Skyline teacher wins big at State Fair

The State Fair of Texas is home to fried foods, auto shows, farm exhibitions, and, this year, to the artwork of a Dallas ISD teacher. 

Linda Cross, a visual arts teacher at Skyline High School, has been entering ceramic pieces into the State Fair’s Creative Arts competitions for 15-20 years. She has earned several ribbons for her ingenuity and unique artistic vision, but this year brought her a new achievement: “Best of Show.” 

Cross entered three pieces in various “teachers and professionals” categories, and two of them earned awards. Her second-place piece, which she named “Trinity,” features three feathers coming up together to look like a flame, while her first-place piece—which also won the “Best of Show” ribbon—includes five individual ceramic boxes with feathers burnt onto them. 

The majority of Cross’ art uses an alternative firing technique called raku, a process she discovered while she was earning her master’s of art education. Her studies culminated in a master’s exhibition thesis that featured only alternative firing techniques. Cross said she decided to center her master’s project on eagles because they are “a symbol of guidance and friendship,” and she has been inspired by them ever since.

“Everything that I do is with burning feathers in mind,” Cross said. “My canvas is a ceramic piece, which may be very simple when I make it. You look at it, and there’s nothing to it, but then after I burn the feathers on it, it becomes an elaborate piece of art.” 

Cross is calling this State Fair “the highlight of all the years” competing. Once she gets the pieces back from the fair, she will display them first outside of her classroom and then in Skyline’s library. She said she is proud of the work she has done, and she hopes her success will encourage her students and her fellow teachers to enter their own work into the State Fair’s Creative Arts competitions. 

“Anybody can enter,” Cross said. “I do ceramics, but they have all different categories, including drawing and painting. I just encourage my students, if they want to enter work, to let me know early, because it’s a process that you have to complete over the summer.” 

If you are interested in entering a piece next year, visit the State Fair of Texas website and check the Creative Arts page for more information. In the meantime, do not miss the opportunity to see all the award-winning artwork on display in the Creative Arts Building at the State Fair through Sunday, Oct. 23. 

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