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June 21, 2024

Sew Much Gratitude: A Reunion With Animals Through Collage and Paint

sewn paper collage of hippo in water

The construction finishing up at the Fishers branch of Hamilton East Public Library has given the library and Ignite Studio space to display artwork inside the newly renovated north entrance. You may have already seen our collaborative exhibit with the Fishers Arts Council for March Disability Awareness Month there, or maybe you have seen the artwork produced during the Fishers Make-Off on display. Now, we also get the opportunity to begin hosting singular artist’s work in that space, starting with a couple of artists who have been heavily involved with Ignite Studio and HEPL. This is a chance to show off how talented members of the HEPL community are! Kicking off this exciting new program is visual artist Gina Baird.

Gina Baird is a visual artist who has participated in numerous group exhibits here at Ignite. She won first place for her ceramics work in our 2023 The 700 Collection juried exhibit and later that year, also won first place in our juried exhibit The Sustenance Show. She was also selected as one of ten participating artists in our first ever Fishers Make-Off event in May 2024. Gina is a multi-talented artist and a valued member of the HEPL community. Enjoy her exhibit, Sew Much Gratitude: A Reunion With Animals Through Collage and Paint, on display near the glass cone in the north entrance at the Fishers Library from June 28th to August 9th, 2024.

Woman in red sweater smiling back over he shoulder with a painting of mountain and animals in the background.

Gina and her winning artwork from 2023’s juried The Sustenance Show group exhibit.

About the Artist

Gina M. Baird, LMHC, ATR-BC, ATCS is a local multi-media artist and a credentialed art therapist. Gina received her Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology with an emphasis in Art Therapy from The Naropa University. Gina has maintained a private practice for over a decade. She has been awarded numerous grants throughout her 28 years as a therapist supporting her art and her clinical work. Gina is named as one of the 2024 Hoosier Women Artists. Along with awards for leadership as adjunct faculty and winning numerous grants over the years, she was awarded a fellowship of Creative Renewal through the Indiana Arts Council in 2020/2021. Gina’s art has been featured and published in numerous publications. In August 2024, Gina’s painting and a personal commentary on the art and her work with trauma survivors will be featured in Art Therapy and the Neuroscience of Trauma: Theoretical and Practical Perspectives 2nd Edition edited by Juliet King and Christianne Strang. Some of her other publications include Bruce Moon’s book Working with Images: The Art of Art Therapists and a painting is featured as the cover art for the published book Dream Manual for Therapists and Other Listeners by author Galen Martini.

About the Art

Art of hippo in water

“Pygmy Hippo in Dancing Waters”; 12×12; paper collage and thread

“Sew Much Gratitude: A Reunion With Animals Through Collage and Paint celebrates my love for animals and my passion for advocating for them. Most of my artwork features animals in some way, so I wanted this solo show to engage others in the contagious love and awe that is embedded in my animal portraits. Some of these works pay tribute to animals that are critically endangered, while other works are common animals that I believe we take for granted. As you look upon these portraits, try and guess which animals are endangered. It might surprise you. For me, when I look upon the endangered animal list, I experience shock, outrage, helplessness, and grief for the challenges and struggles that are facing our earth.

My process in creating the sewn collage was to tear paper that I have been saving for a long time as “precious” art materials. I tore the paper or marked the paper with paint symbolically to “ruin” or “deconstruct” the precious materials. Then, I reconstruct them together to create an image of an animal that was on my mind in the moment. The portraits were sewn together as a symbolic gesture of making them more permanent, but sewing paper perforates the image which for me was a way to symbolically pay tribute to an animal’s vulnerability.

I consulted a variety of websites to learn some interesting facts while creating this show. A portion of any sales that are made from this show will be donated to one of these organizations:

art of green and black butterfly on pink background.

“Queen Alexandria”; 23”x23.5”; paper collage, paint, thread

I believe that the act of art-making is medicine. My goal is to connect to myself and to others through the process and product of art-making. My art celebrates connection to what I value as healing and sacred in our world. It is important to me to share the perspective through my work that art, creativity, and imagination are an integral part of a healthy lifestyle. I don’t see art making as a choice; engaging in art making is a daily practice for me, one that makes my life whole. I see my art as an expression of being alive, the truest version of my voice and as a testament to the ability to heal and to rise above challenges. It is my goal to be well-versed in the use of many media. My art favors symbolic expression, themes that mirror the complexity of life and relationships educated by my love of learning and exploring all media. My art celebrates vivid colors, deep and intense layers, and inviting textures. My art reflects my relationship with healing, connections to others, and my love and connection to Nature. My art celebrates connection to what I value as healing and sacred in our world.”

See Sew Much Gratitude: A Reunion With Animals Through Collage and Paint on display at the Fishers branch of HEPL at 5 Municipal Drive, Fishers, IN 46038. This exhibit will be on view from June 28th to August 9th. If you are interested in purchasing a piece from this show, let us know at brinks@hamiltoneastpl.org or by giving us a call at 317-579-0331. Learn more about our exhibits on the Ignite website.