Our Gift Shop artists of the month are Joan Brown, fiber artist and Stephanie Somers, primarily a print maker.
Joan Louise Brown is a fiber artist who lives in Easton, Maryland. She hand stitches wool with buttons, beads and charms, then adds embroidery. The buttons are 1800’s (antique) to 1900’s (vintage). The 100% wool is felted from hand knit sweaters, recycled clothing and WWI blankets. All of her medium is repurposed, upcycled and given a new life. She designs many wool accessories: brooches, scarves, clutches and more. Her work may be found in The Green Phoenix in Easton, The Dorchester Center for the Arts and Knit Nook in Cambridge, Vulcan’s Rest Fibers in Chesapeake City, as well as in Chestertown River Arts.
Stephanie Somers was born in Green Bay, Wisconsin, but raised in Tinton Falls, NJ. Her interest in art began at a very early age and she was encouraged to explore and practice it through many avenues – including after school art classes and outside lessons. Stephanie still feels fortunate to have the support of her family, teachers, friends and community who have all encouraged her to continue pursuing her passion.
Stephanie received a BA in Studio Fine Arts from Marist College (Poughkeepsie, NY) in 2005, where she was first introduced to beginning printmaking practices. She was then accepted to Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas, originally for their Drawing program, but working with their staff, quickly realized Printmaking was her calling. She was able to change her focus from Drawing, and in 2008, received her MFA in Printmaking. Stephanie’s final MFA exhibition presented her skilled understanding of the etching and mezzotint (intaglio) techniques – both of which use copper plates to print images.
After graduating, and not immediately having access to a printing press, Stephanie began self-educating hand-printing methods, including woodblock and gelatin printing. Her exploration led to the combination of these processes and she has really been enjoying the outcomes. Stephanie managed to eventually obtain her own printing press, and is now excited about the many combinations of printing methods this can offer.
Her subject matter mainly stems from her love of nature. Traveling and exploring (both nationally and internationally) is an enormous source of inspiration to Stephanie’s work. Her style comes from her love of black and white photography, high-contrast images, and the energy from lively, vibrant colors.
Stephanie currently lives and works in Chestertown, Maryland.