Opinion

From eggs to art, 13-year-old artist to join open studio tour

In February I received some wonderful news, that I was accepted as a member of the Orange County Artists Guild. Most of the guild members are middle aged or retired, and they accepted me despite only being 13 years of age.

Although I am young, I am serious about art and have developed a unique technique of using eggshells as a primary factor in mixed-media pieces. My work has been commissioned by Wentworth & Sloan Jewelers of Chapel Hill as well as by private individuals, and one of my pieces graced the cover of the August 2017 issue of Genetics in Medicine magazine. I will be showing eggshell mixed-media pieces and landscape works in an open studio tour on two consecutive weekends this November.

Cleaning Eggs Outside
“Consistent donations of eggshells from Elmo’s Diner of Carrboro have allowed me the opportunity to practice and perfect my technique over the years,” says Chapel Hill artist Eli Melet. contributed photo

There will be over 30 pieces that visitors can view, learn about and purchase on the tour, as well as the opportunity to commission works for specific spaces. The unusual acrylic eggshell paintings provide amazing depth and texture; the fragile shells are reinforced with acrylic mediums. Consistent donations of eggshells from Elmo’s Diner of Carrboro have allowed me the opportunity to practice and perfect my technique over the years; I estimate there are about 50 eggs in an 18” x 24” painting.

I had my first private exhibit at the coffee shop Joe Van Gogh of Chapel Hill when I was 11 and sold multiple pieces. This inspired me to invest more time refining my style.

When I applied for membership in the guild, I was hoping to be accepted so I could participate in the open studio tour. Being part of the tour has given me insight into aspects of being a professional artist beyond creating the artwork. I have had to learn how to photograph my art, maintain a professional-level website, keep track of costs and income, and engage with interested members of the community as well as prospective customers. I really appreciate that the artist guild members have been so welcoming. Pursuing art professionally is definitely a possibility. I am only fourteen, so I have time to figure it out!

Open Studio Tour dates are Nov. 4-5 and Nov. 11-12. Hours are Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. in my home and art studio located at 109 Standing Rock Road, Chapel Hill. My art studio is No. 29 on the Open Studio Tour map and app.

For more information, go to www.EliMelet.com or to www.ocagnc.org.

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