Gae Sharp Richardson grew up in rural Iowa attending the School of Gramma Daisy where she learned the fine art of hand stitching, sock darning, quilt piecing, and visible mending.
Teddy Bear Artist: In 1985, Gae began experimenting with the idea of creating a relaxed bear that could pse 100 different ways. When she watched her brothers kick a hacky-sack ball around the yard, she wondered: "What would happen if I put beads in a bear?" Her posable handmade bear was a huge success and she quickly became known as the Original Creator of the Jointed Bean Bag Bear. In the late 80's, to keep up with demand, Gae licensed her original design\s to a teddy bear company that mass produced her bears, rabbits, and cats in China and were sold in stores all over the world.
Mixed Media Fiber Artist: Gae is a self taught mixed media artist with an emphasis on found object assemblages and reusing clothing, textiles, and fibers in the construction of whimsically detailed dolls, sticks, balls, and wine corks. Gae's artistic goal has always been to achieve a controlled chaos with a combination of hand stiched accents and wonky machine stitching using her 1940 Black Singer sewing machine, just like her Gramma Daisy. In her art, Gae strives to create an asymmetrical balance of unexpected texture and colors by wrapping intricate layers of vintage and antique fabric and lace with metallic threads, wire, and yarns on anything that doesn't move. Gae's fiber art is often embellished with an over exaggerated amount of repurposed glass beads, vintage sewing notions a& buttons, and glittery trims.
Chocolate Artist: in 2004, Mr. & Mrs, Richardson bought a little chocolate shop in Atkins, Iowa and Gae quickly learned that making chocolate is also an art. In 2006, they moved the growing business to Uptown Marion where they became known as THE place to buy beautiful handmade chocolate treats in a unique retail space decorated with Gae's original art. In the summer of 2021, they sold the chocolate shop and retired.
Now full time grandparents, Gae and her husband divide their time between her studios in their home in Marion's historic Pucker Street District, their whimsical twelve-sided home in the mountains of Colorado and her "Road Trip Studio" in the passenger of their white travel van. After 45 years of marketing and selling her art, Gae is taking a break from the world of retail and exploring how retirement inspires her as she stitches her way into the next chapter of her creative adventure.
In 2006, a camera crew for the television show, "That's Clever", came to my house to film me making a doll that involved wrapping strips of fabric and yards of wire * yarn into a colorful layered fairy costume. They were there for eight hours. I gleefully explained to the camera that I can find a way to wrap anything with textiles and wire. At the end of the day, they filmed me chasing my two year old gradson around the yard with a piece of string and closed the segments with: That's a Wrap. The phrase has been a source of inspiration to me ever since. I wrap dolls. I wrap chairs. I wrap balls. I wrap sticks. The twelve large wall pieces in my CSPS Hall exhibition organize 365 days of wrapped and stitched corks into the calendar months of 2022. This show represents a new phase in my life. I am wrapping up forty five years of owning businesses where I spent my days making and selling my bears and dolls and balls and chocolate. Newly retired, I'm spending more time in my studios, loving the process of making my art - simply for the joy of creating.
1103 3rd St SE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52401
Thursday - Sunday
12:00 - 6:00PM
Photo Credit: Ikkens Images & Emma's Cellar Door
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