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There are several messages in the current art exhibit at Fort Wayne's First Presbyterian Church. One of them being hammered home...be responsible about nature.

“That's my biggest message I think in every piece I do,” says artist Brenda Drayer. “It's about preservation even the small pieces about loss.”

Artist Brenda Drayer is on a mission that has turned her Fort Wayne studio into a war room.

“I hope my work is allegorical,” she says. “I hope people look at it and it provokes thought and through thought hopefully conservation.”

When Brenda Drayer isn't making art she's outdoors being inspired to make art. An avid fly fisherman, hiker, camper, observer of nature. She comes back to her studio to recreate what she found in the wild, exploring its beauty and asking the rest of us to join her. Lovely fine silver pendants and broaches of animals and plants, her collages mixing two and three dimensional images. Drayer is a master of giatacoo, the ancient Japanese art of printing fish...applying ink to their bodies and rubbing their images on rice paper. Stunning arguments for preserving this earth.

“A lot of people ask me 'Well how can you be a conservationist and kill a fish to print it?', she says. “And in the rubbing I don't know there's some connection I think. I'm honoring its life and hopefully that fish's sacrifice goes toward building a conservationist at some point.”

Drayer jumps from one art medium to another, this metal form she's working on is about loss. Much of her work is about loss, or the danger of losing the things we admire, things that inspire us. Things we will lose if we aren't vigilant. Wisdom Brenda Drayer has already acquired, and is patiently waiting for the rest of us to catch up. Eric Olson reporting out in 21 Country.

Eric Olson

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