Summer begins with Topeka’s First Friday Artwalk

Tricia Peterson / Washburn Review

NOTO is not only the place to be for Topeka’s First Friday Artwalk, it’s also the place to be throughout each month to learn from local artists how to make unique and quality art.

Last night, at June’s Artwalk, the NOTO Community Arts Center, 922 N. Kansas Avenue, featured art from the teachers of their educational art classes. The NOTO Community Arts Center is a collaboration of Washburn University, the Mulvane Art Museum, Topeka Public Schools and the NOTO Project Management Board to bring important services to the Topeka community.

Natalie Wang, Washburn graduate and local art teacher, displayed the art she teaches her classes as well as some of her personal artwork.  The classes she teaches at the community center are unintimidating and Wang says anyone can do them.

She teaches a Batik class, called “Batik With a Twist,” which includes using wax and dyes to create unique and elaborate patterns on cloth. The hot wax is put on the cloth, and then the part of the cloth that has no wax is dyed in any color. In Wang’s class, students use household items to create their art, and at the same time, learn traditional Batik techniques.

“I always teach a Batik, but its contemporary, [we use] kitchen utensils and stamps,” said Wang. “[Students] don’t have to draw so it’s non threatening , so anybody can do it. One was a potato masher and a whisk.”

In another class Wang teaches, called “Resist Silk Paintings,” students create their own 16 inch by 16 inch silk painting and learning watercolor techniques while using silk dyes.

Kristine Luber is another teacher who featured her art for the Artwalk, and in addition demonstrated some of the simple techniques she uses in her classes.

“What I’ve been teaching here is the broken tile mosaic [and] a bunch of other things, like pounded flowers,” said Luber.

Luber does her pounded flowers onto fabric and paper, but the fabric requires a special solution to keep the dye from washing out. First, she takes a flower of any sort and pulls it apart to place on the paper in her desired design. While using another piece of paper to hold the petals down, she then uses a hammer to smash the petal so that it leaches out the color. The results are always surprising.

Luber was also demonstrating a mosaic.

“The mosaic depends very highly on junk, like going to Goodwill or the Salvation Army,” said Luber. “I try to get people to give me stuff, and they do, but not necessarily always what I like.”

By taking a class like this at the NOTO Community Arts Center, students will have more of a selection of materials for their art. They will also spend less on materials than if they would do these projects at home on their own.

“What [the students] enjoyed about the class was the fact that we had a big selection of stuff to work with,” said Luber.

Each class is different, and some require students to bring a few of their own materials. To learn more about Wang’s and Luber’s class as well as the other classes offered at the NOTO Community Arts Center visit http://notoartsdistrict.com/noto-arts-center/. There you will find a calendar of classes, as well as descriptions, prices and a link to apply to teach classes.