Fresh and Fascinating

BY: Tonya Abeln | Fashion
SOURCE: Voice Tribune
April 12, 2017

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Gone are the days of the Kentucky Derby when hats served any practical purpose. Now, when putting together a track ensemble, everyone is looking for the next best thing in headwear. This year, Revelry Boutique Gallery may have just found it in paper flower wearable art.

“We’re excited to invite local artist Alyson Thiel for her first solo exhibit this Derby season,” announced Revelry owner Mo McKnight Howe. “‘Fresh Cut’ will be a celebration of handmade, paper botanicals in various form fascinators, headpieces and bouquets to display art and terrariums. As everlasting creations, paper flowers offer a conscious alternative that allows for whimsical and lightweight wearable art and decor.”

Alyson, who studied painting at Denison University, also studied abroad in France focusing on landscape painting. It was there that she fell in love with the connection between nature and art. Since graduation, she has taught everything from pre-school children to clay workshops with elementary students, creating personal interest in the experimentation of other artistic mediums. She says she more or less fell into creating paper flowers.

“I have a lot of plants that I don’t take very good care of and I was looking for a creative way to decorate my home,” Alyson shares with a laugh. “It quickly became much less of a craft hobby and more of a way for me to express myself artistically. As a painter, I find that making paper flowers is a great way to satisfy my love of texture, color, shape and line. Although I lover replicating flowers that you can find in nature, I really enjoy creating things that I want to see in the world.”

As she moved toward more whimsical shapes and sizes, she thought, “Wouldn’t that be cool to wear on your head?” Luckily in Louisville, there is plenty of opportunity to do just that. Initially, Alyson attached the oversized paper florals to clips, eventually creating more elaborate fascinators and even hat flowers that could be added to decorate existing hats. Now, she even designs custom creations for clients. “If you give me a color and an abstract idea, I can make it work,” she explains. “Or, I’ve even had someone bring a photo in and said, ‘I want exactly that,’ which I can do too.”

Mo explains that the type of work that Alyson will be exhibiting at Revelry is ahead of trend. “People love the sustainability of paper and felt flowers. It’s a theme I see so much lately incorporated into weddings and contemporary art,” she says. “People want something that can keep forever that isn’t going to wilt or die.” She bets that the teaming of creativity and sustainability will be a winning combination for Louisville, but it doesn’t just end with Derby.

“Alyson is not only making cool fascinators and hat flowers, but she also makes beautiful bouquets that you can give your mom for Mother’s Day. The gallery will feel like a floral shop when you walk in,” Mo describes. “Plus, the bouquets can also make very cool hostess gifts for Derby time.”

Alyson’s creations appeal to the Derby-goer who wants something different. “There is definitely an avant-garde factor to these hand-painted and hand-created designs,” Mo shares. “Revelry will also get turbans and other locally made options in our window.”

Revelry’s selections always have an edge to them, plus you can take pride in knowing that you are purchasing something handmade by a local artist. Alyson’s creations average a very reasonable $50 with custom creations ranging from $35 to $100. You are invited to adorn yourself and enjoy a celebration of the exhibit, “Fresh Cut” by artist Alyson Thiel, Friday, April 14 from 7 to 10 p.m. at Revelry Boutique Gallery (742 E. Market St.). VT

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