Artists in residence reside in Gwinn

GWINN — What is art you may ask? The term is subjective, but what isn’t is the passion from two married artists in Gwinn.

Whether by oil or by steel, copper or clay, the Wedigs are artists by definition and by craft. The couple has been featured in Art Prize in Grand Rapids for their work, and will soon host their own show in Escanaba at Bay College, starting January 12th.

“I think I always knew that was a gift that I had, and I hope everyone else thinks it’s a gift, but my parents have always been super encouraging in that whatever the gifts we are given each unique to each one of us that we would follow that and luckily I married an artist and a teacher of art and design at Northern so he has just been phenomenal,” said Cindy Wedig.

“I think that an artist can do that. Commercially, I’m afforded that opportunity because I have a job teaching, so being a Northern working here as many years as I’ve had the opportunity to has been great, and it’s afforded me that opportunity to experiment with my work more than an artist who had to work for sale,” added Dale Wedig.

It is clear that they do not create their work for fame or money, but rather for the joy and freedom it brings to be able to create without stifling conventions or dictates.

“I probably think with colors and textures and shapes and just beauty in general, I think is encapsulated in nature. I don’t necessarily paint representational of nature, natural pieces, but use the attributes of that, probably, are included in my work,” said Cindy.

“Not wood, but iron, metal fabricating, casting so I bring to the table a kind of a unique program. Not trying to make myself sound really different, but most metal smiths generally fit into one category like blacksmith, jeweler, casting, and my interests have always been across the entire board. From making an engagement set, wedding bands, to setting diamonds, to the gates to the courthouse in Marquette. So, it’s just that diverse, and I have always found that to be interesting, a project that might take a week to finish or a project that might take half a year to finish,” added Dale.

Cindy made the decision to stay at home to help raise her children years ago, with the ability of being able to create her artwork at the same time. Dale, after graduating Iowa State and Arizona State Universities with his Masters’ and Master’s in Fine Arts, took a position at NMU as an instructor.

“As far as my own work though, it is rare that I would work with a medium other than the ones that I [most] use and that is sheet metal, copper, silver, forged steel, casting of bronze. Most everything I work with is primarily related to the metals. So, the media I’ve tried though that might be different, I’m willing to try other things, I’ve done some fabric work, felting,” said Dale.

Over the years they have both created a handful of pieces ranging in all mediums and inspirations. One special piece, called Interior Cell, by Cindy is being sponsored by ABC 10 and the CW 5 for the Media Arts award as part of Bonifas Art Center in Escanaba.

“It came with a little [story], I came across information on Saint Catherine of Siena, who was a great mystic and saint of the faith, and she talked about each human being having within themselves cells, an interior cell. In which we should retreat to when the world gets to be heavy for us. We can go and look in ourselves for truth and we can also find God there,” said Cindy.

An artist can never really pinpoint their inspiration, but they can understand their feelings about an art design and what it means.

The future is just as unclear for these two when asked what may inspire them to work next.

“I guess I keep thinking about where is my work heading and I keep going to the pieces that I find most interesting. Right now, I can’t wait to get started on some more copper work because I have ideas in my head and those are the ones that I want to attend to. But, if I had a different, different set and I could work outdoors and work on bigger things, I’d do that too. I feel like the work I’m doing is constantly better in my mind, and it’s different. People have always said to me. ‘Oh I like what you did ten years ago,’ but, it’s not where I’m at anymore. I’m just moving on and trying new things all the time.”

Ideas come and go and so does the time in between, but what will never end is this couple’s love for their work, or each other.