You can see their bowls and paintings every Saturday at the European Market. But the Husarik family stumbled into art separately.
Nancy Husarik was first with her photography, paintings, and decorative coasters. She has been a fixture at the European Market for the past 8 years.
Then, her husband Greg got a hand-me-down lathe from a coworker and started making artistic wooden bowls. “I realized this is really fun,” Greg said, “but then I was making so much stuff that it started taking over the house.” So Nancy started selling his bowls along with her own art work.
A few years later, their son Leo took a class in ceramics at Indiana University Northwest. He liked pottery so much that the house began to fill up again. So Nancy rounded out the family art booth by making room for Leo’s ceramic bowls and vases.
They may not have planned it, but working together has enriched their father-son relationship. Nancy affirms the benefit for the family, “It gives them another thing to talk about - the colors, the base of the bowls, the shapes. We talk about it at the dinner table - what we’re taking, what we need, what’s selling, and what’s not selling.”
With each of them working on a different kind of art, they feel free to critique and to celebrate each other’s work. Instead of competing on who sells more, they dream together about how to produce better art.
Greg summarizes, “Because we’re not really doing the same thing, it’s not like one of us can say, ‘I’m doing it better than you.’”
“There’s more happiness in the variety,” adds Leo.
However, both father and son have noticed some inherent similarities in their crafts. The look and feel of a good bowl is similar in both mediums, and even some of the tools and techniques are similar. They are both attaching something to a spinning wheel and creating something, albeit in different ways.
“Dad uses a chisel, and I use my hands,” Leo says. “My work is more constructive, while Dad’s is more subtractive.”
“Leo is pulling the clay to him, pulling something out of the clay,” Greg chimes in. “But I’m removing what doesn’t belong in the wood.”
Greg never buys wood for his work. Instead, he collects it from trees downed by windstorms. “I turn it on the lathe while it’s still green and wet,” he explains. “After it dries, I put it on the lathe again for the finishing touches. That keeps the bowls from cracking.”
Leo throws a nice bowl - lots of them actually. Brilliant turquoise bowls with bleeding rims dominate the table. But Leo also crafts beautiful vases, pots, and mugs.
Most of the money they earn at the European Market goes back into their art. Greg is a full-time project manager in the construction industry, and Leo is working on a fine arts degree from Indiana University Northwest. The wood shop is in the basement, but Leo does most of his work at school because they still don’t have a kiln at home.
The Husariks have been talking about how to make art pieces together, but they haven’t figured that out yet because the media of wood and ceramics are so different. In the meantime, their separate hobbies will continue to fill the discussion at the dinner table and the displays at the market table. In the end, perhaps rich family bonds are their greatest works of art.