Stevensville rib­bon artist to be fea­tured at Ar­ti­sans Fes­ti­val

The Kent Island Bay Times - - Front Page - By HAN­NAH COMBS hcombs@kibay­times.com

STEVENSVILLE — Wende Wood­ham of Stevensville will be the fea­tured artist at the Ro­tary Ar­ti­sans Fes­ti­val in early Oc­to­ber at Ch­e­sa­peake Col­lege. Wood­ham has a unique craft that cre­ates pic­tures out of bits of rib­bon. Her works have dis­played in ex­hibits across the state and in pri­vate col­lec­tions world­wide.

“As a tomboy, from the time I could crawl, I spent more time in trees than on the ground,” said Wood­ham. “One of those climb­ing ad­ven­tures brought me face to face with an ex­quis­ite nest fas­tened tightly into the fork of an old oak tree I was chal­leng­ing that day. There, an­chored solidly in the crotch, was the most per­fect ‘bowl’ of mud, leaves and twigs I had ever seen. It con­tained three, bright blue eggs and, to my amaze­ment, one of my sis­ter’s col­or­ful, plaid, hair rib­bons. Mama Robin had wo­ven this lost rib­bon in and out so tightly and with such pre­ci­sion that I knew im­me­di­ately it was the very in­stru­ment that held her world to­gether.”

That mo­ment started Wood­ham down a self-de­scribed path of ad­dic­tion, col­lec­tion, and later in life a ca­reer in rib­bon artistry. From that day for­ward, Wood­ham said she col­lected rib­bons wher­ever and when­ever she trav­eled — both na­tion­ally and in­ter­na­tion­ally — Wood­ham found her­self trav­el­ing as she spent 10 years work­ing for the govern­ment and 24 with the U.S. Army.

Fi­nally, in 2001, Wood­ham said she found the time and op­por­tu­nity to uncage her pent up cre­ativ­ity and deemed her­self an “Artist of Rib­bonry” and es­tab­lished her own com­pany, “Rib­bons Across the Ch­e­sa­peake.”

Wood­ham said she started this new en­deavor by cre­at­ing ab­stract rib­bon weav­ings for clients’ walls us­ing a va­ri­ety of weav­ing tech­niques and pat­terns and the same rib­bons she had by then col­lected from all over the world. Most rib­bonry [sic] up to that point dealt with pil­lows, flow­ers, hair bows, and pack­age wrap­ping. Wood­ham said she stepped out by tak­ing it to the walls and re­mains one of only a hand­ful of artists that work in this medium to­day.

In 2006, Wood­ham said she be­came a bit bored with cre­at­ing in the ab­stract genre and de­cided to try her hand at cre­at­ing ac­tual rib­bon “pic­tures.” To those weav­ings she added fab­ric, fibers, snip­pets of pa­per, and paint to cre­ate her rib­bon “scenes” of to­day — spe­cial­iz­ing in de­signs that rep­re­sent the beau­ti­ful Ch­e­sa­peake Bay.

“I love to cap­ture the bold, bright, col­ors that sur­round us ev­ery day on the East­ern Shore and strive to bring a lit­tle taste of our Bay to each per­son that is ex­posed to my one of a kind, rib­bon cre­ations,” said Wood­ham.

In re­cent years, Wood­ham dis­cov­ered al­co­hol-based inks. “The inks were bold, bright, and eye-pop­ping and they com­ple­mented my rib­bon artistry per­fectly,” said Wood­ham. She in­cor­po­rated those inks into rib­bon papers and fibers to of­fer a new di­men­sion to her work, and has cre­ated a com­plete line of hand painted art cuffs, art pen­dants, and art ear­rings. They are a fun, funky and col­or­ful way to dress up your body as well as your walls, said Wood­ham.

“Al­though I love to dab­ble in other art forms, I al­ways re­turn to my stu­dio and the book­cases full of Utz Pret­zel jars con­tain­ing the most mag­nif­i­cent art medium in the world — rib­bons,” said Wood­ham.

This year Wood­ham said she is fo­cus­ing on tak­ing her de­signs into the realm of print me­dia hop­ing to al­low a greater num­ber of peo­ple the chance to see and en­joy her cre­ations. She also par­tic­i­pates in rib­bon weav­ing demon­stra­tions with art, com­mu­nity and women’s groups and said she en­joys see­ing other peo­ple’s re­ac­tions to her heart’s pas­sion.

Among Wood­ham’s clients are the Gin­ger Cove Re­tire­ment Com­mu­nity in An­napo­lis, the U.S. Naval Acad­emy and the Na­tional Ri­fle As­so­ci­a­tion.

Wood­ham’s home stu­dio on Kent Is­land is her de­sign “port” and where she al­ways stands ready to wel­come new ideas and chal­lenges. Com­mis­sions are al­ways hap­pily ac­cepted, Wood­ham said. Visit Wood­ham at the Ro­tary Ar­ti­sans Fes­ti­val in Wye Mills in Oc­to­ber or on­line at www.rib­bon­sacross­thech­esa­peake.com.

WENDE WOOD­HAM

Heron, a rib­bon work by Wende Wood­ham.

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