Artist Profile – Catherine Witherell by Julia Rai

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California based mixed media maker Catherine Witherell is a self-confessed experimenter who has been creating all her life. “I call myself a ‘Maker’ because I enjoy making things,” she explained with a smile. “I try to stay open about what I make. I don’t stay in one media exclusively. I like to do what I want, when I want. I feel like I’ve done a lot of experimenting and exploring along the way. I get inspiration from many directions. I’m good with my hands.”

imageCatherine’s parents were Hungarian immigrants who escaped the communist takeover of Hungary in 1956. “My first language was Hungarian and although I’m not fluent, I can think in that language and if I hear it being spoken, I always go over to whoever is speaking it, introduce myself and have a conversation. I was raised in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada until I was 13 years old. In 1970 our family moved to the United States and I attended junior high and high school in California.”

Her earliest memories of being creative began with her father. “He was a drafting engineer who brought my sister and I some vellum and we drew on it with markers, cut things out and decorated our bedroom windows with the pictures. From a very young age I remember coloring with my sister and filling many coloring books together. One Christmas we got a Spirograph set which we fought over! And we loved Play Doh!” she laughs. “Hungarians are artistic people – my father’s sister was a fabric pattern designer.”

I asked Catherine to tell me a bit about her family life now. “My partner is my best friend and the answer to an artists’ dreams!” she began. “We’ve been married for 29 years and he’s very supportive. At this very moment, our youngest flew the nest and went off to live at his new college to study Computer Science,” she said.  “I have mixed feelings of course because he’s been very dear to me the last couple of years and is also a night owl like I am. Often, late past midnight he would come into my studio where we would have deep and also silly conversations that warmed my heart. He tells his friends stories about me and sometimes I find that they add me as a friend on Facebook. It is one of my highest honors.”

She went on, “I have a daughter who just graduated with a double major in Japanese Language and International Political Economics and is now working as an illustrator in the Pacific Northwest. She’s very talented at drawing on a digital pen tablet and also in ink. Her work blows my mind. My home environment has been loving, we are constantly playfully sparring and we practice ‘the snappy comeback’. We’re all comedians and are very close. My husband and I try to support our kids’ aspirations and of course we miss them now that they are young adults on their own.”

Coronation amulet box 1.9MB insideCoronation amulet box 1.3MB copyI asked Catherine to tell me a bit about how she came to be such a prolific maker in so many media. “I studied history and wanted to become a historian when I was in college,” she explained. “I discovered that I was an artist at 20 after taking a weekend course on choosing a life direction where the result was doing anything that involved color, although I didn’t do much until I was 30. After getting married and having two children and turning 40, I decided I had to do something that thrilled me or I would over control my kids and not have a satisfying creative life for myself. It was then I began my practice of doing some art, almost anything, for a few minutes to whatever I could get away with, every single day. At first I had a little 5×7 notebook that I filled with notes and pictures that I cut out of catalogs and magazines.  Continue reading…

Artist Profile: Kathleen Nowak Tucci By Julia Rai

 

Alabama Gulf Coast eco-artist Kathleen Nowak Tucci was featured on the cover of the controversial oil-spill issue of Italian Vogue magazine in August 2010. It was the first time an eco-artist’s work had been featured on the cover of a mainstream fashion magazine.Vogue Cover Tucci wwwcre8tivefirecom

Kathleen has been creating art for 25 years and recently has begun working with recycled bicycle inner tubes. This work with recycled rubber has brought her to the attention of a number of prestigious magazines, such as Vogue Italia (cover!), Marie Claire, Elle Decor, Ornament, and Interior Design, and high-end boutiques and galleries across America. “My work was also recently included in the Smithsonian Craft Show 2011,” she said. “There were 1300 entries and only 120 juried artists.”

Kathleen Nowak Tucci wwwcre8tivefirecomK Nowak Tucci wwwcre8tivefirecomKathleen has always been creative. “I have no choice but to be creative,” she explained. “Even as a child, I always had some art project going. On both sides of my family there were very creative women.” Continue reading…

Artist Profile: Gail Crosman Moore

-Artist Profile by Julia Rai

IMG_6558_2 - Version 2The first thing that struck me about mixed media artist Gail Crosman Moore’s work was the wonderful organic quality she achieves with the media she employs. From the warm softness of felt to the cool solidity of glass and metal, she captures flowing natural forms in a wonderfully eclectic body of work. Continue reading…

True Colours: Interview with a Jewellery Artist Turned Colouring Book Illustrator

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Adult colouring book by Laura Medeiros

 

Colouring is in vogue—at least for adults! I couldn’t believe it was a trend at first, but then one day I was colouring with my kids and realized that I’ve coloured in their colouring books for years! It’s a peaceful pastime. Choosing colours and how to shade in areas is fun and good for the soul. Creative people need a way to express themselves every day. Colouring fills that need for so many artists and crafters. Is this trend reconnecting us with simpler times? Is it part of the movement to purge our houses and live with less stuff? Colouring doesn’t require many supplies. It is also a peaceful and meditative activity. Continue reading…

Artist Profile-Lori Field

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‘Feral Husband’ is my little bronze tiger businessman. He can be worn under a suit to ward off evil spirits at the office.

Every once in a while I find artwork that stops me in my tracks. I love it when that happens–it’s a moment when I really feel inspired, full of questions and yet I just want to look and look and look at the artwork. Lori Field’s work stopped me in my tracks a few months ago. I am thrilled to share our interview. (Please note: if you click on an image you can see it full size!) Continue reading…

2015 Saul Bell Design Award Finalists-Metal Clay Category: PART 5 of 5

Monday’s are not all bad!  Let’s start off the week with something really good.  Holly Gage is a never ending river of good things! As a teacher, mentor and motivational speaker she has touched many lives. She has been a supporter of Metal Clay Artist Magazine before our first issue came out! I think we chatted at the Art Clay Conference about magazines in 2009. Over the years she has had images in the gallery and she has contributed articles. Maybe some of you remember this piece from an MCAM gallery? Below is our fifth interview with the Saul Bell Award finalists in the metal clay category.
holly_gage_natures_renewal Continue reading…

2015 Saul Bell Design Award Finalists-Metal Clay Category: PART 4 of 5

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“Gentle Hands” bracelet Janet Alexander made for a charity auction to benefit “HEAL” helpendabuseforlife.org.

Untitled-1I have admired Janet Alexander’s work for many years. She has contributed articles to Metal Clay Artist Magazine and she took part in a very special charity bracelet project two years ago. We featured her bracelet on the cover. Her innovative design is a match of beautiful imagery of the mountains in her area, the helping hands of the charity she was spotlighting, along with the complexity of a hidden link system. Knowing her work, I was not surprised to hear that she is a finalist for the Saul Bell Design Award!

Creative Fire: How long have you worked in metal clay?
Janet Alexander: I had been introduced to metal clay in 1999 but then started working in metal clay in 2009. Continue reading…

2015 Saul Bell Design Award Finalists-Metal Clay Category: PART 3 of 5

Our third interview is with Terry Kovalcik from the USA. Terry’s locket “A Tear for Icarus” (2005) was the first piece that caught my eye and made me really look at metal clay. As you can see by Terry’s finalist piece for the Saul Bell Design Award, his attention to detail and excellent craftsmanship have not wavered at all.

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A Tear for Icarus (2005)

Creative Fire: How long have you worked in metal clay? Is there one kind of metal clay that is your favorite? 
Terry Kovalcik: I was first introduced to Precious Metal Clay in 1999 and have worked with it ever since. So that makes it 16 years. As for a favorite, it’s hard to say, I do find myself using the 960 hybrid PMC clay a lot lately. My approach is to pick the best clay for the job. PMC 960 works well for many different techniques, it’s strong and versatile. Continue reading…

2015 Saul Bell Design Award Finalists-Metal Clay Category: PART 2 of 5

The second finalist in the metal clay category to be interviewed is Anna Mazoń  from Poland. We fell in love with her work and profiled her in Metal Clay Artist Magazine in 2012 as “an architect of Poland’s Metal Clay movement.” There are many fabulous Polish metal clay artists, but one who really stands out for her work is Anna Mazoń.

closeupCreative Fire: How long have you worked in metal clay? Do you have a favorite? Do you have any favorite tools for metal clay?
Anna Mazoń: I started working with metal clay in 2008, so it’s been almost 7 years – time flies. Since then I tried really a lot of different metal clays, from different brands and the more I try, the more I am tempted to say, that it really doesn’t matter what you use. The only thing that matters is your talent and perseverance. Continue reading…

2015 Saul Bell Design Award Finalists-Metal Clay Category: PART 1 of 5

Recently one of our favourite jewellery supply companies announced the finalists for in their annual design contest.  The 15th Annual Saul Bell Design award, sponsored by Rio Grande, is named after the father of one of the owners of the company.  If you are not familiar with the contest or Saul Bell, here is a lovely video explaining the history of the contest and a short biography of its namesake.

The mandate of the contest is clear, “We’re looking for an original vision, a fresh take on traditional methods and materials and a mastery of your craft. We want you to stretch the boundaries of your capabilities as a designer and as a jeweler.” (For more information about the contest and the judging please see their website.)  Every year fellow artists enjoy seeing the finalists and guessing as to who is the winner.  This year is no different, and so over the next few days we’ll present a brief selection of Q&A’s to the finalists in the metal clay category along with an image of their piece.

First up, we interview two time winner, Ivy Solomon.  Yes that’s right–she has won twice in the metal clay category.

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2004 Saul Bell Design Award First Place-Metal Clay Category- Ivy Solomon.

Continue reading…