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Art and Culture

Artists journey brings her full circle, back to Ortonville

The Ortonville Independent of Ortonville, Minnesota

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If you've ever browsed through a gift shop or high end boutique you may have come across figurines, decorations, dinnerware, and other home decor pieces with the name, "Marcella Rose" on the tag.

That name belongs to Ortonville native Marcella Rose (Larson). She left Ortonville in 1973 after graduating from Ortonville High School and went on to become a nationally known artist whose works are being sold in stores and galleries across the country.

Marcella Rose has lived and worked in Missouri, Arizona, Washington, and New Mexico. She moved back to her hometown in the spring of 2009 to spend more time with her parents Johnny and Arlene Larson of Ortonville.

Marcella's career spans over three decades. Her art reflects her passion for life. Though experienced in many media, she now devotes herself mostly to the fine arts of oil painting, sculpture and jewelry design.

Marcella has been drawing and painting all her life. When she was just a young girl, she would create various art projects for her church and posters for school. "I have always loved anything to do with art, "said Marcella. "Whenever I had a project for school, I would usually create an artistic piece to accompany the project. It was fun, plus it often earned me extra credit."

She joined the Future Teachers of America club in high school and became an FTA helper, so she could help the elementary teachers create their bulletin boards. Marcella made many backdrops for the high school plays, and remembers working on designs for projects at the Big Stone County Fair.

While still in high school, she often created artwork for the print advertising of Mayme's women's' clothing store in Ortonville. The first published works of Marcella Rose appeared in those ads in The Ortonville Independent.

Pam Schneck was Marcella's OHS art teacher. Marcella credits Pam for teaching her so much about art, and helping nurture her talents. They have since become good friends.

Marcella received a commercial arts degree from Moorhead Technical College in 1975 and worked as an illustrator for the Fargo Forum. From there she went to the Western Art Studio and provided illustrations for North Dakota Horizons magazine.

Marcella met Mickey Wilson of Dilworth, MN. They married in 1975 and soon moved to Phoenix, AZ, where she worked for a firm, later bought out by Gannett Outdoor Advertising, best known for publishing more than 82 newspapers, including USA Today.

She served as creative director at Gannett and was later promoted to Gannett's office in Kansas City, MO, to serve as manager of the promotion's department.

While living in Kansas City, Marcella and Mickey decided to adopt a baby girl. Their daughter Shira is now 24 and living in Seattle working in theater and comedy.

In addition to being a mom, Marcella continued to pursue her career receiving numerous awards for billboard advertising and collateral materials design for the Kansas City Royals, the Lee Company and Coca Cola, to name a few.

She got out of billboard advertising, and started her own illustrating company in 1987. She then relocated to Spokane, WA in 1992 to take the position of senior designer for Zak Designs.

At Zak Designs she illustrated for many well known companies including Disney, Warner Brothers, Mattel,

Paramount, General Mills and many more. She designed a variety of products including melamine dinnerware. She left Zak Designs in 1998 and started her own licensing business, by trademarking the "Marcella Rose" name brand, which still enjoys continued success and encompasses elegant and casual dinnerware, fabrics, home decor, furniture, giftware, women's accessories and jewelry. The year 1999 was a year for change for Marcella. She and her husband were divorced after 25 years of marriage.

Marcella and one of her licensing partners, Surya Rugs, won the prestigious first place honors in the - handmade category 2006 "Magnificent Carpet Award." The award was sponsored by Architectural Digest during the 2006 International Rug Market. In May 2008 she was included in the hardcover volume, "Artists of the West, "released to galleries and other fine outlets.

Painting has been a passion of Marcella's for as long as she can remember. In January 2008 she debuted a series of equestrian entitled, "Epona." Her works are found in galleries across the country.

She has always had a love for sculpting, and has begun sculpting jewelry, using jeweler's wax. She often sculpts prototypes to make a mold for manufacturers to reproduce gold and silver jewelry. She has recently signed a contract with Novobeads which manufactures fine jewelry similar to Pandora and Trollbeads.

Her designs constitute about 80 percent of the beads in Novobeads' new - line of jewelry. Her pieces are featured in full page ads in the August 2010 edition of Elle magazine, and in this month's edition of In Style magazine.

She has made it big, but, when you talk to Marcella, she seems like an ordinary small town girl. She hasn't let the fame go to her head. She welcomed her return to Ortonville and is happy to be able to spend quality time with her parents.

Marcella is planning an upcoming wedding this month to Don Lilleboe, an editor and publisher in Fargo, ND. They plan to reside in the area so she can stay close to her family.

Marcella credits her success to God for being in the right place at the right time when opportunities presented themselves. She said she feels really close to the creator when she is painting or sculpting.

"I feel as though the spirit is working through me, to create my art pieces, "she said. "The spirit gives me the passion and ability to create beautiful things. It makes me feel good, and I hope I can pass this on to those who look at my art, so they can feel good too."

Marcella plans to create some paintings which she hopes will adorn the walls of the Ortonville Hospital. She was born there and said she would love to have her work displayed in the community where she grew up.

Copyright 2010 The Ortonville Independent, Ortonville, Minnesota. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.

© 2011 The Ortonville Independent Ortonville, Minnesota. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from DAS.

Original Publication Date: September 14, 2010

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