First. let me say that Eleanor Lux is one of my favorite artists. The Eureka Springs weaver and beader works out of an old grocery store on White Street that's filled with looms and threads and yarn and her creations. I dropped in unannounced one day years back and was totally taken with the work, especially her stitched beadwork.
So I was happy to get the Arkansas Arts Council's announcement that Lux has been named the 2016 Living Treasure, an award that recognizes a lifetime of work and teaching.
A press release is on the jump.
Eleanor Lux of Eureka Springs Selected as 2016 Arkansas Living Treasure
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – March 31, 2016
LITTLE ROCK, AR – Multi-talented artist Eleanor Lux of Eureka Springs has been selected as the 2016 Arkansas Living Treasure. Lux is a weaver and beader, as well as a jewelry maker and mixed media artist.
Her 50 years of artistic accomplishments, along with her dedication to teaching the craft to others, have earned her this distinguished title. She is now the third artist from Eureka Springs to receive this award, joining woodworker Doug Stowe and wooden plane maker Larry Williams.
Lux will be honored at a public reception from 4-6 p.m. on Thursday, May 12, at the Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs. To reserve a seat, call (501) 324-9766 or email email@example.com by May 6.
Now in its 15th year, the Arkansas Living Treasure program recognizes an Arkansan who is outstanding in the creation of a traditional craft and has significantly contributed to the preservation of the art form. An independent panel of craft and folk art professionals selects the recipient based on the quality of work, community outreach and overall contribution to the field of traditional crafts.
Raised in Memphis, Lux developed an appreciation for the arts at an early age. “When I was four years old, I would lie on the floor for hours and hours coloring with crayons and creating my own designs. That’s when I knew I wanted to be an artist,” she said.
At 12, she began attending the Memphis Art Academy. In high school, she taught art to young students during the summers. After graduating from Memphis State University in 1961 with a degree in printmaking and history, she took her first weaving course at the Art Academy.
She also had a penchant for stained glass work and worked at a stained glass window factory in Memphis for 10 years, creating designs in watercolor primarily for church windows.
In 1970, she and her two children moved to Eureka Springs where she found work demonstrating weaving techniques at craft shows and local businesses. "I fell in love with Eureka Springs,” she said. “The artists are not competitive like they are in big cities. They all support each other here."
In 1978, she bought an old vacant grocery store that has now become the Lux Weaving Studio. The bright pink house is a cornerstone in the Eureka Springs arts community. Brimming with charm, it boasts a molded tin ceiling, a worn wooden floor, shelves stocked with multi-colored spools of yarn and whimsical beads from all over the world.
Lux creates seamless rugs, custom window shades, tapestries, and other functional fiber art pieces. She works with two spinning wheels and five looms, one of which is more than 150 years old and was found sitting in a mud puddle in the parking lot of an old junk store in Rogers, Ark.
"The owner said he wanted $75 for it. And I said, 'All I have is $60 and it’s my grocery money.' He said he would take it! So I loaded it in my car and then had to explain to my husband that I spent the grocery money on the loom. He looked at it and said, 'It was worth it. We’ll have potato soup this week.' ”
She discovered her passion for beading after attending a two-week beading class at the Penland School of Craft in North Carolina. “Technically beading is also weaving because I’m weaving with a needle through each glass bead. It combines my two loves,” she said.
Lux creates sculptural beadwork using mostly seed beads. She has won numerous awards for her work and has published dozens of articles in books and publications.
In 2000, she co-founded the Eureka Springs School of the Arts, where she serves as a board member and instructor. She also teaches students in her studio and at art schools throughout the country.
A world traveler, Lux even teaches beading while she is on the road. She has taught beading classes in Africa and Central America, most recently in Mexico and Ghana.
"Just about everywhere I go, if I’m not asked to teach a beading class, I will end up offering one," she said. "I can’t bring a loom with me so I bring my beads and share with the world my beading techniques and my love for Arkansas.”