Beatriz "Soco" Ocampo
Mixed Media Artist
I paint, construct sculpture, and quilt. As a self-taught artist working with acrylics, oils, and pastels, my work has been described by one critic as "colorful and expressionistic, with big brush strokes, reminiscent of 'primitive art.'" My sculptures are assemblages of everyday, free resources. I recycle many different materials. My efforts in this medium are nourished by New Orleans' quest for neighborhood and architectural preservation. The expression goes, "One man's trash is another man's treasure." In my case, one man's discard is this woman's art. Since 2000, my occupation has been restoring fine, handmade rugs and textiles. I have my own business, "Natural Weavings." Recently, I've been working with a quilt group that uses African-American designs and materials.
The O Bracelet Project: When my father went to Rwanda two years ago, I asked him to try to locate some women who did weaving or textile crafts so my quilting group could communicate with them and possibly share a quilt project. So when I was invited to participate in The O Bracelet Project, I was hooked. It was like a call from God. It was as if there was an invisible string connecting the ladies in Rwanda with all of us here. This project is a dream come true.
Mixed Media Artist
My work is multi-media, using painting, digital printmaking, photography, and installation. The goal of my art is to introduce a different cultural view of the world. I am a Latina, and for the past ten years I have been exploring the confusing roles of the Latina woman in the 20th and 21st centuries. It is my goal to confront society's stereotypical depictions of minorities and change them to an image of pride. My recent artwork was my reaction to the catastrophe of Katrina. The images are of the Aztec and Mayan gods and goddesses of wind, rain, rivers, flood, and hurricanes. I was calling on the divine for inspiration and therapy; I was calling on my ancestors to help New Orleans and its citizens.
The O Bracelet Project: Working on the O bracelet program means a great deal to me. It has brought me together with women artists I haven't seen since the storm. It has giving me a connection with wonderful women in Rwanda. I am grateful that I can use my skills as an artist to benefit other women in need. This project has filled my heart with love for women I have not met.
Cecelia (Cely) Tapplette-Pedescleaux
Quilter and Fiber Artist
I make traditional and art quilts, decorative items, wall hangings, clothing, and accessories, using all types of fabric. I knit, crochet, bead, and paint, sometimes all at once; most of my work is embellished. I am a "fabric-holic." I started quilting because of lack of money. I bought a quilted apron and potholder kit, for $1.00, one Christmas in the late '60s. All my family and friends received aprons and potholders that Christmas. I thought, "If I can make aprons, surely I could make a whole quilt." One of my inspirations is the Mardi Indians at every Mardi Gras in the 7th Ward. Seeing their elaborate costumes, I just had to experiment with beads, feathers, marvelous colored fabric, cardboard, and wire. It has not ended yet; I am still experimenting and learning. The O Bracelet Project
: I was so excited to join this project. I met artists in the community that I did not know personally, and reunited with artists I do know. We are supporting each other's art and rebuilding our destroyed homes from the levee break and wind damages due to Hurricane Katrina. I felt such a bond with the women from Rwanda. Even though our tragedy is not the same, we both have a sense of financial, community, and family loss. It is an amazing feeling, women helping women through our art to sustain our lives.
Mixed Media ArtistDutchAlleyOnline.com
My work is an evolution of contemporary African-influenced, mixed-media art. I use pencil, ink, cardstock, polymer clay, imported African cloth, and other fibers to create unique one-of-a-kind art pieces depicting women dancing, singing, and praising in celebration of life. I've always drawn and made costume jewelry, and 10 years ago I taught myself to use polymer clay to make Afrocentric beads. These made my jewelry unique and prompted me to create a dancing sister brooch, clothed in African fabrics. That brooch ultimately evolved into a series of framed mix-media art works that are lively and fun. The O Bracelet Project
: The O
project is an opportunity for me and other women to use our skills as artists to assist in making jewelry that financially benefits women in Rwanda, and that brings attention to the plight of women in Rwanda and around the world.
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