Spring Grove stained glass artist Vicky Kurk at work in her studio. One of her creations is now on display in the Spring Grove Public School media center, along with works from other regional artists. PHOTO: CRAIG MOORHEAD/SPRING GROVE HERALD<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 --><br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->
Spring Grove stained glass artist Vicky Kurk at work in her studio. One of her creations is now on display in the Spring Grove Public School media center, along with works from other regional artists. PHOTO: CRAIG MOORHEAD/SPRING GROVE HERALD



A traveling exhibit of original artwork is now on display at the Spring Grove Public School Media Center. Sponsored by SELCO (Southeastern Libraries Cooperating), and SEMVA (Southeastern Minnesota Visual Artists), some two-dozen works are featured. The theme is an artistic interpretation of books, letters, authors, reading, or the library. The Easel (Experience Art in Southeastern Libraries) display will reside in Spring Grove until May 7.

What some folks may not realize is that Spring Grove artist Vicky Kurk's stained glass creation entitled "Letters With Light" is part of the tour.

"I chose to work with letters," Kurk said recently. "It began with a small drawing of the alphabet. I incorporated the drawing into stained glass and wrapped it in lead cane."

There's more going on in "Letters With Light" than an alphabet, however. More subtle messages are there for those who take the time to look.

"I enjoy designing and creating unique pieces," Kurk said in an "artist's statement" which the tour asked participants to submit. "Way up high in 'Letters With Light' is our golden sun shining down on the blue sky and the green grass. Within them is the harmony of warm colors: letters sharing their form with grace. Great satisfaction fills me when the glass reflects my smile, I know it's finished."

Spring Grove is Easel's third stop. There are a total of 13 through June of 2015, most of which will take place at public libraries. Kurk is the only Houston County artist featured. All of the works were required to measure one square foot.

Kurk's creations draw their inspiration from the natural beauty of her surroundings. They often include hand painted detail, which adds extra depth and meaning.

"The creativity comes out from within, and it's from above," she noted.

In another written statement, Kurk elaborated on the process. "I enjoy designing and creating unique glass pieces, it speaks without any words..." she said. "My drawings are adapted to lead lines that structurally support the glass. Every piece has its special place throughout the creation. The spectacular display of color drives me to construct windows.

"Detail is a passion to me. Hand painted and kiln fired brings in another dimension. The artistic creation magnifies the special warmth one feels in their heart."

Vicky and late husband Steven founded Clover Hill Studio in 2005, nestled in the Duck Creek valley of rural Spring Grove. She works from a hillside barn converted into a studio. According to the artist's bio, "Her creations are in galleries, homes, businesses, and even in a milking parlor. Vicky's studio has been on the Bluff Country Studio Art Tour since 2008, and is open by appointment."

It's worth noting that the above-mentioned art tour begins this week, running from April 25 to 27. That event features artists from throughout the region, including Winona, Lanesboro, Spring Grove, Houston, New Albin, Dorchester and Decorah. Studios will be open to the public from 10 to 5 on those three dates. Further details can be found at: bluffcountrystudioarttour.com.

"We invite people to explore the back roads and visit our studios," Kurk said.