Sunday, August 11, 2013

Secrets and Surprises

It wasn't all work in Pittsburgh and in between teaching the workshops, I got a chance to socialise a bit too. Quite apart from my non-metalsmithing friends, Elizabeth Avery and Kirk Savage and their wonderfully odd family, I also managed to see Lizzy DaVita and hooked up with Glen Gardner for an evening of dinner, his workshop and an exhibition.

Glen Gardner's Studio - 2
Dingo and Glen in Glen's workshop.

Glen has just moved workshop to the north of the city and I am so envious of his space in a converted factory. Not just the space, but the tools and equipment he has managed to amass over the years are most impressive.

Glen Gardner's Studio - 4

Glen Gardner's Studio - 3

The exhibition in one of the other studios in which he is based was not especially interesting. In fact, it consisted of a room of badly-made, derivative nonsense of which an art-history expert and friend of mine said, "It may have been the most repellent man-made/person-made environment I have ever been in". I was so disinterested in it that I didn't even get the name of the artist responsible.

The Critics

My adult workshop at the SCC was "Secrets and Surprises" about using boxes and hinges, colour and found objects to create jewellery which moves and invites exploration. It was well-attended and the participants were good fun, enthusiastic and keen to learn. Although this year three days did not seem nearly long enough, the projects created were sophisticated and the students enjoyed pushing their skills forward in new ways.

Cleat Bangle With Pebble

Bangle made from a cleat, copper and a pebble. Unfortunately, the pebble fractured when being set.

One of the most popular things I teach is stone-setting. People always seem keen to learn ways of setting stones beyond the general rub-over setting and I like teaching it very much. Unfortunately, many of the places where I teach are not set up to allow for the teaching of more sophisticated techniques. John Cogswell was teaching at Touchstone the week after I left and Megan told me that he brings his own toolkits, which is a solution but not an easy one if travelling any distance.


Dragonfly Box

Copper Box 2

60s Box Conversion

After these workshops were over, it was time for meetings at the SCC to discuss the display of the "Enough Violence" show and to enjoy myself in Pittsburgh, which I always manage to do.

Before I conclude the working part of my visit, Gerry Florida just sent me a picture she took of me when in the Shuman Detention Center which I share with permission:

The current show in the SCC is the international Fibre Arts show. I am not really thrilled by fibre arts generally but this is a great show. I was especially taken with this portrait of the artist Marie Bergstedt's brother in fibres and buttons:

Marie Bergstedt - 1

The detail close-up is wonderful.

Marie Bergstedt - 2

In the ex-cafe space, Jennifer Moss was creating fantastic felt cup-fungi, which were taking over the worksurfaces:

Felted Cup Fungus

There is more about this exhibition here.

Fascinating junk shops, an abandoned particle accelerator and knitted pierogis tomorrow!