Friday, August 29, 2014

Friday Final

Today is the last day of class and students have all day and all night to work. My students have challenged themselves in a big way so I imagine many of them burning the midnight oil this evening. It's exciting to see so many of them working at the edge of their skill set, pushing themselves to get it done and done well. I realized yesterday that one of the the best feelings is seeing a student do something awesome. I might get more excited than they do.

We began our day with a last walk along the fire road and then I gave a scoring and folding demo, which is my favorite technique to teach. Now everyone is quietly working, trying to get their pieces done by tomorrow's all-school show and tell at 11am.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Working Away

A few images of student work in progress… in sterling silver, stones, twine, rusted steel wire, fabric, mica, felt, seed pods and more.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Midweek Wonderful

Today marks the half-way point for my class "A Complete Thought" at the Penland School of Crafts. It's been a busy time in the metals studio with daily walks in the morning, two demonstrations a day, independent work time, one-on-one sessions with me and nightly artists talks. 

We began on Monday with a day devoted to process. We took a walk and observed and then looked at all sorts of sculptural jewelry in a PowerPoint. I lead the class through a thinking and writing exercise and a hands-on jewelry making project. In the afternoon we talked about the elements of sculptural design and the basic steps of artist process. Then for the rest of the day, students worked on ideas for the piece they want to make now and individually met with me to ask questions and review plans. 

Yesterday I demonstrated bezel setting and later talked about using alternative materials, showing them a number of easy low-tech methods. I also described how I use spray paint. My bezel demo was the most challenging demo I have ever given. Everything that could go wrong did and I struggled, but, as I explained to my students, I felt it was a good thing. It was very real. Anything can happen while making ones'  work and problems inevitably arise, even when you have a lot of experience. 

So, it's been a wonderful time already. I have a great bunch of hard-working and fun students and I am enjoying every minute of just being at Penland. Today we will be covering tab setting and pin stems and students will continue to work on their individual projects.

one-hour, sculptural necklace by one of my students

Thanks for reading.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Guest Star Friday #140… Helen Frankenthaler

The Bay

Helen Frankenthaler has been important to me since 1996. I took a sculpture class in college and one of our assignments was to make a piece based on a painting, interpreting a 2D work as a 3D one. I had learned about Helen in my art history survey class earlier and especially like the painting, The Bay. I chose this piece for my project and made a big sculpture with a layered wood base painted in a similar light green with billowing blue painted fabric above. I loved that piece and wish I had a photograph of it because it's long gone. Learning about this painting and creating that assignment were pivotal moments for me as a young artist. I began thinking about all art as 3-dimensional, even drawings and paintings, and, little did I know then, I also started to realize just how important emotion in art is to me. Today I'm still inspired by Helen's work with its saturated and stained color, amorphous forms, and graceful, visual movement. Each composition presents an opportunity to pause, to focus on color and shape and how it makes you feel, and then drift a little bit to another place.




See more of my favorite Helen Frankenthaler works on Pinterest.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Summer in a Small Village

It's summer in Upstate New York, but it hasn't been hot and humid like I remember it was when I was a kid. Lately, it's been "cold" and overcast, which I actually love. Gray days and thunderstorms are two of my favorite things. There are some bright, sunny days, though, and the landscape is lush with layered sounds of birds, crickets and tree frogs.

See more images on Flickr and on Facebook.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Hot Off the Press

I just got these beautiful posters for my upcoming show at Cherry Branch Gallery. The design is by my friend and graphic designer, Brandon Dawley, who has been designing for me since the beginning. I hung some posters around town which felt rather nostalgic since most communication for events like this tends to be solely online these days. The show opens September 6!

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Going Up

I found a space for the installation I will create while I'm a resident at CCA: an elevator at Velvet da Vinci. An elevator! When I was trying to find a place for the installation in the Bay Area a few weeks ago, I contacted friends and colleagues for ideas including Mike at Velvet. I wasn't thinking about Velvet for this piece, however, just looking for recommendations. When Mike replied, he suggested the elevator that leads from the main gallery to the upstairs offices. I was curious from the start and the idea just made sense the more I thought about it. Now, in addition to things like accumulation and emotion, I'm thinking about movement and transition, confined spaces and limitation, and solitude. The elevator in general is loaded with meaning and symbolism and this particular one has beautiful natural light streaming from a skylight, its surfaces are well-worn, and it's located in a place I know and love. 

The installation will open on Saturday, October 25 and will be on view for a week. 

Thanks for reading.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Interview Across the Sea to This Land

When I was in Iceland I did a 2-part interview for a shop in Charlotte, NC that carries my work, This Land. The interview stemmed from a fantastic conversation about the meaning of handcrafted that I had with Dan McCreedy of This Land in my Asheville studio last year and I'm very pleased with the series. I was asked great questions and, as always, enjoyed the challenge of articulating my thoughts for others to read. I had never really thought about what handcrafted means to me before and loved the chance to describe how Iceland influences my work. I also really like the introductions written by interviewer for This Land, Katey Schultz, a friend and writer from North Carolina. The studio pictures are quite lovely, too, all taken when I was still living in Asheville.

Additionally, whenever I do an interview not everything I say is used. When I was asked about memory and Iceland, Katey suggested I give a few detailed descriptions of compelling experiences. I sited my Grandi harbor experience, which was published, and the following account from one of my road trips, which was not included:

"I went on a 4-day road trip two weeks ago and drove along the south coast of the island from Reykjavík to Höfn. One of the places I stopped at was Dyrhólæy cliffs at Vík beach. This is a place I had never been to before, but had heard really good things, that it was very special. I spent some time on the cliffs looking down and out at the sea, watching the waves, feeling the wind, looking at birds and rock formations. Then I walked down to the water from above and walked around. I also just stood and watched the waves and the light and water glittering on the pebbled beach as the waves came in and out. It was striking and mesmerizing. I took lots of photos and made videos of the waves and collected many beautiful, rounded stones. I talked with my friend about what we were seeing and spent time just being quiet. When we left we agreed that it felt like time had just stopped or that it didn't even exist for us in those moments. There were other people on the beach then as well, but it felt like we were completely alone. It was an amazing experience."

Finally, here's a short paragraph about tradition and my teachers…

"Jewelry has been made for centuries and the basic techniques and tools remain unchanged. In 1998 I began learning from an incredible metalsmith, Barbara Crocker, whom I studied with privately. I learned my foundation skills from her and later went to college for my BFA. While I was in school, I studied under a master goldsmith, Mary Lee Hu, and apprenticed with another master metalsmith outside of the university, Lori Talcott, who later became a true mentor to me. Each teacher instilled in me the importance of excellent craftsmanship and a reverence for the traditions of our field. The work I make now is made using traditional techniques and tools. I enjoy the simplicity of the basics and find they provide a tremendous amount of room for innovation."

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Two Days Away

Right now I'm in another state spending a little time with my family: my mom, dad, brother, sister-in-law, niece and nephew. This little retreat is only a few days long, a weekend in the middle of the week basically, but, still, so nice and much needed.

Here's a TED Talk I love by Stefan Sagmeister titled, "The Power of Time Off." It's just under 18 minutes long and very inspiring.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Tiniest Sneak Peek

I was going to show you a big Etsy sneak peek today, but I just didn't have the time last week to get into making the new pieces. I definitely planned more than I could realistically accomplish on my to-do list. So, here's the tiniest of sneaks: two snippets from my sketchbook. I can tell you, however, that the sale is going to start at 9am EST on Monday, September 8 and will end Thursday, September 18 at midnight. I can also tell you everything (except custom orders and already discounted "Collected Memories") will be 25% off.

More soon, I swear.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Visiting is So Good

I have two back-to-back visiting artist engagements coming up in September. The first one happens at Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, RI, followed by another at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan. At RISD I will be talking with students in a professional practices class lead by Jennaca Davies. I plan to describe the path of my career and the choices I've made and talk about how I combine residencies, teaching and travel with jewelry and art making. The following week I fly to Michigan to teach Renee Zettle-Sterling's students. This two-day workshop will focus on process and I will guide students through a variety of hands-on exercises and discussions about how and why they make their work. I will also give a lecture about my own work. I'm pretty excited about both opportunities because I love being a visiting artist. It's always a great way to get deep with students in a short period of time and I'm always surprised with what I walk away with. It's a also a great time to connect with colleagues who also happen to be friends.

Rhode Island School of Design
Visiting Artist
Thursday, September 18
Providence, RI

Grand Valley State University
Visiting Artist
Thursday, September 25 & 26
Allendale, Michigan

Thanks for reading.

Monday, August 11, 2014

I Live Here Now, Locally

A few weeks ago I mentioned how ever since I Live Here Now opened in Sweden, I've wanted more people to see it...and, thus, the special event at Velvet da Vinci. I've also been thinking about how nice it would be if my family and friends here in my hometown could see the work. As I made the pieces over the winter I considered having an open house in my studio, but it became clear there wouldn't be enough time or space. I haven't stopped thinking about this, though, and two weeks ago remembered the Cherry Branch Gallery in nearby Cherry Valley. I took a drive to see the space again with its big, storefront window, well-worn wooden floor and beautiful natural light, and as soon as I saw it, I knew it would be a great place to present the show. I approached the director, Kristen Henderson, and she just happened to have an opening in September! The exhibition opens Saturday, September 6 with a reception from 5-7pm, and I'm very pleased to have a chance to show this special work locally. 

Thanks for reading.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Guest Star Friday #139… Silke Spitzer

Amidst all my reading about contemporary art, I'm continuing to pay attention to contemporary jewelry. The work of Silke Spitzer caught my eye recently with its minimal design, graphic look and delicate use of alternative materials. I like the layering in these pieces and the wonderful textures and movement Silke achieves through repetition. She also strikes a wonderful balance of visual weight with each piece appearing both heavy and light. The open, interior spaces and elegant lines create a sense of comfort and calm as the eye and mind are given room to move around.

Currently, Silke's work is on view at Ornamentum Gallery in Hudson, NY, but only for a few more days. If you can't make it there, you can see more images of the work and installation views of the exhibition on the Ornamentum website.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Remembering Older Work

Breaking Apart, plastic, sterling silver, 2002

Last night I spent a few hours on the internet searching for sculptural jewelry for a PowerPoint I will show in my upcoming class at Penland. As I flitted around Pinterest looking for bracelets, I came across one I made in 2002. I haven't thought about this piece, or the series it was a part of, for a long time and it was interesting to be reminded. I started thinking about what it was and what it wasn't, where my ideas came from and how I'm still working with some of the same stuff that inspired me then. I also thought about what I would change now or keep the same. I thought about how I fabricated each piece and I remembered struggling with some of the techniques. At that time I was interested in minimalism, space, Japanese pop art and Scandinavian design. My pieces were formal and more about design than concept. I like some of these older pieces a lot, and others I cringe at. The beginning is an interesting place to reflect on.

See more older pieces here.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Turning a Mountain into a Line

A few weeks ago I told you about my new drawing project and Sunday plan. After my first Sunday, when I drew single lines, I started layering the lines on top of each other, sometimes combining two, sometimes using more. I find it helpful to focus on one form of manipulation, like layering, which keeps me on task and keeps me from feeling overwhelmed by choices. I'm not sure what I'll do this Sunday, but I'm thinking about working more with layering lines on separate pieces of paper. There is something really beautiful in the translucency of the material and the varying intensity of the pencil marks.

Thanks for reading.