AITKIN — What happens when two artists accustomed to working alone decide to collaborate?

Painter Judith Bergerson and potter Pedar Hegland did just that. Their individual work as well as collaborative pieces for the first time will be featured Wednesday, July 7, through Aug. 15 at Ripple River Gallery near Bay Lake. A public reception to meet the artists is planned from 2-4 p.m. Saturday.

“This past pandemic year closed off some of the usual avenues for artists,” Hegland, a full-time studio potter since 1976 and a veteran of more than 400 art fairs across a dozen states, said in a news release. ”However, it opened up opportunities to explore other experiences.”

This cardinal plate was created by artist Pedar Hegland, whose work along with Judith Bergerson will be featured Wednesday, July 7, through Aug. 15 at Ripple River Gallery near Bay Lake. Submitted Photo
This cardinal plate was created by artist Pedar Hegland, whose work along with Judith Bergerson will be featured Wednesday, July 7, through Aug. 15 at Ripple River Gallery near Bay Lake. Submitted Photo

Painter Judith Bergerson agrees.

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“The past year and a half have proven to be truly memorable for all of us, for many reasons. I spent more time observing and appreciating the natural world around me,” said Bergerson, who established a forest path, giving her greater access to the woodlands. “The mere act of walking this path was a calming meditation. How can you obsess about the nation’s seeming chaos when you are surrounded by the wonders of nature?”

She also spent more time in her studio.

“That expanded time gave me the incentive to experiment more, to play with new media and to explore new approaches to creating my art. To work on a three-dimensional surface — a pot — is a new experience for me.”

This art piece is called “Forest Grid (Three Birds)” created by Judith Bergerson, whose work along with Pedar Hegland will be featured Wednesday, July 7, through Aug. 15 at Ripple River Gallery near Bay Lake. A public reception to meet the artists is planned from 2-4 p.m. Saturday. Submitted Photo
This art piece is called “Forest Grid (Three Birds)” created by Judith Bergerson, whose work along with Pedar Hegland will be featured Wednesday, July 7, through Aug. 15 at Ripple River Gallery near Bay Lake. A public reception to meet the artists is planned from 2-4 p.m. Saturday. Submitted Photo

Both Hegland and Bergerson live and work in Sartell.

“It is my great luck to have Judy as a next door neighbor,” Hegland said.

Their collaborative journey began with Hegland making a pot in stoneware, sometimes adding a bit of color or glaze, then challenging Bergerson to respond to the form of the pot with acrylic paint, colored pencil and collage. “Whatever she did was totally her solution to the problem,” Hegland said.

This jar was a collaborative effort by Pedar Hegland and Judith Bergerson, whose work will be featured Wednesday, July 7, through Aug. 15 at Ripple River Gallery near Bay Lake. A public reception to meet the artists is planned from 2-4 p.m. Saturday. Submitted Photo
This jar was a collaborative effort by Pedar Hegland and Judith Bergerson, whose work will be featured Wednesday, July 7, through Aug. 15 at Ripple River Gallery near Bay Lake. A public reception to meet the artists is planned from 2-4 p.m. Saturday. Submitted Photo

Hegland earned a bachelor’s of arts degree from Luther College, Decorah, Iowa; continued his work in pottery at South Bear Creek Art School in Highlandville, Iowa; and apprenticed with Pond Farm Pottery in Guerneville, California, where he studied with Marguerite Wildenhain and David Stewart. Before moving to Sartell, his studio was in Brainerd from 1982 to 1990. Hegland’s work is represented in the Luther College Fine Arts Collection and the Minnesota Historical Museum Crafts Collection.

Bergerson earned a degree in fine art from St. Olaf College in Northfield, with additional work at The California College of Arts and Crafts, St. Cloud State University, Dominican College of San Rafael, and C.W. Post College of Long Island University as well as in numerous workshops with nationally-known artists. She has taught art in the public schools as well as in private classrooms and workshops. She works primarily in painting with acrylics, drawing, collage and mixed-media.

Ripple River Gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays, For more information call 218-678-2575 or e-mail ripplerivergallery@gmail.com.