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Updated: Jul 13, 2022

As part of Elaine and Lauren’s art exhibition at Art Gallery Kimberley, there will be an artist talk on Wednesday, July 13th at 7 pm, and Lauren will be demonstrating her paper marbleizing skills in an introductory art demonstration on Wednesday, July 20th at 7 pm. Registration is required for the introductory art demonstration.

Rock * Paper * Socks: elevating the humble sock monkey to an art form.

Children and adults of all ages will enjoy the whimsical installation "Rock * Paper * Socks", the feature art exhibition at Art Gallery Kimberley for the month of July. Be sure to check out the window to find out how sock monkeys spend those hot summer days in the Kootenays!

With a shared interest in the visual arts, the mother/daughter duo Elaine and Lauren Rudser have created a blend of their current art practices bringing together paper marbling and resin work with textile creatures like sock monkeys and needle-felted aliens. In addition to their original art pieces, their designs are available on a variety of household items like notebooks, coffee cups, and greeting cards.

Elaine Paladini Rudser was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area and pursued an education and career in biological science, while always having a strong interest in the visual arts. Married to geologist Ralph Rudser and moving from location to location (including overseas transfers) while raising two children and working as a medical lab technologist kept Elaine busy in her earlier years. In her free time, Elaine enjoyed sewing garments, quilting, making small dolls and sketching.

Becoming a Canadian citizen in 1998 and settling in Calgary with her family allowed Elaine to pursue a fine arts education at The Alberta College of Art and Design. “I enjoy acrylic and watercolour painting, pen and ink drawing and collage work, but my favourite experience is painting en plein aire (outdoors) with oils”, Elaine says.

Ealine’s interest in sock monkeys developed unexpectedly about 15 years ago when she wanted to entertain her bed-ridden mother with crafts to keep her engaged. While making her first out-of-a-box sock monkey with her mother, Elaine saw endless possibilities of the sock monkey trope as a metaphor for humans. “Experimenting with a variety of characters and using internal wire armatures and found materials, I have made more than 100 sock monkeys, no two the same”, says Elaine. According to Elaine, even the humble sock monkey can be elevated to an art form. The local community art gallery as well as Art Gallery Kimberley support this claim by showcasing Elaine’s sock monkeys in their art galleries.

Lauren Rudser was born in Colorado but continued to move locations with her family in her youth, spending her formative educational years in Norway and Calgary. Becoming a Canadian citizen and graduating as a bilingual student from William Aberhart H.S. were valued early accomplishments. Lauren pursued video- and photojournalism degrees at both the baccalaureate and master's level from the University of California, and landed her first job with the digital arm of the Wall Street Journal doing video production.

After exploring a series of video production positions with digital networks, Lauren settled into a corporate media position with the staffing and consulting firm Robert Half, where she has worked as a video producer and corporate photographer for the last eight years.

“I enjoy finding ways to step away from the digital world and creating things by hand”, says Lauren, “this has led me to the world of paper marbling”. Unlike welding, ceramics, darkroom photography, and glassblowing – all of which Lauren has dabbled in to varying degrees – paper marbling doesn’t require flammable gasses or superheated tools and kilns. Instead, with a few sheets of plastic to cover vulnerable surfaces, and a long weekend to work, Lauren can turn her small kitchen into a marbling workshop.

“The hikes I did during the pandemic sparked my inspiration”, says Lauren. She began collecting rocks from her favorite trails near her home in the San Francisco Bay Area and covering them in marbled papers. Once coated in resin, the paper covered rocks became waterproof. Some of the rocks found their way back to the forest, hidden amongst the foliage waiting to brighten the day of fellow hikers observant enough to spot them.

According to Lauren, the goal with the hidden rocks is two-fold. 1. To contribute to the joy-generating economy; it is always a delight to find a hidden treasure! 2. To encourage people to be in the moment; there are wonders big and small to behold all around us – all you need to do is be present and look for them.

Lauren continues to explore practical (and impractical!) applications for paper marbling, including coasters, notebooks, greeting cards, and even roller skates.

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