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  • Chris LaValley
    Chris LaValley Chris LaValley
  • Chris LaValley
    Chris LaValley Chris LaValley

Now @ Oak Park: Chris LaValleyChris LaValley

Wednesday, May 1, 2019 to Friday, Jun 28, 2019 at Oak Park Library

Chris received her BFA in Painting and Drawing from the Kansas City Art Institute, her MA in Art Education and Ceramics from the University of New Mexico and currently teaches at Blue Valley Northwest High School. By day she helps kids dive deeper into the world of ceramics and painting and by all other hours, she works on her own 2D and 3D artworks.

She states: My work is inspired by the complexity and beauty of nature, from minute details of plant and animal cells to large expanses of land and space.  The topography of the land, the open spaces, the small details, the rhythm and pulse of the earth, the rich tones of color, the regeneration of life, and my individual experiences have influenced my personal mythology made up of symbolism and marks.

My current work focuses on observing nature and the environment.  Studying subtle nuances of color and line, detail and form, I use watercolor, occasionally with the addition of linear ink elements.  The speed at which I can work back in layering and adding color and value has allowed my first inspiration to stay fresh in my mind, and I find the smaller, more intimate scale provoking, drawing the viewer closer to see the subtle details and nuances not visible from a distance.

Enjoy this exhibition through June 28.

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Tell us about the works on exhibit. What’s the medium? What has inspired their creation?

My work has always been inspired by the complexity and beauty of nature.  The work I have on exhibit focuses on my observations of nature and the environments I see around me.  I am interested in the subtle nuances of color and line, detail and form.  These particular works are rendered in watercolor, occasionally with the addition of linear ink elements.  I have found that utilizing watercolor, after years of working in oils, has been liberating. The speed at which I can work back in layering and adding color and value has allowed my first inspiration to stay fresh in my mind.  I find the smaller, more intimate scale provoking; drawing the viewer closer in to see the subtle details and nuances not visible from a distance.

 

What was the most important thing you learned from your arts education? What’s something inherent in your art that couldn’t be taught?

The most important thing I learned in my education in the arts would be to not be afraid to make mistakes, for in those mistakes there is growth.  Also, to never stop learning and trying new media and methods of working.  

I would say something inherent in my art that couldn't be taught would be the intuitive way I work.  Most of the time when I start a new piece I only have a small idea what I want to accomplish-I let the work and the marks created guide me.

 

Describe your creative process. How often are you painting and where is your studio?

Depending on what I'm working on my process can vary.  When I am working on my watercolor pieces I am sitting at a table in my studio. I usually have a vague idea how I want to start-sometimes a photo reference.  I begin usually with applying a water area to the paper and adding my color into it-then letting it dry before moving on.  I usually have at least 2 works in progress so I can continue to work as one dries.  I continue to add color areas and work back into existing dry areas until I feel it is complete.  Occasionally I will work back in with linear ink lines.

 

My studio is located in my house. It has two wonderful windows-one facing south and one west.  It really is my comfort place-filled with books, vinyl, art supplies and art work given to be by previous students.  I try to be in my studio as much as possible.  It can be difficult during the school year (I'm a high school art teacher), but I do manage to be in there at least 2 days a week-definitely more in the summer where I'm there just about every day.

 

Please list 5-10 books, movies and/or music that currently inspire you.

I have so many books--but these are ones I am currently looking at/reading:

The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp

Paintings for the Future by Hilma af Klint

Ninth Street Women by Mary Gabriel

New and Selected Poems by Mary Oliver

The End of Ice by Dahr Jamail

 

As far as music, I have very eclectic tastes.  I listen to just about everything.  What I play at a given time depends a lot on my mood and what I am working on.  If I'm at a table working on watercolor pieces I tend to listen to something quieter like Tori Amos, Ben Harper or Coldplay.  If I'm working at my easel and standing it tend to be more fast paced like some alternative 80s, Led Zeppelin, Fleetwood Mac or U2.

 

Chris received her BFA in Painting and Drawing from the Kansas City Art Institute, her MA in Art Education and Ceramics from the University of New Mexico and currently teaches at Blue Valley Northwest High School. By day she helps kids dive deeper into the world of ceramics and painting and by all other hours, she works on her own 2D and 3D artworks.

She states: My work is inspired by the complexity and beauty of nature, from minute details of plant and animal cells to large expanses of land and space.  The topography of the land, the open spaces, the small details, the rhythm and pulse of the earth, the rich tones of color, the regeneration of life, and my individual experiences have influenced my personal mythology made up... Continue »

Jerome

Putting the Pieces Together

This #ThrowbackThursday, we're celebrating genealogy and one of our genealogy volunteers, Darryl Jerome. Darryl knows that learning about your family history is the key to unlocking who you are and where you fit in your family tree. As a Johnson County Library volunteer in the Genealogy department at Central Resource Library, he has experienced the joy and fulfillment of helping families find their roots. He has been volunteering with the Library since 2017, and since then he's helped so many people on the genealogy quest.

One of his rewarding experiences started with a phone call to the genealogy desk in September 2018 from a genealogy society in Kentucky. A family had asked for help in locating records on Dolores Clark. They had traced her back to a cemetery in Olathe, Kansas, but couldn’t find any further information. There appeared to be no local connection between Dolores and this area.  Darryl began by researching obituaries in the Kansas City Star where he found her simple obituary. As is typical with many in the newspaper, it was short on detailed information, but Darryl uncovered one clue: that she was from St. Petersburg, Florida. Armed with only the years of her birth and her death, Darryl expanded his obituary search to include St. Petersburg. He successfully found her obituary, as well as that of her husband who had preceded her in death. Ironically, it was his obituary, not hers, that included her previous married name plus the names and ages of their children. With this knowledge it would be relatively easy to track down family connections, so Darryl emailed his discovery to the genealogy society in Kentucky. He later received a personal phone call from the family thanking him for his efforts.

“Genealogy is a puzzle” Darryl says, and he enjoys helping others put the pieces of their family together. Personal lives are puzzles, too. If our encounters and experiences were puzzle pieces, they would create a picture of who we are. For Darryl, a significant piece of his puzzle went missing for a while. The missing piece was his wife, Darlene.

At the tender age of 17, Darryl and Darlene were married in February 1962. They spent time in Sarcoxie, Missouri, where Darlene was born and had grown up. After a two year "all-expenses-paid vacation" courtesy of the United States Army, Darryl returned to married life with Darlene. They lived in Kansas City until 1973 when the company he worked for transferred him to Denver. Their marriage began to unravel, and the couple divorced in 1977. Darryl stayed in Denver and Darlene made her way to Oregon and then on to California, Utah and Arizona.

Darryl remarried, but his second wife passed away after fighting cancer for 15 years. In 2016, he decided he needed a vacation. When asked by his co-workers where he planned to go, he told them he intended to throw a few things together and just get in the car and drive. He left Denver at 10 am, and 14 hours later he found himself back in Sarcoxie, Missouri. The next morning, he spent some time taking pictures of “home” and exploring downtown, disappointed at how run-down it had become. He recognized the name on a building and went inside to see if anyone was there he knew. No familiar faces greeted him, but he ended up having a great conversation about family, friends, classmates and teachers with strangers who knew the town well. Numerous names and phone numbers were exchanged, including that of his former brother-in-law, Bill. It was Bill who informed Darryl that Darlene had moved back from Arizona and was living in Overland Park, Kansas.

Long story short, Darryl and Darlene re-connected in May 2016, and by December he had moved back from Denver. He discovered she had a keen interest in genealogy. It was often a topic of discussion in repeated phone calls back and forth. Her love for genealogy sparked a passion in it for him as well. Their long phone calls and visits helped re-ignite their love for each other. They had both maintained their status as amateur photographers, each still owning the Nikon cameras they bought when they were first married. Most importantly, however, was that Darlene met with the approval of Darryl’s aloof and finicky cat, Mischa.

Darlene was a member of the Johnson County Genealogy Society, so Darryl attended meetings with her. He eventually became a volunteer and is now Vice-President of Volunteers for the society and a liaison between them and the library. Darryl is an important piece of the larger picture that is the Johnson County Library.

This #ThrowbackThursday, we're celebrating genealogy and one of our genealogy volunteers, Darryl Jerome. Darryl knows that learning about your family history is the key to unlocking who you are and where you fit in your family tree. As a Johnson County Library volunteer in the Genealogy department at Central Resource Library, he has experienced the joy and fulfillment of helping families find their roots. He has been volunteering with the Library since 2017, and since then he's helped so many people on the genealogy quest.

One of his rewarding experiences started with a phone call to the genealogy desk in September 2018 from a genealogy society in Kentucky. A family had asked for help in locating records on Dolores Clark. They... Continue »

Priscilla Howe

Tomorrow: A Galaxy of GigglesA Galaxy of Giggles

Hop on board this galactic shuttle for an out-of-this-world mix of stories, songs, stretches, puppets and general silliness with storyteller Priscilla Howe. This is a storytelling show incorporating lively puppets. Warning: there may be aliens! Howe is a storytelling tour guide to imaginative spaces. She has performed at hundreds of schools, libraries, festivals and special events. She teaches classes and workshops, and coaches other storytellers.

Catch this event again in June and July.

Hop on board this galactic shuttle for an out-of-this-world mix of stories, songs, stretches, puppets and general silliness with storyteller Priscilla Howe. This is a storytelling show incorporating lively puppets. Warning: there may be aliens! Howe is a storytelling tour guide to imaginative spaces. She has performed at hundreds of schools, libraries, festivals and special events. She teaches classes and workshops, and coaches other storytellers.

Catch this event again in June... Continue »

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Leawood Pioneer Library
Summer Reading

A Universe to Explore

NASA turns 60 this year. The Apollo Moon Landing was 50 years ago. Summer Reading at Johnson County Library highlights this history and inspires kids of all ages to dream big, believe in themselves and create their own stories.

Reading is a skill, and the more you practice the better you get. We encourage school-aged families - and everyone else while we're at it - to read for at least 30 minutes a day. You can read anything: books, magazines, video game liner notes; it's up to your individual likes and interests.

What's really cool is this: reading about things impacts the same parts of your brain - physically and psychologically - as actual 3D experiences! So, reading is doing. Reading experiences help you explore interpersonal skills, nurture your empathy and deepen your emotional intelligence.

Join our crew and explore the universe of Summer Reading with us »

NASA turns 60 this year. The Apollo Moon Landing was 50 years ago. Summer Reading at Johnson County Library highlights this history and inspires kids of all ages to dream big, believe in themselves and create their own stories.

Reading is a skill, and the more you practice the better you get. We encourage school-aged families - and everyone else while we're at it - to read for at least 30 minutes a day. You can read anything: books, magazines, video game liner notes; it's up to your individual likes and interests.

What's really cool is this: reading about things impacts the same parts of your brain - physically and psychologically - as actual 3D experiences! So, reading is doing. Reading experiences help you explore... Continue »

Book Groups

Today! Monticello Book Groups

Monticello Library now offers two Book Groups - one at 1 pm and one at 6:30 pm, both occurring on the second Tuesday of each month. Here's what we're reading »

May: Educated by Tara Westover
June: The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
July: The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan
August: Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Monticello Library now offers two Book Groups - one at 1 pm and one at 6:30 pm, both occurring on the second Tuesday of each month. Here's what we're reading »

May: Educated by Tara Westover
June: The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
July: The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan
August: ... Continue »

Now Presenting Writing Contest Winners, and Books for Busy People

In this episode of Did you hear? Gregg Winsor and Matt Crist talk books for busy people. But first, Helen Hokanson presents our writing contest winners. Martha Gershun, Kayla Wiltfong, Tim Tankard, Mary Silwance read their winning entries!

And, our host Dave Carson gives a shout out to our blog!

Martha's winning entry
Kayla's winning entry
Mary's winning entry
Now Presenting events in our calendar.

Have you subscribed?

In this episode of Did you hear? Gregg Winsor and Matt Crist talk books for busy people. But first, Helen Hokanson presents our writing contest winners. Martha Gershun, Kayla Wiltfong, Tim Tankard, Mary Silwance read their winning entries!

And, our host Dave Carson gives a shout out to our blog!

Martha's winning entry
Kayla's winning entry
... Continue »

  • Makerspace plastic
    Makerspace plastic Makerspace plastic
  • Makerspace plastic
    Makerspace plastic Makerspace plastic
  • Makerspace plastic
    Makerspace plastic Makerspace plastic
  • Makerspace plastic
    Makerspace plastic Makerspace plastic
  • Makerspace plastic
    Makerspace plastic Makerspace plastic
  • Makerspace plastic
    Makerspace plastic Makerspace plastic
  • Makerspace plastic
    Makerspace plastic Makerspace plastic

MakerSpace and Recycling

What happens to your failed 3D prints? Well, here are a few ways we've given that plastic a second life. Enjoy the video of us blending up the scraps and scroll through the slideshow to see how we've made a prototype for swag for your baseball cap and USB tags!

 

What happens to your failed 3D prints? Well, here are a few ways we've given that plastic a second life. Enjoy the video of us blending up the scraps and scroll through the slideshow to see how we've made a prototype for swag for your baseball cap and USB tags!

 

Walk and Read

Tomorrow! Walk and ReadWalk & Read Weekend Event Kick-Off

This event is at Erfurt Park.

Take a stroll around the lake and read some stories at the same time. The Walk & Read Weekend Event at Erfurt Park presents two kids’ stories posted on stations along the path. All ages can enjoy Beekle by Dan Satat and The Forever Tree by Tereasa Surrat and Donna Lukas. There will be characters from popular stories for you to meet at the event on Saturday. If you can’t make it to the kick-off, the stories will continue to be available for you to read through Sunday, May 12.

Presented by Johnson County Library and the City of Shawnee Parks & Recreation Department.

Interested in volunteering at this event? Get more info »

This event is at Erfurt Park.

Take a stroll around the lake and read some stories at the same time. The Walk & Read Weekend Event at Erfurt Park presents two kids’ stories posted on stations along the path. All ages can enjoy Beekle by Dan Satat and... Continue »

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Monticello Library , Off-site
Mr. Golden Sun

Featured Artist FridayMr. Golden Sun

Mr. Golden Sun is led by Matt Hamer, a singer-songwriter and instrumentalist who describes his music as "folk songs trying not to sound like folk songs."  In this interview, Hamer describes the evolution of the songs on his brand-new Central States EP, what he learned from recording it and how fatherhood inspired the songs.

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Introduce yourself. Describe your music for new listeners.

 

Mr. Golden Sun is the name of the songwriting project I’ve been working under for the past couple of years. Live, we’re a four-piece at the moment, but a different group of musicians tracked the parts I couldn’t play on the EP. The songs are the blueprint and we flesh them out with whoever is around and available.

 

Sonically I guess you could call most the material folk songs trying not to sound like folk songs. I’m really keen on combining organic sounds with more inorganic/mechanical ones. So we’ll pair really dry acoustic guitars with a repetitive Motorik drum machine beat, or add some jacked up synthesizer noise to something more consonant and natural. It mirrors the lyrical content in my opinion: lives that on the surface seem banal being only a thin wall away from something that disrupts that entirely. We get comparisons to Wilco and Neil Young but also stuff like Slowdive or The Sea and Cake. So I don’t know what to call it. I’m really selling this, aren’t I?

Continue »
Lackman volunteers

Lackman Library Volunteers

This #ThrowbackThursday we're honoring our Lackman Library Volunteers!

My name is Linda, and I'm happy to have had the opportunity to visit with some of the Lackman Library volunteers during an appreciation lunch for them. Some of them will move to other volunteer posts within the Johnson County Library, and others are moving on to new opportunities as services move from Lackman Library to Lenexa City Center Library. From a woman with 34 years of library service to one who had just started, they all contributed in their own special way to the foundation and success of the Lackman Library.

Jo Ouseley, the 34-year volunteer, started at the main branch of the Johnson County Library then transferred to Lackman shortly after it opened in 1997. She and the Lackman branch have commendably served the residents of Lenexa and Johnson County ever since. Jo was the recipient of the Shankel Award for Outstanding Volunteers in 2009. I listened as she and other volunteers reminisced about sorting and re-shelving books in the children’s department. They concluded it was not the best time to wear new slacks, and as Jo pointed out, the amount of time they spent on their knees provided ample opportunity to catch up on their prayers.

Another volunteer, Donna Pray, shares special memories of the Lackman Library with her grandson. She was busy with her volunteer duties one day when a certain little boy caught her attention. She quickly recognized her three-year-old grandson who came in with his babysitter to attend story-time, a popular event for toddlers. He was surprised to see her and asked why she was at the library and not at her house where he had always seen her. For years he enjoyed visiting the library, not only for story-time, but for a smile and hug from Grandma as well.

Volunteering is not just something you do if you have time, it makes your time more valuable. Take Kathy Peters and Judy Carney, for instance. The time they spent volunteering became priceless when they found their best friend in each other. Kathy, a 10-year volunteer, liked to shelve books and Judy, a 9-year volunteer, liked to work on DVDs and audiobooks. They were so fast and efficient with their individual tasks that they always found time afterwards to talk… and a friendship was born! Kathy loves to read, so it’s understandable that her favorite day of the week was the day she spent at the library. Being a well-rounded reader made her a good resource for those looking for recommendations, and patrons grew to count on her as a resource for their next great read.

Janet Hall, a volunteer since November 2013, found an undeniable satisfaction in the hours she put in at the Library, but it’s the staff and other volunteers for which she is truly grateful. Their care and concern after her son passed away a few years ago will never be forgotten. She treasures their kindness and holds dear the wind chimes that were given to her in his memory.

Other volunteers I met that day were Lou Ann Carpenter, Lorraine Gerard, Fran Jaderborg, and Nikki Hollembeak.  They all confirmed what I easily sensed: the bond and camaraderie they shared was invaluable. It was also clear that a mutual appreciation existed between the Library staff and the volunteers. Each group seemed extremely grateful for the other. Like the pages of a book, they were all bound together. The pages have turned, and the book has been closed - but what a story it was!

Photo from left:  Nikki Hollembeak, Kathy Peters, LouAnn Carpenter, Lorraine Gerard, Fran Jaderborg, Janet Hall, Donna Pray, Judy Carney, Jo Ouseley, Volunteer Coordinator Rita Glick

Lackman volunteers not pictured: JoAnn Hadel, Elaine Scherder, Glenda Carden, Bill Hartel, Pat Veno, Deanne Belshe, Sandy Allshouse and Jan Hendrix.

 

 

This #ThrowbackThursday we're honoring our Lackman Library Volunteers!

My name is Linda, and I'm happy to have had the opportunity to visit with some of the Lackman Library volunteers during an appreciation lunch for them. Some of them will move to other volunteer posts within the Johnson County Library, and others are moving on to new opportunities as services move from Lackman Library to Lenexa City Center Library. From a woman with 34 years of library service to one who had just started, they all contributed in their own special way to the foundation and success of the Lackman Library.

Jo Ouseley, the 34-year volunteer, started at the main branch of the Johnson County Library then transferred to Lackman shortly after it... Continue »

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