodworker, is reflected in everything I make.”
Needham will be one of 150 local and regional artists participating in the juried 4th Annual Louisville Festival of the Arts at the Summit on June 11-12 from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. This free outdoor art gallery will feature live music and interactive art activities for children.
This event makes the arts accessible to a broad audience, with prices for all budgets ranging from $25 hand-designed earrings to $20,000 metal sculptures. The event is presented by Howard Alan Events, which has produced some of the nation’s finest juried art shows for the past 25 years.
Needham, 61, moved to Louisville in 1972. He earned a Bachelor of Architecture Degree with Honors from the School of Architecture, University of Tennessee at Knoxville, and is an Estes Kefauver Scholarship recipient with a concentration in Fine Arts.
When it comes to designing jewelry, Needham said “knowledge and experience build upon and enhance each other no matter where garnered, and are forever linked. The process of design is meant to solve a problem, and the steps one follows must be grounded by both purpose and process.”
Needham selects gems not typically found at commercial jewelry stores in terms of type, shape and cut. “I appreciate and utilize minerals as well,” he said.
In addition to natural gemstones and minerals, he makes jewelry in a style he has labeled “metalfiori”, named after millefiori Italian glass. His work is distinguished by the inclusion of a variety of metal tubes set in plain or color resin, or in combination with grains of colored glass and/or other materials in an array of patterns and colors.
“There’s always something for every taste and pocketbook at Howard Alan and all the other shows I attend. Craft festivals give people the opportunity to literally visit over a hundred galleries in one afternoon,” said Needham.

Lonnie Comb art

Photos provided

Artist Lonnie Comb’s wood
creations (left) and Mark Needham’s
hand-crafted jewelry (right) are
among the pieces at the Summit’s
annual arts festival.

Mark Needham jewelry

Lonnie Combs also plans to participate in the show. He is another diverse Louisville artist whose talent is in wood turning. He crafts pepper mills, pens, art sculpture, vases, hollow forms and bowls.
“No two are the same,” said Combs, 62, of his work. “Every heirloom quality mill is an original signed and numbered piece of art.”
Combs is a self-taught wood turner. As a child he made Indian style bows and arrows, sling shots, spears and knives out of wood, and at age 15 began carving wood sculptural items. He received a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Arts from Eastern Kentucky University.
Originally from Eastern Kentucky, Combs makes every item from local Kentucky hardwoods. What inspires him when creating a piece of artwork is “the fact that I influence power over natural material in that I start with a less than perfect piece of wood and ultimately overpower it with my influence of design by tooling and applying a gallery finish to an item that will serve many future generations.”
Combs participates in about a dozen art shows a year. This will be the first time he has exhibited in the Louisville Festival of the Arts at the Summit.
“This show is certainly high on my list in that it attracts large numbers of high-end buyers because it is already recognized by many locals as Louisville’s most selective show in that only the finest quality nationwide artists are invited.”

• For more information, call (954) 472-3755 or email info@artfestival.com or visit: www.ArtFestival.com.

Back to June 2011 Articles.



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