Sewickley library curator explores her own talents
By Joanne Barron
Published: Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2013, 8:25 p.m.
Randi Morgan is right where she always wanted to be — but not exactly in the way that she planned, she said.
Morgan, Sewickley Public Library exhibits curator for about a decade, once had dreamed of being a librarian, but somewhere along the line, her interests turned to art.
For many years, she focused on other artists, but about five years ago, the Leet woman began to explore her own talents.
Morgan began to take jewelry-making classes with instructor Pat Falbo at the Sweetwater Center for the Arts in Sewickley.
Now, her art will be featured in Sweetwater Center for the Arts Holiday mART for the third year. It is the first time her jewelry is displayed in the library, along with other artists in a Holiday mART display.
Other artists featured in the exhibit include: Debbie McLaren of Sewickley, a Sweetwater instructor, who creates art pieces from various musical instruments; Sister Charlotte Tolliver, a Sweetwater instructor, a member of the Sisters of Divine Providence in McCandless and a ceramics artist; Cathy Susko of Glen Osborne, a jewelry and fiber artist; Pat Falbo of Fox Chapel, a Sweetwater instructor and jewelry artist; Melissa Sullivan, of Gibsonia, a ceramics artist; and Cynthia Shafer of Marshall, who creates art from natural materials, such as seed pods and insect wings.
Morgan's jewelry — mostly rings and bracelets — is made of stainless steel, copper or brass. Her prices range from $25 to $150.
Her rings start off as just a single stone or gem that she either finds, cuts and polishes herself or chooses from the materials provided in her Sweetwater class.
One ring she particularly likes, she said, is a strawberry quartz featuring “little bubbles.” Another has orange and greenish-black decorations featured on the original stone.
She makes earrings of grapevine with polyurethane and enamel, which will be on sale at the event.
“As a member of my Sweetwater metalsmithing class for several years, I can say that Randi's work is meticulous and her ideas most creative,” Falbo said.
Morgan, who said she wanted to do “something good,” with her art, said the Holiday mART fundraiser seemed the right place to start.
At first, she said, she did her art just to please herself, but after selling some pieces at last year's Sweetwater celebration, it makes her feel good to know others like it, too.
Morgan said she began to fall in love with art as she read children's books to her son, Max Garber; marveled at the “fabulous” illustrations; and wondered where the original pieces were.
Her first display in the library — in 2001 — featured art from children's book illustrators.
After studying English at the University of Wisconsin, she had planned to continue her education by studying library science.
Instead, she worked in several departments for the federal government in Kansas City and Chicago, worked for a photographer in Chicago and then in art galleries in Chicago and Santa Monica, Calif.
She moved to Leet when her husband, Jordan Garber, got a job in the Pittsburgh area.
Although she never realized her dream of becoming a librarian, she said, she feels lucky that she has been able to merge her two loves — the library and art — and now can move on to explore the artist within herself.
Joanne Barron is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-324-1406 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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