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2014-02-27

Roots and Wings Studio

Carolyn B. Edwards BCC Staff Writer

In the summer of 2008 Cheryl Alexander returned to her geographic origins, the Hill Country of Texas, and bought a cabin above the Medina River in Pipe Creek. She finally realized her longtime dream of having studios for both sculpture and jewelry, and has a beautiful retreat-like setting in which to create.
Alexander began her professional art career in the early 1970s in Central Texas. But, she began her serious interest in art when she started college, back in 1964. In 1980, she began teaching healing-based yoga classes. Ever since, her art career has been in tandem with yoga.
She currently has teaching contracts with the Nix Hospital, Lion's Field, the National MS Society, and Rancho Cortez here in Bandera County, offering healing yoga classes that she calls "Yoga for the Life Experienced."
"Art uplifts me," she said. "And I love how creatively infectious it is to do art with a group." Alexander happily deals with the challenge of working with people who say, "Oh, I could never do art!
"I put a blindfold on them and give them a large brush," she says. Afterwards, the students remove the blindfold and step back from their work. Then they begin rotating the canvas on the easel "until they see something. And they always do," said Alexander.
Discovering the Kerrville Arts and Cultural Center has been a valuable find, Alexander said. "It's a venue open to art appreciators and creators both." Her works are currently on display in the Derby Studio of KACC, 228 Earl Garrett, on the corner of Main Street, through Sunday, March 3. The show is called "Roots and Wings."
Alexander's sculptures are almost exclusively made of ceramic clay that she shapes with her hands and primitive materials. "I'll use natural things like sticks and leaves to shape my pieces," she said. She has learned to patina the pieces to achieve a rusted steel or copper look.
In spring of 1989 her artistic quest took her to high desert mountain locations in New Mexico and Arizona. In Taos she was juried into the Taos Artisans Co-op. Comedian George Carlin purchased her edgy "Woman Emerging" sculpture from a juried show in 1991. Yoga classes were taught at the Taos Spa.
In 1997, on Mingus Mountain in the historic art town of Jerome, Arizona, Alexander and four friends opened "Whim-In-Art," a women's co-op of sculpture and fine crafts, the area's only art cooperative. She also created a 200-hour accredited yoga teacher training school. With a team of staff and volunteers, the school trained 30 new yoga teachers.
In 2004, Alexander was lured back to New Mexico. She lived and created art in Alto, Ruidoso and Nogal, between the Capitan and Sacramento Mountains. Her work sold in galleries in Ruidoso, Carrizozo and Albuquerque, as well as back in Arizona and Texas. Her yoga classes expanded into workshops that combine expressive art and yoga.
In the art village of Placitas, New Mexico, she joined artists who brought art studio opportunities to street people. She made sculpture in a large horse corral and jewelry in the tack room on the property where she rented a tiny apartment. She took Yog-Art to community centers, churches, and to retreat centers in Mexico and Belize.
To see more of Alexander's work, go to her website cherylalexanderdesigns.com. She can be contacted through the site, or email her at Cheryl@cherylalexanderdesigns.com.
Taking a cue from her KACC show title, Alexander looks forward to the next epoch of sending "Roots into Earth, and unfurling Wings into Heaven!"