“I embellish designs on fabric,” said Alice Berger. That is an understatement of magnanimous proportion. Try placing embellishments the size of an onion seed or the size of the head of a pin on designer fabrics, multiply by hundreds upon hundreds and perhaps you can begin to imagine the effort and patience required for some of the close ups of Berger’s work shown on this page.
Berger attended Chinard’s Art Institute in Los Angeles where Mrs. Chinard told her, “If you can paint as well as you do crafts, you will be famous.” And Berger spent most of her life painting. She participated and sold her work in art shows in Marin County, in the Bay area of northern California. And she still does some painting, but today her work is much simpler and has become a favorite of Rogue Valley folks. Perhaps you know Alice Berger as the painter of frogs on rocks seen at the annual ArtWalk in Shady Cove, and at other venues.
But today it is her work utilizing everything from those minute pieces of glass or crystal, to sequins, bone, stone, yarn and certainly embroidery, and even some splashes of paint on certain fabrics that not only satisfies her, it delights those who choose one of her elegant wall hangings. She frequents Goodwill and yard sales for beads, perhaps earrings that can be woven into the embellishment, tassels and other items her creative mind feels will be useful.
Photographs do not do justice to the work Berger does. One needs to see her wall hangings, of which she has many. Each one deserves more than a passing glimpse. It is the kind of work where one initially appreciates the scene and then simply wants to stand and begin to see the detail and workmanship.
Berger has not forgotten her ability with ceramics and sculpting. She has samples of work that she has done after seeing something she liked– no design, no pattern, just what she remembered seeing and then creates it. And did we mention she does “just a bit” of quilting?
Alice Berger does all this at the age of 86. She has two sons, a step-daughter, four grandchildren, three great-grandchildren with another on the way.
Age has not slowed this artistic dynamo. Her many and varied creative experiences provide a fertile imagination with more ideas to keep her going.
By Nancy Leonard
Of the Independent