Artist Mike Steven’s creation, “Patchwork Tea,” will be part of the exhibit called “STEEP” at the Janice Charach Gallery through April 22.

Artist Mike Steven’s creation, “Patchwork Tea,” will be part of the exhibit called “STEEP” at the Janice Charach Gallery through April 22.

Photo provided by Linda Ashey, of Linda Ashley and Associates Public Relations

Gallery highlights artists’ take on brewing tensions in the world

By: Tiffany Esshaki | C&G Newspapers | Published March 9, 2020


WEST BLOOMFIELD — Artist Ruth Tyszka took more than a decade to carefully curate a collection of mosaic teapots.

And while they’re beautiful, and the idea of a warm cup of tea is innately comforting, her inspiration for the project is even deeper.

“It feels like we are steeped in so many critical issues in the world right now, some of which feel on the brink of hitting a boiling point,” said Tyszka, of Bloomfield Hills. “The idea of soaking in hot water, being steeped, begs me to ask (other) artists how they express this, with or without the literal teapot form.”

Tyszka got her answer when she invited a couple dozen other local artists to come together for a unique multimedia exhibition at the Janice Charach Gallery in West Bloomfield. The show, titled “STEEP,” is a collection of works in ceramic, glass, painting, sculpture and other materials focused on the concept of being in hot water, boiling over, brewing and all other interpretations of the theme.

Included in the show are some favorite local artists, some of whom have taught classes at the Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center.

“The list of participating artists includes many of the most recognized in their fields, such as noted ceramic sculpture artist Mark Chatterley and ceramic artist Frank James Fisher, as well as Andy Koupal, head of the Glass Studio at The Henry Ford, as well as many more noted artists in painting, ceramic, glass and mosaic,” Kelly Kaatz, the director of the Janice Charach Gallery, said in a prepared statement. The participation of such a diverse group of artists working in so many mediums make this one of our most exciting shows we’ve staged. And the challenging nature of the title makes it a singularly thought-provoking event.”

Those artists were carefully curated by Tyszka: those she knew to be “vessel-builders,” or 3D artists, and those she felt had a voice that would be tuned in to the theme. Then the gallery added to her list with local artists who would complement the collection.

To hear more about their inspiration, the gallery will host two events with some of the participating artists. The first, the “Tea and Mosaic Workshop,” will take place Sunday, March 29, when guests can enjoy a cup of tea and create a mosaic teapot with guidance from noted ceramic artist Michelle Sider. The time and price of that event will be announced soon.

The other event, an artist talk with Tyszka, will take place at 1 p.m. Sunday, April 19. Guests can enjoy a casual tour of the show and hear about the artists’ process and intentions. Both events are free and open to the public, as is the exhibition during regular gallery hours of operation through April 22.

For more information about “STEEP” and the Janice Charach Gallery, call (248) 432-5579 or visit

The Janice Charach Gallery is located inside the Jewish Community Center of Metropolitan Detroit at 6600 W. Maple Road in West Bloomfield.