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Texas Masters of Fine Art Exhibit features area artists

Friday, May 24, 2019

 Five of the area’s finest artists are being showcased over Memorial Day weekend in the statewide Texas Masters of Fine Art and Craft exhibition in Kerrville.

San Marcos furniture designer Benito Loera and jewelry designing sisters Diana and Denise Steinhagen, Dripping Springs metalwork sculptor Gary Thompson and Wimberley jewelry designer Fred Stockbauer are among two dozen hand-picked artists participating in the show at the famed YO Ranch Resort.

After 25 years in residential construction, Loera pursued his life-long dream of designing furniture as a career. With the help of his family, he started to build small furniture such as cedar chests and coffee tables. As his business grew, he began to concentrate on working with natural mesquite,  including the wormholes, bark inclusions and burls in his designs, filling some of the cavities of the wood with gemstone material, including turquoise and lapis lazuli. Now, his award-winning product line has grown to include jewelry and jewelry boxes, pool tables and much more.

After years of pursuing jewelry making as a hobby and studying the work of other jewelers, getting laid off from their jobs almost simultaneously launched the professional jewelry careers of the Steinhagen sisters. One can tell from their finished product that the San Marcos artists are still having fun and a growing customer base will attest to the quality of their craftsmanship. Working independently, they use a wide variety of stones and techniques to create a fresh style of their own.

Lonesomesage Longhorn Ranch near Dripping Springs is the inspirational setting where Thompson forges copper and brass into the shapes of native desert plants of the Southwest. Exhibiting his work as Designs by Thompson, he captures the unique raw beauty of cactus and yucca in both traditional sculptural forms and as functional lamps, tables, candelabra and wall accents. Thompson is self-taught and his early inspiration came from watching his grandfather forge steel in his Central Texas blacksmith shop. His “prickly art,” which he’s exhibited since 1972, has won numerous awards including “Best in Metal” at the Rockport Art Festival. He’s also received the Texas Original designation from the State of Texas Commission on the Arts, signifying high–quality, authentic, original work by a Texas artist.

Stockbauer started cutting stones in the mid-60s after graduating from the University of Texas with a masters degree. He won several awards for his stone cutting and in a few years began making jewelry using the lost wax process. Stockbauer's design skills were sharpened through drawing, oil and watercolor classes at Laguna Gloria Art Museum, but for the most part, he is self-taught. Over the years, he has won numerous awards in art shows in Texas and New Mexico, including the Texas Arts & Crafts Festival and Ruidoso Art Fair for his work.     

The Texas Masters of Fine Art and Craft exhibition is free and open to the public in the YO Ranch Resort’s three ballrooms. Hours are 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Friday, May 24 and Saturday, 25, and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Sunday, May 26. For more information on the show, please go to the Texas Master's website.

San Marcos Record

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