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Washington Voices

Artist’s work has place for almost everything

Sat., June 15, 2013

Lisa Maddux’s North Side home looks like a magical cottage from the outside.

The small A-frame structure is heavily shaded and intricate twig fencing runs along one side, past an arbor and into a curious looking garden.

The outbuildings, used for chickens and storage, are made of salvaged materials; one of the doors has an aged branch in lieu of a door knob. More twig creations decorate the yard as do rock plant beds and organic-looking ceramic sculptures.

Compact discs decorate a fence and interesting mixed-media sculptures hang or sit randomly. Another area is filled with wood, metal and rolls of chicken wire that eventually could be turned into something useful or beautiful. “There is a sort of freedom in what I do,” Maddux said. “I used to make things for the pure joy of creating. Now, the simple joy has become a representation of freedom to create, to be and to connect to the world and others.”

Inside her home is controlled chaos with projects and supplies everywhere. A ceramic blowfish hangs from the ceiling, as does a papier-mâché trout and two ceramic dogs look up from the floor eagerly. There is a clay station, a painting station, an area to assemble things and hammer on metal, and a couple more areas to make jewelry or decorative dangling things. Her materials include bullet casings, copper, clay, paper, driftwood and other objects found on hiking, camping or fishing excursions.

Maddux grew up in Spokane. She took every available art class while at North Central High School, enjoying the tactile medium of clay the most. She then went on to Spokane Falls Community College to study graphic design and ended up earning certificates in fine arts and prosthetics. She also apprenticed with Sister Paula Turnbull at Holy Names, helping her with her copper sculptures, giving Maddux experience with the medium. Later, she worked for a few years as a prosthetic technician in Portland, learning how to problem-solve with an array of materials and tools.

Now, she is self-employed as Jill-of-all-trades who cleans, fixes things, paints and builds. Her problem-solving skills come in handy in everything she does, as does her desire to connect with the world and the things, animals and people that inhabit it.

“Art for me has always been a bridge to life,” she said, “When I create I feel energy and a connection. It is a celebration of my life’s journey though the world.”

Lately, she has been helping artist Melissa Cole install some public works in Post Falls. Currently, Maddux has some of her work at Gold Bay, 4201 N. Division St., and is the featured artist at Hayden City Hall through August. On Sept. 14, she will bring her bullet-casing jewelry to Art on Broadway, a one-day art event on the corner of Broadway Avenue and Argonne Road.

A set of earrings made out of shotgun and .22-caliber shell casings made by Lisa Maddux. (Photo: Colin Mulvany)

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