- Associated Press - Sunday, February 19, 2017

HASTINGS, Neb. (AP) - Kristine Allphin of Hastings said she was overwhelmed the first time she saw thousands of sand hill cranes landing in a crop field.

The feeling was so great that she just had to put it into her artwork.

“I wanted to express the energy of the cranes so each of the cranes is represented in a ball of light,” she said. “That was the challenge for me. I’m pleased that we have accomplished that.

“I just want to express the privilege of living here. How many other people get to enjoy February and March like we do? I always look forward to the migration and I’m always regretful when it ends.”

Allphin was so successful in capturing the vibrancy of the cranes that she is this year’s featured artist at the Wings Over the Platte art show. She is one of 40 artists showing more than 80 exhibits to highlight Stuhr Museum’s 29th annual Wings show.

Allphin specializes in batik, an ancient decorative art used to embellish textiles. The textiles or paper are immersed in a dye bath. Wax is applied to preserve the color.

This process is repeated many times, creating additional color combinations and detail. In the end, the wax is removed to reveal the finished art.

The tradition of making batik is found in various countries, including Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Philippines and Nigeria, The Grand Island Independent (https://bit.ly/2lYCpPz ) reported. The batik of Indonesia, however, is the best-known.

Wnlike tradition art forms, Allphin said the pigments and dyes she uses are of primary colors. She said secondary and tertiary colors are created as the primary layers mix on paper.

“As an artist, I choose the shades of yellow or blue, but the batik chooses the resulting green,” she said. “This process may appear limiting, but within those limitations are limitless possibilities. Often like life itself, the very process requires a give and take and a relinquishing to the results without an attachment to the outcome”.

Allphin’s education and experience in illustration and composition have helped her to create an “original style, sensitivity, and craftsmanship to her batik work.”

Educated in illustration and graphic design, Allphin was employed in that industry for about six years. She received her education at Southeast Community College in Milford.

After she and her husband adopted children, she became a stay-at-home mom to raise her children.

“I really didn’t do anything creative at all for about 15 years,” Allphin said. “There really wasn’t any time.”

Allphin said she believes everyone is creative, but each individual conveys that creativity into different areas. “I really believe that creativity was channeled into motherhood,” she said.

Once her youngest child entered kindergarten, Allphin began to take up the brush again. That was when she turned her interest to batik.

“I loved batik and I did it in high school,” she said. “I always wondered if you brought illustration training to batik, as batik is really a craft. So when my son went to school, I bought the materials. But it wasn’t easy to learn as not a lot of people are teaching batik anymore.”

She contacted a number of notable batik artists, who were “so generous with their knowledge and information,” she said.

Allphin submitted an image to the Norfork Art Center, which holds a prestige jury exhibit in the Midwest, and she won Best of Show about five years ago. That honor led to invitations to display her work at other galleries and shows.

Allphin said she has had a discussion with others about batik with textiles and not canvas, which is the medium she uses for her art.

“Batik is a very ancient craft that is found in every culture,” she said. “Every culture had dyes and wax. Its history is beautifully rich. They all brought their own culture to it.”

Her batik art has also drawn the interest of artists and scholars from around the world because of its intricate design and her unique style. “I bring my own cultural influences into my batik,” Allphin said.

Those cultural influences reflect her Nebraska upbringing and the inspiration of the changing seasons, native grasses and vast prairie landscapes.

Allphin said batik is a challenging medium. Her goal and purpose as an artist is to push its limits to a level of fine art. Allphin utilizes her knowledge of illustration and design, experimenting with nontraditional batik materials to produce the complicated color blends and combinations.

Today, Allphin said many batiks are created by painting the dye on the fabric. This is considered a faux batik method. Allphin said she prefers to use the ancient vat dying method when applying dyes to textiles.

“Her batik is done on paper on very large canvases and they are gorgeous.” said Stuhr Museum curator Kari Stofer, who organized the show. “She has a very abstract and intimate depiction of the cranes and the process of the migration. One of her works is the cranes gathered at the river, and you get that feeling with the swirls and all the different concepts she puts into it as the cranes come in and kind of land on your heart.”

Allphin was featured in the April 2016 issue of Art and Architecture magazine as an emerging artist. Her work has been purchased for use on Hollywood movie sets, and by corporations, hospitals and private collectors as far away as Canada and Sri Lanka.

Allphin also teaches classes for both beginner and more experienced artists. She said each class is taught with “patient encouragement and the practical goal that you will enjoy creating art for the rest of your life.” She also teaches piano.

Wings Over the Platte will run through April 9. The show is open during regular museum hours, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. There will also be a free reception to conclude the exhibit on Sunday, April 9.


Information from: The Grand Island Independent, https://www.theindependent.com

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