The Female Spirit – All Fired Up and Stitched Down

To see artists Katty Smith and Linda Hoffmeister together in person you would say they were childhood friends. Their eyes twinkle with the knowing of girlish secrets, their laughter quick and smiles are broad and welcoming. The delightful pair have teamed up for a joint exhibit at The Hub on Canal’s Mackay Gallery that runs through January 28, 2018: The Female Spirit – All Fired Up and Stitched Down.

The women forged their friendship at The Hub on Canal a short two years ago. Their common interest, the strength of the female spirit, both past and present, and admiration of each other’s art drew them together.

Artists Linda Hoffmeister and Katty Smith
Artists Linda Hoffmeister and Katty Smith

Clay sculptor Smith will be exhibiting the “All Fired Up” side of the exhibit with masks, figureheads and two full-size figurines. Hoffmeister will provide the environmental background with her “Stitched Down” textile art.

The two are led to their work by the process and the materials speak to them: no plan, no sketching, each piece evolves. It’s been a yearlong journey with minimal planning save for the few image exchanges and color coordinating. If arriving at The Hub on Canal to chat about their new year exhibit, while both were wearing turquoise, is any indication then things are on track.

“We collected art, but I didn’t know what art was,” said Smith. “It never crossed my mind I’d ever do anything with art. You put something in the kiln and you never know what you’re doing until it comes out. It makes it exciting. The opening of the kiln and really liking something is wonderful. I never give up on a piece. Never.”

“I love incorporating other women’s art into mine,” said Hoffmeister, a traditionalist, who’s practiced art for 25 years. “I use pieces that are about to be discarded, that go to Good Will. I feel like it’s giving us a connection and new life. It’s a very important part of what I do.”

Smith says people are discovering her work more and more through The Hub. “The exposure is really good,” she said. “Exhibiting at The Hub brings it to town, to the people you know. Your friends buy a piece and they say what it means to them. It’s really special.”

“The Hub has been the best thing to happen to me,” said Hoffmeister, who’s been a part of it since the beginning five years ago. “I found a community, I found my voice. I have such wonderful friends here and I look forward to coming. There is just such an energy in the building. It’s wonderful.”

Each wall of the gallery will portray a female-spirited theme: African, South American, Americana, and Asian. An opening reception for the exhibit will take place January 6 at 6pm. At month’s end, visitors to IMAGES: a Festival of the Arts in New Smyrna Beach January 26-28, 2018 are encouraged to pop into The Hub on Canal to experience the community and its exhibits.

Linda Hoffmeister Antigua

Written by Tonya West, Hub volunteer