Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Introducing the Art•Full Gift Guide Artists! A Guest Post of Sorts....

Recently I was invited to join a group of my artist friends to celebrate and share each other's work through creation of an Art•Full Gift Guide. It's not a book or catalog, it's a network! How twenty-first century of us!

From now until Christmas we're sending weekly updates to our individual mailing lists (you can sign up for mine here), so I'd like to take some column inches to introduce my comrades-in-arts.

In their own words... here's what and why they create!

Vicki Bolen: Crane chains are made from Tyvek, a material more durable than paper. Chains are approximately 15 inches long and can also include beads and bailing wire.

The cranes will fly, without a cry
stay out in the rain, with this refrain:
we will not fade, of tyvek we are made
miracle plastic Vicki can fold
can stay outside, winter, snow, and cold
as symbols, know as beings of peace
like prayer flags flapping in the breeze......


Merry Cox: The use of the discarded and the found lends itself to a good story.

Approaching Merry Cox’s studio, the first thing you will notice are the piles stacked up on the porch: all junk (raw materials) waiting to become art.
Raw materials: Junk from the cast-offs of our society
Inspiration and influences: Nature recycles everything and is an extraordinary designer.
Recognizes: Nature bats last

Merry wants people to recognize the phenomenal abilities of nature. At first when she considered collaborating with other peoples’ used up and thrown out traces, she was overwhelmed with all the junk, all the stuff discarded. Actually she was amazed that all of this was coveted, purchased and thrown away.
While wandering aimlessly, exploring the edges of the rubbish piles, she came to see the piles as an immense amount of fabulous raw materials for her sculpture.
Who used this stuff?
The details of people's lives got dumped. While stories spin in her head of who they were, she wants to try and give new life to someone's old things, folding them into her ideas of the wild, the open and the uninhabited.


“Colorful, thought provoking and humorous.”  Kay Cummins inspirits this phrase AND her work does too!

Growing up in a thrifty household, I was always determined to get the most out of something.  I started thinking “outside the Box” very early and my experience with Found Objects travels along this path, but with my trained artistic eye.
When pals join me on a search for Found Objects or “truly good Junk” they are amazed at the potential I see as I travel through piles chatting about this and that.  They often say things like “how did you come up with that idea” or “you’re really going to buy all of THAT”?  There is definitely something about my process that is innate, but I have to work hard at the technical skills needed to transform the “stuff” and the idea into the finished piece of jewelry.

What’s a Found Object?  Simply put, it is an item that is treasured by someone for its artistic value although it may not actually be precious.  Most of us acquire and keep things because we like them, a stone or shell from a vacation, a toy from childhood, etc.  Some of my current Found Objects are vintage billiard balls, game pieces, lunch boxes and tins, computer keys, cocktail glasses and more.

Ideas evolve from the found object.  I often ask myself “What can I do with this?”  I think about the possible theme, what I like about the item, what wordplay could work.  Sometimes this is immediate; other times it hangs out in my studio for months.  Ideas come all the time so I have a notebook and doodle so an idea isn’t lost! 

My goal? To make the world a little more colorful and put smiles on peoples faces.  I love being an artist!  No doubt it is hard work.  But I wouldn’t trade what I do with anyone.


Lynn VanDeWater DeCew: My love of embellishment, decoration, layers and pattern is fed by my mixed media style of painting.  I draw, stencil and block print on patterned paper which is applied  to stretched canvas. I then paint over this patterned base. I use gold leaf and iridescent paint, so each painting changes with the light and point of view. My images and inspirations are drawn from a wide range of traditions: Indian Saris, Japanese Kimono, Northern Renaissance still-lives, to name just a few.

My work is unusual and evocative of nature and history, and exotic places.  It is affordable for its quality size and originality.  I also welcome commissions.  I enjoy working with people and finding what art work they would love to live with.

Art work enhances our everyday lives, and our individual tastes and choices speak for us in this world of conformity. 


Karin Frye: "I've been amazed at the popularity of my sunwear and reading glasses!" Karin says. "Women of all ages are looking for eyewear that 'makes a statement'...and they love the way the bright colors enhance their coloring. And the 'forty plus' crowd finds that wearing reading glasses isn't quite as painful when the reaction from others is so positive."

Reacting to buyers' comments that "color on my face looks great," Frye devised her company's slogan of "art for the face."

Frye is a self-taught artist living in Colorado. She has an extensive background in designing home decorative furnishings and accessories. Karin has created whimsical, hand-painted chairs and dressers, canvas floor cloths and, her latest passion, impressionistic ceramic dish-ware. 


Nicole and Harry Hansen, Sterling & Steel: “We both love the metal, the plasticity of it,” says Nicole Hansen, half of Sterling and Steel, a partnership of two metalsmiths.

“The irony is that people don’t think of metal as something soft and transformative,” adds Harry Hansen, her partner in art and spouse of 20 years.

“There’s magic in starting with a flat piece of metal and transforming it into something useable,” says Nicole. “It makes my stomach feel tingly.”

 “It’s artwork with utility,” finishes Harry.

Their words twine like their work, sculptural housewares that blend steel--much of it recycled from objects found in scrap metal piles--with sterling. Harry, a farrier with a busy practice who trained on a horse ranch, is steel; Nicole, who majored in fine arts at Northern Arizona University, is sterling.

Their art goes back generations--you could say the Hansens were each born to their particular metal. Harry’s line worked with steel: his great-grandfather was a horse trainer of some renown in Nebraska, his grandfather, a steel-working shipbuilder, his dad a jack of all trades who was an ace welder.

Nicole’s Jewish forebears were smiths specializing in precious metals. Her mother, who went to Skidmore and Yale in Fine Arts, trained Nicole’s father in goldsmithing.

The two Hansens met in 1991 in Sedona, Arizona, where Harry worked on a horse ranch and Nicole visited her aunt and uncle the summer before college. They married in 1993 and began working together after they moved to rural south-central Colorado.

Two kids and building a house slowed their collaborative art for a while, but not their desire to work together to create hand-made objects that as Nicole says, “have a connection to the heart. Work that invites a relationship that, like the metal we forge, grows stronger over a lifetime and beyond.”

“The marriage of sterling and steel,” the two artists agree, “reflects our marriage, a collaboration drawn on the best parts of contrasting natures.”


Jerry Scavezze, Goldsmith:  I think of my work more as sculpture than jewelry. People approach you from all different directions, why shouldn’t your jewelry look good from all sides as well?  My work is very 3 dimensional, lightweight and has a lot of movement inherent in the pieces.The reflection of light off of the curved surfaces contributes to the feeling of motion as does the physical movement of the piece on the body.

My current work is called done using a process called "Anticlastic Raising". The jewelry is all formed with polished hammers of varying shapes and sizes. No molds or castings are used. Each piece is individually made.

My art jewelry is literally hand raised from a flat sheet of gold into the strong, lightweight, elegant pieces that defines our unique contribution to metal-smithing. Stones, pearls, colored accents are sprinkled throughout our designs as punctuation marks and added drama to our already fluid forms.


Toni Tischer, Tischer Studios:
Art Jewelry has been my passion for over eighteen years.
I am a dedicated goldsmith committed to exploring my own esthetic in connection with anticlastic and synclastic forms both in jewelry and other functional pieces. 

Anticlastic forming shows off well in larger sculpture. I however, have spent the last eighteen years playing with smaller more feminine ribbons. My hand-forged designs, which incorporate the use of stones and color in conjunction with different metals, give my work a unique look. My designs have long been incorporated into and been a part of a continuing relationship with Scavezze/Goldsmith.  Here I am able to offer my new work as Tischer Studios.

(I think you already know this one:)
Sherrie York:
Blame it all on chickens and a guy named Richard.

Nearly 30 years ago a drawing professor (that Richard fellow) took me and my classmates to his neighbor's yard to sketch chickens. Squabbling, running, jostling, chattering chickens. It was dusty and hot and chaotic, and the delight of the experience never left me.

In fact, that afternoon planted a seed that continues to grow– a twisty vine constantly searching for moments of windblown or river-soothed authenticity.

These days I work primarily as a relief printmaker, although I still paint watercolors from time to time and am never, ever far from a pencil and sketchbook.

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