Artists discuss ‘Fractured Rawness’ | Local News |

An exhibit at Red Wing Arts wrapped up last week and the artists celebrated the closing of “Fractured Rawness” with the community. 

The exhibit “Fractured Rawness” featured works from two artists, Rebecca Tolle and Judy Saye-Willis. 

Red Wing Arts Depot Gallery has been home to the “Fractured Rawness” exhibit for the past few weeks and visitors had the opportunity to see the unique pieces from each artist. 

Tolle is a painter with a studio in Northfield, she recently started painting pieces that have a meaningful story behind them. 

“I want my paintings to say something subtly on issues. In the last few paintings I’ve done there is one called ‘Never Another Birthday’ and it is about the Uvalde shooting,” Tolle said. “I’m working toward painting certain issues every year I’ve decided that resonate with me. I also have a COVID-19 painting that I did during 2020 and then another recent one is ‘Who Judges Justice’ which is about the Supreme Court.”

Tolle has been painting for many years and has captured inspiration from different landscapes, events, and visuals for her work. 

“When I started painting I did a lot of landscapes and now with these paintings, I’m realizing that this is me, and I look forward to the next one,” she said. 

This exhibit was something different for her after many years of finding herself as an artist. 

“For me this is the start of actually knowing who I am and I’m working towards paintings that say something,” she said. 

Saye-Willis specializes as a fiber artist in Northfield. She has been working as an artist and a teacher for many years. 

She learned the techniques over the years, after she first discovered natural dyes she wanted to learn everything she could about it. 

“I took a class from Michel Garcia who is the artist who has brought the Indigo 123 vat method internationally to people doing smaller amounts, and I was dyeing with chemical dyes prior to that,” Saye-Willis said. “I’m always fascinated by what’s next and what else I can do with this. I like to research and teach the methods and you can do so much with it. I make dyes, but I also make ink and watercolors.”

Her pieces at Red Wing Arts showcased her dyeing process with natural dyes and the Shabori technique that she uses within her art. 

“In the exhibit I had the large panels on display, I titled it ‘From Garden to Gallery’ and the process I used on those panels is that I dyed and then over-dyed with three dyes and shabori techniques,” she said. 

She has started to grow her own plants to extract dyes from and although it is a long process she enjoys teaching the techniques and sharing her knowledge. 

“Growing indigo, processing it and extracting the pigment and all of the steps is quite time consuming, so I have not made a lot of art in a body of work in a few years because I haven’t had the time,” she said. 

Saye-Willis has honed in on focusing on indigo for dyeing the past few years.

“My primary focus the last couple of years has been indigo and growing the color that I use in my work because nature has so much to offer us in that area, ” Saye-Willis said. “I planted almost 2,000 plants in 2021 and tried to keep it up myself and finally my husband suggested I see if anyone in the area would be interested in some indigo.”

Both artists have studios in Northfield and websites that showcase their work and other exhibits that they have planned. For more of Say-Willis’ information visit For more of Tolle’s information visit


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