Wendy Shaft was born and raised in mid-Michigan by parents who were second-career public school teachers. They set an example of life-long learning: science, nature, art,literature, and theater. Additionally, their enthusiastic observation of the natural world during travel adventures left a lasting impression. She decided to study the sciences in college.
With her Geology degree almost finished, she decided to head to Alaska to work on the Trans-Alaska Pipeline and went on to earn her Bachelor of Science in Geology from Michigan State University in 1976, and she moved to Alaska permanently in 1977.
During her time in Anchorage, she discovered she was more interested in art than geology; she went back to school part time, eventually adding a Bachelor of Fine Arts from California College of the Arts in 1987 with an emphasis on book arts.
While living in Anchorage, Wendy met her husband, Don Bixler, and they opened Limner Press, their letterpress printing business. They collaborated on the now retired “Wendy Shaft Block Printed Images” card and journal line for which Wendy cut hundreds of linoleum blocks.
During this time, they became acquainted with Tom Sexton (Alaska Poet Laureate Emeritus). Poetry chap books and broadsides were published with Tom as editor, Wendy creating art and Don on press.
In 2005 Wendy Shaft and Don Bixler relocated from Anchorage,Alaska to Williamston, Mich., Wendy’s hometown. Dorothy, Wendy’s mom was able to age in place by having family live with her. It was also a time to be grateful for the influences of her parents on her subject matter over the years.
Wendy continues to pursue her relief printmaking as well as surface design and dye-painted textiles. You may have seen her work on the Arts Council of Greater Lansing’s 2016/2017 Billboard Project. You can visit Wendy Shaft, Artist on Facebook.
I am a printmaker, watercolor painter and textile artist. My process of creating images uses a variety of techniques and is a tactile and graphic expression. I am an observer of environments; my works are a response to how I perceive my chosen subject matter. The bones of my art are strong shapes and bold color as well as black and white. The compositions can be narrative and/or decorative. There is a moment of emotion when I know absolutely what I want to convey. My hope is the viewer will relate to my art based on their own experiences.
I am combining relief printing (linoleum block) and hand dyed textiles. I have studied with various artists who have reminded me that although “its all been done before” to “make it my own”. This is the perfect time to do this plus send a message about the place pollination has in our ecosystem.