Local Artist Spotlight: Joyce Hyde

Hyde creates baskets, containers and other items out of magazines. (Christy Perry for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – Joyce Hyde has always been interested in the arts. So much so that she made a career of it as a teacher. Hyde graduated from West Point in 1957 and taught school for over 20 years in North Carolina, Mobile and Hartselle. After she retired from teaching, she sold real estate in Cullman for close to 13 years. “I’ve worked all my life,” she said.

It didn’t take Hyde long after retiring to find a new passion. She began making baskets, containers and other items made from magazines, and then Mag Art by Joyce was born. She laughs, “I had a neighbor across the street. She used to bring stacks of magazines and leave them at my door all the time so I had to do something with them.”

“I was watching a design show on TV one day and this lady came on. She was bringing things in the room and designing it. She put a vase on the table and said ‘can you believe that’s made out of magazines?’ So, I said that’s what I’m going to do with the magazines, “Hyde said.

The show didn’t explain how the vase was made but Hyde set out to figure it out herself. “I started collecting the colors from the magazines and then I rolled them into straws. Then I experimented every which way. It’s like pottery and I always liked pottery and taught it in school. It was touch and go. I didn’t really know what I was doing,” she explained.

Hyde would try different ways to put the magazine straws together using glue and clothespins to hold it together, but it wasn’t working. One day her daughter Debi suggested using a hot glue gun. That worked and 15 years later Hyde has created beautiful vases, storage bins and many whimsical creations.

Hyde has branched out a bit from just using magazines. She has incorporated old telephone directories to produce earth tones and black/white pieces. Her creative use of materials won Hyde a 1st place award in a Recycled Art Show. She said, “That’s when I was first started out and that was real exciting.”

Hyde has a room in her house she refers to as her studio. There are stacks of sorted magazine pages and bins of already rolled straws organized by color. “Good Housekeeping is a great magazine to use. Any magazines with lots of bright colors.”

Each piece can be quite time-consuming. Hyde said, “It’s an ongoing process. I’d work on it in my spare time. You’ve got all the time invested in sorting the colors and rolling the straws and putting it all together. The whole process takes a couple of weeks. It really depends on how big it is.”

In the beginning, she made pieces for herself and enjoyed making it. Eventually, as she continued to make pieces and perfect her process, it was suggested that she begin showing her work at craft shows. She had a show at the Civic Center, and she was invited to the Alabama Jubilee. Soon she was doing around 12 shows a year including shows at the Bloomin’ Festival and Crane Hill.

Hyde doesn’t work craft shows anymore. She said, “I just didn’t think it was fair for them (her family) to help me all the time and it was just getting too much. I’m not getting any younger.” Hyde’s granddaughter, Amber Hyde Rose, has learned from her grandmother and makes Mag Art jewelry now. Joyce’s daughter Debi and Amber help by keeping up the Mag Art by Joyce Facebook page.

Hyde still makes her Mag Art and has them at several consignment shops in Alabama. She has a variety of items already made but will also do specially commissioned pieces. She recently made new toy boxes for her two great-grandchildren. Her containers are both beautiful and functional. As a matter of fact, Joyce has a large Mag Art storage bin for her smaller Mag Art pieces.

For more information on where to find Joyce’s Mag Art, please visit her Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/MagArtByJoyce/

Her items are also available on Etsy at http://MagArtbyRRD.etsy.com/

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