Friday, September 16, 2016

In a Park of Downtown Hastings, Michigan, Wilbo Discovers a Woman Who Makes "What Once Was Old New Again".

Aug 28, 2016 10:53 AM

I've gone "sailing" the state in my Trailblazer, looking for story. Heading south-east of Grand Rapids, I crossed into the county seat of Barry County, Hastings Michigan. Part farm town, part center of government and part insurance center, Hastings today celebrates on the courthouse square with a festival of fine arts and crafts. On the main street, locals have fielded a car show of antique, vintage and custom cars. Near the courthouse fountain, Victoria Alt has raised her white tent for her second outdoor show, exhibiting a collection of jewelry boxes transformed by her art and imagination. Her creative breakthrough began when her daughter asked to paint a bedroom wall turquoise. Then, daughter's jewelry box no longer matched the room. Mom understood, and with paint and wallpaper, Mom executed all of her daughter's suggestions to arrive at a perfect, one-of-a-kind jewelry box that matched the room again. As goes Victoria Alt's motto, "What once was old is new again". Alt began picking through the thrift shops of Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Battle Creek and Lansing, paying up to ten dollars for a jewelry box in good shape. Now the boxes await by the scores in her garage, work room and basement. She has yet to find two jewelry boxes alike. That's a cool fact when one considers Jewelry Boxes were manufactured in multiples. She draws her daughter close during the cleaning and planning steps. Her daughter divulges fresh and current words to stencil upon the old wood, #YOLO but hold the #Tubular. The two think what colors of paint, what wallpaper themes will work with the box. Then the artist takes a drive for groceries or maybe to the school, and the scheme arrives to her mind unbidden. The results on sale in her tent speak for themselves and leave one a little speechless. One is reminded of the intuitive magnificence of Tyree Guyton on the Heidelberg Project in Detroit or the independent vision of Reb Roberts, Sanctuary Art Gallery. Given time, the work could become as famous as that of Howard Finster. That said, nothing on display here would be inappropriate in a young girl's room, so a sense of design dominates. Hoping people will just start giving her jewelry boxes, sparing her travel time, gas money and ten dollars a box. She'll happily talk with your favorite young one to pay perfect a jewelry box just for her. Reach out through the Facebook page.
 — feeling amused at Hastings Summer Festival.

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