PIQUA — Luke Thoma, a sixth-generation member of the Thoma Jewelry family, will be one of the featured artists at the 22nd annual Taste of the Arts on Friday, May 20, from 5-9 p.m. Thoma will be demonstrating the casting process he uses to make jewelry at 6 and 7 p.m. at Thoma & Sons Jewelers, 312 N. Main St.
“I have been designing jewelry for 15 years,” said Thoma. “I’ve been fortunate to work under both my dad and my grandpa.”
Thoma has had no formal training, but did learn a lot from his Uncle Charlie Thoma, who also worked at the store.
“I have always loved art and took every class I could at high school and then got into some engineering classes at the Career Center before taking a 3D CAM class at Edison,” Thoma said. All of these classes and experiences have been helpful in what I do.”
A specialty of Thoma’s is ring designing and gold is his choice of metals to work withi. “One very special ring I designed for my cousin was a Buckeye ring with the block ‘O’ made of diamonds and rubies,” he said.
Thoma is hopeful that his daughter, Jocelyn, might be a seventh generation of the Thoma family to work in the store. “She is just five years old, but comes in all of the time to watch what I do. Jocelyn loves to ask questions and is fascinated with my work,” he said.
“I am excited to share this jewelry-making process with those attending Taste of the Arts. This is the way jewelry has been made for 180 years and I love doing it. Family jewelry heirlooms can be made into jewelry for another generation and still preserve the sentimental value of it.”
Lehman Catholic High School art instructor Tim Langenderfer also will be demonstrating during the evening from 5-9 p.m. at The Apple Tree Gallery. Langenderfer, a 20-year instructor at the University of Dayton, has his work included in the permanent collections of Coca-Cola Co., Christendom College, General Electric and the University of Dayton. His freelance career includes creating illustration art for clients such as Anheuser Busch, Bath and Body Works and United Airlines. Under the pseudonym, Tim Stout, he also illustrated for the Chicago Tribune, Forbes, and Golf Magazine. Locally, he has also been commissioned to do portraits of Piqua residents Howard and Mildred Kyle of A.M. Leonard, and the Browns from Hartzells.
Langenderfer will do a special demonstration at 5 p.m. geared especially toward junior high students and will do other pastels and mixed media projects throughout the rest of the evening.
“I have done all types of art including ceramics, oil painting, sculptures, cartooning and portraits. My favorite things to paint are whatever is on my easel at the time, but I really enjoy portraits of people and pets,” he said.
Lehman Catholic High School students along with students from all Piqua City Schools will have a variety of art work on display at The Apple Tree Gallery throughout the evening. “I hope that everyone will take the opportunity to see the creativity that our young people have by visiting the displays that night,” Langenderfer said. “We have a lot of talented students in our area.”
Taste of the Arts highlights area artists, offers taster-size portions of popular menu items from local and area restaurants, children’s activities and art demonstrations during the annual extravaganza. For more information about Taste of the Arts, call Lorna Swisher, Mainstreet Piqua executive director, at (937) 773-9355.