Versailles in Iowa

The Clay Fiber Paper Glass Metal Wood (all media) show at the Octagon Center for the Arts is in its 49th year and I am pleased that one of my pieces is participating. The title itself is a bit of a time capsule, back to half a century ago when craft media was rarely mixed and the postwar studio movement was just starting to organize within media-specific groups. 

It was an honor to have had a piece chosen and then it was a whole other thing to figure out how to ship the Versailles Gate Ring! I ended up making a display fixture that would also hold it during shipping. And chastising myself (not for the first time) for designing work without considering gravity or display challenges.

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.

Maker Moxie

I am very pleased to report that I have had a piece accepted into the Maker Moxie Exhibition which celebrates the impact of the craft school experience. My time as a resident and student at Arrowmont School of Art and Craft was formative and indispensable to the professional life I now enjoy. I was proud to submit a piece for the consideration of the three jurors and even more pleased to find that it was selected for both the catalog and physical exhibition at Peters Valley School of Craft. Images of the exhibition and pieces for sale are here.

The piece I submitted is called "Model Universe" and it is based on a technique I explored in a liquid enamel workshop with Elizabeth Turrell while a resident at Arrowmont. It was then executed at Banff in Canada during a one week residency. The forms are stitched together copper foil and derived from alchemical symbols for the sun and planets in our solar system, rotated on their vertical axis to create a volume. The study of alchemy and practice of enameling just make sense together for me.

More information about the event is here.

Opening Reception: Saturday, March 26 from 5-7pm.

On view March 26 - May 15, 2016 in the Sally D. Francisco Gallery, Peters Valley School of Craft, Layton NJ

Advance/Retreat

As the summer drew to a close I was fortunate to spend a week at the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts at a retreat of generally mid-career metalsmiths and jewelers. It was a unique opportunity to participate in a community of makers away from daily responsibilities. It was a chance to reflect on process, concept and direction or just revel in the bliss of uninterrupted work time. It was like being in graduate school again, but with a greater appreciation for the gift of time.

The artists of the 2015 Advance/Retreat were Haley Bates, Jeff Bowie, Motoko Furuhashi, Jill Gower, Yevgeniya Kaganovich, Anya Kivarkis, Ana Lopez, Natalie Macellaio, Becky McDonah, Jennie Milner, Mary Pearse, Phil Renato, Lauren Selden, Stephanie Voegle and Cappy Wolf.

Works created during the retreat will be featured in an exhibition during the University of Milwaukee “Zoom” symposium May 25-29, 2016.

 

 

Celebrating Women in Art Education

From July 1-31 I will be represented by four works in the Meadows Gallery in the Art Center of Corpus Christi. The exhibition, "Celebrating Women in Art Education," includes works by female university faculty from eleven Texas institutions. I am flattered to have been chose to represent UNT alongside ceramist Valerie Banes.

Wittgenstein Vitrine Review

This summer's Metalsmith Magazine includes my review of "Modern Opulence in Vienna: The Wittgenstein Vittrine" which was acquired by the Dallas Museum of Art. It is a breathtaking piece of silverwork by the Weiner Werkstatte (Vienna Workshops) and it was an absolute pleasure to share some information about it with the world. 

 

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.

Crafting Connections

I am excited to be heading for the Eastern Carolina University Material Topics Symposium today! I was invited to be a speaker and am really looking forward to the experience. Many esteemed peers are expected to be in attendance and among them plenty of friends to catch up with. I will be speaking on the subject of jewelry and its relation to Place, both historically and contemporarily with a few of my own pieces thrown in.

Metal-Phors

I was awarded a solo exhibition at the Sheetz Gallery of the Misciagna Family Center for Performing Arts at Penn State, Altoona. The exhibition is free and open to the public and will run January 15 - March 15. A reception will be held 3-5 p.m. January 15 in the Titelman Study of the Center. 

The pieces in the exhibition utilize disparate forms of metalworking in order to create metaphors for intra- and inter-personal relationships. The exhibition consists of a mixture of small sculptural pedestal pieces, wearable objects and framed drawings executed in vitreous enamels. These pieces address a variety of relationships including those of the contemporary constructed body to industry, the alchemy of interpersonal relationships and those of the individual to one’s core beliefs. They represent a collection of metaphors in metal.