Enamel on metal painting and myth-inspired literature may not seem to have much in common – except when they’re created by a husband and wife. A big exhibit of work by Edgewood enamel artist Jean Tudor is up through the month at the Tahoma Center Gallery in downtown Tacoma, and her husband William Tudor has just published “Theo’s Tricks,” a novel inspired by ancient Greek mythology.
A long-time enamellist and instructor, Jean Tudor shows not only mastery of the medium but a welcome bent to explaining it. Along the walls of the second-floor corridor gallery at the Tahoma Center (run by Catholic Community Services) are dozens of works exploring how enamel paints onto copper or steel in various ways, and a take-home sheet about the history of the medium from early Celts and Byzantines to contemporary artists.
Tudor herself ranges over a variety of genres. Her Medellin series of burnished enamel on copper details Latin American urban-scapes, the red-tiled rooftops throwing back a burnt orange light. With enamel on steel she uses a colder palette for jutting mountains, ghostly evergreens and boulders dissected like brains into endlessly labyrinthine squiggles. Interestingly, her Houston series uses soft, blurry metallics in a watercolor effect to capture the industrial landscapes of the ship canal.
For abstract, geometric pieces she uses the cloisonné technique – an interesting juxtaposition that removes the wire-contained prettiness from its jewelry associations and into a realm of jagged color, like fierce glass shards – and her sculptures dive into the metal with relish: a book of copper pages, bound with wire and patinaed for a medieval look; small pinch-pots folded delicately into themselves, almost transparent.
On view 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday through Aug. 29. Free. Tahoma Center Gallery, 1323 S. Yakima St., Tacoma. 253-502-2617, jeantudorenamels.com
Along a totally different line is “Theo’s Tricks,” self-published this year by Fr. Bill Tudor. A retired Episcopal priest, Tudor’s big interest is etymology, and he’s written a tale inspired by the Greek myth of Persephone and Hades with as many Greek-derived English words as possible. The tale of Cora’s disappearance and the epic quest by her mother Demi and sister Sophia to find her is intended to set you guessing – which god is which? Which word symbolizes what? And who is the mysterious Uncle Theo? (Greek Orthodox readers and New Testament scholars will find this easy).
It has to be said that the beauty of English is its sheer rhythmic and constructive variety, and concentrating on any one branch of its ancestry (Roman, Germanic or Greek-based words) will flatten out that beauty somewhat. But Tudor has concocted a timeless kind of world and a tale that will appeal to Greek myth fans in a more subtle way than the Rick Riordan series.
“Theo’s Tricks” by William E. Tudor is available through Greco Press, P.O. Box 1752, Milton, WA 98454 and at amazon.com ($11.66 paperback/$1.99 Kindle).
Rosemary Ponnekanti: 253-597-8568 firstname.lastname@example.org