Many talents

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Multi-talented Mary Turner is the featured artist at the Colley Complex’s Annual Art Exhibit at the Colley Annex on Elm Street. The exhibit opened Sunday, Oct. 11 and is sponsored by the Colley Complex Art Guild.

The exhibit also includes the artwork of Guild members and others who are enrolled in the wide range of art classes at the Complex.

“We wanted to feature Mary because she has had her fingers in anything and everything to do with fiber and art since she was little and sewing doll clothes,” said Suzette Helms, Art Guild president. “For many years, she stitched in private for herself and her friends. Her current passion is creating in crochet. Her other projects include quilting, embroidery, stained glass and fun things from the hardware store.”

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Helms said Mary Turner is the kind of person she would want living next door.

“She’s artistic, patient, funny, a wonderful teacher and she can do everything,” Helms said. “She is just one of those awesome people you want to spend time with. Her priorities are all in the right place. You just realize that she’ll inspire you.”

Turner considers herself a crafter, not an artist.

“I don’t even pretend to be an artist,” she said, with a smile. “I just enjoy doing things with my hands, from crocheting to ceramics, from tatting to quilting, from pottery to woodworking and upholstery. I just enjoy doing it all.”

The diversity of Turner’s talents is every more amazing because she has been hampered by rheumatoid arthritis since she was in her late teens.

“I had a good doctor and he told me to keep my hands busy,” she said. “He said if I let my hands stop, I wouldn’t be able to get them started back again. I haven’t let them stop.”

If pushed into a corner, Turner said she would have to say that crocheting is her favorite needlework but quilting comes in a close second.

“But really, the only kind of needlework that I don’t do is knitting,” she said. “I tried it and I just didn’t like it.”

Turner especially enjoys creating pieces for those special people in her life, something as simple as a cross-stitch piece for a grandbaby or a Civil War uniform for a grandson who is a re-enactor.

“Chris (Rouse) played the role of Gen. Winfield Scott in the movie, “Trail of Tears,” and Hollywood didn’t have a uniform for him so I made one,” Turner said, with obvious pride, not of her work but of her grandson, who is active duty military.

“He takes his leave time to participate in reenactments of the Civil War and the War of 1812.”

Turner’s talents are on display in the featured artist room in the Colley Annex.

Several other rooms are devoted to the work of other Colley Complex artists.

The Colley Complex Annual Art Exhibit will hang until Oct. 24.

There is no admission charge and the public is invited.

The exhibit will be open all day on Thursdays and on request at the Colley Senior Complex on Elm Street.

For more information, call the Complex at 808-8500.