Arts Gala Signature Artist Brad Bickel
Each year the Arts Gala committee chooses a particular medium, as well as an artist and signature piece that represents that choice. This year the committee chose jewelry as the medium, and artist Brad Bickel has been named the Signature Artist.
“We are so pleased to have Brad Bickel’s stunning jewelry as the Signature Piece for our fundraiser,” says Art Gallery Coordinator, Laura Appleby. “Just as jewelry is beautified by many facets, the community is improved by the many programs, services, and materials offered by the library. The library also brings together the brilliance of community and its love of art.”
This is Bickel’s first time as an Arts Gala artist. He has a unique style of using glass fusion in jewelry design. The process for creating these one-of-a-kind pieces is very intricate. Special, hand-selected glass pieces are fired in a glass kiln, where they melt together and are fused. The fused glass is then cut into jewelry and smoothed during a process called cold working. During the final step, pieces are fire-polished again in the kiln to create a smooth, beautiful finish. Only Bickel owns these exclusive jewelry patterns, which can be made into pendants, bracelets, earrings, and abstract pieces.
“I love this process and, I also do many other techniques,” explains Bickel. “Silversmithing, gem and crystal cutting, dichroic glass, sea glass, reactive glass, bubble glass, and too many more to list. Each piece cannot be reproduced.”
As a child he was more interest in doodling and drawing than school. Art was always his favorite class, and this love translated into painting, ceramics, and glass. After growing up in Muncie, he attended Anderson University where, he explained, he was blessed to have access to a glass studio. “I had the privilege to learn from Arlon Bayliss, a professor hired from England to teach glass,” said Bickel. “After college I had an unquenchable thirst to learn and create art. For years, I would just make art for fun as therapy and give away my art to family and friends.”
Bickel graduated from Anderson University with a BA in Arts, and in 2013, Bickel started professionally selling his art. He began to sell at local farmers markets, craft shows, art galleries and art festivals, but then in 2015, he moved into selling strictly to the fine art community at art shows throughout the midwest. “I am overwhelmed with excitement for this amazing fundraiser celebrating wonderful local artists. I hope my work will inspire others to explore the beautiful world of art!” says Bickel.
The Arts Gala raises funds for Library programs and initiatives that benefit the community. In previous years, funds went towards updating the Children’s Room and sponsoring mental health events and awareness. This year the library will feature more than 80 artists and their work. Items for sale include paintings, drawings, greeting cards, prints, jewelry, functional bowls, mugs, vases, cutting boards, benches, coffee tables, boxes, artistic pieces, garden art, glass pieces, textile goods, handmade bound leather books, and much more!
The 2019 Arts Gala: Facets opens with the Starlight Reception on Friday, April 26, from 6:30 p.m. – 9 p.m. Attendees will enjoy live music, hors d’oeuvres, wine, and craft beers. The Arts Gala continues on Saturday, April 27, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday, April 28, 1 – 5 p.m., with various live-artist demonstrations throughout the day. Art can be purchased at any time throughout the weekend. This event is open to everyone.
For more information about Arts Gala, please visit the library, check out plainfieldlibrary.net/artsgala, or call Joanna Sproull at 317-839-6602 ext. 2159.