Friday, December 18, 2009

Column: Shorelines

Women artists draw out creativity in students

Wood-turned pens are among the items available from Moon Dancer Creations.

Courtesy of Diane Brzeski and AnneMarie Albergo

Wood-turned pens are among the items available from Moon Dancer Creations.

If you think you're not crafty or creative, chances are you've probably never had a conversation with Diane Brzeski of Moon Dancer Creations.

Brzeski (pronounced "Bresky") and her friend and fellow artisan, AnneMarie Albergo, got together about four years ago and created Moon Dancer Creations. They not only make and sell a plethora of artistic creations, but they also teach a variety of classes that allow participants to learn their creative techniques.

"A lot of people would look at something and say 'Oh, I could never do anything like that,'" said Brzeski. "But if you want to learn something, you can do it. With our classes, we inspire the creativity that people don't think they have."

From sand carvings and wood-turned objects to wearable fiber art and decorative glass plates, these ladies can pretty much make the ordinary into the extraordinary.

"We do a little bit of everything," said Brzeski, a former New Yorker who moved to Franklin County about eight years ago. "I guess we're just incurable learners."

Group and private one-on-one classes are available and usually take place at Brzeski's place in Callaway. Or, if a large group wants to take a class, the duo can come to your place. Beginner classes last a day; more in-depth ones take place over three or four days.

Of the one-day classes, Brzeski said, "Those are great because somebody could get a feel for a certain type of art, and from there you could do a three- or four-day class."

Class prices range from $20 to $150. There are classes for both adults and children.

But if you and a group of friends just aren't up for learning a new technique and instead want to shop, you could host your very own Moon Dancer Creations home jewelry party.

"Home parties are great because you can invite your friends and neighbors and you place custom orders or you can buy from us right there," said Brzeski. "We bring a little bit of everything."

As an artist, Brzeski is carrying on her father's love of art and creation. After earning a degree in advertising art and design from the State University of New York, Brzeski worked as a display and technical artist before joining her father's business, where she designed products for the art material industry, according to the Moon Dancer Creations Web site.

Infatuated with color at any early age, Albergo paints in both acrylics and oils but prefers the latter.

"I am so glad to be able to make part of my living through my artwork, doing something I truly love," said Albergo on the Web site.

When they're not teaching classes or conducting home parties for customers, Brzeski and Albergo can sometimes be found selling their wares at area craft shows.

Moon Dancer Creations are sold at the Taubman Museum of Art in Roanoke and at The General Store in Moneta. Brzeski said she hopes to include their artwork in local lake galleries in the future.

Plans also are in the works to launch an online store, although that might be tricky because each creation is so unique.

"Even if [a piece of art] looks similar," said Brzeski, "it's different."

For Moon Dancer Creations and a schedule of upcoming classes, visit moondancercreations.com. For more information, contact Brzeski at 482-0320.