Anne Kaese knows about a half dozen ways to light up a room. The painter and calligrapher is upbeat and quick, with a laugh and a smile that can turn anyone’s frown upside down. She talks about the St. John’s Bible (more on that below) with an infectious glee. And, when she’s not in the room, her skilled handiwork (you can view some at her website) can do that job for her.
And if you happen to be a Whovian, there’s no boundary to Kaese’s enthusiasm. Doctor Who, everyone’s favorite time lord from Gallifrey, holds a special place in Kaese’s heart … so special, in fact, that she made a custom calligraphy pen in the style of a sonic screwdriver and she’s creating a Doctor Who-themed series of work.
What book, music, movie, artwork, etc., really gets you going? Why?
I respond to stimuli that work for good, do good, and try to improve how we experience the good in the world. I am pleased that my passion for the St John’s Bible Project has brought so much pleasure to others in our community, although being called “The Bible Lady” when people can’t remember my name feels weird in a good way. We are starting to work on bringing original pages to the Hjemkomst in 2017 which is an outstanding project. (Here’s our coverage of the recent St. John’s Bible exhibition at the HCSCC, and video from KVRR.)
Right now, I am over my head with Doctor Who. My kids got me watching and I realized that he has wisdom in his words that needs to be captured. So, I am part way through a watercolor and calligraphy series called The Tao of Doctor Who to be exhibited early next year … although I already have orders for prints for Christmas gifts so I really need to get moving. Who cannot smile when the Doctor says “You want weapons? We’re in a library. Books! The best weapons in the world!”
What artist, musician, etc., inspires you the most? Why?
All the artists and calligraphers who work on the St John’s Bible. Each has a unique and distinctive touch, mark, stroke. Sometimes you can call out the calligrapher based on a line or stroke, and the artwork has wide appeal to me in all my moods and needs.
What’s something you saw or heard recently that you would recommend to others?
The discussions on getting involved in our art community – creating makers spaces or communities of artists – resonates deeply with me and has been a driving force behind my passion to create.
I like to think that the students who study with me in my studio are their own art community. I encourage people to take a Community Ed class and learn something unexpected, attend a lecture on a topic outside your comfort zone; we have loads of those in our community. The local universities have visiting professors who present unique and different views from medievalism to germs. Organizations like my heritage art school or the Arts Partnership are constantly promoting new events. Sign up for their newsletters, keep your eyes and ears open to learn about our rich art, music and theatre offerings at all levels.
There is no one artist and we are all artists. Some of us have just not found our medium yet. Explore! Or as the Doctor says: “A straight line may be the shortest distance between two points, but it is by no means the most interesting.”
What local artist, musician, writer, etc., do you admire, and why?
I enjoy, study, and teach heritage arts so I gravitate toward people who practice traditional crafts using traditional methods. The wood turning of Ron Williams or the fine leather or metal work of Tim Jorgensen inspire me to go back in time and more fully understand my craft given its history and heritage.
Any guilty pleasures you’d like to share?
Books – I buy second hand art and calligraphy books all the time. The older the better. Doctor Who and the time my kids sit and watch it with me, explaining it. Teaching others is the one gift I give myself, but I can be tempted with a good sharp cheddar, a French brie, Greek olives, homemade bread, and a South African red wine.
I do “Art Nights” in my studio for small groups of people wanting a one-night art experience … we are doing illumination, or painting wine glasses or making books and I serve South African foods and wine. Little do they realize that paying me for a class is also allowing me to enjoy all my pleasures too … win-win works!
Or as the Doctor Says: “For some people, small, beautiful events are what life is all about!”
Images, from top: Kaese with one of her Doctor Who-themed works in progress; Kaese and her 10-year-old son Arthur in his Matt Smith costume, complete with crocheted fez handmade by Kaese. Photos by the author.