Limited by size, 150 Oklahoma artists find their own square route to Saturday's annual '12x12' art show 

7 p.m. Saturday
Fred Jones Industries Building
900 W. Main

With a ceiling on square footage, comparing art at "12x12" is a lot like looking at real estate: When size isn't an issue, shape and texture take focus, and the eye shifts toward differences in material, construction and color.

The annual art show and silent auction includes works by 150 Oklahoma artists statewide, representing all media. The show's buzz comes not only from the variety of works, but the diversity of the artists.

Even Gov. Brad Henry is showing off his art at Saturday's show.

Each "12x12" selection is bound by the same constraint: Works may be no larger than 12 inches on any side, so a cubic foot is the maximum amount of space any item may occupy.

"It works out perfectly, because I just happen to have a lot of square work," said Michelle Himes-McRory.

The Stillwater native works from home as a freelance and fine artist. Her work was included in last year's "12x12," but she's excited that Saturday will give her a chance to show off art created with her new toy: a laser engraver.

She bought it for jewelry making, but has since used it to etch just about everything else. Her technique starts with sketches on paper, which are digitized with a scanner. From there, her sketches are fed into the engraver, which carves out patterns on wood or clayboard. She then hand-colors the laser-etched surface with paint.

"I love the one-size restriction," she said. "But you see with all the entries, it's so varied in what you get."

Andrew Boatman's "12x12" piece was inspired by his friend's mother.

A glassblower who runs Blue Sage Studios, he was displaying a handmade bowl filled with several Christmas ornaments he'd created. The woman "bought the whole thing," he said, which inspired him.

"I started thinking about how to make a bowl and ornaments that fit together and follow the same flow," he said, noting that Saturday marks his fourth "12x12" appearance.

"It's my favorite show of the year, and it's really one of the best opportunities to see Oklahoma artists," he said. "There's so many of us out there, and you really get a wide variety here." "?Joe Wertz

above Michelle Himes-McRory's "You Followed Me but I Split"

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