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BEST RIBS IN TOWN
Lynne Konstantin I Contributing Writer
Slivers of glass surround precious stones and sliced agate on this mosaic
ew beginnings can happen at
That's Darlene Hermann's
favorite part of her story. Hermann,
who now goes by Leene to suit her
metamorphosis, has a brand-new
career — and freedom of expression
— at age 68.
An insurance agent and financial
planner for 35 years (who still serves
her existing clients), Hermann, who
lives in Farmington Hills, had never
thought of herself as an artist. "The
most painting I ever did was my walls,
with a roller:' she says.
About 15 years ago, she took a
single class in crafting stained-glass
windows. She completed her proj-
ect, packed it away in a box in her
basement and never gave it a second
But four years ago, by chance, she
met an artist who worked in mosaics.
The artist encouraged Hermann to try
it, which she did. And it was transfor-
mative. She went into her basement
and pulled out that old box with the
stained glass in it and decided to con-
vert her entire basement into a studio.
Hermann has since taken a class
in color and composition at the
Birmingham-Bloomfield Art Center
in Birmingham to better understand
the richness of the palettes she works
with. Working steadily in her spare
time for the past four years and selling
pieces here and there, she had a major
breakthrough about four months ago.
The Jewish Community Center in
Oak Park had just completed a new
playground. Terri Steam, the former
director of the Janice Charach Gallery
at the West Bloomfield JCC, had heard
about Hermann's work and called to
commission a mosaic bench to place
in the park.
Hermann, of course, was thrilled.
The bench was unveiled in August,
and she has received so much positive
feedback that she felt comfortable tak-
ing a few more leaps.
"The people I worked with at the
JCC treated me like an artist, and I
began to think that I really could be
one:' Hermann says. "It started to feel
really wonderful, that at this point in
my life something could be so fresh
Since then, she has participated
in exhibitions through the Mosaic
Artists of Michigan at the Pitmann-
Puckett Art Gallery in Ferndale and
opened her own shop on Etsy.com.
She also has opened a space at Art Is
In Market, a co-op of Michigan artists
in Twelve Oaks Mall in Novi.
Hermann's work, which ranges in
price from $22 to $1,800, is diverse
yet retains the artist's own voice.
Vibrantly hued and gleaming cuts
Multifaceted on page 50
November 7 • 2013