Saturday, July 27, 2013

Paper Making Around the World

 I just spent a week at Peters Valley Craft Center, where I took a paper making class with Jane Ingram Allen. The class was called "Paper Making Around the World" and reflected Jane's experiences traveling all over the world learning and teaching how to make paper from a variety of plant sources.

We made papers from prepared pulps as well as pulps we make ourselves by cooking and beating local plants. All in all, we made about 8 different kinds of paper from everything from blue jeans to milkweed, hostas, day lilies and more traditional fibers like abaca and kozo.

It was a great class, and I learned a ton. I'm excited to work with the papers I made and turn them into books or other works of art. More on that at a later date!

In other news, we totally met our campaign goal!!!! We even surpassed it a little bit. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!!!! to everyone who supported us!!!! Your generosity has been unbelievable!

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Jackalope Collective: Curatorial Interview

As promised, here are Rachel and Jillian to talk a little more about the decision to go to Sieraad and invite the rest of us along for the ride.

How did this idea come about? 
R:  Basically, I was pretty unhappy during my preparations for the ACC show and also from my results of the show.  From the beginning, I had a feeling the experience would be like trying to roll uphill but I needed to do the show before I could decide how I really felt about US trade shows.  During this time, Jillian and I were also in discussions about her experience at SIERAAD and how great it was for her.  Between my negative experience and her overwhelming positive one, we thought it'd be a good idea to go in 2013... and to bring other US art jewelers who are up n' coming with us.  We wanted to bridge the gap between the US art jewelry market and the European one while simultaneously offering exposure and opportunity to a diverse group of makers.

J:  It really was a pretty simple evolution in planning.  It went quickly from us sharing a booth together to us helping bring a larger group because we felt like we could accomplish more in terms of representing American jewelry if we went about it very diplomatically and showed a range of work.  I've felt for awhile that a lot of younger makers are eager to be displeased with things, but not so eager to take action.  Rather than complaining about the absence of American work in Europe, it seemed like a way to begin to tackle the problem was to simply take a lot of work over together.  The reception I got there was so welcoming, I started to think a much bigger part of the problem was simply that we don't show up.  American collectors have held up European work as the be all, end all while the European collectors have no incentive to come here because we don't have the range of art jewelry specific fairs that are worth the trip.  By sharing the financial burden, we're making it a little more achievable for the problem to be addressed immediately.
What was your selection process for the artists like?
R:  It was REALLY tough!  We spent a lot of time scouring the internet and brainstorming folks who made great work while keeping diversity strongly in mind.

J:  We had a lot to factor in.  Since we weren't representing any specific organization, we were able to choose people based both on the caliber of work and based on who we felt comfortable spending a lot of time with.  Also we wanted to keep the work as diverse as we could so that no one felt like they were competing for sales, and so that we were truly representing a cross-section of what's happening in the contemporary art jewelry scene in America right now.  We made lists a little longer than what would work because we knew it would be difficult for people in a lot of ways, and we had to plan for those who couldn't make it work.  I'm still bummed that a lot of my original list didn't work out, but it has led to me being introduced to some new makers who I wouldn't have gotten so close to otherwise. 
What do you hope comes out of this experience, either for the individual artists, the group as a whole or American Art Jewelry in general?
R:  For me, the number one priority is helping to merge the US and European market.  By bringing such a large, diverse group, I believe this can happen faster than if only one or two of us went at a time.  I do realize that there are other American based art jewelers going to SIERAAD this year and I think that's great.  It helps to further this main goal.  My other angle for this project is to personally interact with a market that is more knowledgeable about art jewelry than the folks who were at the ACC show.  You can read more about my experience here

J:  I totally agree with Rachel's point that we're going to have a much more immediate impact by showing up with so many people, both our selected group of emerging makers, and the many other Americans going as well.  It makes a much stronger statement than if it had only been the two of us.  And to be honest, Rachel and I both are outliers in many ways.  Our work represents certain aesthetic extremes, and I think we're showing a much clearer picture by bringing such a diverse group.  We're trying to be ambassadors.  Last year I was the only American wondering why I was the only American.  This year there will be around 20!  I think both our project, and the other Americans going, are going to make a considerable mark on the fair as a result.  Hopefully this will be viewed as a turning point for visibility regarding American work in Europe.  Hopefully our group, who are all recent graduates, will come home with new collectors and exhibition opportunities that help catapult them into that first phase of their studio practice.  It's a long shot, but I'd also like to see some of the differences in fair practices to show up over here.  Perhaps if the best American work starts showing up overseas more than domestically, there will become an interest in art jewelry-only fairs here.  Perhaps the established American fairs will adopt some of the practices of the European fairs that make them so easy for emerging artists...
What has been the most challenging aspect of organizing this adventure?
R:  Organizing ten women is no easy feat!  Thankfully, it has gone as smoothly as I imagined it could, so, that is wonderful.  I think the fundraising that we're currently doing is the most stressful.  Jillian and I promised that we would do our best to cover our enormous booth costs (round about $7,000 USD).  Most of the makers in our group (including myself) could never afford to do this show without this fundraising.  In addition to our booth, we need to pay for lodging, travel, meals, other travel expenses and the cost and time to produce our work.  These costs add up very fast.  The result of our fundraising ultimately determines how much financial trouble many of our group members get in to.

J:  I agree that fundraising has been very stressful.  I knew we were asking our group members to take a risk, and I want to try and mitigate that as much as possible.  It won't be cheap, but it will be cheaper than going it alone.  I hope we are able to provide an experience that is worth it for all of them.  I have faith in the long-term benefits, but it is still difficult not to feel worried about everyone and the quality of their experience.  I've also struggled with the limited time I have available because I would like to be able to help everyone who is going over from America.  Rachel has been great about keeping me on task, and helping me focus on our core commitments to those in our group given that we persuaded them to take this risk with us.  My time at SIERAAD was so wonderful last year, I think once everyone finally gets to Amsterdam I'll start to feel less freaked out.  For now, it's going to be something that keeps me up at night from time to time...
What has been the most rewarding aspect of organizing this adventure?
R:  We've been receiving a lot of support:  Klimt02 publicly supports us.  We have received donations to our campaign from both national and international big-name galleries (some are anonymous so I can't name them here).  Brigitte Martin (Crafthaus editor) has also been pivotal in our success so far.  Having these supports is truly rewarding and a big nudge of encouragement and vote of confidence in this project.

J:  Again, agreeing with Rachel, the time we spent at SNAG this year speaking with people about our project was such a big boost for our enthusiasm.  Brigitte Martin, in particular, has been such an asset with regard to prioritizing and organizing our goals.  There have been Americans who champion what we're doing, but there have also been so many international supporters that I continue to feel vindicated in my belief that European "snobbery" about American work is mostly a myth conjured by wounded American pride.  Makers, organizers, and gallery owners outside of the US have donated to our fundraiser just as eagerly, and they have spread the word faster and more eagerly than many of the American equivalents.  It's given me hope that my larger intentions, to bridge this continental divide in the field, are already being resolved.  Also, watching our group members pick up on the promotion of the project and seeing how their work is already being received has been really great.  There was a very quick turnaround on this project, from our initial conversations to really jumping right in and getting people committed to the fair, to our current fundraising.  It's great to see something come together so efficiently and smoothly when it seems, in retrospect, like it could have been a lot harder to pull off!  Let's hope I still feel this way by November, but so far we've had really smooth time.  I'm hoping that we won't have to factor in hurricanes this year...

 We are so close to reaching our goal over at indiegogo. With 4 days left, we are just under $500 shy. Please, please go take a look at our page, that Jillian and Rachel so tirelessly put together. Thank you to EVERYONE who's donated so far!!!!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Jackalope Collective: Jillian Moore

Kicking off our final week of fundraising is my last artist interview with ringleader, Jillian Moore! Jillian participated in Sieraad last year, and came up with idea of a group showing of American artists. You can read more about how this project came out later this week in a curatorial interview with both Jillian and Rachel.

Education: BFA - Metalsmithing and Jewelry Making at Western Illinois University, Macomb, IL        MFA - Jewelry and Metal Arts at University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA
 Lives/Works In: In a home studio in Iowa City, IA, where she does larger, sculptural pieces that are also wearable as well as smaller semi-production work, occasional commissions, writing and blogging, and teaching workshops on the resin surface applications she invented, as well as generally being awesome.

What is your work about?

 I'm very interested in biological forms, but more specifically, I'm interested in ambiguous forms that cannot easily be classified by origin or function. I'm always trying to investigate a space somewhere between humor and horror, while making them strangely appealing in the end. Color and pattern are also very important to me, and I tend to prefer surface work that is very time consuming.

What are you looking forward to most about Amsterdam?

I can't wait to get back, and I'm so excited to share the experience with everyone. There were so many people who became friends by the time I left last year, and I'm really looking forward to seeing them again this year. My trip last year was prefaced by Hurricane Sandy, and I'm really hoping I can fully enjoy some things that were lost to a tight schedule, stress, and sleep deprivation last year!

What artists inspire you?

Bruce Metcalf has been a constant in my work since I was an undergraduate. I really admire how he's pushed further in his work over the years rather than becoming static the way a lot of his contemporaries did. I've also always loved Kiki Smith, Terry Winters, and Yayoi Kusama. I've also been keeping an eye on a few contemporary makers along with those in our group. I think Nick Mullins, Mallory Weston, and Denise Julia Reytan are all doing amazing, fresh work that makes me want to do better to keep up!

What's the best advise you were ever given about being an artist?

It's a job. Clock in and get to work.

Any final thoughts on Sieraad?

I hope the American jewelry community will benefit in the long-term from what we're doing. I would love to look back at this as the first step in a new type of international conversation about our identities as makers, our relationship to the community we are educated and work within, and our function in the larger collecting community around the world.

In a more realistic, short-term sense, I am really looking forward to the reception of our group's work at the fair. I can't wait for everyone to get their work out and get going. The interactions I had with collectors, gallery owners, and the other makers was so satisfying. Getting to that point, and hopefully seeing opportunities start to come together for our group, that's what has kept me going through all of the planning and logistics so far. I can't wait!
Along with Rachel, Jillian organized our indiegogo campaign, and our top tier "Thank You" gift is a brooch with her super cool, self developed resin technique. These are limited production, one of a kind pieces, so you should check 'em out!

Thanks so much to Jillian for all she's done!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Jackalope Collective: Rachel Timmins

I'm running a twofer on interviews this morning and next up is Rachel Timmins!

Education: 2009, BFA, Buffalo State College, Buffalo, NY 2012,
                  MFA, Towson University, Baltimore, MD
Lives/Works: In a home studio in Baltimore, where she'll be teaching for the MICA Fibers Department in the fall. She also travels, giving workshops and lectures.

What is your work about?

Metamorphosis, mutation, otherness, comfort and building a place to belong are concepts that are prominently featured in my work. I primarily show these ideas through unconventional adornment. Many of my works include vibrant colors and low-brow materials like craft glitter and spandex. These ideas and materials are powerful ways of creating a spectacle and creating perceived value. Both the objects and the wearable pieces that I create allow both the viewer and the wearer to step into my place in this world. I use both humor and irony in order to create a push-pull feeling between the viewer and the pieces. In my current work, I try to show how our experiences can consume and change us into something that we never knew we could be.

What are you looking forward to most about Amsterdam?

I'm really looking forward to seeing what the European art jewelry market is like in person. (Photographs just aren't the same as the real thing.) I'm also looking forward to talking with other people who are knowledgable about art jewelry.

What artists inspire you?

Otto Kunzli, Manfred Bischoff, Ernesto Neto, and Caroline Broadhead

What's the best advise you were ever given about being an artist?

In the first art class I ever took in college, the professor looked at us on the first day of class and said, "If you can do anything else, be an accountant or something, and do art as a hobby, then leave now, or stay and change your major. This is one of the most difficult careers you can choose and most of you won't make it." About half of the class got up and left.

Any final thoughts on Sieraad?

 Jillian and I have put a lot of hard work into this: the planning, curating, campaigning, organizing, finding a place for all ten of us to stay together, etc. I am really excited to see this happen after all of our hard work. I'm so happy that our group members are stepping up to help out -- we never expected our group members to help out but we did hope that folks would. I'm really excited to showcase what Jillian and I feel is an enormous range of art jewelry that is happening in the US right now, and I can't wait to exhibit a new body of work that I currently have in progress.

Rachel is one of the masterminds behind out fundraising campaign. She helped design the Jackalope logo, and did the digital work for the 3D printed thank you brooch. Check it out here! Thanks Rachel, for all your hard work and for participating in the interviews!

Check back next week, where Rachel and Jillian will talk about their curating process and how this whole idea came about!

Jackalope Collective: Satomi Kawai

I'm headed out of town for the weekend, so I thought I'd run a two for one deal on interviews this morning. First up, Satomi Kawai!

Education: BA in literature at Kyoto Notre Dame Women’s College in Kyoto, Japan
                  MFA in  Metalsmithing and Jewelry Design at University of Iowa

Lives/Works: In her home studio in Iowa City.

 What is your work about?

 My jewelry speaks about my environment; both inner and outer environments. I observe every solid surface among materials surrounding me and fundamental physical matters both from macro and microscopic points of view. In addition, I view the mixing patterns of gas and liquid, including changing shapes of clouds and their flow patterns. It is fascinating to witness these changes with phase transitions: surface pattern and color changes. I see a resemblance of patterns between microscopic tissue and outer environmental images. These are the things that happen in my daily life. I visualize these moments from my everyday life in the form of jewelry pieces.

What are you looking forward to most about Amsterdam?

I am excited to meet with enthusiastic people in the community of art jewelry, and not limited to Amsterdam, but also from all over Europe.

What artists do you admire?

There are many jewelry artists I admire. They include Ruudt Peters, Attai Chen, Sebastian Buescher, Tarja Tuupanen, and Yasuki Hiramatsu. Specifically, I want to mention about Hiramasu. When I saw his work at a SOFA show in Chicago in 2001, I admired his simple work and his attitude to materials, which showed his warmth and charming character. Other artists I admire are Eva Hesse, Kiki Smith, Ann Hamilton, Rebecca Horn, and Cai Guo Qiang.

What's the best advice you were ever given about being an artist?

 Hiramatsu taught me that metal is not a cold or rigid material, but a warm material. He said not to fight with the metal. He added that the only thing I need is to talk to my metal, like I do to my loved ones. I have adapted this philosophy when I make jewelry pieces. My application is not limited to metal but extends to all other materials. I do not try to enforce the material I work with, but I ask the material on its possibilities.

Any final thoughts on Sieraad?

I feel extremely lucky to be a part of this group to participate in this international art fair. I appreciate Jillian Moore and Rachel Timmins who included me in the group. Going to a European art fair is a good opportunity for us to know how American contemporary jewelry art will be received in Europe. I like this participation as a group because I can share experiences in Amsterdam with my colleagues and we are able to pass our experience to other American jewelry artists. I think we can become a new bridge between European and American art jewelry communities. It is a big challenge for us economically, so that any encouragement and support to us is essential for our success.
I've been a long time admirer of Satomi's work, and I can't wait to see what she brings to Sieraad! To help her get there, please check out our fundraising campaign! Thanks so much to Satomi for her interview!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Last Looks

Here are a few shots of my last week in Columbia. We got some really spectacular sunsets on the water.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Jackalope Collective: Laura Wood

I'm so excited to present Laura Wood as today's interview. Laura and I went to grad school together at ECU and I'm so excited to be sharing this adventure with her!

Education: BFA Jewelry and Metalsmithing at University of Georgia
                  MFA Metal Design at East Carolina University
 Currently Lives/Works: Atlanta, GA where she is currently setting up her studio practice. For the past 2 years she lived and worked in San Antonio, TX gallery manager for Equinox Gallery. She will continue this curatorial work for Equinox from GA.

What is your work about?

My work blends familiar jewelry icons with unexpected materials and forms. I enjoy working within the format of adornment and creating work that challenges the idea of what jewelry can be. In my most recent series of work, I combine simple forms and pair them with repurposed jewelry, industrial materials, precious stones, and paper.

This combination of materials allows me to create identifiable pieces that offer a variety of connotations. Metal is transformed into an ambiguous surface and found jewelry is concealed beneath hand-made paper, simultaneously disguising their value while also embracing the value of disguise. Much of what I use is recycled, breathing new life into objects that have experienced one or more already. The pairing of traditional and modern aesthetics creates new vocabulary in the ongoing dialogue about contemporary jewelry.

What are you looking forward to most about Amsterdam?

I am filled with excitement as I prepare to participate for SIERAAD. This is an opportunity to exhibit alongside artists from all over the world. I am also looking forward to experiencing how the work is received from an international audience. Being a part of this group of emerging artists is very special to me and I enjoy knowing that we will be sharing this experience together.

What artists inspire you?

My time at UGA, ECU, Southwest School of Art, Equinox Gallery, Penland School of Crafts, and other communities have all introduced me to some of the most hard working and determined artists. This inspires me. Making work and accessing the creative takes discipline and commitment, but understanding how to make a living from this can be very complicated. At this point in my career I am looking to these folks and I’m hoping I can follow in their footsteps.

What's the best advice you were ever given about being an artist?
Three quotes from three wise people come to mind:
“There is room for everyone, we can all have a piece.” – Alejandro Sifuentes
“Figure out what you do best and be the best at it.” – Jim Cotter
“Get down and dirty with it.” – Bob Ebendorf

Any Final Thoughts on Sieraad?

The indiegogo fundraiser for this group is a supplement to our financial commitment, As the 10 of us have already made the decision to participate. It is important to note that this campaign goal of $7500.00 just covers our booth fee and not the entire trip. This financial assistance would be of great help. We are all emerging artists that are hoping to grow from this experience. When Rachel and Jillian contacted me about being a part of this group if selected by the juried process, I did not hesitate to apply. Our art jewelry community has always been an example of a supportive network. I plan to share my experience at SIERAAD after we return and I hope it might be of interest to others who might want to participate in future exhibits. Please consider supporting us!
To support Laura and the rest of the Jackalope Collective, please check out our campaign. Thanks so much to Laura for her participation!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Process Shot of the Week

Ok, well, of a couple weeks ago. I haven't been so very productive since leaving Pocosin. Here are a few pieces I finished up before I left. I was short of my goal of 100 pieces in 6 weeks, but I came fairly close, somewhere in the 70's maybe even 80's. I sort of lost track the last few days as I was trying to pack and make simultaneously (not the best of ideas).

I still go back and forth about this work but I'm starting to get more comfortable with it and the idea of taking it to Sieraad. There's a lot more crazy making that needs to happen between now and November.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Jackalope Collective: Stephanie Vogele

We're down to about 2 weeks left on our campaign and we're still a bit behind our goal. Here is Jackalope Collective member Stephanie Voegele to open your hearts and hopefully wallets.

Education: B.F.A. with an emphasis in Jewelry and Metalsmithing from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
 M.F.A. from the University of Georgia in 2010.
Lives and Works in: Wisconsin, as a  Lecturer in Jewelry & Metalsmithing and the First year Program at the University of Milwaukee.
What is your work about?
Silhouettes of faceted formations, shiny plastics, neon leathers and vintage jewelry all are a part of my current investigation. I am inspired by saturated color and subtle shifts in surfaces that I stitch together in a variety of wearable gems.

What are you looking forward to most about going to Amsterdam?
Connecting with jewelers and galleries from all over the world. This will be my first time surrounded by so many international jewelry artists. I’m excited to have the opportunity to not only see a variety of work but to actually speak to the artists who make it!
What artists to you respect/admire?
I look up to many of my mentors and friends.  Mary Hallam Pearse, Yevgeniya Kaganovich, JoAnne Burke, Susie Ganch, Frankie Flood, Rob Jackson, Martijn Van Wagtendonk and Rick Johnson. All of the people I listed have been a part of my life during various transitions and changes. They are tremedous artists and educators and I’m so lucky to call them friends.

What’s the best advice you were ever given about being an artist?
You have to take risks not only with your making but also with your career choices.

Anything else you’d like to add about Sieraad, why we deserve funding, or whatever else you’d like to say.
I feel honored to be a part of such a talented group of American Jewelers. As a team we hope to showcase a diversity of innovative work that is coming out of America!

Please consider donating to our campaign to help ease the financial burden of showing at Sieraad for Stephanie and the group at large. And thanks so much to Stephanie for taking the time to be interviewed!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Quote of the Week

I'm ripping this off Arthur Hash's blog, because he just said it so perfectly.

"As a maker I have always thought that if you are going to do something, you need to do it right.  There are already a million things in this world and if you are going to add something to it, it better be good.  As a maker there is always a beginning.  When you are learning how to use your hands for the second time in your life (the first time was when you were a me you don't remember) you tend to make lot of crap.  Ashtrays, ugly mugs, candle know masterpieces.  

At this stage, more often than not, people decide that what ever they are attempting to make is not for them.  "I tried ceramics once...the clay and I just didn't get along"  The few that totally give in and join the cult of _____ give their soul to a craft and end up developing strange superpowers.  They not only are able to speak this strange object language but they are also able to bend material to their will.  By making objects and using objects and using objects to make objects they become these strange object whisperers.  The details of why that bend in that spoon is there or why that lipped edge is curled up just so becomes part of their life.  Really, only someone that has banged out a million cups really knows the proper lip curl to prevent dribbles.  This ability is ingrained in the back their minds so when they need to make something it is just there.  Their hands start moving and then.....done. The perfect thing comes into existence."

To read his entire post, complete with images of Myra Mimlitsch-Gray's killer work, go here. 

Monday, July 1, 2013

Jackalope Collective Interviews: Rebekah Frank

After a busy week of packing and traveling, I'm hoping to get back on track with my interviews with members of the Jackalope Collective and promoting our campaign . On deck is Rebekah Frank!

Education: 2010 BFA Texas State University—San Marcos, San Marcos, TX, USA
                  2012 MFA Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, MI, USA
Lives and Works in: San Francisco, CA, USA

What is your work about?

 The work I currently make began as an attempt use basic elements—chain and wire—to develop a body of work from a place of simplicity. By limiting myself, I found space opening up for me to create work that like sketches—experimental, playful and exploratory—while at the same time elegant, wearable and graceful pieces of jewelry.

What are you looking forward to most about Amsterdam? I am looking forward to spending time in a city that produces amazing jewelry, interesting people, and has a history of flower mania—I love flowers! The only sad part is that SIERAAD is during November which everyone assures me is cold and gray and rainy.

What artists do you respect/admire?

Jewelry: Dorothea Pruhl
Sculpture: Eva Hesse
Drawing: Mark Manders
Installation: Andy Goldsworthy
Short Stories: Jorge Luis Borges
Poetry: Leonard Cohen

What’s the best advice you were ever given about being an artist?

The best advice ever...not to worry about gaining literacy in critical theory and art history but to fuel my mind with creative literature, in the form of novels and poetry, watch good movies, and to take long walks.

To support Rebekah and the rest of the Jackalope Collective, please consider donating to our crowd source campaign. Thanks so much for your participation Rebekah!!!