Deja Vu artists gives new life to old things

Or century-old discarded clocks, antiques and the like, a savior awaits. Her name is Jill Jones.

When she comes in with inspired glory and looks over elements that others have tossed, she often envisions a resurrection.

“When I look at a piece, I see a story,” Jones said, speaking from her home office in Topeka in northern Indiana. “And often, I do not want that story to end.”

Jones’ never-ending stories will unfold in all their shining, whimsical beauty at the annual Déjà Vu Art and Fine Craft Show on Nov. 14 at The Commons, 300 Washington St. in Columbus. She is the featured artist among more than 60 creators participating in the free gathering that attracted more than 1,000 people last year, according to organizers.

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“I notice a couple of things with people’s reactions,” said show founder Marilyn Brackney, long known for her artistically repurposing efforts, including a dinosaur constructed from trash. “First, they’ll look at a nice piece and like it. And then they’ll say, ‘Oh, that’s made from trash?’

“So, first they see the beauty. Then they’re often astounded that an artist took something that seemed to be nothing and really turned it into something.”

Brackney’s event features work such as painting, sculpture, jewelry, wearable art, woodworking, glass art and weaving.

One artist, Bloomington’s Sue Westhues, creates decorative and functional items from gourds that her followers believe are gourd-geous.

For another, Suzanne Schmid of Springfield, Illlinois, eyeglasses and road maps see their way into jewelry. Schmid calls them “green fashion with an edgy flair.”

Bloomington’s Glenn Kirsch combines salvaged stained glass with old wood. A recent piece features wood from a century-old building demolished in nearby Martinsville.

“Finding wood from another century inspires me to make some of my best frames,” Kirsch said.

Jones can relate to such inspiration. She grew fascinated with others’ alleged junk even as a youngster and began working in antiques as a teen before becoming a full-time dealer.

“I’ve always been passionate about history,” Jones said. “And it seems like I’ve always been an artist. So, for me, those two elements go together well.”

She is careful to remind shoppers that her $135 steampunk necklaces with futuristic touches are different from some priced about $100 cheaper because hers include pieces and items often from the Victorian and Edwardian eras considered truly steampunk. That makes her designs more authentic — and more original, as she sees it.

“Some people sometimes think all you have to do is glue a couple of gears on something and call it steampunk,” Jones said.

She cautioned, though, that her decorative, steampunk clocks remain literally timeless in that they don’t actually work anymore.

“I’m an artist,” she said. “But I’m definitely not a clockmaker or an engineer.”

In the same vein, her steampunk hats are mostly art pieces rather than fashion. And she emphasized that her steampunk jewelry appeals to buyers from college-age young people to retirees.

“And it can be worn with anything,” she said.

The versatility seems appropriate — especially for pieces that have become flexible via creative reincarnation.

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What: 11th Annual Déjà Vu Art and Fine Craft Show, features work such as painting, sculpture, jewelry, wearable art, woodworking, glass art and weaving.

When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 14.

Where: The Commons, 300 Washington St.  in Columbus.

Admission: Free.

Information: Columbus Area Arts Council at 812-376-2539 or the show’s Facebook page at Déjà Vu Art and Fine Craft Show.

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What: Showing of the family friendly, comic documentary film, “Your Environmental Road Trip,” following three friends exploring America in search of people tackling environmental challenges.

When: 6:30 p.m. Nov. 13.

Where: The Commons, 300 Washington St., Columbus.

Information: Facebook page of Deja Vu Art and Fine Craft Show.