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Voigt art, Ulmer pottery up for auction

Val Voigt, above, puts the finishing touches on the scenic loon painting she is donating to Emmanuel's Art for the Ages event June 181 / 2
Jim Ulmer, who has worked with pottery for over 30 years, will also be donating his works of art to the auction.2 / 2

Val Voigt realized she had a knack for painting while in college. Attending school for floral design, the owner of Flowers by Val finished her homework early one night, took out a 79-cent watercolor set and began to paint.

"I painted a horse head. My roommate came in and said 'I didn't know you could paint,'" said Voigt. "I call it my God-given talent because I didn't know, either."

Voigt is donating an acrylic painting inspired by local lake scenery to this week's Emmanuel Art for the Ages show and silent auction.

From 2 to 6 p.m. on Thursday, June 18, pieces by local artists will be available for viewing and bidding in the new Forest Conference Center within Emmanuel Community. All money raised from the art sale will go toward the Emmanuel Foundation's Endowment Fund, which purchases equipment to better the lives of residents.

Voigt has donated her work to the event since being introduced to it by Emmanuel employee - and Voigt's longtime painting buddy - Donna Erickson.

As a child, Voigt's artistic inclinations were nurtured. "My dad made me frames for my paintings, and my mom always had art supplies available on a little shelf in our house," Voigt recalled. "My parents were very encouraging."

When she returned home from college, Voigt visited her old art teacher, Mr. Merry, who gave her a piece of simple but vital advice: Keep painting.

She did, and years after taking private lessons, Voigt now feeds her love of both art and teaching by offering painting classes in her floral shop.

"It's 99 percent wanting to," she said of painting, adding that it's an art form anyone can get into - and get good at.

Jim Ulmer, whose art form is slightly more difficult to break into, will also have his work at Emmanuel's event. Ulmer has been a professional potter for the past 37 years, 32 of which he has spent in Frazee. He established Springwood Pottery north of Frazee, which he later renamed Ulmer Stoneware.

"I create my stoneware pottery using a variety of techniques, including wheel thrown, slab and extrusion," he said on his Web site, www.

Ulmer has thrown over 100 tons of pots throughout his years working with the medium, averaging three tons of clay per year.

His pottery brings him to several art shows across the country each year, and he ships pieces to customers well outside of the lakes area.

Voigt's work, as well, has brought her new connections.

"Painting has allowed me to meet people I never would have otherwise, and given me the opportunity to help them," said Voigt.

To meet Voigt, Ulmer, and other area artists, attend Art for the Ages' meet and greet from 4 to 6 p.m. on Thursday.