Gala celebrates Mickal and Ethridge’s ‘Angels’

By: Jeannine LeJeune
CROWLEY – The scene at The Gallery in Crowley was heavenly Saturday night as the pottery angel works by Bonnie Jo Mickal and Janet Etheridge were proudly on display.

The duo’s works are the featured art of December and were honored this weekend with a gala at The Gallery, located at 222 North Parkerson Ave. in Crowley. The angels will remain on display throughout the month of December.

In total 42 angels lined the walls of The Gallery. There was an “Angel of Music” and an “Angel of Butterflies.” There was an “Angel of the Nativity” and an “Angel of the Sea Shore.” Some of the angels were small and others were big. The variety in the angels sizes and content were marveled at by all in attendance.

With holiday instrumental music playing in the background, the mood and scene were evenly set for an evening of art and beauty.

The two artists, as the story goes, were asked in November 2010 by Crowley Art Association President Robert Baxter to create angels for the December 2011 Christmas gala. Until that point, Mickal and Etheridge’s hand building had been minimal and was not a serious endeavor. But the two took on the challenge.

They taught themselves how to create faces, bodies and arms and also had to devise a new and different types of foundations to give each angel her own unique look.

As the two progressed in their work they learned what did and didn’t work, ultimately making sure that no two angels were alike.

Their hope is that onlookers enjoy the angels as much as they enjoyed creating them.

The two began throwing and hand building pottery together at “Gumbo U,” which is part of UL-Lafayette’s Continuing Education). There Etheridge, Mickal and others learned how to throw clay on “old” kick wheels as well as the basics of throwing and hand building.

Some of the students didn’t just limit to themselves Gumbo U classes as the two and others traveled to Taos, N.M. to enroll in a week-long class with a Sharon Dryflower. There they learned to dig and process the clay, coil build and fire the bowls in a firepit.

After the class was discontinued by ULL, a pottery studio opened by one of Etheridge’s friends became a place where the classmates could continue their adventure for several years.

Now Etheridge and Mickal work together as the friendship they formed and the love of clays and pottery continues from Gumbo U.

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