Photo: Dreamscape by Kaye Weinberger is based on a photo taken in Birmingham.

Birmingham brings back its celebration of Michigan artists

The Jewish News
Suzanne Chessler

Suzanne Chessler

Michelle Sider lives in Huntington Woods, but her entry into this year’s Our Town Art Show & Sale — her fourth — was created in Israel. Sider, who has taught art at the Frankel Jewish Academy, designed a floral mosaic in honor of an Israeli teacher who helped her refine techniques.

“Last winter, I decided to take art classes in Israel and was inspired to make the piece titled Edna,” Sider says. “I’m retired from teaching, and I like the way she taught me how to use glass to give the effect of brush strokes — to do that, I use smaller shards and tweezers.”

Our Town, in its 32nd year at the Community House in Birmingham, kicks off with a preview party and sale on Thursday, Oct. 19, and will be open to the public Oct. 20-22.

This juried, all-media show spotlights the talents of Michigan artists. Visitors will see paintings, pastels, sculptures, glassworks, fiber, photography, mixed media and jewelry. Thirty-five percent of the proceeds from sales will be used to fund children’s programs and services at the Community House.

Two years ago, Sider won honorable mention for a pastel image. Her work in various media results from studies at the University of Michigan, Wayne State University and the College for Creative Studies.

“I mostly painted until 15 years ago, when I became interested in mosaics,” says Sider, a member of both Young Israel of Oak Park and Congregation Or Chadash to have different religious experiences.

Sider, who works out of a home studio, has shown work at the Crooked Tree Arts Center in Petoskey and in an alumni show at the University of Michigan.

Link Wachler has jewelry clients all over the country and has won 41 awards from national and international competitions. One necklace, made from white gold interlocking cubes with white and black pearls, won an award in the 2017 International Pearl Design Competition.

This year, that award-winning necklace will be on display at Our Town along with four other of his jewelry designs — another necklace, a ring, a bracelet and earrings. He submitted five designs to Our Town, and all five were accepted. Some pieces, with contemporary looks, have interchangeable parts and so take on different appearances.

Wachler, who spent many years designing for the family jewelry stores and learned in that environment, made a career change nine years ago and only does custom pieces with individual clients.

“I’ve made bar mitzvah rings and other kinds of jewelry with chai symbols and Jewish stars,” says Wachler, who had his bar mitzvah at Temple Israel and is an alumnus of the College for Creative Studies. “I go to customers’ places of business and homes to plan out what they would like.”

One customer, hotel entrepreneur Sheldon Adelson of Las Vegas, hired Wachler to make gifts for honorees involved with a temple education center.

“I’ve been designing jewelry since I was 15,” says Wachler, whose work is also showcased in an October display at the West Bloomfield Township Library. “I’m based in Troy, where I do the carving in wax and the casting for the finished pieces.”

Kaye Weinberger paints using acrylics because of the color quality and the variation of her styles. She will be showing a still life and abstract landscape as well as a figurative drawing.

“I do a little of everything,” says the West Bloomfield resident, who has an art education degree from Wayne State University and has taken classes at the Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center (BBAC), where Andrea Tama has been her mentor. “I like the creativity, beauty and relaxation that are part of the artistic experience.”

Weinberger, who has attended services at Congregation B’nai Moshe, has made a hamsa mosaic and also worked with ceramics and calligraphy. Her designs have been part of a student show at the BBAC and in a display at Providence Hospital in Novi.

“Our Town is a great show because it has all kinds of art represented,” she says. “I’ve shown my work there before, and I’ve bought jewelry there.”

Dreamscape by Kaye Weinberger is based on a photo taken in Birmingham.
Link Wachler’s award-winning necklace design, with its cubes in just a few of possible variations.
Link Wachler’s award-winning necklace design, with its cubes in just a few of possible variations.
Visions of Women by Weinberger shows a series of model poses painted in a grid format.
Edna, a mosaic by Michelle Sider.

Our Town Art Show & Sale runs Oct. 19-22 at the Community House, Birmingham. The opening night party starts at 5:30 p.m. for benefactors ($250) and 6 p.m. for friends ($75). The free public show and sale runs 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday-Saturday and 10 a.m.-noon Sunday. (248) 644-5832;

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