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Open Studio with Scenery and Puppet Designer Margie Jervis

Creative Cauldron’s Margie Jervis shares her creative process with locals and art enthusiasts alike

Margie Jervis welcomes the opportunity to break down the barriers between performers and the audience. The scenic director of Creative Cauldron started the open studio at ArtSpace Falls Church Wednesday through March 2, Wednesday through Friday from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. The public can experience her technique and craftsmanship as she designs and constructs the scenery, puppets and costumes for upcoming productions held at ArtSpace.

“Creative Cauldron is not only a performance venue, but an arts education and enrichment provider,” Jervis said of the non-profit arts organization that manages and operates ArtSpace. “We are always looking for ways to further serve the community and advance understanding and participation in the arts.”

She sees her open studio as a unique way to open the backstage door at Creative Cauldron.

“Open studio days are a way for me to be available to people who want to know more about our process, while keeping up with our production schedule,” she said. “In the neighborhood, any folks on their lunch hour or young children with a parent are welcome to stop by for a visit.”

Jervis said the open studio was her idea, after much encouragement from Creative Cauldron founder and producing director Laura Hull to teach more.

“Margie is an amazing artist whose inventiveness and creativity are matched by her versatility and skill,” Hull said. “She can draw, paint, construct and fabricate virtually anything she imagines. She has a wonderful aesthetic that guides her work, and every project, no matter how small, is executed flawlessly. I’m so glad she has decided to hold these ‘open studios’ so she can share with other artists, or people who love art, some of the wonderful techniques she has developed over the past 25 years.”

The Falls Church native moved to the Northeast to pursue her BFA in sculpture from the Rhode Island School of Design, moved back and worked as a professional glass artist for seven years and then spent a decade at the Seattle Opera’s scenic art studio. She moved back to Falls Church with her husband Paul more than 15 years ago. They currently reside with their 12-year-old son Noah and her 94-year-old mother Ida in the home she grew up in in Lake Barcroft.

Jervis became the scenic designer of Creative Cauldron when it opened its doors as an art space in 2008. She also occasionally works as a scenic painter and sculptor for the Washington National Opera, where her husband is a technical director.

“It’s been very exciting for me to get involved in something from the ground up,” she said of working for Creative Cauldron. “I really love having the opportunity to try new things in a safe environment where the board members are so supportive of the joy of making art. I’ve never really been involved in a more local [arts] community until now and it’s actually turning out to be very, very rewarding.”

She will share her knowledge in both design and the hands-on craft of creating the visual elements of a production at her open studio. Projects will include the family-friendly Story Theater Sunday performances, as part of the Cauldron’s Passport to the World festival, and Madeline and the Gypsies, a play in which both adults and children will act in the cast and as puppeteers. Hands-on activities will depend on what Jervis is set up for that particular day.

“I may have need for some fabric to be cut out for a puppet body, or laying out the paper on the floor for a large mural painting,” she said. “There will be a lot of painting assistance opportunity. We often paint standing on the mural using brushes on long poles, just like the great Italian scenic painters have used for hundreds of years. You can see what you are doing better and save your back and knees by not crawling around on the floor.”

Jervis is excited to interact with the public. She likes to know how people react to her ideas and those of other artists at Creative Cauldron.

“We do a lot of teaching especially for children with our summer camp and learning theater workshops,” she said. “Often, the parents see what we are doing and say, ‘I wish I had done that today!’ I'd like to know what kind of classes in visual arts for theater that adults could benefit from and create some course offerings. I [also] want people to be more aware that theater is a multi-faceted art form which involves many people from different arts disciplines.”

Open Studio with Margie Jervis
February 15 – March 2, Wednesdays – Fridays from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.; Free
410 South Maple. Ave.; (571) 239-5288

barb cram February 16, 2012 at 05:07 PM
This is a FREE opportunity to work side by side with one of the best! Believe me you will be thrilled to participate in this fascinating process and learn from a real pro!

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