“Thingmaker” Makes Good

By Mary Jane Winquest



Pairs by Elmer Holzrichter

NET members Elmer and Margaret Holzrichter of Kearney welcomed me into the art studio next to their home on a recent spring morning. A self-described "thingmaker," Elmer is a positive force. His artwork of four-letter words states "WHAT EVER GOOD WEDO is Celebration." Another collage testifies, "The grass is my brother. Also every thing that ever was or will be, known or unknown, on earth, sky, sea."

Why do the Holzrichters support NET? "Because of its high level of achievement in their programs. We're following the ‘Lost Writers of the Plains' right now," Margaret said of the NET Radio series featuring eight plains authors once poised for success, lost and now rediscovered. "NET is all we listen to, we feel like it is very, very special. We get clean reporting and we don't have to listen to a lot of commercials. We also like good music."

Margaret is a musician who taught piano in Dodge City, Kan., Elm Creek, Holdrege and in her home. She employed the Suzuki method teaching students to play first before learning to read music. She studied with Dr. Shinichi Suzuki, a violinist, who developed the method after World War II, believing that all children should hear fine music, learn to play and develop a beautiful heart. Margaret exudes this positive demeanor.

The Holzrichters moved to Kearney in 1963 when Elmer joined the University of Nebraska at Kearney as the third art professor. He retired in 1989. Generally contemporary, his works include painting, sculpture, weaving, woodcut, paper mache and collage with interesting layers and patterns.

He grew up on a Kansas farm where they used what they found. He repurposes materials. "His mother made balls for the children. They learned to use their hands," Margaret said. Elmer's weavings use plastic twine from the farm store. Cubes and spheres are cut from cardboard. A fascinating series of wire sculptures titled Work Ethic depicts useful activity. And there is so much more from these NET members who continue to be a vital part of their community.

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