Studio B Presents Rainforest of Pennsylvania: Prints and Sculptures by Melissa Strawser

Printmaker and Metal Sculptor Melissa Strawser, native of Reading, PA, has studied and traveled the world in her artistic attempts to showcase the natural world, its “critters,” and its energies.

In Rainforest of Pennsylvania, a show of prints and sculptures, which opens at Studio B on Friday, September 20, 2013, at a reception from 5:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m., Strawser brings home a love of all things natural that she has found in Pennsylvania and around the world. The reception is free and open to the public. The exhibit runs through October 12, 2013.

A Printmaker for almost 30 years, Strawser loves working with paper and experiencing how the 2D and 3D process develops her ideas. Her etchings on copper and sculptures of copper represent interpretations of reflecting memories, refracting color and dreamscapes. Her print work has been exhibited by Hartmut Berlinicke, a legendary Printmaker of Galerie Wildeshausen, Germany (originally from Berlin).

Strawser is inspired by all things natural: ecological environments on earth and of water; organic forms found in plants, animals, insects, amphibians, and aquatic life; and natural energies--especially light and sonics. Strawser has studied at the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London, under Professor, Bartolomeu dos Santos and Stanley Jones. She was mentored by Robert Blackburn and David Shapiro of NYC.


Strawser continued her printmaking relationship with “Barto” over 17 years working and exhibiting with him in Tavira, Portugal. Her Pennsylvania studio, named Barto Print Studio, commemorates their relationship.

In 1998, after returning home from her studies in London at the Slade, Val Bertoia invited Strawser to work alongside him in his father’s studio so that she could continue Printmaking and Sculpture works simultaneously. As partners, she and Bertoia educate, enhance, restore and preserve the work of Harry Bertoia and coordinate art projects of international scope to preserve ecology and sculpture of all shapes and sizes.

Connecting nature and art, Bertoia offers group tours of Bertoia Studio and Bertoia’s Ecological Sculpture Pathway by appointment between mid-March through early November.

Strawser feels privileged to be part of an artistic Pennsylvania Folk Art family, Strawser-Gottshall-Brunner. She is a 5th generation artist who credits her generous upbringing and genetic make up for allowing an intimate understanding of everyday art and how to make things. Her unique reality combines dreamscapes and rational thought, central to the ideas and concepts embedded in her artwork.

Article submitted by Studio B.