Wednesday, December 28, 2011

How many ways can you say ‘I Love You’?

Contemporary Creativity Symposium: 
February 3: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
February 4: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Artists Dana Sperry and Natalya Pinchuk will lead a day and a half long idea generation workshop that asks a simple question: How many different, fresh and unconventional ways can you say “I Love You” with jewelry? Participants will leave this workshop with unusual and unique answers to jewelry design. These answers will be in drawing, writing and primitive model format, acting as fuel for future development. This symposium coincides with the opening of the Transformation 8 exhibition, and participants will include Transformation 8 artists Robert Ebendorf and Daniel DiCaprio. Don't miss this one-time opportunity to learn with some of the leading metalsmiths working in the field today. The cost of this symposium is $150, with a $5 materials fee. To register email or call Sherrard Bostwick at 412.261.7003 x25.

Dana is an Assistant Professor of Interdisciplinary Digital Media at Youngstown State University, Youngstown, Ohio. His work can be found in major collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, and The Kinsey Institute.

Natalya  earned her MFA in Jewelry Design and Metals from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in 2005. Her work can be found in the collections of the Stedelijk Museum, Hertogenbosch, Netherlands and the Mint Museum of Craft and Design
Charlotte, NC, as well as numerous publications. Pinchuck also served on the jury panel for Transformation 8: Contemporary Works in Small Metals, opening at SCC in February. 

Natalya and Dana (donning a piece by Natalya)

Friday, December 16, 2011

AAP 101st Annual Exhibition

For the first time ever, Contemporary Craft is hosting the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh (AAP) Annual Exhibition. AAP is an artist-run organization with over 550 artist members living within a 150 mile radius of Pittsburgh. It is one of the most esteemed artist-member organizations in the country, having produced a major museum exhibition of members’ work every year for over 100 years. I guess this year is the tipping point, being the 101st annual. 

Ron Bayuzick, Art Rover, Chiz Exhibition Award,Mixed Media
This years exhibition was Juried by nationally known artist, designer, independent curator and educator Fo Wilson. AAP’s 101st Annual Exhibition features 45 works, selected from more than 300 submissions, that reflect the intersection of art, craft media and design, which is the intention of this year’s collaboration between AAP and SCC. The exhibition includes many media and presents a strong overview of the variety of techniques and artistic talent within AAP’s membership. 

David Montano, Monument 1 & 2, Carnegie Purchase Award, Mixed media 
The exhibition is on view through January 14th, so be sure to stop on in and take a look, or see the full show online

Jane Ogren, Mixed Media #227, Fiber

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Woven Installations

Ann Coddington Rast is an Associate Professor at Eastern Illinois University. She is also an amazing fiber artist. Working with techniques of twining, basketry, and weaving, she creates gestural sculptures that echo the familiar. By grouping various pieces together, Rast constructs subtle wall installations that evoke a narrative that is felt more than it is understood.  In the installation entitled mother/memory, individual pieces are reminiscent of lovingly knit mittens, gathered sustenance and shelter – all of which come together to induce a visceral reaction, a remembrance of childhood. 



Ann's work will be on view at our Satellite Gallery from December 17 through February 12, 2012. In conjunction with the exhibition, Ann will be teaching a class at SCC. Call or email Sherrard to register, 412-261-7003 x25

Contemporary Twining Basketry workshop
date & time: Saturday, February 11
10 a.m. – 4 p.m (one-hour lunch break)
registration deadline: February 3

In this workshop, the basketry technique of twining will be introduced. Participants will create a sculptural twined form using waxed linen and spring twine. In conjunction with this, we will engage in a discussion on conceptual aspects of contemporary fiber structures. Questions such as these will be addressed in the workshop: What types of forms can be made with twining? What are various methods of starting a twined piece? What are variations on twined stitches? How do artists investigate meaning through fibers? What types of themes are explored? What do you hope your work will communicate?
* Previous knowledge with fibers is helpful, for example knitting, or basketry experience.

tuition: $100
materials fee: $35



Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Have you been published yet?

I assume that we're all familiar with Lark Crafts, right? The publisher of all things craft - the 500 series, the Lark Studio Series, the Masters Series, etc.

What I would like to point out is the current calls for submissions for upcoming 500 Series books, including 500 Teapots and 500 Lights. "Each book is juried by an expert, features informative introductory text, and showcases spectacular images of state-of-the-art work. The first entry in the series, 500 Teapots, was published in 2002. Since then, 35 books have followed, and new titles release each season. With an international roster of contributors that includes both established names and up-and-coming craftspeople, each volume spotlights the shared and divergent approaches taken by artists who are producing visionary work." - Lark Website

This is not an opportunity to be missed! I'm even submitting my teeny tiny warty teapots. So get off your butt and get published!

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Family Puppet Theater!

By Education Intern Samantha Braga

Jump start your creativity while celebrating your inner child. On Sunday, December 4th, Contemporary Craft is offering a workshop where you can construct your very own puppet theater with Pittsburgh’s Puppet Master Tom Sarver, the founder of the Tom Museum (now closed). The Tom Museum, in association with the Mattress Factory, was part performance piece, part installation. It broke down and displayed the processes of art making, turning the process into an art form itself. Sarver's work is fun and unaffected, drawing on the aspects of the Art Brut movement and Folk Art

In this day of enchantment, students will animate everyday and found objects to create miraculous puppets and miniature worlds of wonder. Tom Sarver's class will not only teach the basics of puppetry, but will bring the energy and spirit of the Tom Museum back to life. Bring a box or any other recycled container to transform into an extraordinary puppet theater. Whether it is just you, or you bring the whole family, this class will be great entertainment for all ages! 

Puppetry Archive Room at the Tom Museum

"Combining humor, social commentary and a low-tech aesthetic, Tom Sarver explores relationships between the art world and the everyday. From 1999 through 2008, Sarver was a core organizer of The Black Sheep Puppet Festival, a national festival of activist and experimental puppetry. In 2008, Tom created an installation piece at the Society for Contemporary Craft called Cooking with SticksHe holds a B.F.A. from Tyler School of Art and an M.F.A. from Purchase College.  Sarver is currently working on a new puppetry initiative in Pittsburgh called Puppet Happening." 

Little Tricker the Squirrel Meets Big Double the Bear
based on a story by Ken Kesey
Tom Sarver Puppet Express at the American Shorts Reading Series
July 27th, 2006 at the Brewhouse

This class will bring Sarver's innovative world into your own and teach you how to look at the world as your own puppet theater!

Tom Sarver's Family Toy Puppet Theater
Sunday, December 4
10 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

$60 (per adult or for an adult with up to two children, additional
children $15 each)
$5 materials fee

For more information or to register
Phone: 412.261.7003 x25

Friday, October 28, 2011

Re-Post — Unnatural History

Check out the latest blog by American Craft Magazine. Written by Gussie Fauntleroy, this post explores the work of Geoffrey Gorman. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Art and Education

By Sam Braga, Education Intern 

As an education intern at SCC, I’m here to familiarize students that come for tours with our exhibitions.  But often times, it is a mutual experience! To allow open ended conversations about the artworks, we use a teaching method called Visual Thinking Strategies. This means we ask the students what they see, what it makes them think and why. Last Friday was my first time giving a tour not only at SCC, but in my life, and right as the high school students filed in, butterflies filled my stomach.  Immediately my mind started running; what if they don’t like these works at all, or worse yet, what if they don’t have anything at all to say! But, due to the prepping of the rest of the education staff, I knew I was ready. And, high school students always have something to say.

My experience taught me that in these situations, it’s okay to say what you’re thinking and in fact, that’s what the Visual Thinking Strategy teaches you. As the high school students warmed up to me, their conversations about the art became richer and more fulfilling. My nerves melted and the students started to have fun. Anne Drew Potter’s piece influenced a compelling discussion that high school students were able to relate to easily. Both groups I had associated one meaning of the piece with cliques in high school and both even mentioned the movie Mean Girls. Because of its relevance, The Captains Congress provided the most interesting conversation. It also allowed some funny insights. Why were some figures fit with pot bellies and some were not? “Well, this one is pregnant. That one isn’t.” And why, perhaps, are the figures in the circle arguing? Simply, “They’re fighting over a candy bar.”  The students also came to realize on their own how all three artists in our exhibition were connected in a theme.

After the tour the high school students then participated in our Drop-in Studio, focusing around Lia Cook’s work which they also viewed upstairs. Students were able to incorporate their own black and white photographs in our workshop, which involved paper weaving. Cook’s work depicts actual black and white weavings of portraits that balances between abstract and recognizable. There’s one more chance to participate in our workshop relating to the current exhibit, taking place this Sunday (10/23). Don’t miss the exhibition closing along with our workshop featuring metalsmith Mariko Kusumoto! 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Twice in One Year?!

Handmade Arcade is BACK for the holidays!

Pittsburgh's largest indie craft fair will return to the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Downtown Pittsburgh on Saturday, November 12, 2012, from 11am till 7pm.

Early Bird tickets are now available. These are great and I highly recommend them, even though the fair has free admission. Why? Because you get in at 10am, before the crowds and before your favorite, one-of-a-kind thing is snatched up! Also, you get a fancy bag full of goodies, and who doesn't like goodies? The Early Bird tickets are $15 and can be purchased on the HA website or at WildCard in Lawrenceville.

What is so great about this event?

  • Free from 11am - 7pm.
  • Easy to get to.
  • Over 150 Vendors!!
  • Hands-on activities for kids and grown-ups ( I made a giant Jackalope print for free last year!)
  • They have food so you could spend the whole day there!

Wanna get more involved? HA needs volunteers to make these events successful. YOU could be one of them. Jobs include being a greeter, running the welcome table, assisting vendors, helping with hands-on activities and more. Shifts are only 2 hours. Visit their website for more info and to sign up.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Ceramic Artist of the Year!

Ayumi Horie is. Awesome.

I first got turned onto her work at NCECA, I can't remember which one, but I want to say Baltimore. Her work is unselfconscious and delicate. It draws on imagery that is both historic and contemporary. In addition to her ceramic work, Ayumi is a pioneer in utilizing the web for marketing her work, something that the ceramics world has been very resistant to. For these reasons and more, Ayumi was named Ceramic Artist of the Year by Ceramics Monthly!

Ayumi is a studio potter in upstate New York. She creates well-crafted, simplistic functional pottery that comes alive with curious illustrations featuring animals and letters. Her subject matter is sweet and her execution is very well developed. 

I am fascinated by the "Dry" throwing technique she uses and can not wait to try it! Check out this video she made which demonstrates the technique.

And, perhaps most impressive, is her commitment to humanitarianism. The day after the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan in 2011, Ayumi co-founded Handmade for Japan. This amazing project has raised almost $100,000  GlobalGiving’s Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund.
Read all about Ayumi and her Ceramic Artist of the Year award here.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Parallels between graffiti and antique jewelry

Congratulations to artist Amy Tavern for making the cover of Metalsmith Magazine. What an honor for her!

We love Amy Tavern here at SCC. Not only do we represent her work in our store (in-store only) , but she has recently been juried, as a finalist, into our upcoming biennial Elizabeth R. Raphael Founder's Prize Exhibition, Transformation 8: Contemporary Works in Small Metals. This competition awards one finalist a $5,000 cash prize and purchase award. All 33 finalists from the first round of jurying are included in a published catalogue and exhibition at SCC's main gallery space. 

Brooch in Light Blue and Hot Pink, 2010
Oxidized sterling silver, light blue, hot pink, and white spray paint, cotton string
Fabricated with sgraffito, knotted string, 4” x 5” x 2”

Amy holds a BFA in Metals from the University of Washington and a BA in Arts Administration from the State University of New York College at Fredonia. Working with formal art elements such as line, shape, repetition, and rhythm Tavern creates light, gestural pieces which are often reminiscent of maps, arial landscape views, and simple line drawings. 

Necklace Arrangement, Oxidized silver

Her current work draws parallels between graffiti and antique jewelry. Amy explains, "I am intrigued by the accumulated history graffiti conveys via layers of marks and how antique jewelry depicts specific time periods. In both cases evidence of the individual remains whether as graffiti artist, maker, or wearer. Although my work does not resemble graffiti in its purest form, I reference it by the way I manipulate the spray painted surfaces of each piece. I further reference graffiti by purposefully covering precious metal with paint like an irreverent tag on a statue. I show reverence also for the past by creating work that alludes both to traditional adornment, such as the teardrop, as well as jewelry that once belonged to my grandmother."

Bow Cluster Brooch with Teardrop, 2010 
Sterling silver, light blue, navy, yellow, and white spray paint 
Fabricated with sgraffito, 8.5” x 4” x 1.75”

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Street Kings’ Bling Series now available!

Check out this sweet street bling by Tara Locklear, now available at our Store! In this series the artist is repurposing broken skateboards and turning them into artful adornment. Tara Locklear is currently pursuing her BFA at East Carolina University. "Costume, bling, urban, humor and remembrance are just a few of the words that describe the work that I make.   Watching people and being in different environments give me inspiration," she explains. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Your New Aesthetic

Your New Aesthetic, a solo show featuring local artist Brian Ferrell, will open at our satellite gallery on October 14th. Perhaps best known for his woodworking, Ferrell is an exceptional metalsmith as well.  Born in southwestern Pennsylvania, Ferrell was strongly influenced by his father, who enlisted his two sons in the construction, renovation and repair of the family’s homes. This early exposure to making led Ferrell to pursue a BFA in jewelry and metals at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (my alma mater!) in 2001.  Following this educational path led him to the University of Massachusettes, Darthmouth where Brian pursued an MFA in jewelry and metals. During his time at UMass, the graduate student began exploring furniture making and the combining of his skills in woodworking and metals. 

Scotch Cups
Returning to Pennsylvania in 2006, he opened his own studio -- Brian Ferrell Designs.  Now fully engaged in the creation of furniture and tableware, his work is exhibited in group and solo exhibits on a national level, was published in “500 Tables” by Lark Books, and can be found in private collections in the US and Europe.  

Water Set
Easy Chair
Ferrell’s furniture plays off subtle contours, daring construction, and hidden details. He incorporates a variety of exotic hardwoods along with native woods such as maple and walnut.  His tabletops are carved underneath to meet spider-like legs and carved upward on top to indicate the presence of legs below. 

Sideboard Table
Cabled Coffee Table
Shadowy gradations of color ingeniously disguise the carved plywood Ferrell uses for strength in sweepingly organic chair and table legs.  This material allows him to stretch expectations for furniture and create adventurous forms such as chairs with only two legs. Steel cables add stability without adding bulk and contribute to precarious-appearing designs. 
Cabled Sideboard

Like his furniture, Ferrell’s shelving reaches beyond the functional. These shelves are elegant contours simultaneously attached to the wall and escaping from it.  They succeed as sculpture, particularly in groupings. 

Shelving System
Shelf Cluster
Ferrell’s custom tableware and hollowware relates most closely to his training as a jeweler, incorporating single or double-walled pewter shapes often emerging from wooden bodies.  Like his furniture designs, these traditional objects surprise with the interaction of square and circular forms, and force one to be aware of the object’s function and use.

Cordial Set
Don't miss this amazing exhibition and be sure to visit The Store at SCC to see more of his work!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Take a class with Mariko Kusumoto!

Photopolymer Etching 

date & time: Saturday, October 22, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. (one-hour lunch break)
visiting instructor: Mariko Kusumoto, Massachusetts

Etch your own images onto metal using a biodegradable photopolymer film to create jewelry or sculpture. Using this technique Kusumoto, a Japanese born artist working in the US, creates intimate metal environments that evoke the rich, sensual Japanese culture of her childhood and subtly reflect on east-west
cultural differences. Her MFA (printmaking) is from the Academy of Art College in San Francisco and BFA (painting/printmaking) from Musashino Art College, Tokyo.

Tuition: $100 (includes $5 lab fee)
Materials Fee: $20 (payable to SCC)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

City Unseen Revealed!

I finished installing Scott Goss's new solo exhibition, City Unseen, at our Satellite Gallery on Friday. It was a harrowing experience negotiating giant glass panels from the loading dock, through the bowels of BNY Mellon Center and into the gallery. Not to mention the horrific thunderstorms and the fact that I ended up locking my keys in my car and getting stranded for an hour. BUT, I was successful and it looks incredible! I already loved Scott's work, but seeing it all together as a large body in a gallery setting just made it sing even more. I wish these exhibition shots were better for you, they make most of the show look over or under-lit, but it really isn't. I blame the strange light effect on the thunderstorms rather than my shoddy camera work. However, if you really want to see what this show looks like you're better off going directly to the gallery. It is located in downtown Pittsburgh, on the intersection Grant and Oliver Street, in the T-Station lobby. DO IT!

See the full exhibition here!

From the the upper deck

From the upper deck

Rail Bridge IV

Rail Bridge V

Cityscape #125

Late Shift

Monday, August 8, 2011

Animated pottery by Mel Griffin

"My work is an investigation of the manner in which physicality, understanding, memory, and mood combine to create meaning in both everyday and imagined environments. I believe that the capacity to empathize can be developed through attentive engagement with daily landscape, and that the health of that landscape can affect the health of our minds. In my work, animals serve as both playful and solemn metaphors for my own interactions with the environment, as well as those of society as a whole.

Through imagery and metaphor, line and clay, my work seeks to capture the viewer's emotional interest and to rekindle her sense of wonder and discovery. Functional pottery is unique in the depth of its participation in its owner’s life, becoming a part of her personal and intimate sense of place and home. My drawings endeavor to inspire this same familiarity and are approachable, nostalgic, playful, and open to emotional participation."
-Mel Griffin