Local artists Nate and Kellie Cooper-Turner would probably never consider themselves to be a power couple, but when it comes to the Ada arts scene, there is no better title that fits these two talented individuals.
Nate is a blacksmith and Kellie is a graphic designer and fiber artist. Both of them have had work displayed the past few years at the annual Taste of Ada, which is hosted by the Ada Arts Council, and Kellie’s work has also been accepted in the past as part of the Chickasaw Nation’s employee art show. In addition, Nate has done various demonstrations and exhibits at local events like AdaFest.
“I have my own artistic flare that goes into everything that I do … I have an idea for something beautiful and then try to make it to the best of my ability,” Nate said. “Whether it’s perfect or not — it’s an entirely unique piece that won’t be found anywhere else.”
One of the things that appeals to Nate about blacksmithing is letting his hands do the thinking to create a piece of artwork and that the end result is a unique tool that has a purpose.
“Watching something slowly take form from each hammer blow is quite meditative,” he said. “The beauty of something handmade is rare in our modern plastic world.”
The Turners both like to use reclaimed materials in their artwork when possible and both have a love of learning traditional methods of art that have been phased out due to modern technology.
“The most exciting ideas are the ones that you can’t find on the internet,” Kellie said. “In a world where everything’s been made before, it’s a rare luxury to have an idea you can’t research.”
Kellie’s love of fiber arts has been handed down to her by previous generations of her family. She explains that they even have their own unique stitches within the family.
“I love to crochet, knit and sew, but hate using patterns,” she said. “I prefer to find my own way of creating my visions.”
And while graphic design is a modern form of creating art, Kellie’s work is whimsical and often inspired by the beauty of nature.
“Everything I make is organic in form and, more often than not, includes a floral element,” she said.
Nate’s inspiration, when it comes to creating art, is the need to be constantly creating something, which is reflected in his advice to aspiring artists.
“Dive right in,” he said. “Don’t let nerves hold you back from getting started. Don’t be afraid to get dirty or sweaty.”
Kellie’s advice is similar, in that she encourages people to never quit making art, even if no one else sees it.
“Creativity is inside everyone and needs to come out however it can,” she said.