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Entries in art (2)


A Go West Mom You Should Know: Sharon Sychta

If you’ve ever visited the family-centered “Awesome Art Afternoons” at Water Street Studios in Batavia on a Sunday afternoon, you’ve likely met Sharon Sychta, our latest Go West Mom You Should Know.

Artist Sharon Sychta. Photo provided.Sychta, 47, is an artist who volunteers at WSS creating and organizing the art projects for that free, drop-in event. She lives in Batavia with her husband Jim Sychta, a vice president for company that produces commercial and industrial lighting. They have twin 15-year-old girls and an 18-year-old daughter who just headed off to college, a transition that Sychta admits was “traumatic” for her as a mom.

I decided I just had to do a Q&A with Sychta after my daughter and I visited an Awesome Art Afternoon this summer. Not only did we have fun with the project (glue, salt and watercolors!) but a friendly chat with Sychta provided me with a multitude of new ways to entertain my preschooler cheaply and creatively. Read on for more ideas from Sychta and learn about why she’s definitely a Go West Mom You Should Know.

Q. Can you describe when and how you were drawn to creating artwork?  

A. I have always been an artist. I remember living in the city and playing in the gangways between the city bungalows digging in the mud and loving the texture. I remember hanging out with my grandfather that lived in the top floor of our bungalow.

We used to create all kinds of things with scraps of wood, old screws, washers and anything else he had laying around in the basement and the garage. I truly believe this was a major influence in my love for 3D Sculpture. 

My mother was always an influence when it came to art. She is a painter. Her medium is acrylics. I also had some great experience during my grade school and junior high days. I really enjoyed my junior high art teacher, Bill Voss. He pushed me and gave me many opportunities to develop my fondness for sculpture. I started out hand-building with clay trying all kinds of techniques, coil, slab, pinch and moving on to wheel throwing. I continued ceramics in high school and into college. I had my first show at the Naper Settlement in Naperville during my junior high school days.

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A Go West Mom You Should Know: Aurora artist and teacher Lisa Manning

Aurora artist Lisa Lentz Manning has lived in Idaho and California, Italy and Japan, and in addition to creating her own artwork, she’s been involved in teaching or instruction nearly the entire time. But it’s back in her hometown of Aurora that Manning has taken the leap and opened up her very own art studio, where she is offering classes for both adults and children.

Lisa Lentz Manning. Photo courtesy of Nido Art Studio.Nido Art Studio is located on the west side of Aurora, in a charming little brick building. While Manning’s specialties are fiber art and printmaking, she has trained in a wide variety of techniques over the years. Nido offers classes in subjects including ceramics, illustration, cartooning, printmaking and drawing.

Manning, 36, can’t really recall a time when she wasn’t enchanted with creating art. Memories of her childhood including sitting at her family’s dining room table, making projects out of the jumble of art supplies her mom kept in a huge drawer. She was drawing still life pictures at the age of 8, and she loved the box of fabric scraps given to her by her aunt as a birthday gift. She taught herself how to make doll clothes using those pieces, and other female relatives taught her how to cross-stitch and crochet. “I was a more quiet, introverted kid who did quiet things,” she said.

Manning has a bachelor’s of fine arts from St. Mary’s College in South Bend, Ind., and a master’s degree in fine arts from the University of Idaho. She has been creating and selling her own artwork for years, most recently a line of clothing for children called Nido Threads that features cute appliqués, tie-dyed tops and skirts, and hand-stiched felt barrettes. Manning does all of the dying, screen-printing, embroidery and appliqué by hand.

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