For Patricia Neufeld, every detail of a piece of art is integral to the whole.
The artist creates sculptures, pottery and ceramics, several pieces of which will be on display for "Western Art Show," open today through May 13 at the Carriage Factory Art Gallery, 128 E. Sixth St. in Newton.
Neufeld used to work with the public and found herself fascinated by people's faces.
"I think three-dimensional art is important, and human figurative sculpture has come easily," Neufeld said.
Her terra cotta sculptures often depict figures of cowboys.
"I appreciate Western art because I'm a native Kansan and I feel like it's important, with our area's history," Neufeld said. "I started making cowboys many years ago because there was a Western exhibit at the Carriage Factory. I made my first cowboy and found that's been comfortable to continue."
Not only does she spend hours shaping the clay, feathering it out to create details such as the brim of a hat, but she also chooses a complimentary base on which it can rest.
"I like to make sure a sculpture looks good from every angle," Neufeld noted.
She created a base using wood from an elm tree in her neighborhood for a recent sculpture. In keeping with the rough appearance of the figure of a cowboy and his dog, Neufeld left one side of the base in its natural state, the wood's shape paralleling the lines of the figures it holds.
"The base is as important, just like a frame is to a painting," Neufeld said.
Also on display in the gallery are her horsehair bowls made from raku clay. The white bowls are accented by an intricately curving black line.
"The horsehair is applied to the hot piece of pottery as it comes out of the kiln," Neufeld said. "We put a piece of straight horsehair on it and it jumps around and squiggles."
Terra cotta bowls, each etched with a unique design and accented with turquoise and gold colors, are also a focus for the artist.
"I oftentimes will press the design into the clay with different items — rollers, found items — and then do some tooling," Neufeld said. "The patina consists of metallic paint and stains."
Neufeld said she was honored to have her work included in the "Western Art Show."
"We are fortunate to have a gallery that has the quality of Carriage Factory, especially for such a small town, it is just such a professional art gallery," Neufeld said.
An opening reception for "Western Art Show" will be at 7 p.m. today. Music will be provided by Ray Nicodemus and Friends and artist talks will begin about 7:40 p.m.
The display also features the works of Jean Cook, Don Dane, Patsy Lane, Colleen Sternbeger, Burneta Venosdel and Bob Willis.
The Carriage Factory Art Gallery is open from noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. For more information, call 316-284-2749 or visit http://carriagefactoryartgallery.com.
To learn more about Neufeld's art, visit http://www.patricianeufeld.com.