Episode 303

In this edition of ARTEFFECTS: a shop named MMelo in Columbus, Ohio, shows us the perfection of confection. We see a young artist who’s artistic maturity is well beyond her age. Julie Crews in Louisiana creates paintings inspired by everyday life. Kansas City’s chalk and walk creates temporary beauty. And, Kathryn Howard in Reno, Nevada, makes art out of soap.

AIRED: September 15, 2017 | 0:26:47

- In this edition of Arteffects,

the perfection of confection.

(gentle instrumental music)

- [Michelle] I traveled all over the world

and a lot of that travel actually ended up

informing the recipes I design now.

(upbeat instrumental music)

- A young artist whose artistic maturity

is well beyond her age.

- My style of art right now

I think would be just whatever

inspires me at the moment.

- Painting inspired by everyday life.

- [Julie] You know when you see something beautiful,

and you're afraid it's gonna disappear

so you sort of hold your breath a little.

That's the best I can come.

That's the closest I can come.

I don't know.

- Creating temporary beauty.

(upbeat instrumental music)

- It's almost metaphysical,

like the impermanence of chalk,

and the history behind chalk painting.

- And learn how a Reno artist makes art out of soap.

(upbeat instrumental music)

- [Kathryn] That's why I think soapers in general,

we don't compete with each other.

We just complement each other

because there's so much variety out there,

and everybody adds their own personality to it.

- It's all ahead on this edition of Arteffects.

(upbeat instrumental music)

- [Announcer] Funding for Arteffects is made possible

by Newman's Own Foundation,

the Nell J. Redfield Foundation,

Carol Franc Buck,

Heidemarie Rochlin,

the annual contributions of KNPB members,

and by.

(gentle instrumental music)

- Hello, I'm Beth Macmillian,

and this is Arteffects.

You can satisfy your sweet tooth

with a visit to Mmelo in the Arena District

of downtown Columbus, Ohio.

In this segment, owner Michelle Allen

shows off her tasty confections,

including her signature marshmallows.

(gentle instrumental music)

- We are in my new cafe, my confectionary cafe,

Mmelo Boutique Confections,

M, M, E, L, O,

which funnily enough came out of a sound

that my husband would hear because I started

kind of doing this in Spain,

and my husband, people would try my food.

and people would go "Mmmm,"

and it just kind of grew out of that sound.

So yeah, that's where Mmelo comes from.

You know marshmallows have really fallen from grace.

They were a confection for kings,

and the reason for that is you can do

so many things with the flavor

and the texture and, you know,

you raise it a few degrees,

and you get like a Swedish marshmallow,

which is a bit rubbery,

and that's how they like it,

or you know you add a bit of egg white to it,

and it's like it's almost like a foam.

The French call that a guimauve.

So that's one of the reasons

why I'm kind of pushing them,

the virtues of marshmallows.

(electronic beeping)

We are on the clock now.

I grew up just south of Livingston Avenue

and the southeast side and went to Ohio State

and was just chomping at the bit to get out of town.

I traveled all over the world

and a lot of that travel

actually ended up informing the recipes I design now.

(gentle instrumental music)

In September of 2015,

I quickly came back to the United States,

incorporated Mmelo,

contacted a contact that I had over at Easton Ownership.

They gave me this creme de la creme spot on the Strand.

I had Louis Vitton across the street,

and you know Apple on one side

or Michael Kors on the other.

It was mad.

That would never in a million years happen in Europe.

I was there for eight weeks.

Based on the strength of that,

I got corporate clients.

I found the funding for my business.

I would never have gotten this far in Spain, ever.

Part of the research that I've done in food

is really trying to make sure

that I and my team really understand

why you make the ingredient choice

that you make and how that basically interacts

with the human body.

That in addition to the commitment

to designing all the recipes around, you know,

real food, whole food ingredients,

not using uber-refined flours,

not using uber-refined sugars,

not using artificial flavors or sweeteners,

or you know all the sort of stuff

that we now know we shouldn't really consume.

You know people ask me all the time,

"Can you do a sugar free trade?"

And my response to that is,

I would love to,

but there isn't a natural way to do that.

You know we can do low glycemic,

but we can't do sugar free.

I'm not trying to say that Mmelo is health food,

but it is food.

It is not junk.

It is not made with junky ingredients.

There's thought behind the way

that it was built and constructed.

And a lot of people here in Columbus

have done some amazing work in terms

of creating the food landscape here in Columbus.

It's so impressive,

and I'm so proud of my hometown,

and I really hope that Mmelo can contribute

to that in a really positive way.

- To find out more, visit

Florida artist Cassie Lackey may be young,

but she's already a prolific artist.

Her adventures in art all started

with a simple Christmas gift.

Here's her story.

(gentle instrumental music)

- My name is Cassie Lackey,

and I'm a senior at Oviedo High School.

I got started in art when I was really small.

For Christmas I got a sketch pad and some pencils,

and I just, I loved it.

I fell in love with it.

I started to draw everything around me,

like chairs and apples and tables and stuff.

My family, they fully support me.

They like that I do art,

and they hang it in their house.

It's just something that's a really positive thing

in my life.

My style of art right now,

I think would be just whatever inspires me at the moment.

I get my inspiration from people around me mostly,

my friends and family.

If I'm really sad or if I'm really happy,

it usually inspires me to just pick up a paintbrush

and start painting.

I'm going for a lot of strong colors right now

because I'm graduating,

and it's like a whole new thing.

I'm trying to incorporate more of them

to bring life to my art a little bit more.

- Cassie's gotten more and more creative through the years.

So she started out with really realistic drawings,

and now she's more experimental

with what she's doing with her mediums,

trying a lot of different things,

and she also has a sense of humor in her art.

She's able to express what she's feeling in the moment,

which she kind of goes with it,

just 'cause it goes with the flow,

just like she uses the brush

and lets it go with the flow with her,

and at the end of the day

she has this amazing piece to show everybody,

and it's just on spot.

- The finished product is completely different

from what I begin with.

I'll begin with something,

and then by the time I'm done

it is 100% different than what I thought

or what I wanted,

but most of the time I end up liking it, you know?

In the future I hope to either be a storyboard artist

for movies and cartoons

or to freelance art and have my own gallery one day.

To me, art is just something that is uniquely mine

that I can just do whatever I want with it.

Nobody has to tell me how I do my art,

and it's just something that is so uniquely mine.

(upbeat instrumental music)

- Painters come in many ages.

They can be students, elders, and even parents.

When Ruston, Louisiana artist Julie Crews

is not painting,

she is co-parenting her five children

with her husband, Neil.

Julie explains that,

when it comes to subject matter,

she finds everything she needs

hidden in the busy landscape of daily life.

(gentle instrumental music)

- I'm an artist.

I'm a wife, and I'm a mother.

When I'm in the studio,

I don't really put one of those in front of the other.

It's all encompassing.

What do you experience in your day?

Checking the mail, doing dishes, you know,

it's all the very mundane things,

shopping for clothes,

just some of the few things

I've been considering in my relationship

with thrift store shopping

versus going to the mall and shopping.

Any street scene that you would see

that I've done is me going someplace,

getting groceries,

or picking somebody up,

or having dropped somebody off,

or, you know, just all the running around

that all of us do.

- [Man] Many of Julie's paintings

depict the people with whom she shares her life.

Her interpretations capture the easy intimacy

that binds families and friends together.

To do that, Julie explains,

she needs to know her subject well.

- I've never painted anybody that I didn't know,

and maybe that influences it.

I've been asked a few times

to do commission work of people,

and I would always sit and spend some time

with them first.

The photo references that I would use aren't secondary

but are as important as trying to get an idea

of the personality.

Maybe it has to do the fact

that I do know them intimately,

and as I'm painting and working,

there comes a time when you feel

like you're approaching being finished,

and maybe that's when it snaps,

is I feel that acquaintance looking back at me.

Maybe then I know that I'm finished.

- [Man] Capturing the vignettes of domestic life

that steal her away from her studio,

Julie's paintings celebrate the unexpected beauty

of the mundane and the familiar,

whether that be an unmade bed,

a stack of dirty dishes by the sink,

or an undulating country road

- There's a road,

and it's going down and banking off into the distance,

and as I'm painting it, it almost becomes

sort of abstracted and very flat to me.

So even though there's depth there,

and it goes back into the horizon,

there's flatness to it which I really love.

It's almost like a magic trick.

You're painting on something flat.

You're trying to make it look like there's a depth of field,

and yet I'm treating different sections

of the painting in a very flat way,

so it's like playing dodge ball sort of.

I don't know.

When I paint landscapes,

it's always based in emotion.

You know when you see something beautiful,

and you're afraid it's gonna disappear,

so you sort of hold your breath a little.

That's the best I can come.

That's as close as I can come.

I don't know.

- [Man] Sometimes roads to the most mundane destinations

reveal surprising new subjects for Julie to paint.

- There's a series that I did

of the Dum Dum suckers.

I just couldn't keep my kids out of the doctor's office.

So every time you leave the doctor, you know,

you get a little sucker

and just kind of kept painting those

as we had a series of broken bones

and all sorts of calamity.

They've been very well received,

and I get a lot of positive feedback

over those little sucker paintings.

Yeah, they're cheerful.

They're kind of happy.

I was painting them

when all these doctor's visits were happening

was also during the presidential election,

and I think that it was helpful just

for people to see something that was light

and fun and beautiful, you know?

It was something that wasn't so heavy and serious.

Oil painting for me, I like how slowly it dries,

I paint very directly,

so I paint wet into wet.

I don't do a lot of layering.

Sometimes I enjoy letting it dry,

and I'll actually sand down the painting,

kind of build it up a little,

but not all the time.

I think you could probably do that

with an acrylic medium as well,

but I enjoy the fact that it stays wet longer,

and it's buttery.

There's just a consistency to it that I love.

My favorite things about being an artist,

a painter, is the freedom to do

whatever I want to do in the studio,

and it's hard work, you know,

and I love that.

I love that.

It's challenging,

and it's so fun.

It's so fun. (laughing)

- You can find out more by visiting

And now let's take a look at this week's art quiz.

Which of the following poets

was not a U.S. Poet Laureate?

Is the answer, A, Jack Kerouac,

B, Billy Collins,

C, Robert Penn Warren,

or D, Kay Ryan?

Stay tuned for the answer.

(gentle instrumental music)

In Kansas City, Missouri, chalk art attains

a higher level of recognition each year.

At the Kansas City Chalk and Walk Festival,

there's an annual quest to prove

that using chalk is a legitimate way

to make cool art.

Take a look.

(upbeat instrumental music)

- We're having our eighth annual chalk art festival

called Kansas City Chalk and Walk,

and we have an unbelievable crowd.

We have over 60 chalk artists from the area.

We also have three-dimensional chalk artists

from out of town and a vertical muralist.

For the first year, we have a vertical muralist.

- Meet lots of new people, enjoy the weather,

and have great art fun.

- [Lottie] Well, it's important to the city

because it's a free chalk art and performance festival.

Everybody in the city can enjoy it

without having to pay a ticket.

It is our eighth annual festival,

and we are just enjoying every single minute of it.

- [Man] That guy goes, "They got a long ways to go.

"We'll come back later."


- We are here doing the Chalk and Walk

as part of our art club for Winnetonka High School

in the North Kansas City school district.

So this is the design we're working on.

It's a drawing that one of my seniors came up with

last year working with the theme of games.

Something that I really love about the chalk is

you can actually ground it into a powder

and mix it with water and then actually paint with it.

So that's how we've been creating most of it

to get some of the solid color,

like in the blue or in the red.

- We just grind up the chalk into a fine powder,

and then we mix water with it,

and then it becomes like a paste and a paint,

and we can paint with it then.

Right now, I'm just, like, making these fine details

so that you can't see the white

where we outlined everything.

Right now I'm just, like, fixing everything up

so that it looks a lot cleaner and more precise.

(upbeat instrumental music)

- I'm using crushed up chalk and water

to make the chalk look more smoother.

So I'm getting to meet a lot of new people

and getting more experiences that I would normally not get.

(upbeat instrumental music)

- I am creating a work of art with pastel on the pavement.

The theme that I'm going with this year is games.

So I have chosen the classic game Operation

and am replicating the patient.

- We're utilizing all of their chalk offerings,

so we've got sparkle chalks,

some neon type of chalks,

and then their regular sidewalk chalk.

- I'm here with my art class.

We are here with the GIFT program.

It's run by Bonnye Brown,

and we're called The Real Deal Artists.

We are doing The Girl With the Pearl Earrings.

- [Man] Oh, awesome.

- We're doing a very large 3D picture,

chalk art on the pavement here,

and it's of Candy Land.

Well, this one is actually gonna be interactive,

and so tomorrow, when we get more done,

people will actually be able to stand in the art,

and it will look like they're standing

on the pathway next to the castle.

So it's very interactive and fun for the kids.

We've actually got quite a bit done so far,

and we're doing really well, so,

you know, the weather is great,

and sometimes that can be a big factor,

but with this beautiful weather,

we'll probably be done by, you know,

late tomorrow afternoon.

- It's almost metaphysical,

like the impermanence of chalk,

and the history behind chalk painting

and being able to let something go,

spend so much time making something so beautiful

and then to be able to let it go at the end.

So here's the drawing,

and then here's the grid over it,

(upbeat instrumental music)

and then the white marks that I get on there.

I'm using the grid for relationships

with one item to the next as a way

of getting it to lay down.

So we all turn out together every year and team up

and with me being gone from school,

it's a nice opportunity for us all to get together

and make some art.

- [Lottie] What's important about chalk art

is that it's not permanent,

and a lot of people just come

and do this for two days,

and they know that it might rain,

and it might be power washed at the last minute,

but they love the whole idea

of showing off their art skills.

- And you can find out more by visiting

And now let's review this week's art quiz,

which of the following poets

was not a U.S. Poet Laureate?

Is the answer, A, Jack Kerouac,

B, Billy Collins,

C, Robert Penn Warren,

or D, Kay Ryan?

(gentle instrumental music)

And the answer is A, Jack Kerouac.

(gentle instrumental music)

Have you ever thought about soap as a piece of art?

If not, Kathryn Howard from Wild Sierra Soap in Reno

might change your mind.

She creates unique, handmade soaps

that are so beautiful you almost don't want to use them.

(gentle instrumental music)

- The beauty is is that you've got,

the world is wide open.

There is so many possibilities,

and that's why I think soapers in general,

we don't compete with each other.

We just complement each other

because there's so much variety out there,

and everybody adds their own personality to it,

so it's just a ton of fun.

I am Kathryn Howard.

I am a high school teacher.

I am certified in math, science,

and I formerly taught Home Ec for 15 years,

so I use those skills to blend them together

because you need to have a background in all of that

to put together a nice bar of soap for someone.

Today we're gonna be making a vegan soap,

but I also do goat milk bars,

so some of the bars are goat milk.

Goat milk have a (murmuring) properties

and a lot of vitamins that adds to your skin.

Wild Sierra Soap starts with our snow.

All of our water is supplied

through a local well,

and that well is supplied from mountain feed

off of Mount Rose.

(gentle instrumental music)

So we're to start out with getting your ingredients together

and your materials,

and with anything, this is just like any science experiment,

safety is a key.

So you need goggles.

I wear an apron that's plastic and gloves.

Get all your materials going

because once you start soaping,

soap is not forgiving.

It moves, and you've gotta be ready to move with it,

so we're gonna start out with mixing water with lye

and let that cool down.

I like to soap at room temperature,

and then in another bucket,

I mix together all of the oils that we're using.

We're gonna use a stick blender,

and that's gonna blend together

the lye water into the oils.

It's a ponified,

fancy smancy word for lyes blending with oils,

so when they blend together,

and you'll see it comes together like a vanilla pudding,

from that point you can add some colorants.

You can add fragrances.

Then you're ready to pour it into your molds.

Once it's poured in the molds,

then it has to incubate.

Soap is exothermic,

produces its own heat,

so sometimes I'll let it just sit in the oven.

Sometimes I'll wrap it in a blanket.

Good to let it sit for at least 24

to 36 hours.

During that time,

soap goes through what we call a gel phase.

Glycerin forms naturally in the bars,

and it also allows any of your colors

to really pop.

I like to go through gel phase

'cause I enjoy that pop of color,

and I want glycerin in my bars.

I think that's really nice.

At that point, then the bars are cut.

They're stamped with our little stamp

that says, "Handmade with love,"

and then they go into a curing cabinet

for about four to six weeks where they dry.

So that's pretty much from start to go,

and then we have to package it up

and get it out to the customer.

(gentle instrumental music)

This'd be about three years now

that I've been working on soaps.

I was gifted some super nice soap,

and then when it was all gone,

I went to look for it,

and it was $10 a bar,

and I thought, I bet with my science background,

my math background,

a little bit of YouTube videos,

a little bit of reading,

I can start putting this together.

So I started playing around.

My eldest daughter said when I was making

the first bars of soap,

she looked at me and she said,

"Mom, I thought you were making soap.

"What does this add?"

So the first bars looked anything but that.

The soap seized on me.

It was ugly,

so it took a little bit of messing with formulas,

doing more calculations,

because every oil that you use

needs a different amount of lye with it,

so now all those formulas are printed out.

They're in a binder.

They're got plastic sleeves over them

so that they're in one good place

and I don't lose them.

Sometimes fragrances will also interact

with the oils and the soap as it's going through

and will change.

For instance, I'm using a vanilla fragrance today.

When we started pouring the bears

for the soap we're gonna make today,

they're white.

They're polar bears.

Within three days, they turn into black bears

because the fragrance is reacting with the oils,

and it turns it.

Same with micas and some of the oxides

that I use for coloring.

They're all natural,

same as you find in your makeup,

but when they're reacting,

some of them are changed.

I have one that starts out

as a beautiful fuchsia.

By the time it finishes, though,

it goes blue.

I had a couple of surprises

that I did not expect that to happen,

and you just went, what?

And you look at it,

and you're like, what happened?

Now lots of times it's not maybe what you wanted,

but someone else goes,

"Well, I think that color is great."

And you're like, okay, but I was shooting for green,

and I got orange.

You know, what happened here?

I always tell customers,

if you really like a swirl in that bar,

you better pick it up

because I can't reproduce it again.

It's done by hand,

and no two bars are ever the same

even within the same loaf.

So that's part of the fun

is getting to see what that looks like.

Making the cuts are always the fun piece.

Wide currently, alright, let's see.

Alright, I see a nice gradual green,

darker on the bottom,

getting super light on top.

Super perfect, love that.

I think I wanted to have something

that I could probably use rather than just have around.

You know, I think over the course of anybody's life,

you mess with different things

and different art forms,

so this was just a new medium

that I'd never tried before,

and it was a challenge.

It was a challenge to work the chemistry,

to work the math,

to work the art, and put it all together.

So I enjoy that, and I still do.

That's part of it to get it.

It's like create something new

each time you go to make something

and be able to sell it

and share it with other friends.

(gentle instrumental music)

- To find out more,


And that wraps it up for this week's edition of Arteffects.

For more arts and culture and to watch past episodes,


Until next week, I'm Beth Macmillian.

Thanks for watching.

- [Announcer] Funding for Arteffects is made possible by

Newman's Own Foundation,

the Nell J. Redfield Foundation,

Carol Franc Buck,

Heidemarie Rochlin,

the annual contributions of KNPM members,

and by.

(gentle instrumental music)

(upbeat instrumental music)


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