Rising Star Mill Celebrates 150th Anniversary and 31st Art Show

1868 to 2018 equals a sesquicentennial. If the word tangles your tongue, keep it simple and just say the Rising Star Mill is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year. To add to the excitement, the Mill was added to the Wisconsin State Historical Register in August, 2017, and is expecting the honor of being added to the National Historic Register this year. So it’s a year of celebration, and to start this summer season’s slate of fundraising events, the 31st Rising Star Mill Art Show and Sale is once again scheduled for the Saturday and Sunday of the Memorial Day weekend on May 26 and 27.

The show gets bigger and better every year, and has attracted more central Wisconsin artists each year.  So, for the first time, artists will be located not only in and in front of the mill, but also down the garden path to the Tomorrow River and into the River Room, located under the south end of the mill. The River Room, accessed via a sliding barn door, is “ready for its close up” and the perfect venue for rustic as well as polished art work. New to the show this year, Caryn Hurst will have her fiber work in Mary Sipiorski’s booth. Wayne Reineking of Marathon will be introducing his wood turning skills with bowls and other forms done on a lathe. Swati Sreejith of Plover is a painter in acrylics, oils, watercolor and inks whose work is influenced by Indian culture and folk art. Elise Thornton, currently showing at Q Gallery in Stevens Point makes beautiful rustic baskets from willow and birch bark. Lori Woldt of Rib Mountain specializes in jewelry she’s designed and hand-forged in copper, bronze, silver and glass beads. Linda Durrant, a highly skilled quilting artist from Scandinavia will have her originally designed queen-sized quilts, beaded wool purses, and smaller art quilt pieces in her tented space. Selene Bloedorn-Saeed of Waupaca is bringing her little milk goat, “Cream Puff,” and angora bunny, “Fergus McCloud,” to showcase her fiber production and yarns, as well as hand-made goat’s milk lotions and soaps. Bill McKee, founder of this show when money was needed to clean and make the mill usable back in the mid 1980s, is returning to the show, “planting” some of his unique sculptural totems to add artsy flavor to the garden path.

Returning to the show this year are: Troy Abey – wood; Jeanne Chase – painting; Joe Clark – raku pottery; Bob Cline – carved cottonwood; Bud Eagon – lathe demonstations; Brenda Gingles – fine silver jewelry; Susan Groshek – painting, Marsha Haynes – photo cards and unique walking sticks; Vincent Heig – stoneware; John McDonald and Margy Kettle – metal garden art; Roxine Kabowski – horse themed wire jewelry; Linda Kasten – rosemaling; Marge Krogwold – loom made rugs and antique loom demonstration; Gary Landowski – ceramics; Jim McKnight – watercolor paintings; Ashley Megal – ink drawings and printed t-shirts; Mary Therese Murphy – silk fusion; John Morser – photography; Kathryn Negaard – paper on metal jewelry and paintings; Linda Packer – needle felted fiber; Robert Rosen – photography; Karin Sieg – colored pencil drawings; Sue Semrow – weaving and loom demonstration; Mary Sipiorski – unique bags and accessories from feed sacks and other fiber projects; Sarajane Snyder – art baskets, wood carving and dyed silk scarves; Toni Starr – paintings and jewelry; Nancy Thorson – watercolor and collage/mixed media; and David and Ann Wright – paintings, sculpture, and sales of their books, Journal from the Heartland No. 1 (Wisconsin) and No. 2 (Close to Home). With thirty-two artists in a wide range of mediums, there’s something at this show for everyone that attends.

And while you’re enjoying the wonderful ambiance of the historic rustic mill as well as the artwork, stop in at the Feed Sack where, once again, barbeques, assorted snacks, and beverages will be for sale. Look for colorful t-shirts imprinted with images of the mill or grain sack logos. Visitors can take home their own apron with “Feed Sack” imprinted on the bib. Favorite souvenirs of the mill are rag rugs made by Marge Krogwold on the antique loom; the rugs take time to make, are limited in number, and all are one-of-a-kind. And once again, Portage County Historical Society will be offering an array of books focused on the history of the area.

The Rising Star Mill is owned by the Portage County Historical Society, a non-profit organization, and is maintained by the volunteers on the “Mill Committee.” All proceeds from booth rental fees, refreshment sales, and retail sales fund the annual maintenance expenses. This summer, two sides of the mill will be professionally painted and a stairway from the patio/deck over looking the Tomorrow River will be built to take visitors down to the lower lawn area by the river where picnic tables are available.

The Rising Star Mill thanks Worzalla Printing for the large glossy posters and cards which advertise the show. Their corporate donation of printing to this art show is monumental and we’re very grateful for their help.


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