Through Aug. 15: After-hours creativity on display

By Nella Letizia, WSU Libraries

after-hours-80PULLMAN, Wash. – A new exhibit at Washington State University Libraries is inspired partly by the “make and tell” philosophy of TV “MythBuster” Adam Savage and partly by the desire to showcase off-the-job creativity.

“After Hours: Makers of the Libraries,” will be in the Terrell Library atrium display case through Aug. 15. It features works by 14 WSU Libraries staff members – everything from jewelry, painting and photography to quilting, Native American art and even a tin man made from recycled cans.

“There is life beyond the library workspace,” said Wendy Blake, exhibit co-organizer with Nick Adams, Stacie Echanove, Susan Shipman and Amy Grey. “We wanted to create an exhibit where our co-workers could share what they make when they’re not here.”

Tips from a ‘MythBuster’

In their call for submissions, exhibit organizers encouraged staff to take a lesson from Adam Savage, cohost of Discovery Channel’s “MythBusters” series with Jamie Hyneman. He has developed 10 Commandments for Makers (, the first of which includes:

After-hours-250“Make something. Anything. Weld, carve, cook, sculpt, sew … As humans, there are two things that make us truly unique: the ability to use tools and the need to tell stories. Making things is both … When you make something, it becomes part of your story. Humans are natural storytellers, and when you make new things, you join in the most ancient and important story of all.”

Blake agrees; she feeds her creative side with graphic design. Her greeting card, “Noel,” with original digital graphics and hand-applied metallic ink, is part of the exhibit.

“Making is one way to declare strength, creativity and independence in a world that often makes folks feel weak, bewildered and helpless,” said Blake, a library and archives paraprofessional in WSU Libraries’ technical services department.

‘Art is my nirvana’

Cubist-Cantaloupe-400By day, Lael Turnbow also works in technical services – as a program assistant. By night (and on weekends), she makes batik and more. Her “Cubist Cantaloupe” is in the display.

“Art is my nirvana,” she said. “I can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t do it, and I thought everyone else was the same. When I got older, I discovered that was not the case. We all contribute in different ways.

Reader-tin-man-250“I am so glad this exhibit has been set up,” she said. “It really does show others that we are not just ‘our jobs.’”

Steven Bisch, circulation supervisor at WSU Tri-Cities Consolidated Libraries, channels the Tin Man from “The Wizard of Oz” in his time away from work. He learned to make tin men about 15 years ago and submitted “The Reader” for the exhibit.

“I enjoy crafting new variations on the traditional tin man, creating new characters by designing each with a unique feature – such as reading like the ‘Nature Boy’ sculpture on the side of Holland Library,” Bisch said.

Founding member of community gallery

Standing-Tall-painting-250Beth Blakesley, WSU Libraries’ associate dean, pursues watercolor and acrylic painting and is a founding member and vice president of the Creative Shop, a cooperative gallery in Lewiston, Idaho. Among the pieces she will have on display is “Standing Tall.”

“After years of knitting, quilting, jewelry making, needlework, photography and miscellaneous crafts, I stumbled into watercolor painting, which served as a gateway to acrylics,” she said. “My fascination with color and texture had finally found its home.”

Hours for viewing the exhibit are 7:30 a.m.-8:45 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 7:30 a.m.-5:45 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m.-5:45 p.m. Saturday; and noon-8:45 p.m. Sunday.



Wendy Blake, WSU Libraries, 509-335-2778,
Nella Letizia, WSU Libraries public relations/communication coordinator, 509-335-6744,