Eleanor Lux, American (Memphis, Tennessee, born 1940), Electric Storm, Feb. 15th, woven seed beads, 17 x 6 x 1/2 inches, Arkansas Arts Center Foundation Collection: Purchase, 23rd Regional Craft Biennial. 1994.027.002
The Friends of Contemporary Craft congratulates Eureka Springs artist, Eleanor Lux, for having been selected as the 2016 Arkansas Living Treasure. Lux is a weaver and bead worker, as well as a jewelry maker and mixed media artist. Her 50 years of artistic accomplishments, along with her dedication to teaching the craft to others, have earned her this distinguished title. She is now the third artist from Eureka Springs to receive this award, joining woodworker Doug Stowe and wooden plane maker Larry Williams.
“Eleanor’s work is long familiar to visitors of the Arkansas Arts Center through her participation in numerous Regional Craft Biennial exhibitions,” said Brian J. Lang, chief curator and curator of contemporary craft. “This honor is a testament to her dedication to advancing an appreciation of the fiber arts as well as her artistic vision.”
Now in its 15th year, the Arkansas Living Treasure program recognizes an Arkansan who is outstanding in the creation of a traditional craft and has significantly contributed to the preservation of the art form. An independent panel of craft and folk art professionals selects the recipient based on the quality of work, community outreach and overall contribution to the field of traditional crafts.
Raised in Memphis, Lux developed an appreciation for the arts at an early age. “When I was 4 years old, I would lie on the floor for hours and hours coloring with crayons creating my own designs. That’s when I knew I wanted to be an artist,” she said.
At 12, she began attending the Memphis Art Academy. In high school, she taught art to young students during the summers. After graduating from Memphis State University in 1961 with a degree in printmaking and history, she took her first weaving course at the Art Academy.
She also had a penchant for stained glass work and worked at a stained glass window factory in Memphis for 10 years, creating designs in watercolor primarily for church windows.
In 1970, she and her two children moved to Eureka Springs where she found work demonstrating weaving techniques at craft shows and local businesses. “I fell in love with Eureka Springs,” she said. “The artists are not competitive like they are in big cities. They all support each other here.”
In 1978, she bought an old vacant grocery store that has now become the Lux Weaving Studio. The turn-of-the-century pink house is a cornerstone in the Eureka Springs arts community.
Eleanor Lux, American (Memphis, Tennessee, born 1940), An Offering of Myrrh, beads, thread (peyote stich & right angle weave), 7 1/2 x 2 1/4 x 2 inches, Arkansas Arts Center Foundation Collection: Purchase, 25th Regional Craft Biennial. 1998.011.004
Lux creates seamless rugs, custom window shades, tapestries and other functional fiber art pieces. She works with two spinning wheels and five looms, one of which is more than 150 years old and was found sitting in a mud puddle in the parking lot of an old junk store in Rogers, Ark.
“The owner said he wanted $75 for it. And I said, ‘All I have is $60 and it’s my grocery money.’ He said he would take it! So I loaded it in my car and then had to explain to my husband that I spent the grocery money on the loom. He looked at it and said, ‘It was worth it. We’ll have potato soup this week.’”
She discovered her passion for beading after attending a two-week beading class at the Penland School of Craft in North Carolina. “Technically beading is also weaving because I’m weaving with a needle through each glass bead. It combines my two loves,” she said.
Lux creates sculptural beadwork using mostly seed beads. She has won numerous awards for her work and has published dozens of articles in books and publications.
In 2000, she co-founded the Eureka Springs School of the Arts, where she serves as a board member and instructor. She also teaches students in her studio and at art schools throughout the country.
A world traveler, Lux even teaches beading while she is on the road. She has taught beading classes in Africa and Central America, most recently in Mexico and Ghana.
“Just about everywhere I go, if I’m not asked to teach a beading class, I will end up offering one,” she said. “I can’t bring a loom with me so I bring my beads and share with the world my beading techniques and my love for Arkansas.”