Artist Profile: Ann Davis by Julia Rai

 

I’ve met American artist and metalsmith Ann Davis several times at conferences in the USA, back in the days when there was a big conference every year for metal clay artists. Ann works in a wide range of media including glass, metal, enamel, ceramics and metal clay, which is what makes her work so interesting.

Ann told me a bit about her home. “I live in Virginia, just across the river from Washington DC, with my wonderful husband Howard, who does my photography, and my two Hairless Chinese Crested pups. I consider myself to be a maker, artist and being my only employee, chief custodian, but I am a metalsmith.”

Brought up in Ft Worth, Texas, Ann’s creativity started early. “I remember stringing Pyracantha berries on kitchen string with my grandfather, I was about four. Or perhaps my earliest memory was using Silly Putty to transfer the newspapers colored comics onto…mmmm everything…walls too,” she laughed.

I asked her when she first discovered metal clay. “I think it was 96′ or 97′. The first thing I made was a small pendant, well not so small when it started,” she smiled. “I thought it was easy, but my minor was in ceramics. I had a keum boo class at the Torpedo Factory the next day and we were told to bring something in fine silver. Since I was a production caster at the time, and only cast sterling, I thought I would give it a try. I figured it was easier than depletion gilding something already made a dozen times. I fired it in my giant pottery floor kiln, it’s amazing it worked! Took it to class and keum booed it, perfect, then entered it in ‘Positively PMC’, I think the first national show and was accepted. There were some amazing pieces in that show that really opened my eyes to what could be done. I didn’t know anyone else doing it at the time.” (Image Ann Davis-“Tiger 1”) Continue reading…

Clean your Studio, Heal your Artself By Ann Davis

This article is a reprint.  To see the original article click here.  Over the years Ann and I have heard from so many artists how her article changed their lives. Read on and heal your “artself”.
ann davisMy studio has always been an active working space, more of a workshop where things are made than a quiet space for inspiration. I’ve never needed a girly-girl space because I was a “Serious Working Metalsmith” and my professors, teachers, smithing friends all had, for want of a better description, tool shops. Everything creates grime!! To me having a clean space to do enameling meant one square foot of clean tabletop.

I used to do casting production runs. If you are not familiar with that, it’s often making one hundred of one thing in a week, after which of course it was a really dirty workshop. But I never questioned it. My work was fulfilling and profitable, and I loved it. And so it went for 40-plus years and several different studios.

Viewing a Crafthaus exhibit, Studio Sanctuaries, created by Pat Morrow caused me to contemplate and reevaluate the space where I spend so much of my day. I felt it had become divided between the computer desk, bookkeeping, and fun-interacting with friends and the overstuffed, chaotic workshop side. This was something that had been bubbling up in my thought process and banging at the door of my conscious awareness for some time. The struggle between the messy “get to work” side and the computer “play” side finally crystallized into a thought. I had been disrespecting myself, my work- er self and my inner self, my whole self. Continue reading…