Creating art in 'Thin Places'


Michele Waalkes believes in the relevance of art.

“I think art can hold a lens on the world,” Waalkes said, “To help us look closer to see beauty and the ordinary in fresh ways, to expose us to new ideas and realities, and to start dialogue about deep and meaningful issues.”

Waalkes has worked as an artist, freelance curator, and teaching artist since her graduation in ’07. Some of her work is currently included in the “Fiber Arts of Ohio: 2015” exhibit in the Malone Art Gallery. The exhibit, curated by Christine Fowler Shearer, features five artists.

Many of Waalkes’ current works implement new and fresh experimentation, fusing fibers and varying mediums together.

“I enjoy digital photography and I love the tactile experience of working with fibers, so combining the two is especially fun for me,” she said. “Right now I am working on creating new sculptural photography pieces with fibers. This is new territory, so there is a lot of play and experimentation.”

Waalkes finds inspiration in all areas of her life. This explains why her artwork is so enticingly unique. Waalkes uses her personal experiences to inform and inspire her creations.

Of all her creations, Waalkes admits she plays favorites.

“I am most proud of my Thin Places body of work. I went on an artist residency to Assisi, Italy to create artwork that sought to visually capture thin places—those times or places where the veil between us and God seems thinner, or more permeable, and we experience God more deeply.”

Waalkes’ work can be seen in the “"Fiber Arts of Ohio: 2015” exhibit from August 31- October 8 in the Malone Art Gallery on the second floor of the Johnson Center. Her work also can be seen in her studio, Michele Waalkes Arts, located in 2nd April galerie in the Downtown Canton Arts District.