BY DAVID WILLARD
Albert Einstein once said, “Where the world ceases to be the scene of our personal hopes and wishes, where we face it as free beings admiring, asking and observing, there we enter the realm of Art and Science.” This realm of thought is one of deep contemplation and awareness. It is an existence that artists strive for, and it is a place that Beth Spieler knows all too well.
“My early childhood was spent in central Australia. This had a great impact on my experience, traveling across the globe, exploring the outdoors, cracking rocks open and digging in the dirt at such a young age. My love for nature was established here, early on. We came back to the States when I was 8 and lived in Southern Pennsylvania, where the landscape was completely different but still fascinating,” says Spieler.
Spieler’s journey’s started as a child whose family was instrumental in her success. “I’ve been captivated by nature from the beginning. Nature and home have always been my favorite places. It is here where I began to create art. As a young girl, I would draw at home for hours on end. It is still one of my favorite past times, to draw. Whether outdoors or in, as long as I have a pencil and a piece of paper, there is always something to do. My mother treated the word ‘bored’ like a bad word. Her emphasis on always challenging my brain has paid off; I’m never bored. Thankfully, you can always create art,” she notes.
“Because I spent so much time drawing as a young girl, art came naturally to me,” continues Spieler. “In 6th grade, I won a poster contest for the American Heart Association in York, Pennsylvania. I remember being surprised that my design won. I suppose this is the first time I realized that other people liked my art, too. It was such a part of me, but I didn’t know I could create art my whole life and was focused on having another career goal. In college, studying music, I realized that my passion was in fact, studio art. I ended up majoring in studio art and loved every minute of it.”
Spieler hasn’t looked back since, and in fact, has explored her art form to find her current works. “In exploring other methods to create art, I’ve been commissioned to make several large pieces of art from torn paper. By creating my piece of art from other parts of imagery, I have found great satisfaction in this technique. I use the textures found in everyday magazine images to form the picture I’m making. It sounds confusing, and can be. It’s like creating a puzzle, by finding the pieces in other printed material, tearing the sections out and gluing them into place to create the final image. This has become one of my proudest methods of creating art. I am currently finishing my second piece like this. It is a blue heron in flight and is 98% complete. It is a time-consuming method, but very gratifying,” Spieler comments.
Spieler’s vision or hope for her work is to be something much more than a piece to admire. “To me, art is something that moves you. I want a piece of art to draw me in, for a closer look. This is a motivation behind much of my design work. It is important that my art captivates the viewer, if even for a minute. Whatever form art takes, whether music, dance, poetry, painting, drawing or a multitude of other creative methods, at the point when the observer is drawn in, art has made an impact. It is art,” she concludes.
Admired, felt, moved to emotion, and taken away. These are all ways that art can make the viewer feel. Beth Spieler takes this knowledge and invites each person who takes the time, to not only see the work, but also see her journey to make it – how each piece is important to the next, and how intricate it all is. Much like our own journeys and experiences, and indeed, our lives, it is the small pieces or moments that truly define the whole. It is with that knowledge that Beth Spieler has joined the downtown patchwork, and the whole is better for it.