PEWTER: not just for tableware

I was really excited to be invited to participate in a Wearable Pewter exhibition. It is a material I have always wanted to work with but, as with so many things, I needed a purpose and a deadline to make it happen. Enter Teresa Faris and James Thurman and the Wearable Pewter exhibition. Its going to be at City Soles in Chicago during the 2019 SNAG conference, then it will travel to Ayse Taki Galerisi in Istanbul, Turkey and Alliages in Lille, France. In addition to myself, it includes work by David Clemmons, Umut Demirgüç Thurman, Dan DiCaprio, Teresa Faris, Frankie Flood, Kyle Patnaude, Juan, Riusech, Michael Rybicki, Donna Sweigart, James Thurman and Jennifer Wells. I hope you will join us for the reception on Thursday during SNAG’s Gallery Crawl from 5-8.

WEARABLE PEWTER EXHIBITION POSTCARD

WEARABLE PEWTER EXHIBITION POSTCARD

Pendulous  (necklace)

Pendulous (necklace)

Pendulous  (necklace) detail

Pendulous (necklace) detail


New Piece Done!

This broach is inspired by a the cover from a wastewater access point that I passed on the road every day in Vienna on my way to the museums. The main element is made of 30 gauge fine silver so it is a lot lighter than it looks. It also required much research and development to get the die forming to turn out the way I wanted it. This will be in my show with Harlan Butt at the Georgetown Art Center in August. Thanks is due to Paul Cauthen and Tammy Nguyen who were student apprentices and had some part in its making.

Content/s is on its way to Taiwan

My silver kylix, Content/s, is currently on its way to the other side of the world for the Taiwan International Metal Craft Competition at the Gold Museum in New Taipei City. It is heading there for the final screening and awards process. Sometimes I really wish I got to travel with my pieces!

All You Need is Telstar: a collaborative international necklace

INTRODUCTION

A temporary, transatlantic, creative partnership between Poppy Porter and myself sprang up for the purpose of generating a piece of wearable art for the Crafthaus Co-Operation:Garnish project.  The project is a traveling, juried exhibition that called for makers with very different working sensibilities to pair and cooperate on a piece. Poppy is an Abstract Artist/Jeweler based in the United Kingdom who I approached from a list of interested parties.

Our response to the theme of Co-Operation:Garnish is based on the structure of two specific songs and how they played their part in communications history. We have taken the rhythm and bassline to be the foundation and the melody and vocals to be the “garnish”.  One artist works with the foundation the other works with the garnish.   The two songs were written either to be transmitted by or in praise of the first communications satellites, thus starting a communications revolution that makes our co-operation and collaboration possible.

Poppy and I have very different styles of working. Poppy is synesthetic, and has a visual response to music and sound that resembles a colorful, abstract animation.  She takes her inspiration for her jewelry and painting from the drawings generated while listening to music.  Poppy uses a variety of techniques and materials to make jewelry, usually creating or finding a form that will be painted using automotive custom painting techniques.

THE COLLABORATION

We were strangers at the beginning of the process and to date have never met or spoken in real time.  In fact, as Poppy made her half first, it is possible that she will never see the finished piece in person! The entire project was conducted and made possible in the time available via social media and email.  The constraints of time and distance focused the making process considerably.

This transatlantic communication sparked the idea for the piece.  We decided they wanted to work with music to use Poppy's synesthesia.  I suggested we use “All You Need Is Love” by the Beatles which was commissioned by the BBC for the first live global television transmission
 in June 1967 and Poppy suggested “Telstar” by The Tornadoes, a 1962 instrumental piece about Telstar, the first communications satellite.

After email dialogs and starting a Facebook group to document the process and ease communication of ideas they decided to make a necklace.  This would be comprised of 12 ovals, each oval will be around 4x6cm, half of the ovals would be inspired by "Telstar".  The other half of the ovals would be inspired by "All You Need is Love."

They decided to look at the structure of the music and use that to reflect the theme of “Garnish”.  Poppy (a bassist among other things) began by laying down the groove.  Creating the foundation of the piece by responding to the rhythmic structure and basslines of both songs.  It was agreed that I would then look at the melody and vocals to “garnish” the foundation.

Poppy listened, looked and drew several abstracts for each song.  The main color of the basslines for both songs was purple with distinct white shapes superimposed over the top, cubes for “Telstar” and star shapes for “All You Need Is Love.  There would be twelve purple ovals, six with white cubes and six with white stars to represent each song.  There was also a very sci-fi sound effect at the beginning and end of “Telstar” clearly meant to represent the satellite itself. This was a very dominant shape and Poppy decided to include it as a central motif with the ovals coming out from it as if they were the transmissions. She airbrushed these abstract shapes on to pierced out aluminum composite panel using automotive custom painting techniques for vibrant colors, adding a little stardust for sparkle at the end.  Each piece was designed to be elements that I could arrange in any way I wanted once I was working on the necklace.

As teleportation is a thing of the future there was an anxious wait for the UK and US postal services. I received the elements and respond to Poppy's groove with my own interpretations of the melody and vocals to "garnish" the foundation. Although I had made a variety of abstract sketches based on the impressions of both pieces of music, my elements were also considerably changed as a result of Poppy’s painted imagery. Not wanting my elements to obscure too much of the white painted forms jumping off of the painted ovals, I strove to position my complimentary elements around the baseline-inspired pieces, creating a harmony. I was further inspired by Poppy’s sparkle finish to include fine light-catching textures on her dimensional garnishments.

The success of the piece comes from the conscientious merging of the disparate strengths of each contributor. The merging of Poppy’s colorful approach with my dimensional methods has resulted in a fun and wearable necklace. It is a fitting expression of international communication, representing the cordial and encouraging working relationship that developed between two strangers.

CraftTexas Juror's Award

I am pleased to announce that "Attic Turbine" (shoulder broach) won a juror's award at CraftTexas this year. CraftTexas is a biennial, juried exhibition at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft.

CraftTexas 2014 was juried by Carol Sauvion, the visionary behind the PBS TV series, Craft in America, and HCCC Texas Masters, Piero Fenci, Ceramics Department Head, Stephen F. Austin State University, and Clint Willour, Curator of the Galveston Arts Center. The jurors were tasked with selecting the finest works from a pool of 176 applicants and 477 pieces.

The exhibition is up through December 24th. If you find yourself in Houston, I hope you will have a chance to go by and see it.

Considering the Kylix

I was fortunate to receive an invitation to participate in the exhibition "Considering the Kylix: Contemporary Interpretations of a Classical Form." The exhibition is curated by Maleyne Syracuse at Peter's Valley School of Craft. Scan the QR code above or click the image to visit a page with more information about the exhibition and the piece including videos of the design and creation processes.

Considering the Kylix: Contemporary Interpretations of Classical Form

 April 12-May 18, 2014            

Opening Reception Saturday, April 12 from 5-7pm                                                                            

Curator's Talk at 5:30pm