Make us your home page

Altered Minds gives like-minded artists an opportunity to create


For members of the Altered Minds mixed media art group, a monthly gathering with those who share a flair for coloring outside the lines is fuel for creation.

"They are all nuts," fabric artist Edda Juhl, 75, said with a chuckle as she waited her turn at the craft of making marble-painted paper. "They all have a different outlook on life, and they are not afraid to try new things."

"They" are painters, jewelers, sculptors, fractured artists, fabric artists and upcyclers with a knack for exploration.

"Any discipline you can think of, we have someone who is doing it," said Carol Wutzl, 73, an upcycler who can turn most anything designated for the trash — lamps, window frames, buttons, baseballs — into works of art.

Gatherings are held once a month, usually at the New Port Richey Library, unless the project is likely to be messy. Then members open up their homes for a morning lesson, show-and-tell, and lunch, of course.

"You get to try something you wouldn't ordinarily do — play in some other medium," said facilitator Ellen DeIntinis, 64, one of a handful of artists who 10 years ago formed the original group, then known as the Pasco Service Design Group.

"It's a wonderful bunch of ladies, and we all have a grand time," said Lauren Carr, 66, who owns Gateway Gallery and Emporium in downtown New Port Richey and makes whimsical sculptures out of palm tree boots and other yard waste. "It's craziness, but fun craziness."

Two years ago, Palma "Peachie" Lawrence, 67, answered an invitation to teach a lesson on chalk painting on furniture, and ended up joining.

"I love this group because we do different stuff all the time, and we can apply it to whatever we are working on," Lawrence said.

Each month, one member steps up to share and teach an art project, whether it be a medium they work with regularly or something they decided to try on a whim.

July's happy gathering had Margaret McLoy, 59, teaching 10 members how to make marbled paper in an aluminum tray on a pool table turned craft table in Carr's New Port Richey home while her two dogs, Woodrow and Gandolf, nosed about.

"I like the people a lot. I find it's motivating to try new things and get the feedback," said McLoy, who works in ceramics, quilting and jewelrymaking.

Camaraderie is an essential glue for the group, which sprang from a local quilting group that some, like Betty Mitchell, found too confining. She preferred more abstract creations to making perfect corners for her quilts.

"If you don't come and keep contact with other artists, you find yourself not doing it," said Mitchell, 91. "There's so many different things going on here."

"It's mostly become a circle of friends," said mixed media artist Trish Farmlett. "We've had as many as 25 (members). People drop out and drop in."

The diversity, generosity of the artists and the need to keep various techniques alive is what appeals to Karen Jaenichen, 72, a fractured artist who teaches children's classes at the Gateway Gallery and Emporium.

"We need to pass on the information, what you've learned, because we're not going to be here forever," Jaenichen said.

Being on the receiving end of that information is a boon, said Ronnie Dewa, 45, an artist who traditionally works in felt, fiber art, leather, glasswork and metal.

"The women are all down-to-earth and fun to be with," Dewa said. "It's always fun to come here. It's like therapy."

Contact Michele Miller at Follow @MicheleMiller52.

>>fast facts

Ready for a mind-altering experience?

Altered Minds welcomes guests and members on a space-available basis. Meetings are at 10 a.m. the second Tuesday of each month. Most meetings are at the New Port Richey Library, 5929 Main St., though some are at members' homes. Contact Lauren Carr at (727) 372-9697.

Altered Minds gives like-minded artists an opportunity to create 08/14/17 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 16, 2017 5:19pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Saturday festival will celebrate the sweet potato


    NEW PORT RICHEY — It's harvest time for the sweet potato.

    MICHELE MILLER |  TIMESMore than 300 pounds of sweet potatoes have been harvested from local organic gardens for the inaugural Sweet Potato Round-Up and Fall Farming Festival set for this weekend in New Port  Richey. Those who go will be able to purchase sweet potatoes and get some hints on what to grow during the hot summer months, said Sylvia Spencer, shown here, manager if the Habitat garden as well as the Grand Garden Community Plot on Grand Boulevard.
  2. We Tried That: Can you throw a cocktail party for less than $25?


    Power drills scream. Rain drops fleck my skin, small pinpricks of cold. I hurry my 9-month-old puppy down the street as my neighbors screw plywood to their windows, preparing for the arrival of Hurricane Irma.

    Today is a good day for a party.

    This Old Fashioned, made with Angostura orange bitters, is garnished with a maraschino cherry and a clementine twist.
  3. Musical impressionist headlines benefit comedy show in Riverview


    RIVERVIEW — The Regent, 6437 Watson Road in Riverview, will host the fifth annual Clean Comedy Night from 6-9:30 p.m. on Friday (Sept. 29).

    Kier is set to perform at the Clean Comedy Night at The Regent in Riverview. Luis Rivera is the opening act and Brian Kleinschmidt hosts the event.
  4. Philanthropists give storm-damaged Freefall Theatre a boost


    ST. PETERSBURG — The sun has come out for Freefall Theatre.

    The roof peeled back at Freefall Theatre due to winds from Hurricane Irma at 6099 Central Avenue in St. Petersburg. DIRK SHADD   |   Times
  5. Video: It's National Cheeseburger Day, and you don't have to spend $5,000 on this burger(w/video)


    Americans eat nearly 50 billion burgers a year, but today is National Cheeseburger Day.

    National Cheeseburger Day is Sept. 18, 2017. [Times files]