September 2016 Artists – Michele Menard & Barbara Bleckman

A few words from our featured artists, gallery artist Michele Menard and jewelry artist Barbara Bleckman:

Gallery Artist – Michele Menard

Michele is an interdisciplinary working artist and teacher with education and experience in theater, puppetry/masks, directing, visual arts and crafts, creative writing, and musical performance. Michele currently works with the Richmond District Neighborhood Center in San Francisco, where she teaches elementary school children puppetry & drama workshops. She has been painting for over 15 years using the mixed mediums of collage, water color, acrylic paint, fabric, found wood, oil pastels, crayons, glitter, pen, and cardboard. She has shown her work locally and nationally.

Some of her projects include:

*Participating in the Sketch Book Project hosted by The Art Co-Op based in Brooklyn, NY. A collaborative sketch book traveled nationwide with other artists during the 2015 Spring season.

*Serving as co-creative director for Paper Tramps Productions, a collaborative team including herself and Evan Johnson. Paper Tramps premiered their first all-ages mask-and-puppet production titled Rascal’s Key to rave reviews.

Michele is available for murals, commissions, or to show in local businesses and galleries. Please contact her for further information at, and visit her website at


Jewelry Artist – Barbara Bleckman

“One of my earliest childhood memories is looking up at autumn leaves (probably in my pram), having them tumble all around me and being enraptured by their colors, shapes and intuitive nature connections. My imagination and fantasy world was fostered by that vision and remains so today.

My need to create has enveloped and catapulted me to work in many mediums. In the 1970’s I concentrated in two areas: antique glass necklaces and large fiber constructions. I was intrigued by how to manipulate natural fibers such as jute, cotton seine and wool, although I could easily have utilized rubber bands, too. A unifying force in my work has always been a melding of natural materials common in our environment, often rough and smooth juxtaposed together as a metaphor for how artistic spontaneity can promote beauty and meaning.

The 1980’s expanded my horizons designing interiors, hand painting fabrics, and creating custom accessories. I experimented hand-painting wooden pieces remaining from larger projects which became very touchable objets d’art. A move from Chicago, Illinois to Tucson, Arizona in 1991 became a spiritual mecca for my artistic spirit. Hand-turned hardwood bowls became a new vehicle, and I hand-painted each bowl within and without in magical landscapes of my invention. Gradually, I added inked works on paper, incorporating words which promoted unifying messages such as ‘love consciously’ and ‘there is enough.’