Ambitious student explores a variety of art media

While some art students find a particular medium they like and stick with it, Peabody-Burns High School junior Marie Unruh is determined to try it all.

Just this year, Unruh has done mosaics, mirror etching, printmaking, clay, and a self portrait with oil pastels. And in her spare time, Unruh also paints ostrich eggs.

“My uncle in Iowa raises and hatches them,” she said. “The ones that don’t hatch, I paint.”

Unruh said she also does a lot of floral arrangements, using both fresh and dried flowers. It is that talent that she hopes to turn into a career someday.

“I want to do floral design or interior design,” she said. “I want to open my own flower shop.”

Unruh can’t remember when art wasn’t a part of her life.

“I am always the artsy-crafts person,” she daid. “Everything in my house is made by me.”

Unruh is taking an independent-study art class this year, which gives her the opportunity to work on projects of her own choosing.

“It’s just me and another guy, so we can do experimenting before the whole class tries it,” she said.

She plans on doing independent study again next year, because she has run out of art classes to take.

Unruh’s favorite medium is watercolor, although she hasn’t done much watercolor this year because she’s been busy with other projects, she said.

Of the pieces she has done recently, her favorite is a chessboard made of clay. Each piece was fashioned individually, fired, glazed in white and cobalt blue and then fired again. She said the chessboard took her a couple months to complete, primarily because of the time it took to fire the board and pieces.

Unruh said she made the chessboard as a Christmas present for her brother. He had loan it back to her recently so it could be entered in an art contest. It won a first-place ribbon in the Heart of America League art show, where it competed against artwork made by students from 14 schools.

“I was amazed,” she said.

The chessboard is now on display in the school library

Unruh said she keeps some of her pieces at her house and gives away the rest. Many family members have been the recipients of her specially created pieces.

Unruh said she doesn’t know where her art talent came from.

“My mom and my two brothers are color blind,” she said.

It’s hard to see when she finds the time for art, given all her other activities. She participates in basketball, volleyball, track, FCCLA and 4-H and is the junior class president.

But art is her first love.

“It is all I do,” she said. “I do a lot of odds and ends. I always get volunteered to do stuff for unartistic people.”

And she doesn’t mind a bit.

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