County Employees Show Their Artistic Side In Exhibit

Works Are On Display Through Next Sunday

June 23, 1991|By Ellen Cutler | Ellen Cutler,Contributing writer

Bright and early every workday you'll find Michael Janouris of Edgewood rummaging through garbage. At night, he turns artist, working on sculptures and paintings in the basement of his home.

As an inspector for the county Solid Waste Management Division of the Bureau of Environment Affairs, Janouris' job involves making sure garbage dropped off at the Magnolia Road incinerator and the Scarboro landfill doesn't include toxic and other hazardous materials.

But it's his art that Janouris wants people to see. And for the past month, Janouris has had his chance. His art work, along with thatof about 20 other county government employees, has been on exhibit in the county administration building at 220 S. Main St. in Bel Air.

You might say the exhibit, which ends next Sunday, is more proof that the a job or profession is only a very small part of that person'scomplete identity.

The exhibition is part of a series of art shows planned in the lobby and front hall areas of the county administration building.

Sue Collins, an organizer of the show who works as amedia spokeswoman for the county executive, says the exhibit is meant to show the public that county government workers are not simply cogs in the Harford County administrative wheel.

They are artists and crafters of beautiful objects.

Collins organized this exhibition, "Hobby in the Lobby," to showcase the diverse talents of county government employees ranging from clerical staff to administrators to maintenance workers. She says that this display is "the tip of the iceberg in terms of the talented people we have."

Forest Hill residentLinda Settles, mother of three, grandmother of one, is another of the county government workers whose art is on display in the show. She's a secretary in the Office of Planning and Zoning.

Her job description sounds as though it might be interchangeable with a dozen others. She handles correspondence, acts as personal assistant to her department's deputy director, and does word processing.

But her real passion is the design and creation of architectural glass.

Settles began looking at stained-glass windows while searching for a transom replacement for her Victorian-era home. She took a short course in stained-glass techniques in Baltimore two years ago and has been pursuing the craft ever since.

She prefers using lightly tinted, transparent glass to bright or opaque colors, and her windows are distinctive for their texture and elegance.

Becky Joesting-Hahn has been a clerk-typist in the Office of Development and Tourism for two years. She lives in Churchville with her husband, her 16-year-old daughter, Merrie, and three cats, Pepper, Puppy and Lewis. Joesting-Hahn is alsoon the board of directors of the Susquehannock Environmental Center.

Joesting-Hahn uses an old German technique called "scherenschnitte", or paper-cutting. She learned to do paper-cutting from her cousinand has developed her own style.

She likes parchment paper for its antique look. She places the cutouts against what she calls "Williamsburg colors," hues favored in Colonial times. The work is painstaking, and the results are intricate and decorative.

As for Janouris,he's a newcomer to fine arts.

Until he injured his back five years ago, he was an athletic type who judged himself primarily in terms of his physical accomplish

ments, he said. But the back injury, which prevented him from engaging in heavy physical activity, forced him to see himself in a new light. Janouris says he "lost his identity"for a time.

Consumed by frustration, he bought tubes of paint anda small canvas, and created his first work. He titled it "Lines of Emotion."

Art seems to be part of his family roots. "Art is in the blood of the Janourises, it always has been through the generations,"said Janouris.

He recalls seeing as a child large, abstract canvases painted by his uncle, Angelo, who now lives in Towson.

"They gave me certain feelings," he said, and "I ran up the stairs from themreal quick."

Angelo's son, Angelo Jr., is also a painter. And Janouris' paternal grandfather was a stonemason and a builder of churches in Greece.

Janouris sees his art as spiritual, reflecting his religious convictions, especially "all the positive things," such as family.

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