There’s so much talent among Grafton artist Deborah Melton’s family and friends that she decided to showcase it for the public to see and hear at a garden party at her home.
Deborah Melton, a self-taught artist who paints a variety of subjects and makes mosaic and clay sculptures, has such talented children and friends that she decided to have a garden party at her Town of Grafton home and invite the public to experience and perhaps purchase their artwork.
The garden party and art show will run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24, at her home, 1153 E. Sauk Rd.
Melton’s daughter Carrie and her band the Minor Fall will perform from 2 to 3 p.m. Carrie was featured in the April 15 Good Living section of Ozaukee Press when she was nominated as the Wisconsin Area Music Industry’s new performer of the year. She didn’t win, but she has been performing more in addition to giving guitar lessons.
It turns out Carrie is not the only talented person in the family.
Melton’s oldest daughter Mary-Kathryn Budreck of Trenton is a photographer who has a home studio. In addition to event and portrait photography, she also creates art photos.
Son Josh is a guitarist, painter and budding inventor.
Youngest daughter Whitney, a senior at Grafton High School, is writing a book and enjoys painting and drawing.
“I’m the only one who’s not talented,” Melton’s husband Gary said.
His wife disagreed.
“He’s a jack of all trades and master of many,” Melton said. “He’s the one who holds us all together.”
Gary Melton insisted his children take music lessons and agree to practice one hour a day if he bought their instruments.
“Carrie and I both took violin lessons, so I told her to play for a half hour, then I would play,” Mary-Kathryn said. “I figured as long as he could hear music, we would be OK.”
Josh said his father insisted he practice two hours after he neglected to keep his part of the bargain or his guitar would be taken away.
Josh may play a little bluegrass or hip-hop at his mother’s garden party.
Melton cannot remember a time she wasn’t creating something. Her mother, who was a seamstress, kept a box full of discarded items for her to play with.
“Ever since I was little, about 4, I remember dumping out the box and making
collages,” she said.
When her children were born, Melton organized art projects for them and their friends.
The girls made Barbie doll furniture out of Popsicle sticks and cardboard.
Their favorite project was making fairy houses out of twigs, leaves and flowers. The children would set their houses in different areas of the garden, hoping fairies would use them that night.
“Gary and I were the fairies. We would mess them up a little,” Melton said.
Josh said he enjoyed inventing things so much as a child that he paid Whitney five cents to sit in his “office,” his dark closet, to think up things for him to make.
He’s currently working on a cat instrument. That’s right, an instrument that cats can play.
“My cat can keep a beat for 54 straight measures,” he said. “The cat likes to sit on my computer when I play music. I noticed it was rubbing its paw on paper to the beat. I folded a piece of paper so when she rubs it, it makes a sound.”
He’s not sure there is a market for it, but his cat Punky Brewster likes it.
Josh also designed a small chicken coop for his family’s six hens. The chickens were trained to walk up a ramp to a second level, where they lay eggs in a box filled with straw. The roof lift ups to allow the family to remove the eggs without entering the cage.
With so many urbanites keeping chickens in their back yards, Josh figures the coop has possibilities.
Like many inventors, Josh has a habit of moving from one project to another, his father said.
Melton decided to have a garden party as a way for her family and artistic friends to demonstrate their talents and visitors to enjoy an afternoon in the country.
“I enjoy being with artists,” Melton said. “Almost everyone I talked to thought it was a great idea. More may join us. It’s a good time for people to talk to local artists.”
Free lemonade and popcorn will be available.
The following artists from the Port Washington and Saukville area plan to participate:
Risé Anderson — basketry, weaving and mixed-media assemblages.
Renée Schreiner Kempfer — jewelry, acrylics and mixed media.
James Lingma — acrylics and landscapes.
Amber Payne — charcoal and acrylics.
Laurie Sucharada — watercolors.
Bette Langford — sculpture, mixed media and collage.
Edith Wheeler — contemporary papier mache.
Keely Welton — mono-prints, mosaics and mixed media.
Jeanette Gabrys — watercolors with gold leaf.
The rain date will be Sunday, Sept. 26.
For more information, call Melton at 377-5312 or (414) 467-3822.
Musicians Carrie and Josh Melton with (from left) sister Mary-Kathryn Budreck, mother Deborah and sister Whitney. Photo by Sam Arendt