by JEFF SPRY Cascade A&E Feature Writer
Entering the home studio of acclaimed local artist Lawrence Stoller is like discovering Aladdin’s magical Cave of Wonders, with glittering gemstones and shining crystal sculptures enticing the eye at every turn. For nearly 30 years, this Central Oregon lapidary wizard has been shaping and polishing these illuminating treasures of the Earth.
Fusing art and technology, his Megagem creations grace the homes of celebrities, tech moguls and an international roster of discriminating clients. His works explore rare beauty and inspire the imagination to new realms. Stoller crystals are seen in museums, exclusive art galleries, national rock and gem shows, corporate offices and even the 9/11 “Eleven Tears Memorial” across from Ground Zero in New York City.
“Crystals are archetypal in the human psyche and the idea of them having resonating properties and powers is very compelling,’’ he explained. “Interest in crystals and crystal art is soaring right now. One of the places the idea stems from is that they are minerals, one of the hardest substances known, harder than steel, and yet you can see into and through them. Also, their pyroelectric properties of giving off sparks further adds to the magic. Crystals have been used ritualistically for ages by shamans and around campfires in every culture. And at the same time they are the bedrock of our modern computer technologies and embody marvels of creation we don’t fully understand.”
by RENEE PATRICK Cascade A&E Editor
A casual glance at one of Irene Hardwicke Olivieri’s paintings is almost impossible. Her works are a feast of details which often approach raw or painful experiences with a delicate beauty and a reverence for the natural world. The nationally-known artist is one of Central Oregon’s best kept secrets.
Olivieri’s paintings contain elements of her travels, adventures and relationships spanning her childhood growing up along the Rio Grande River, traveling up the Amazon River on a cargo boat and living off-the-grid in Central Oregon. The painter received a Masters in Arts from NYU and worked as a gardener/lecturer at the Cloisters and at the New York Botanical Garden…all of which helped to create a foundation rich in the organic nature of life.
“My favorite part of being an artist is the challenge of how to take an experience, an emotion or a deep primitive feeling and turn it into a painting,” Olivieri said. “What I love is taking something that is not visual and making it come alive.