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Artist Spotlight: Cara O'Brien

Updated: Feb 2, 2019

Sculptor Cara O’Brien says she feels “lucky” to have won awards in shows throughout Michigan. Recognition of her talents are actually the culmination of excellent art opportunities at Fremont public schools, guidance by mentor Ray Jansma, solid college training, and an “aha” moment that propelled her to a fulfilling, fulltime career in art the past dozen years.

After earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at Central Michigan University, Cara worked in arts administration at CMU, The Artsplace in Fremont, and the ACWL Nuveen Center. She then was making figurative bronzes, jewelry, ornaments, and tiles, and taking on commissions, generally working in a realistic style.

“I was still searching for the idea…that I could really sink my technical skills and conceptual teeth into long term.” She found it when she filled an empty knothole in an old board with hand-formed pinch pots. “The decaying and worn wood looked as if something like new life was emerging from it.

“I began to work more abstractly and to look toward things growing in lakes, oceans, and on forest floors as inspiration for my sculptures…I am the person ignoring the sunset to look at a stone or a piece of wood.”

Her current body of work features porcelain clay shaped into organic forms: grasses, mushrooms, corals, lichens, etc. She wires the vitrified clay to driftwood, old barn wood or rusted sheet metal.

“I am always honored when someone decides that my work is something that they want to live with and actually use their hard-earned monetary resources to purchase a piece.”

For more of her artworks, and a list of awards, click here:

Cara O'Brien stand with art piece . Photo Credit: Diane Zoellmer


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