Category Archives: Uncategorized

Shows and Events

Upcoming Shows and Events
September 16-17, 2017
Centerfest
Durhman, NC

October 20-22, 2017
Southern Highland Craft Guild Craft Show
US Cellular Center
87 Haywood St.
Asheville, NC

November 10-12, 2017
YMCA Craft Fair
Blacksburg, Community Center
Blacksburg, VA

December 1-3, 2017
Winterfair
Columbus Expo Center
Colombus, OH

Recent Events
July 15, 2017
Art at the Market
Blacksburg, VA
First Place Award

June 3-4, 2017
Taubman Museum Sidewalk Art Show
Roanoke, VA
Third Place Award

Saturday, April 1, 2017
Glass and Metal Day – A fun day of free demonstrations in everything from glassblowing to metalsmithing. I will be doing enameling demonstrations.
Southern Highland Craft Guild
Folk Art Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway
Asheville, NC

December 10 and Dec. 17, 2016
Blacksburg Farmers Market
Blacksburg, VA

Winter Lights Festival
Friday, Dec. 2      3-8p.m.
College Ave. in Downtown Blacksburg

November 11-13, 2016
YMCA Craft Fair at Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, VA

October 27, 2016, 1:30-5:45p.m.
Inn at Virginia Tech
Women in Natural Resources Conference
Blacksburg, VA

October 15-16, 2016
Stockley Gardens Arts Festival
Norfolk, VA

October 8-9, 2016
Crozet Fall Arts and Crafts Festival
Crozet Claudius Park – Crozet, VA
Director’s Choice Award

September 16-18
Arts in the Heart of Augusta
Downtown Augusta, GA
Best in Show Award

July 16, 2016
Blacksburg Art at the Market
First Place-3D

June 16-19, 2016
Boardwalk Art Show
Virginia Beach, VA
$500 Merit Award

June 25, 2016
Blacksburg Farmers Market-Master Gardener Weekend
Blacksburg, VA

May 29, 2016, 4p.m.
Lecture “Get Buggy: Merging Science, Enamel, and Metal”
California College of the Arts/Center for Enamel Art
Oakland, CA

May 30-June3, 2016
Drawing and Painting in Enamel: Vivid Colors and Emphatic Lines
Workshop at the Richmond Art Center, CA
Hosted by the Center for Enamel Art

April 23, 2016
Blacksburg Farmers Market
Family Weekend

April 30-May 1, 2016
Arts in the Park
Byrd Park, Richmond, VA
Booth 191

May 7-8, 2016
Crozet Spring Arts and Crafts Festival
Crozet Claudius Park – Crozet, VA

 

Workshop Schedule

Upcoming Workshops

Enamel Bowls
Penland School of Crafts
October 8-14, 2017

Recent Workshops

Traditional and Alternative Settings
John Campbell Folk School
August 13-18, 2017
DSC_0082_Ant Brooch Back_cropped

Idyllwild Metals Week – Idyllwild Arts Academy
Nature Journals for Metalsmiths

June 11-15, 2017

Painting in Enamels
John Campbell Folk School
February 19-25, 2017
SORRY-THIS CLASS IS FULL
Using powdered glass and copper as your palette, explore the art of painting with enamel. Create colorful scenes while learning to apply freeform brush strokes and watercolor techniques. We will unlock the secrets of kiln-firing painted enamels and apply these techniques to make a range of art objects, from jewelry to bowls to switchplate covers. All levels.

Rings, Rings, Rings!
John Campbell Folk School
February 17-19, 2017
Registration Open!
Create rings for all occasions. Make simple band rings, textured rings, stacking rings, and kinetic spinning rings using traditional silversmithing techniques. Beginning students can expect to complete two different styles of rings. Ambitious beginners and experienced students can try their hand at tube settings for round faceted stones.
DSC_0056_Rings_2016_cropped

Drawing and Painting in Enamel: Vivid Colors and Emphatic Lines
Richmond Art Center (hosted by Center for Enamel Art)
Richmond, CA

May 30-June 2, 2016

February 14-15, 2015
Textures: Surfaces and Settings
Arizona Designer Craftsmen, Tucson, AZ

February 16-17, 2015
CSU Long Beach, Long Beach, CA
Otis College, CA

February 21-22, 2015
Drawing with Enamels
Mesa Arts Center, Mesa, AZ

March 29-April 3, 2015
Scratch the Surface in Enamel
John C. Campbell Folk School, Brasstown, NC

April 10-12, 2015
Drawing with Enamels
Pocosin Arts, Columbia, NC

The Science of Flux

What’s in a flux? The go-to fluxes of most small metals studios are the fluoride paste fluxes (Handy Flux is probably the most common), wonderful solutions that keep your metal clean during soldering. They come with general warning labels, but these are so often dismissed in studio practice.

In fact, the only time I have ever heard an explanation about why fluoride in flux was dangerous was in Tom McCarthy’s Penland class in 2007. He mentioned that as the flux was heated, the fluoride could combine with the hydrogen in water and create small amounts of hydrofluoric acid. Hydrogen fluoride gas, if inhaled, can damage the lungs. It can also damage your corneas and can even interfere with metabolic calcium uptake.

Upon hearing Tom mention hydrofluoric acid, my first thought was – sporopollenin! Say what? Sporopollenin is a silica coating that, over millenia, encapsulates pollen grains in soils and sediment, which preserves them, but also obscures their anatomy. At the time it had only been a few years since I’d left the master’s program in Quaternary Sciences at Northern Arizona University where I worked in the pollen lab. Our lab studied post-glacial lake sediment cores for their charcoal and pollen content to interpret climate and ecological conditions throughout the Holocene (roughly the past 12,000 years) Were forest fires prevalent, indicating a hot/dry climate? What was the predominant vegetation? Pollen identification is based on the unique anatomy specific to each plant genera. Removing sporopollenin to identify pollen involves a bath of hydrofluoric acid (HF), the only acid that will eat through glass (glass = a silica atom with two oxygen atoms, or SiO2). In the pollen lab, we knew well that hydrofluoric acid was to be respected or the consequences could be disastrous. But in metals labs, that kind of reverence can often be absent.

Want a flashier, albeit exaggerated, example of hydrofluoric acid? Think Breaking Bad, Season 1. Remember when Walt instructs Jesse to place the body in a plastic bin and use HF to dissolve it? Err Jesse did when he used the upstairs bathtub (enamel, steel) instead of the plastic bin, which disintegrated the entire bathtub. Tub, guts, and acid all dripped down through the ceiling. Enamel = glass. HF dissolves glass.

As metalsmiths, we aren’t likely to be dealing with HF in high concentrations, but it is still useful to understand the materials we work with. If you use fluoride fluxes (and even if you don’t), just ventilate. For the enamelists, you know that convenient etching paste (a.k.a. Armour Etch) you smear on the enamel surface to create a matte finish? It does indeed contain potassium fluoride as its active ingredient, and as you rinse it down the sink, it might be taking a few particles of your drainage pipe with it. A simple substitute is to use diamond sanding pads to stone enamel surfaces. It’s fast, it’s safe, and it’s clean.

The ingredients we use as artists  can also wreak environmental havoc should they contaminate our waters and soils. So whatever methods you use in your studio practice, just be smart, be safe, be informed, and be responsible. After all, dismissing science never frees us from its reality or its consequences.

Misc_pollen
Miscellaneous pollen grains. Source and public domain notice at Dartmouth College Electron Microscope Facility

 

Insectographia: Drawing in Enamel

Update: Full color catalogs are available for $6, which includes USPS domestic shipping. Contact me to purchase.

An exhibition of over 60 enameled insect brooches and objects

Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum
at Mesa Arts Center in Mesa, Arizona

December 12, 2014-April 26, 2014
Public Reception Friday, Feb. 13 7-10p.m.

Katydid_2014_small
Katydid Brooch

wasp_2014_DSC_0061_small
Blue Wasp Brooch

Green Beetle Brooch_2014_cropped_small
Green Beetle Brooch

Pleasing Fungus Beetle_2014_cropped
Pleasing Fungus Beetle Brooch

Orange Beetle Brooch_2014_small
Orange Beetle Brooch

wheel bug brooch_2014_small

wheel bug brooch_back_2014_small
Wheel Bug Brooch

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Rituals Brooch

Flea Buckle__2_2014_small_cropped

Flea Buckle_back_2014_small
Flea Belt Buckle

Centipede Bowl_2014_cropped small
Scolopendra Bowl

Scorpion Brooch_2014_cropped
Scorpion Brooch

ants marching_small_cropped
Ants Marching Brooch

Seed Bug Brooch_2014_cropped

Seed bug Brooch_back_2014_cropped
Seed Bug Brooch

Eleodes_2014_small
Pinacate Beetle Brooch

Flea Bowl_detail_2008_small
Flea Bowl

Red Wasp Brooch_2014_small
Tarantula Hawk Wasp Brooch

Treehopper2_2014_detail
Treehopper Necklace

MAC Postcard

My exploration in metalwork and enameling illustrates organisms through imagery that represents a diverse array of entomological life. However, dissected, manipulated, or scrutinized, these organisms remain elusive and woefully unappreciated. Anthropomorphically biased, we focus only on the exasperations specific to the human condition—the blood thirsty mosquito, the menacing cockroach lurking beneath the kitchen stove. So ready to smack, squish, and spray, we fail to appreciate the evolutionary aptitude and anatomical brilliance of these savage bugs. From intricate venation patterns within glassy amber wings to microscopically formidable tarsi, complex microcosms of line, form, and texture abound. Despite our cultural aversions, insects are the successful progeny of millions of years of evolution. They will continue to flourish or perish, irrespective to the blinds of human perception, long surpassing our own evolutionary blip. Perhaps the real aggravation then is not the pesky mosquito to the human, but the human as the ephemeral vexation in the eternal reign of the insects.

 

 

 

 

Upwelling

Upwelling: the wind-driven rising of nutrient-rich oceanic waters to the surface creating enriched areas with extremely high productivity

One of the best things about teaching in far flung places is meeting other artists. They transform materials and engage minds, driving the conversation of material culture. Here are links to a few of my favorites…by no means a comprehensive list. All are incredible artists and wonderful people who also teach. Be sure to check them out!

Sarah Doremus, Sculpture/Jewelry

Sayaka Suzuki, Glass

Fred Zweig, Metalsmithing/Jewelry

Elise Preiss, Sculpture/Jewelry

Tom McCarthy, Jewelry/Concrete

Matthew Herbert, Wood, Technology

Joanna Gollberg, Jewelry

Michelle Startzman, Jewelry

Sandra Noble Goss, Jewelry

upwelling
NOAA

 

 

 

 

Bespoke-Enamel Decals!

Enamel decal work by Elise Preiss
Enamel decal work by Elise Preiss

There are three wonderful adult jewelry classes at Idyllwild Arts Academy that still have several openings. Classes are part of Metals Week (June 15-19) and include:

Enamel Decals – Elise Preiss

Steel for Jewelers – April Wood

Working Jewelry – Sarah Doremus

There are still a few spots in my Textures class as well.

Discounts available: “Bring a Friend” discount ($50 off for every new student you bring who hasn’t attended before); and the “Family Discount” ($50 off for each family member who attends).

Idyllwild Metals Week 

Where’s My Stuff?

My work can be found at the following galleries:

Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art (Virginia Beach, VA)

Art Science Gallery (Austin, TX)

Emerge Gallery (Greenville, NC)

Heartwood (Abingdon, VA)

Penland School of Crafts (Penland, NC)

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