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'Windows' -- a clear vision.

Byline: Richard Duckett

When: 5:30 p.m. Sept. 19 (exhibit runs through Oct. 19)

Where: Krikorian Gallery, Worcester Center for Crafts, 25 Sagamore Road, Worcester.

How much: 5:30, benefit and preview (includes champagne toast), $40; 6:30-7:30 p.m. preview, $20. For more information, go to or call (508) 753-8183

At first glance, the picture might look like a simple, painted snapshot of a charming or beautiful scene.

Judith S. King's collage "Sailing,'' for example, has a striking blue sea with a small white sail boat serenely sitting on the surface.

Look closer, however, and you see that the image has actually been created by careful use of colored cut paper, string and even a feather. Meanwhile, a King collage of a house has the structure sitting under a roof of monarch butterfly wings. In other works by the Southboro collage artist, a sandy shore features actual sand, and a small piece of a real shell. A house is built out of sandpaper. King's tiny details draw you in to explore the images some more.

Not much -- if any -- of a scene is painted. "Cut and paste,'' King said of her approach. Cut and paste carefully. Most of King's collages measure 21/2 by 31/2 inches on white mat board or cardboard.

"I love how simple they seem, and the more you study them they get much more complex,'' said Honee A. Hess, executive director of the Worcester Center for Crafts, 25 Sagamore Road, about King's collages.

The center opens a window on King's meticulous artwork with its major exhibition of the fall "Windows on a World: Collages by Judith King'' beginning today and running through Oct. 19 at the center's Krikorian Gallery. A special benefit preview will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. today. Works on view at the exhibition will be for sale, with proceeds benefitting the craft center and its programs.

King, who is originally from Worcester, now lives in Southboro and also has a home in coastal Maine, said she has always been fascinated by windows.

"The possibilities of learning how to look. You can look at the whole view, or the beauty of a single entity.''

King has been married to the photographer B.A. King for 54 years, but although she said he has been supportive (the two have had their works exhibited jointly in Boston), she noted that her interest in art came early.

Growing up in Worcester a daughter of Robert W. Stoddard, former chairman of the board of the Telegram & Gazette and of Wyman-Gordon Co., and Helen E. Stoddard, she said, "I always loved to color.'' Her father was also an art collector and photographer, but, "It all started when I was a little girl with coloring books and Crayola crayons.''

She added, "I always stayed within the lines. If I was coloring now I'd probably cut and paste and re-arrange.''

King received a degree in studio art and art history from Hollins University in Virginia. However, active artistic endeavors would be put back in the box for a while.

"I was born just at the time when you went to college and then got married. My career was the home,'' King said. There were four children to raise.

But in the early 1970s she took up studying decoupage (the art of decorating objects such as boxes by gluing colored paper cutouts onto them in combination with other special paint effects) at the Hiram Manning studio in Boston.

While she learned how to cut, the processes of decoration, which could involve use of lacquers, "got so intense,'' King said.

More enjoyable was creating small collages to make cards that she would send to friends. King, who comes across as modest, recalled that the friends did seem to be impressed with what she was sending them.

"People said, 'You should do something with this.' '' After a while she did, with exhibitions of her work and a book.

She took 74 collages to the Worcester Center for Crafts. "I guess you could call it a retrospective -- there are a few early ones in there,'' she said.

The sea is clearly a source of inspiration, but her collages also include studies of a lot of structures ranging from modernistic buildings in Arizona to farm houses in Vermont. One collage is set in Worcester looking toward downtown from Belmont Hill as seen through a hospital window when King was going through treatment for an illness.

The collage images are not exact mental snapshots as seen through an actual window. "Some are imagination. Some are things I've seen, and changed,'' King said.

''It's like a puzzle in a way. It's built up.'' That includes using "found'' objects such as feathers. On the other hand, "I usually have sort of an idea where I'm going.''

Going from her home to the craft center to drop off her collages, she said she noticed "on my way here an interesting church.'' She paused. "I don't know if that's a possibility.'' King remains busy with her collage art, in other words. "I've done quite a few this summer.''

The craft center exhibition came about as "a mutual thing,'' King said. Her thought, she said, was to sell some of the collages to benefit the center at its gift shop. "And then all this evolved.''

Confirming King's modest manner, Hess said, "We are incredibly fortunate to have an artist of Judy's stature who is interested in our mission of sustaining craft.''

King said she is a longtime believer in the craft center's work. "I think it's so important. There's no reason Worcester can't support a craft center where people can come and meet different artists and learn.''

King is showing her support of the craft center through the exhibition and any proceeds from the sale of the collages.

Or at least, "I hope so,'' King said.

"If people buy them. We'll see. It's good to have them out there and see what happens.''

Contact Richard Duckett at
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Title Annotation:Entertainment
Author:Duckett, Richard
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Sep 19, 2013
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