Living Arts of Tulsa is pleased to present the collaborative show The Four Elements. We invite you to the opening reception during the The Tulsa Arts District's First Friday on Friday, December 13, 2013 from 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm.

This show is an annual show that was conceptualized about four years ago and curated by Steve Liggett. It is based on the idea of the four elements of the ancient world and reinterpreted for this years exceptional artists: clay, fiber, metal and wood. The artists selected are considered some of the best in their "elemental" areas. It is also a great opportunity for Tulsans to purchase fantastic works of art for holiday gifts.

Featured Artists:


Milissa Burkart


Artist biography

Like bubbles afloat on the air, we perceive ourselves as self-contained, independent, and separately existing.    But, the bubble is merely an illusion and no thing is really separate.   Each of us is a subtle web of relationships that expand across the entire Universe.   This view of inter-relationship infuses my art.

I approach each of my works as a story.  The small 3-dimensional constructions and books I create function much like the stages of a theatre—miniature stages on which the stories-as-stage plays are performed.    And through their telling, I seek not only to share these stories with the viewer, but to someday break free from my own bubble of separation.  My desire is to express through my art, my growing awareness that everything I do, say, or think, has real consequences in the world.  These expressions may take the form of dark observations; they may be direct and didactic (as in my Soapbox series); or they may be subtly humorous—whatever the tone, it is the story-telling that is of primary importance to me; the method of the telling (i.e. the medium) secondary.

In my everyday life, I may travel no further than my own backyard.  But within that small, microcosmic space, live an astonishing myriad of beautiful and intriguing beings.  Much of my inspiration initiates from observing them in relationship with the world.




Since studying calligraphy for over 30 years, I am finding that, despite my love of the classic forms, I am moving away from crafting the recognizable and easily read marks of the alphabet.  Though the viewer can usually take comfort in the familiarity of beautifully designed and readable signs and alphabets, I am striving to promote an appreciation of the unfamiliar and indecipherable mark that is rendered in the same elegant fashion.  The characteristic elements of the letters are utilized, though I am seeking to promote the appreciation for the mark as the statement itself, rather than for the actual words that are created by strokes.  I attempt to present an alternative format that encourages the viewer to appreciate the marks in their juxtaposition of one to another, with contrasts in space, textures and color, without feeling the need to try to read the mark.  Artist books present an interesting way for viewing the collections of marks with a variety of elements of position in space, texture, and color, and set in unique, creative and sculptural bindings. Based on historical and time-honored methods, the bindings are created with fine papers, and the use of multi-media techniques, including Japanese sumi ink, walnut ink, colored pencils, watercolors, and accents of 24K gold.  Each housing or artist book becomes a unique structure that offers the viewer an opportunity to view the collection of marks as a complete piece of work.  In combining these alternatives of marks, form, and binding, I want to promote alternatives to the realities and stimulate appreciation for the tactile and interactive aspect of the traditional book form, and for the signs we think we know.



     The pottery we make is a collaborative effort.  Our main inspiration is derived from classical forms and natural motifs, as exemplified by the Arts and Crafts Movement and the pottery of China, Korea and Great Britain.   Our goal is the creation of well-designed and executed form, embellished by beautiful surface design.   It is pottery that is functional, but also makes a highly decorative statement.    We use a white stoneware clay body that is fired to cone 11 in a reduction atmosphere.  

The pottery is hand made, mostly thrown on a wheel.  It is dried to a leather hard state, then dipped into, or coated, with a surface slip.  When the piece has dried to leather hard state once again, the design is “etched”, a technique call Sgraffito, through the surface slip.  The negative space is then carved away, much similar to wood block or linoleum prints.  The pottery is dried, bisque-fired, glazed, and fried again.

     Frank has a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of North Texas, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Tulsa.  He also spent a year as an apprentice to Michael Leach, at Yelland Pottery, in Devon, England.   Barbara has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of North Texas.   They have been collaborating on pottery and art since 1980.

     “ The truth is that whenever different people love the same thing and work at it together, their union makes strength; combined, they can do more than if their separate energies were each striving in a different direction.  By working together one becomes stronger and a whole is formed.”   Vincent van Gogh

 Frank Campbell, 02-03-52, born in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  Attended Memorial H.S. and The University of Tulsa, graduated May, 1974, BFA in fine art, emphasis Sculpture and Ceramics.  Graduated August, 1980, The University of North Texas, Denton, TX,  MFA in Ceramics and Sculpture.  1979-80, Apprentice to master potter Michael Leach, Devon, England.  Art instructor, Texas Wesleyan College, 1981-1986.   Self employed potter/artist since 1988. Partner/Collaborator with Barbara Buell, Dos Rios Pottery, New Braunfels, TX and now, Tulsa.

Barbara E. Buell, 03-17-55, born in Davidson, N.C.  Attended Denton High School, Denton, Texas.  Graduated 1980, University of North Texas, BFA in fine art, emphasis Drawing, Printmaking, and Painting.  1982-84, Graduate study in Painting, University of North Texas.  1984-88, Art Supplies Sales, Voertmans Inc., Denton, TX.  1988 to present: self –employed artist/potter. Partner/Collaborator with Frank Campbell in Dos Rios Pottery.


Peggy Upham


Artist Statement

I have always appreciated jewelry, even more so since making it.  The design of new pieces is an incredible experience as I study the various stones from black onyx to turquoise to labradorite to baroque pearls.  The stones and pearls talk, giving a sense of how they can be incorporated with the silver.  The silver also has a say in the process, especially some of the remnants of previous pieces that form a very creative beginning to new ones.

Much of the process of jewelry making involves muscling silver with the use of a rolling mill, flex shafts, vises, a jeweler’s saw and an anvil then coaxing it with solder and a very hot torch.  It all requires a lot of concentration and patience to complete these pieces of wearable art.

As a young Business and Economics major at the University of Redlands I never would have guessed that someday my business interests and passion would turn to the creativity of silversmithing.  Since turning in this direction about 15 years ago I have never looked back in spite of the occupational hazards-- burns, black fingernails, and polishing compound grit and grime everywhere.