Joanne Crouch is the artist of the month for the North Augusta Artists Guild. She was born in Joanna, South Carolina, but points out that her name was just a coincidence. She lived in Saluda for 23 years. After marrying her husband, Tim, she has lived in Ward, South Carolina, for 38 years. They have two grown sons. James lives in Fargo, North Dakota, and Martin lives in Houston with his wife, Kimberly, and their daughter, Charlotte.
Joanne reports that she comes from a long line of creative people. She reminiscences that when she was young her grandmother convinced her to make an afghan for her hope chest. Although she finished that project, she had no desire to make another one. She moved on to other mediums such as encaustic, watercolor and acrylic with resin. Encaustic wax can take many forms. It can be 2D and 3D on a wooden support. The control of the amount of wax is the deciding factor of what shape it takes. The wax is melted and manipulated on a support, so heat is an essential element. She uses many different heat sources such as a propane torch and a travel iron to make her art. Pigments can determine the color of the wax and objects like sticks, lace, nails and papers can be embedded into the surface. Wax can be rough textured or as smooth as glass. She also makes jewelry and creates sculptures from gourds by carving and combining them with other organic materials.
Joanne has taken many classes and workshops in a wide variety of mediums. She describes her art as mixed media. She enjoys experimenting with materials and combining different mediums so she always uses several kinds on each piece. One of her favorite artists is the famed Abstract Expressionist painter, Jackson Pollock. He often put a large piece of canvas on his studio floor and dripped and splashed paint onto the surface while working from all sides. She especially likes his encaustic pieces which were created on vertical supports. She shares his keen interest in materials. She is often inspired by new colors and new art supplies. She stresses that she loves bold colors and that many of her compositions are abstractions. One of the things that she loves most about making art is playing by her own rules. When asked about the best advice she has ever gotten, she replied that it was to take criticism as a tool, not a hindrance. She says, “Since you can’t please everyone, be sure to please yourself first.”
Joanne works full-time as a nurse and her interest in health and healing extends to her art. She describes making art and viewing art as therapeutic. She pointed out that art can provide comfort and a healthy diversion, especially during this coronavirus pandemic. She has been instrumental in introducing the joys of art into her community. She was one of the founding members of the Art Association of Ridge Spring in 2007. She is currently president of AARS and is very active in the organization. She teaches classes there in resin work, encaustics and gourd sculpture. She works to further their mission to give their community opportunities to enjoy, create and market art. She works to increase interest, knowledge and appreciation of fine and applied arts in the Ridge Spring area and to promote exhibits and shows for artists and artisans. Their goal is to give the community the experience of exploring and enjoying art with the hope of enriching their lives. The AARS always welcomes new members. A membership form can be downloaded from their web site at ridgespringlovesart.weebly.com.
Joanne has won numerous awards for her art work. She has exhibited her work in many galleries including the Aiken Center for the Arts, the North Augusta Arts and Heritage Center and the Art Center of Ridge Spring. Along with her activities at the AARS, she is a member of the Aiken Artists Guild, the North Augusta Artists Guild, the National Gourd Society and the South Carolina Gourd Society. She is also an active member of the Ridge Spring Harvest Festival Committee.