Monday, November 23, 2015

Interview with Joy Smith

Joy will be taking over the Instagram this week! She graduated AU in 2012 and now works at a really cool company called Roto. Read on to find out more!

(BFA Thesis Show Titled: Building Buildings)

Tell us a little bit about what you do at Roto and how/if that effects your personal art practice.

I do so many things at Roto that it can be a little overwhelming to describe sometimes. As a Production Assistant, I am not quite a project manager, but I’m not a designer or exhibit build either. Roto has four departments: Projects, Design, Engineering, and Fabrication. I work in the projects department, which means I do a lot of interfacing, and sometime peace keeping between the departments. Typically the project managers spend a lot of time making the tough calls, leading the project team, and managing client relations. I am the project manager’s support throughout a project. On every project, and with every project manager that means something different. Vendor management is probably the bulk of my time, whether it’s working with a carpet company to coordinate installation dates and exact right color of carpet, a foam manufacture to create custom blocks, or an auto dealer to purchase “kid proof” Land Rover with no engine! There are many small things in our projects that we don’t have the engineers or carpenters build that I need to find a way to get them made whether I do them, or I hire someone to make them. There are many small design tasks that need to get done quickly, or can’t pull a designer away too. My job is filling a lot gaps, and help to make totally different accepts of production come together. Each one of my Instagram posts will have a story behind how that environment or piece came to be created! I will also post some interesting process references to better explain the level of coordination that need to happen at a company of this scale. Roto has taught me about how large scale visually immersive environments are created in a professional context.

(Zip Tie Grass made at Roto using 1400 zip ties)

Personal art practice is an interesting idea. I am not really sure if I’ve ever had a personal art practice in my life other than the work I did preparing for my senior show at NYSCC, Alfred University in 2012. I’ve always understood my art practice to be assignment and project based or client directed. I have many plans an ideas for fine art that I would like to produce in the future, but I make art almost every day in the work that I do at Roto. What I have learned at Roto is invaluable to the art making process as well. Budgeting, work plans, safety, material specifications, durability and so many other things go into it. Oh and if you don’t know, McMaster Carr is probably the greatest webpage ever and you can find almost anything for sale on the internet! I think very differently about my process of making. I have not physically worked on many personal art pieces in the last 3 years, but I have not stopped developing concepts. When it comes times to execute those concepts, they will become a project that I am managing, my professional art practice.

(Final install of Zip Tie grass in Amman, Jordan.

What were the most helpful experiences during your time at Alfred to prepare you for the job you do now?

I gained so much by the people around me at Alfred, and the professors I had! My foundations class had the fantastic visiting artist Lenka Clayton, Alicia Eggert was my sophomore sculpture professor, and the array of the grad students was phenomenal. All of this was in addition to the already wonderful Alfred Faculty! Having a supportive community dedicated to growth, exploration, play, and learning is so beneficial.
I spilt my time equally behind the design department and the sculpture department during undergrad. The two fed each other and my growth so well! On the 5th floor, I was learning Adobe Creative suite and my brain stated falling into sync with indesign and illustrator as creative tools. In binns-merrial basement, physical exertion and labor became my tools. I loved being able to mix 100lbs of sand one evening, go upstairs to work on a poster design, and pour hot ladles of glass the next day! I am very fortunate to have a similar balance in my work life at Roto. Some projects, I will be helping to put together a design package during a schematic phase, and some projects, I am able produce accepts of the project and go on installations!
During my junior and senior years, I was fortunate to have two fantastic jobs that taught me skills I use every day now! I was manager of the Moka Joka and marketing designer for the Fosdick Nelson Gallery. Designing for the gallery taught me about client directed work, having few and somethings not good photographs to work with, and most of all, it taught me design constraints. Managing the Joka, taught me budgeting and purchasing, scheduling, and working on a team. They were the foundations to my understanding of the professional world.
At Roto, we are facing new challenges with each new project. Adhering to ASTM Standards, and making things kid-proof while also exciting and educational are just a few of our constraints. We are forced to think creatively inside of never ending concentric boxes! I am thankful to have such a knowledgeable and creative community within a 8-5, 40 hour a week job!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Interview with Maria Bentley

Maria will be taking over the Instagram this week!

Maria T. Bentley was born and raised in Seneca Falls, NY. Growing up surrounded by the Finger Lakes, rural farm land, and State parks Maria was immediately drawn outdoors. Her work is influenced by earth materials hinting towards Earthworks. Religious influences and family experiences are other factors that play a role in her work. She sees the use of clay as a representation of the physical body, drawn from the Genesis creation story; recycling of material and life. Alzheimer’s and the aging process are explored in her color palate and surfacing quality. Her ceramic vessels and sculptures take on a figuratively charged quality representing people from her life. The combining of materials and use of light charges her work with multiple layers of meaning combined with the representation of an inanimate pulse. In each of her pieces Maria combines three or more materials experimenting with ceramic, wood, glass, neon, fluorescent lighting, metal, and fibers.
Maria received her BFA from Alfred University in May of 2015. Since then she has received a Gene and Pamela Bernstein Leadership Award, which funded her summer 2015 residency with the Alzheimer’s Glass and Iron Association at SAW (Salem Art Works). She will be giving a lecture on her residency, life after graduation and the Alzheimer’s project with Rosemarie Oakman this coming spring 2016 at Alfred University. Currently she is an Admissions Counselor and Portfolio reviewer at Alfred University.

Now that your Salem Art Works residency is over what are you up to?
I am working on various projects within the Alzheimer’s glass and Iron team, and looking at another residency with them this summer. I am also preparing my lecture for Spring 2016 that will be hosted by the Judson Women’s Leadership Academy.

I am an Admissions Counselor here at AU. I started my position in September and have been traveling all over the Mid Atlantic region of the US meeting students and spreading the AU spirit. I am also doing some portfolio reviews for incoming high school seniors applying to the School of Art and Design. I am also the counselor advising our rock star art tour guides! I have (just this week moved into my new home in Alfred on South Main). I have a beautiful studio there, that I plan to set up immediately.

I was working as an assistant/ apprentice this summer for Kala Stein and was using her studio to make work and continue my studio practice. She taught me so much this summer! I also stayed at her home with her and her husband in the wooded area of Canadice NY. They inherited a camp that they have renovated with their own two hands and I was lucky enough to stay in one of those cabins all summer while working in the studio and helping maintain camp life. I did a lot of ceramic throwing this summer as well as metal casting and glass blowing with the Alz team. Currently in my studio practice I am exploring new methods of working with found objects and trying to incorporate my travels and all the people I am meeting into my studio practice.

Can you talk a little bit about the portfolio review process? I bet its super interesting!

This past week I was at two portfolio days it's a great way to get Alfred University out there to the students. I am able to meet with students from all over the mid-Atlantic (that's my counselor region). It's rewarding to have them share their portfolios and give them some feedback. With that being said I'm only one in a large team of professors and counselours that help in the admissions process. Meeting new people and looking at high school students work has reminded me where I started and how far my work has progressed.

Thats so great! How about this studio you're setting up, it's in your home? Do you have access to use the facilities here at Alfred and if not, how is this effecting your work?

My studio is perfection! So much light and space it's in my attic! I do not have access to the materials and studios that I have shaped my practice around so my entire way of thinking and making has shifted. I am using materials available to me and looking into buying a kiln down the road. My work is going to be new and completely different do to this shift. Hitting the "refresh" button on my studio has been cleansing and pushed me to be innovative with my practice and the way I approach materials.

Do you have any specific projects in mind for your new studio space/practice or anything you've started working on?

Well I have acquired a lot of painting supplies that have just fallen into my lap so I think I will start there. Exploring paint in general as a new material and medium. I am also going to explore surface and texture in both traditional 2-D painting style and some more non-traditional 3-D surfaces. I'm excited for these experiments.

That's fantastic! We're really looking forward to seeing how your studio set up is going and hopefully you'll have a little painting underway to share :)

Monday, November 9, 2015

Interview with Signe Ballew

Signe Ballew will be taking over the Instagram this week!

I grew up in Damascus, PA, a small town right on the Delaware. I graduated with my BFA from Alfred University in 2012, and have been bouncing around the east coast ever since. After graduating I had the amazing experience of working at Buck’s Rock Visual and Performing Arts Camp, in New Milford, CT. I got to work alongside of other Alfred students, and work with some crazy talented kids. After that I moved up to Brattleboro, Vermont where I interned at the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center. I had the opportunity to work hands on with the curator, director, development coordinator, educational director, and events coordinator. I helped install and de-install many shows and worked one on one with several of the artists. Working there made me realize how much I enjoyed working with artists in other mediums, and how much I enjoyed working in management. After that I moved back to my hometown and helped the local arts alliance set up an office, juried exhibitions, and got young students involved. After that I became one of the Artist Fellows at Peters Valley School of Craft. I started managing the Special Topics Studio which hosts a variety of mediums and classes from flameworking, to encaustic, printmaking, cake sculptures, and oil painting, just to name a few. I worked with several artists and found inspiration from new mediums that I had never worked with before. Between my two summers at Peters Valley, I moved to DC to work at a glass studio, where I learned how to repair stained glass, printing with powder on glass, and more fusing techniques. In the past four years, since graduating I have had so many opportunities to work with and create with new artists, and in the process it’s all made me realize just exactly what I’d like to do with my future.

I’ve always been a curious person, constantly wanting to learn why and how things work. I started as a photographer, but soon became intrigued by glass and its ability to take many forms. Creating an image on a transparent form does something to that image, takes it to a new place. My work tends to revolve around my love of travel, human interactions, relationships and just how things work. I am intrigued by so many things that this world has to offer and creating a moment captured in time from my own experience is how I can share it and put it out into the world.

It seems like you've really been a Jack of all trades since graduating! You say these experiences have made you realize exactly what you'd like to do with your future, what are you currently working on (or who are you currently working with) and what kind of future are you working toward?
Not too broad at all. So currently, I have just recently moved down to Asheville, North Carolina where I am working at the Biltmore Estate, and studio monitoring at the Asheville Glass Center. For the past few years working in so many different non-profit organizations I have realized that I would love to one day open a non-profit mini craft school of my own. I am in the process of looking into and applying to grad schools for arts management. I would love to run a place that does after school programs for kids during the school year, and in the summer have both kids and adult classes. Working at so many different places I have had such amazing opportunities to work with and make connections with so many different artists that have offered to teach and work with me in the future. I love working with artists and organizing classes and events that get people involved in the arts. Just seeing the joy on someone’s face when they learn something new makes all the struggle and hard work worth it.

Going the arts management route sounds super rewarding! Do you still maintain your own studio practice or would you call what you do social practice?

Now that I have more studio access I’m getting back into it. I’ve been teaching myself flameworking for the last year, but I think my focus ends up being more of a social practice. I love making the connections and being able to connect those I’ve met to others I know for collaborations or just for inspiration.

What kind of work are you doing at the Ashville Glass Center? Any big projects coming up?

I'm helping out in the flameworking studio, just doing some demos and making sure the studio runs smoothly. My only big project coming up is just trying to get things together for a class I'll be teaching this summer at Peters Valley. So I'm having to come up with materials lists for students and planning what techniques and tricks I'll be teaching, and just getting back into it so I'm not as rusty.

What's the class you're teaching at Peters Valley?

I'll be teaching an imagery on glass class. Working with mainly float glass, layering decal images, dremeling designs, powder printing, fusing, just doing a bunch of different techniques. It'll just be a three day class and the students will be able to walk away with, hopefully, lots of sample pieces and ideas for new projects.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Interview with Lily Reeves Montgomery

Recent Alumni Lily is taking over the Instagram this week! 

Lily is a sculptor working across all mediums, with a current emphasis on light art and performance. She received her BFA from Alfred University in 2015, and is currently pursuing her Masters in Fine Arts at Arizona State University. Her work is heavily influenced from southeastern folk art and southern gothic literature, and she uses light as a visual metaphor for the phenomena of life. By using ritual and supernatural aspects in her performances and installations, she comments on the decline in the variety of outlets for this shared spiritualism, and creates a metaphysical environment that speaks to this awe-inspiring presence of life and interconnectivity which we so often dismiss.

What inspired you to pursue a graduate degree right after your undergrad?

More than anything I didn't want to stop making work at the scale or momentum that I had been making at Alfred. I realize now I should have taken time to think about it, because graduate school is a huge commitment and the work only gets harder, and there is a lot more of it.
I also had this realization that I was graduating undergrad without many tools of my own, or means to make the work I wanted to make. We are so spoiled at Alfred!! I got really scared that I would stop making work altogether. Now it's a goal of mine to graduate with an outstanding body of work as well as infrastructure that I can start my own studio with. People go to graduate school at different stages of their life and for different reasons. Mine was to continue to live as an artist without having to get a job I didn't like, and to have a support system so I could build the life I want to have for myself in the future. I also wanted time to figure out what that future looks like and see what kinds of opportunities I would encounter moving somewhere that was completely different than anything I've experienced before.

How has your practice been evolving? What kind of work are you making now?

Right now I'm making a lot of installations that have performative aspects, which involve the physical body to touch on ideas of the human spirit, using spectacle to refer to ceremonial rights of way, but in a contemporary form. My practice is always changing, and i'm interested in looking at modern rituals in general, and not solely dealing with spirituality. I've been looking at political rituals, punishment in the justice system, celebrations and other forms of rituals we do often without realizing their inherent symbolism. The roots of these rituals and their performance are really interesting to me, and seeing different variations across cultures (mostly across america) has been drawing my attention lately. I think the biggest change in my work is how it has been informed by my research. I always held creating work intuitively with such high regard, and while that's really important to me still, I've begun to find out that knowing the discourse in the field your working in is equally, if not more important. Also it helps me talk about the work better. Karen Donnellan would be proud of my research skills now. I used to get in trouble for not doing any research.

What are some big differences you've noticed between Arizona State and AU?

They are completely opposite in a lot of ways! ASU is one of the biggest colleges in the country, and coming from Alfred was a huge shock. The weather is opposite too, the curriculum is different as well. I think AU has a more structured way they move their students through their program. At a larger university there are a lot more things going on, and finding your way around can be difficult. Phoenix has a lot of opportunity though, there more things you can apply for because the city is so large, and they have a state-wide arts budget, something like 1% of any building or renovating project has to go towards the arts. My studio is in downtown Phoenix, a move the University just finished last year, so there aren't a lot of tools down here yet. It's kind of nice because you begin to realize the things you need to make your work. There are also some other people here who did their undergrad at Alfred, so it's pretty cool to find alumni all over the place. Alfred definitely connects you with a larger network of artists all over the country. I guess those are the things I've noticed so far, but I Imagine programs are different everywhere and that's kind of the beauty of higher education.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Interview with Ernie Legg

Ernie is taking over the Instagram this week! He will be in Alfred this weekend for MELTDOWN!!!! You don't want to miss this!

Born and raised in Fairport, a suburb just outside of the city of Rochester. Ernie Legg always gravitated to working with his hands. At a young age his grand father imparted the importance of determining what one wanted to study in college.
After walking across the stage with the rest of his high school peers he decided upon studying at Pratt-Munson-Williams-Proctor in Utica, NY. The intent of continuing to the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn being the long term decision. After finishing his two years at Pratt Munson-Williams-Proctor his sight shifted, and he ended up continuing his education at Alfred University. They offered an interdisciplinary program that felt less constrictive than the Pratt program. Though, despite this freedom, he ended up working primarily in the foundry.
After graduating from Alfred University he bounced around a good deal working in Aurora, NY staining pottery, doing 3-D design, the machining of waxes, and hand wax work at a jewelry shop in Ithaca, NY, doing hand work at a jewelers bench in Henrietta, NY, and eventually working at a fine art foundry in the Hudson River Valley called Polich Tallix for two and a half years. Polich Tallix offered a great opportunity to both further develop the skills he had studied at Alfred, and to work with artists of varying levels in the art world; local artists to more publically recognized artists such as Tom Otterness, Jeff Koons, and Matthew Barney.
Despite all that the Hudson River Valley had offered him, he felt drawn back to Rochester, NY. After returning to Rochester he helped set up and worked at a haunted house and worked for a couple metal artists in the area. Having finally settled into a position at Albert Paley's Studio he is searching for his own spot to set up a studio and continue trying to make some more of his ideas a reality.

It's strange writing an artist statement when, based off of the path your life has led you, you feel less and less like an artist. Though I've been lucky enough to find myself in creative, art related fields of work my primary position has been that of an assistant and craftsman. The drain of pouring myself into the work of other people, all of my moving around, and a lack of proper facilities has slowed my process a good deal, but my intent still remains unwavering.
I have a stubborn love for metal working, one that leaves me less interested in pursuing mediums that are more easily accessible in terms of finding studio space and buying tools and materials. The idea of manipulating a material that seems unmovable is still so powerful to me. The qualities metal takes on when it is liquid, the way a piece of steel writhes and dances from the heat of a torch before you yourself bend it are proof that metals are alive; even before you give them their final form and life. I want to build things that will outlive me, and hopefully move people in some way. Maybe even inspire enough curiosity in other people that they too will get to see metal dance under the torch or in the crucible.

Tell us about some of your experiences working for other artists in the last few years.

My first experiences working for other artists was different than most as I didn't work directly for them; I was an employee at Polich Tallix. Polich Tallix is a Fine Art Foundry that's been around for quite a while and has been working with a number of different artists ranging from local, Hudson River Valley artists, to more well known names such as Jeff Koons, Tom Otterness, Jim Hodges, etc. During my employment there my hands touched the work of a lot of different artists. The interesting thing about working there was the separation from the artist I experienced. For the most part the artists would speak with the supervisors of each department as opposed to the craftspeople. In some cases there was a dialogue between craftsperson and artist, but for the most part there was not. Many of the artists were also more involved with the making of the initial patterns and weren't very hands on in terms of the actual metal working; be it lack of experience with the medium or whatever. One artist, Emil Alzamora, was very involved in the fabrication and finishing of his castings. So he sticks out strongly in my mind as the exception. Though he was at one point an employee at Polich Tallix, so he had the hand skills to do exactly what he wanted. Working directly for an artist in their studio is a bit different. I must say, working for Albert Paley is pretty neat because, despite being in his early 70's, he is SO involved in making his work. But there again, he has the skill set, he started as a jeweler, and then changed his focus to black smithing. As someone hoping to pursue their own art career the positions I've found myself in are a double edged sword in some respects. On the one hand, I see some of my peers from Alfred and from Pratt MWP going full force pursuing their own art, be it grad school or opening up business or whatever, and as proud of them as I am I envy them to a certain extent. I wish that I could put that much time and energy into my own work, it can be draining expending so much creative and physical energy into someone else's art. That piled on top of moving around so much and needing the appropriate space and tools to make my own ideas a reality has slowed my own creative processes a good deal. On the other hand, I've gotten to learn so much and further hone both new skills and the skills I came into these positions already having. So in short, I'm incredibly grateful to have held these positions as they've broadened my skill set a great deal, and having learned all that I have it will only make my abilities within my own studio, once it's finally set up, all the better.

Above: Ernie assisting Albert Paley with a current work in progress.

Working for Albert Paley do you need to find other means to make ends meet?

I do, unfortunately, need to find other means to make ends meet. It was the same deal when I was at Polich Tallix. The most frustrating part about is that I know that people working the same sort of jobs and using the same tools and skills, just in industrial settings as opposed to art, are seeing a much higher profit from their labors.

It's still amazing that you've had the opportunity to work with so many other artists though! What advice would you give current students at Alfred as to getting into this line of work once graduating? Or would you recommend a different path?

I am very grateful to have gotten to work with all of the different people that I've worked with. Despite this, the over arching goal is to get to a point where I'm not working every single day for other people, rather I am working a lot to propel my own artwork, business, and career. But I realize this all takes time. If I could give advice to current undergrads I would say befriend grad students. They can offer incredible insights. Go to the career development center; Kevin knows a lot of people. If there's an artist you want to try to work for put together a resume and send it to them. I think no matter what, if you want to work in the field of art you can do it. You just have to be diligent about searching. You can't give up, even if you're working at some other kind of job to get by keep looking! No one is just going to give an opportunity to you; you have to go out and find it. You might not get it at first either! I interviewed twice at Alberts studio. The first time they hired someone else, but they told me to keep in touch because things change. Sure enough I got frustrated at the job I had started when I wasn't hired at Alberts so I got ahold of them again. They had me come in for a second interview and I've been there ever since. I reccommend whatever path feels right. You have to think not only about what you want to do, but also WHERE you want to do it. And you can't be afraid of failing or asking for help if you need it; to become great at something you have to suck at it first.

Above: The crew that did the majority of the finishing and fab on Jeff Koons's Play Doh piece in his retrospective at Polich Tallix.

What would be your top 3 artists to work with/for if you had the opportunity?

Three artists I'd like to work with are: Ron Mueck, Jeremy Fish, And The Flaming Lips. Ron Mueck because his work is so hauntingly realistic that I would love to learn how he does what he does, where his interest in the figure came from, and who all of these people are to him. Jeremy Fish because I think his work is really fun, and I've seen lately that he's been collaborating with metal casters/metal workers. And finally, The Flaming Lips because I would love to help make some of their surreal stage performances a reality!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Interview with Rosemarie Oakman of Alzheimer’s Glass and Iron Project

Rosemarie is taking over the Instagram this week! We have a great week to look forward to as she will be in Pittsburgh at the South Eastern College Art Conference for part of the week. You really don't want to miss this!

We are looking for more Alumni and current students to take over the Instagram for November! Message us on Facebook, Instagram direct message or tweet at us if you're interested! We'd love to see what you're up to!

Rosemarie Oakman was born and raised in New York’s historic Hudson Valley. In spring, 2014 she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree with a minor in Gerontology (the study of ageing) from Alfred University. Rosemarie's concentration is metal casting with a focus on cupola cast iron. Her deep love for the elderly merged with her passion for metal casting to form the genesis of the “Alzheimer’s Glass and Iron Project.” She is founder and director of this multifaceted, cross generational community arts project. In Spring, 2014 Alfred University awarded her the "Richard V. Bergren Jr. Student Innovation Award" for this ground-breaking program. Since graduating Rosemarie was awarded a fellowship at Salem Art Works and was selected to be one of the 2015 Hot Metal Artists at Franconia Sculpture Park.

Alzheimer’s Glass and Iron is a cross generational community arts project. Our focus is to use art to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s disease and act compassionately to those touched by it. We facilitate painting and sculpture workshops with the elderly, those paintings are interpreted by glass and metal artists who create art in response or homage. We also host workshops and events that elevate community, art and awareness.

Can you walk us through the process of starting a large project like Alzheimer's Glass and Iron Project after graduating for school?

I founded a club called the Golden Years when I was a freshman at Alfred University, it was a service club that hosted art and culture workshops with elderly community clubs. It was not until my junior year that I started the Alzheimer’s Glass and Iron project as my capstone for the Judson Leadership Center’s ‘Gary Howorwitz Leadership Development program’. Through the Golden Years Club students would facilitate the creation of watercolor paintings by community members living with Dementia. Those watercolor paintings would then be interpreted by art students into the cast iron and glass sculpture.

In 2013, seven of the Golden Years club members were certified in the Alzheimer’s Association’s watercolor painting program called “Memories in the Making”. The next year over 30 Alfred University students were certified in the program, as part of the Drawn to Diversity class. The class took their newly acquired knowledge and put it into action during a watercolor workshop at local Hornell, nursing home. Drawn to Diversity was a program I took as freshman which heavily encouraged my passion for community arts. It was wonderful as a senior in college to work with the inspiring students of Drawn to Diversity, on a community arts project that was so close to my heart.

The Foundry Guild was another campus organization heavily involved in developing the project, both creating the sculptures and helping with Alzheimer’s Iron pours at the National Casting Center Foundry as well as the Community Art Center in Hornell. Through the Alfred Sculpture Glass club we hosted multiple Alzheimer’s Glassblowing demos that were open to the entire community. During the two years the program ran at Alfred University over twenty sculptures were created based off the elderly’s paintings. All of the sculptures have been donated back to the nursing homes or the elderly’s family members.

My senior year I knew I wanted to continue the project after graduating. I fabricated a metal furnace so that we could continue to host Alzheimer’s Iron pours. Over the past two years I have worked with Salem Art Works, (Salem ,NY) Franconia Sculpture Park(Franconia, MN) and HeFeStus Iron Festival (Beacon, NY) to continue creating sculptures and facilitating workshops for the Alzheimer’s Glass and Iron project.

When you're not working with SAW, Franconia and HeFeStus where are you living and how are you supporting yourself?

I recently moved to Beacon, NY and have started working as part of the social services team in the Dementia unit of a local assisted living facility. With my background and interest in individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease it an ideal job for me. In addition I work part time for Salem Art Works, writing grants to support the Sculpture Park and their artist programs. Over the past few years I have spent a great amount of time both living and working at Salem Art Works, it as a dynamic organization offering so many wonderful opportunities for both emerging and established artists. I highly encouraged anyone interested in the arts to check them out, take a workshop or apply to be an artist there. The experience is once in a lifetime.

Sounds pretty perfect! So what's next for Alzheimer's Glass and Iron Project? Do you have a dream goal for the project?

The next event I will be participating in is on Thursday October 22nd, I will be speaking on a panel about Cast Iron Art at the Southeastern College Art Conference and representing the Alzheimer’s Glass and Iron project.

On November 1st I will be installing a show at a library in Albany NY in collaboration with the Hyde Collection and Alzheimer’s Association. Between 2-4pm on Sunday, November 8th at the Clifton Park Library, I will be presenting a slide show on the Alzheimer’s Glass and Iron project. This event is free and open to the public. The show will be on exhibition in the library from November 1st-15th.

Next summer we will host another Alzheimer’s Glass and Iron residency at Salem Art Works. I am currently working on securing funding for the 2016 residency. If current Alfred University students are interested in participating please contact me,

As far as my dream for the Alzheimer’s Glass and Iron project, I would like to continue the project for as long as Alzheimer’s disease goes without a cure. I feel the work we have done so far has been very important to the elderly artists and their loved ones. It is my hope to continue to raise awareness about the disease and bring comfort to individuals through the creation of art.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Interview with Michelle Kwiecien

Michelle Kwiecien will be taking over the Instagram this week!

According to roommate and fellow Alfred alumni Ripley Nichols, Michelle Kwiecien is "living in Philadelphia with four friends and no regrets." Since graduating from Alfred in May, Michelle has been an Intern at Salem Art Works and a Hot Metal Intern Franconia Sculpture Park. Most recently she has been awarded the Keyholder Residency at the Pyramid Atlantic Art Center where she is focusing on combining her interest in printmaking and sculpture through a series of cast paper objects. 

Through cast iron, paper and printmaking, Michelle creates collections of objects and images that serve as an archive for memory and the transformation of collected  histories. Her work is represented by material and process as they relate to the body through time, weight and fragility. 

Can you elaborate on your role at Salem Art Works and Franconia Sculpture Park?

As an intern at SAW I worked with a group of seven other interns on a daily basis, completing tasks around the different facilities and sculpture park. It was great to work with their staff and other artists to prepare for events, workshops and get the place running for the season. I was there from the end of May for six weeks so we got to see what they go through at the beginning of every summer to accommodate all of their programming. The first week I was there we set up for Sculpture Park Party which was the inaugural celebration open to the community with live bands, an art auction and different demonstrations. Since SAW is so multi-disciplinary, I got to be a part of things like installing sculptures and landscaping around the grounds to participating in iron pours and reorganizing the welding bay. We worked five days a week and had two days off to make our own work. For the end of our session interns, staff and artists installed work for an event called Music and Pizza. Unfortunately, I had to leave right after installing my work and missed the whole event because I had to get out to Franconia! 
My time at Franconia was a little bit different than SAW because I was specifically a Hot Metal Intern, which is a part of a unique iron casting residency that they host every summer. Interns for the residency showed up a couple of weeks before the other artists, but there were a whole group of park interns and artists already at the park. Our job as Hot Metal Interns was to prepare for an event called the Community Collaboration Pour, where Franconia invites the public to come make scratch blocks during workshops held prior to the pour. The day I showed up at Franconia the three other interns and our intern coordinator were already working on the flasks for the scratch block molds and within five days we had rammed over 350 scratch tiles. Then we spent the next week breaking over 3,000 lbs of iron just for this community pour. By the time the other ten artists arrived at Franconia, we all piled under a shelter and began working on our own molds. Franconia provided about 2,500 lbs of sand to each artist so the molds got big very quickly. All interns' and artists' molds were poured the week after the community pour and everyone's sculptures were installed in the park for the next year!

That sounds amazing! What are your plans now that those internships are over?

I moved to Philadelphia at the beginning of September. I just started working for an artist/lighting designer. I'm also doing a residency at the Pyramid Atlantic Art Center in Silver Spring, MD so I commute down there few days of the week to use the studios. That'll be over in a few weeks so I'm starting to look for exhibition opportunities and other spaces to continue making work. I moved down here with four friends from Alfred (Julia BerblingDrew SchenckAya Kaufmann and Ripley Nichols) so we're talking about finding a space that's affordable and large enough to share as a studio where we can work together and connect with the greater artist community around Philly! 

It's very valuable to be a part of a community once you leave art school, do you see the five of you as future collaborators or just studio mates? Do you support each others practices in any way?

A little bit of all those things! A big part of moving here together is to she able to work together and support one another. Leaving school and all of Alfred's great facilities is a big enough challenge to overcome so it's great that we can still bounce ideas off of one another. Mostly it makes everything much more affordable but since we've been working around each other for so long already we can help each other in ways that wouldn't be possible on our own. The way I see it is even if we aren't working on a project collaboratively we all benefit from the connections we make individually and the presence we can make will be stronger. Some of us have collaborated directly on pieces and hopefully that will happen more as a result from being invested in each other's work. We also work in pretty different mediums and materials so there's a lot of opportunity for us to explore new ways of making if we're always learning from each other! 

Michelle will be posting on our Instagram all week. We are looking for more Alumni and current students to take over the Instagram all semester. Message us on Facebook, Instagram direct message or tweet at us if you're interested! We'd love to see what you're up to!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Interview With Jessie Simmons

Jessie Simmons will be taking over the Instagram this week!

After completing her BFA from Alfred in 2013, Jessie has been adventuring around the enchanting terrain of the Pacific Northwest. She currently resides in the city with the most acclaimed scene for craft beer: Portland, Oregon. Each evening she returns home with clay splattered precariously upon her clothes after the day’s work at Mudshark Studios. In 2015 she became an alumni of the North American School of Natural Building taught by the Cob Cottage Company in Coquille, OR. It was there that she became gifted with the skills and ability to build a beautiful, practicable, and affordable house from the earth under our feet.  This experience triggered her to heavily question what one should do, make, consume, and think in this industrial consumerist society where we are easily susceptible to overlook the way we chose and utilize all resources.  

About her work she says: For me, art is not a thing or a piece; not about an exhibit or selling stuff to strangers. Rather it is a process of forming a catalyst for relationships, exchange, neighborhood, participation, and learning directly through involvement. Framing a context where art is a practical yet poetic notion whose worth is independent of galleries, market, or speculation is what is important to me. My creative interests lie in the processes of place-making and home-making as a “product" as opposed to the object-hood of sculpture or architecture. A natural material like mud is an ideal medium for these types of interactions with its malleable beauty, impressive durability, and accessibility to all places and people. 

 What drew you to the North American School of Natural Building?

Once I found out about cob (a composite building material of clay, sand, straw, and water that is handworked into monolithic earthen structures), I got serious about including this gentle approach to building into my artistic practice. Two decades ago there were no cob builders in the United States for over 150 years. The director of the school, Ianto Evans, came from Wales where cob is a traditional building technique. He is the one who is responsible for the current revival in the US and is considered to be the most influential cob instructor and builder to this day.  

What turned me onto cob initially is that it’s something that makes sense in our world which can be totally nonsensical. I became a complete believer of the idea that I can learn how to hand-sculpt a house for myself without needing expensive equipment or lengthy training. That I can be able to pay for this house myself without needing to go to work for 40 years to pay some awful bank to borrow the money is tremendous liberation. To source materials locally, to use alternatives to new industrially processed materials, to decrease pollution, deforestation, landfill waste, and energy use: these were all reasons why I kept saying "yes, yes, yes!”  Essentially, what draws me to building with cob is that it grants a person more comfort and control over their life. Not only that, but it’s also something that goes beyond one's short lifetime. These homes last for an impressive amounts of centuries, and upon deterioration they simply slake back into the earth they were built of. 

What natural building projects do you see yourself engaging in in the future?

What is great about the people involved in the natural building movement is that everyone is incredibly eager and open to sharing their knowledge, ideas and enthusiasm. There are building projects of all kinds happening constantly across the world. Anyone with a set of helping hands that is looking to gain experience could easily be welcomed aboard. So there are copious amounts of opportunities to learn, travel and network. I hope to dive into many of these chances starting next spring when building season begins again. What will I build next? Time will tell. I plan to build a home out of cob for myself eventually, but still have some learning to do and a location to pinpoint. I have been commissioned by some friends in Pennsylvania to make an earthen oven in their backyard. Ovens are something I hope to become great at sculpting. I see a lot of potential with them, especially in common spaces within urban settings. I am also looking forward to participating in the Village Building Convergence of 2016 coordinated by the City Repair Project in Portland. Here, people from all over come together for a 10-day annual event and work on 40+ different natural building, permaculture, and public art projects throughout the city. The projects are focused around creating public gathering spaces and include things like benches, community kiosks, gardens, solar-powered tea stations, massive street paintings within intersections, etc. 

Can you talk a little bit about the building process, how many people you need to build a larger structure like a house, the time it takes etc?

Building with cob is much like sculpting with clay. It is the least technical, safest, and most forgiving of any natural building style. Starting with sand, you add in sticky clay soil, some water, and long strong straw. The techniques for mixing these ingredients range from the traditional way by treading with bare feet on a tarp to mortar mixers and backhoes. Once the mixture is homogenous, firm but plastic, you can use it to sculpt the walls in place. There are no molds to use and no reinforcement other than straw. The results allow for organic, curvaceous sculptural forms. 

The speed at which a house is built depends on how skilled you are, how determined and organized you are, how elaborate the design is, and how many people are there to help. During warm and dry months, you can build 2’-2’1/2” ft of height on your walls each day. Once the walls are up, they are complete apart from a finishing coat of plaster. There is no need for sheathing and vapor barriers, drywall, tape, spackling, sanding, or painting. Building with cob is obviously faster, easier, and more gratifying with a group of people, but a focused owner-builder can move into a small but precious house within less than a year. I think it is most practical to start small and build a core space with the absolute necessities like a kitchen and small sleeping and living areas. This way you know you can move in before the winter comes. Then the following spring it would be easy to attach any additional rooms when you have more resources and good working weather. 

Amazing! What about your day job at Mudshark Studios? Does your work there contribute to your artistic career or is it simply a way of paying the bills?

Honestly, it's a combination of both. I started throwing pots over 11 years ago, so I do have a history of working with ceramics. I am lucky in that I have an opportunity to work with a material I love and use knowledge that I have gained over the years and apply it at my job on a daily basis. At Mudshark, I am slip-casting for a variety of different projects ranging from intricate figurative sculptures to interesting lighting fixtures to classy looking growlers, even big ceramic tables. I work with several different types of clay bodies that all have their attributes and flaws, and I am confronted with new kinds of plaster molds all the time. There is always a challenge, always a problem to be solved. So this type of work surfaces a great deal of technical information that isn’t always revealed in a ceramic art school setting. This knowledge is applicable if I became more interested with working in multiples or if ever decided to be more efficient about making a living off of my ceramic ware. 

Jessie will be posting on our Instagram all week. We are looking for more Alumni and current students to take over the Instagram all semester. Message us on Facebook, Instagram direct message or tweet at us if you're interested! We'd love to see what you're up to!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Interview with Kristen Tordella-Williams

Kristen Tordella-Williams is taking over the Instagram this week!

Kristen works across media exploring imagery and sculpture generated from the performative process. She uses performance and sculpture to investigate issues of labor, identity, gender, and memory using an array of material commonly found at hardware stores, supermarkets and recycling bins. Raised in Massachusetts, Kristen received her B.F.A in sculpture from UMass Dartmouth.  She completed her M.F.A concentrating in Sculpture and Dimensional Studies from Alfred University in 2012. She has exhibited nationally and internationally and has been an artist in residence at Salem Art Works, the Visitor Center, and Franconia Sculpture Park. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Art at Millsaps College in Jackson, MS and is currently teaching drawing, digital arts, sculpture, performance art, and papermaking.

About her work she says:
Our bodies contain the memories each day lived. I focus on how to physically represent these inherent memories of labor through multiple processes, often meditative by nature. I love material and am continually fascinated in the remnants of this labor found in my environment. I use sculpture, performance art, video, photography, paper, print, and book making to express experiences had, such as a collaborative sawmill ballet, forty handmade books containing performance imagery, or a video documenting the answer to "how many screws can fit into my mouth?" Ultimately, my stubborn curiosity and absurd logic lead to a compilation of memories, processes, materials, images that combine into cross-media artwork.

How do you negotiate your time between your personal artistic practice and teaching?

It can be a huge challenge! Part of what feeds my teaching energy is having a creative practice of my own. I can get grumpy if I don't spend time working in the studio! That being said, I find myself scheduling studio time here and there during the week. I am also lucky enough to have a space at home and at the college where I work, which gives me lots of options to keep long-standing projects going. Teaching demands ebb and wane, so sometimes, like this morning, I was able to update my personal website before focusing on my afternoon class prep. This year is much easier than last year, because I am more organized and am teaching some of the same classes, plus I don't have to move!! I teach mostly non-majors, so I also had to adjust my prompts and grading to keep students of all skill and interest levels engaged in making. I try to go to a workshop and/or residency each summer, so I can experiment and jump start the ideas that I continue executing during a busy semester. Deadlines and time management are great, if stressful, motivators to get the studio mojo churning. ​

Can you talk a little bit further about your summer endeavours? I understand you were at Franconia this last summer, could you tell us about what you did there?

​I went to Franconia in the summer of 2011 to see what would happen! I received an Intern Artist Fellowship, which is a work/share program. John Hock, the director of Franconia, has said that it is one of his favorite elements of the park. Interns come in groups of 5-7 and live in the big white house on what was then 21 acres of park land. We worked together installing and de-installing large scale sculpture (the park has little to no permanent installations), helping Fellowship Artists make their work, and general park maintenance. Coral told me it was art boot camp, and she wasn't wrong! I learned a lot about making large scale sculpture although I made a durational performance piece<>, it ended up informing the rest of my work in grad school. I also met a lot of great artists that I continue to run into at various random events all over the world. That is the great beauty and value in applying for and attending artist residencies, workshops, and conferences. Once you get out of school, it becomes rapidly more difficult to have meaningful conversations about work, art, materials, processes etc. When a group of artists get together with creative energy, there's a pool of knowledge and a spark there that's hard to contain. Plus, it's just damn good ol' fashioned fun!

I told people that I was going to Art Camp this past summer because that seems like the closest descriptor of my activities. I attended a cast iron workshop at Sculpture Trails Outdoor Museum located in the hills surrounding Bloomington, Indiana. They have a huge intern group that works extremely hard maintaining the park grounds, mixing sand, breaking iron, and running the pours. I was able to create 24 cast iron sculptures from start to finish in only 9 days because of their amazing assistance. It was truly a joy to be able to focus on producing a set of sculptures without any other distractions. If you go to my website here<>, you can see documentation of the work I completed at the Trails. I left 10 to be displayed at the Museum, sent 5 to a show on Governor's Island in NYC, and have the remaining 5 stored on the walls in my house!

I also attended the Visitor Center's 2015 Symposium for Sustainable Art in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I was camping at both places and made sure to procure a tent in which I could stand up, crucial to living happily for a month out of a car and tent. It was only the second year they have offered the Symposium, so some of our time was spent improving the infrastructure. It is located on 40 acres of land close to the Ottawa National Forest. We went on a bunch of outings to waterfalls, lakes, and even spent a day on a magical beach on the shores of Lake Superior. I was working with a former logger, longtime sawmill operator named Mel Seeger. I asked him and the other artists whether they would be interested in creating a performance of the time spent working in Matchwood, Mel's diesel operated sawmill. I have opened up more in the performance aspect of my work and have been rewarded with other people's ideas, energy, and passion! We performed our Sawmill Ballet<> for a receptive audience of about twenty people and then went to feast on a slow roasted pig. It was most excellent!

I've been lucky enough to also go to Salem Art Works as an Emerging Artist, which was a magical experience on a converted dairy farm near Albany, NY as well as attending the 7th International Conference on Contemporary Cast Iron Art in Pedvale Latvia by way of volunteering as a documentary photographer. It has been essential for me to experiment among groups of supportive artists, especially in my performance practice. I say to everyone, get out and do it!!!! Make it happen! Apply to all the things!​

Thank you for such in depth details! When you attend workshops and residencies, do you apply for funding and grants or finance the trips yourself? What about shipping your tools and artworks? Do you need to bring a lot with you or have you found much is provided by the institutions?

As to funding and resources, it really depends on the host. It would be amazing if someone else paid for everything! It ends up being a mix of funding. Most places don't pay for travel, where I had a work exchange I paid for my travel out of pocket but would receive food, lodging, some tools and materials in return. Now that I teach at a college, I receive a minimal amount to fund travel to conferences and residencies. It's not enough to cover everything I want to do, but it definitely helps!! I currently am in the process of applying to multiple grants in order to fund a large scale cast iron wreath or two that I would love to make this summer, depending on how much, if any, external funding I receive. I think the general public would be surprised at how much money artists invest in their work out of pocket, but it seems to be the most reliable source of funding ;)

I've been slowly amassing a collection of tools since undergrad, mostly because I keep them in good working order and don't have to share. It's easy to get frustrated or bogged down in a project without the correct and functioning tool. I normally try to plan ahead to the projects/jobs I will be doing and bring at least my own hand tools. For example, I made sure to bring a grinder, hot glue gun, soldering iron, Dremel, hair dryer, dental tools, a driver/impactor combo, plus a tool box with a variety of hand tools to Sculpture Trails for the iron casting process. They have a great variety of tools available too, yet I still ended up borrowing foam carving tools from a fellow artist as well as lending out a number of tools to others. I have been driving to most residencies where I am producing a lot of work, both to transport tools, tents, sleeping bags, clothes, equipment etc as well as to bring items back with me. It's handy to have the freedom of a car when you need screws and they're a 15 minute drive away. This all being said, all I needed at Franconia was a shovel and a dress. Artists usually make the most out of the resources at hand, we're a crafty bunch.

What advice would you give to current students at Alfred trying to figure out life after art school?

As an answer to your final question aka what advice to give, oh boy! What a hard question. I'd say that you are responsible for how you affect the world. I just went to an opening at the Mississippi Museum of Art for Marie Hull, a native Mississippian painter. She said ““Progress and change are the essence of living — for artist and non-artist. Without it, stagnation and deterioration soon become evident. People who expand their knowledge and investigate, remain more youthful, have joyous experiences, and become more mentally alert.” Right on, Marie! I say, stay open to other experiences, keep working working working, don't let anyone tell you what you do is unimportant. Art is essential! Without art, we'd be just monkeys continually scrolling smartphones, there's already enough of that. Opportunities are out there if you make it happen. Bring people together through your art and process. Say yes more than no, especially to yourself. Be a positive impact on the world around you, help your fellow artists! Ask them for help! Don't go broke living in Brooklyn; go where you're wanted. You can choose an affordable place and build an art community around you. Most of all, HAVE FUN!

Yolo, bitches.

Kristen will be posting on our Instagram all week. We are looking for more Alumni and current students to take over the Instagram all semester. Message us on Facebook, Instagram direct message or tweet at us if you're interested! We'd love to see what you're up to!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Interview with James Akers

James Akers is taking over the Instagram this week!

James Akers is an artist who has and expansive approach to making. Born in 1993 in Maryland, Akers graduated from Alfred University with a BFA in 2015. Thriving on change, and fascinated by light, electricity, and science, James loves to have fun and learn new things with an energetic, optimistic attitude. Akers has shown his work internationally and has received awards and grants to fund his artistic practice. Seeking to build a community of electrical hackers, Akers is currently constructing a neon shop at the Chrysler Museum Glass Studio, while working to create more opportunities for neon art to flourish in the area. Akers is exploring and synthesizing a new mindset: the “Hacker Artist”.

Can you elaborate on your definition of "Hacker Artist?”

A Hacker Artist is a mindset that blends artist and hacker mentalities. Every artist is a hacker, but not every hacker is an artist. A Hacker Artist is aware of the apparatus/institutions that they work within and may not wrk to change that institution. A Hacker Artist is not an Artist Hacker.

How has the transition been for you from student to practicing artist? You mentioned you are currently constructing a neon shop at the Chrysler Museum Glass Studio, what is your roll in that process?

The transition from school to practicing artist went pretty easily. I went from school, straight into a studio assistantship program at the Chrysler Museum if Art glass studio and also became an assistant to a well established Neon bender in Norfolk that I met on Instagram. I also arrived at a newly emerging art scene with much of it focused on glass and neon. So the transition happened fairly naturally and I was able to find places to meet the obscure facility needs of my work surprisingly easy. 
As of now, I am trying to balance making money to pay rent (with an evening job at Chipotle), the neon job and the volunteer assistantship at the Chrysler Museum with my own work- a big public art neon mural commission, co- curating a big neon show, and teaching neon to students for a neon roof gallery, and a studio practice. It took a few months, but I am now just as busy as I was when I was a student at Alfred!

As far as the Neon shop goes, I am advising the Glass Studio directors and Technicians on what to buy to get the shop going and where to buy it. I built a mobile neon manifold while at Alfred with the ARGUS research grant and I am using the things I learned with that to design a custom mobile neon unit to meet the glass studio needs here at the Chrysler. I am doing all I can to really get people into neon. Then they will start playing with electricity and start making crazy electric art.

That's really amazing that you had the opportunity to hit the ground running. What advice would you give to current students here at Alfred to get the most out of their time here? 

For seniors, I would apply to as many opportunities you can get for post graduation. Karen Donnellan was a big help for me in getting my applications and branding to a professional level and even in finding things to apply to. For everyone, I would highly recommend starting a website and documenting your work as best you can and also starting blogs and other social media- its great just to network with other artists who do similar things to yourself and those connections can even lead to opportunities after you graduate and give you a general sense of what is out there. A website also lets you see all your work in one place and show it off wherever you are. It gets you documenting more. 

James will be posting on our Instagram all week. We are looking for more Alumni and current students to take over the Instagram all semester. Message us on Facebook, Instagram direct message or tweet at us to let us know if you're interested. We'd love to see what you're up to!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Interview with recent BFA graduate Ella Medicus

Ella Medicus will be taking over the Instagram this week, giving us a peak at her life after Alfred. We had a chance to have a chat with her about what she's been up to since finishing her BFA degree.

Tell us a little bit about your practice.

I graduated Alfred May 2015 and my show was primarily based in sculpture, but it could also be classified into different categories such as video and sound, print, and with references to painting. My work is fuelled by societal information and human invention. By challenging the trust we place in real objects, I aims to bring attention to learned perceptions that we take for granted. 

What you've been up to since graduating from Alfred?

Since graduating Alfred I moved to Cleveland and started working at Gray's Auctioneers. Our auctions primarily consist of furniture, decorative art, contemporary art, and modern art. I have also started renting a studio garage in the "industrial valley" of Cleveland, so it is right in a super industrial area, which I think is really interesting to observe. 

It's amazing that you have found a studio space in an interesting area, what are you biggest challenges in working without the facilities of the university? How are you working around these challenges?

The hardest thing I've encountered so far is getting insurance to cover a studio. A lot of spaces won't rent to you even if you're just going to be using power tools. Getting he right insurance was very complicated and slow, but we are coming close to the end. I will be sharing the space with at least three people aside from myself. 

That's really good to know. Do your studio mates work similarly to you? Do you think you'll be collaborating or sharing materials/equipment?

Yes, we plan on having many shared stations in the space such as wood tools, a station with an exhaust fan that can be for sanding or spraying, and possibly some others. We're thinking the space will be set up so we can easily shift and have room to install a small show. While our work is all different, many of us share a common sense of humor that comes out in different ways. I'm looking forward to having this shared studio because we can all talk about ideas, figure out logistics, and conduct our own independent space together.

Ella will be posting on our Instagram all week. Once her new studio is up and running we will definitely check back in with her for an update! We are looking for more Alumni and current students to take over the Instagram all semester. Message our Facebook profile, Instagram direct message or tweet at us to let us know if you're interested. We'd love to see what you're up to!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Visiting artist Weston Lambert! ‪#‎summerschool‬ ‪#‎glassrocks‬

Weston Lambert lives and works in New Orleans, Louisiana and is the Professor of Practice in the glass program at Tulane University. His sculptures have been included in theGlass Quarterly magazine, Sculpture magazine and have been shown both nationally and internationally at exhibits such as SOFA Chicago and the Cheongju Craft Biennale in South Korea. Lambert has also recently completed public commissions of glass, metal and stone for the cities of Chattanooga, Tennessee and Geneva, Illinois.

Press Release: Sculpture Faculty Coral Lambert Showing in Italy

Ein Tanz- und Feuerspektakel
13 GIUGNO / 13. JUNI 2015
IL Giardino di Daniel Spoerri
Fusione di una medaglia con il sigillo del Giardino
Es entsteht eine Medaille mit dem Siegel des Giardino
Join an amazing group of international artists for an evening atmosphere full of myths and legends as temperatures reach up to 2650 Fahrenheit! Watch as molten iron flows from a uniquely designed furnace that emulates the elemental forces of a volcano. In a one hour ritual the white leather clad fire dancers interact with the ‘Volcano Furnace’ bringing it to life and speeding up the work of nature. Getting hotter and hotter, the molten iron melts and is carried by the furnace operators to cast new sculpture in the form of Iron Diamonds. The mechanical sound of the blowers of the furnace and hammering of iron is complimented with electronically composed harmonic sound samples that capture the essence of the elements and the shifting plates of the earth. The performance as a whole will have three acts: each act will take place at the time the molten iron is taken from the furnace and cast on site. Three distinct dance compositions flow in and out as the pulse of the iron flows. At the finale the wondrous mercurial ‘Phoenix’ rises as if bought to life by the active volcano and transformative dance historically connected to the history of metal casting and use of fire to create art.
The group of artists presenting this unique experience come from diverse backgrounds and met by way of working with cast iron which by nature is a collaborative undertaking of logistics and choreography. This will be the second performance of the ‘Volcano Furnace’ and the ‘Flight of the Phoenix’ after last year’s success at Pedvale Sculpture Park in Latvia for Midsummers.
“Forno Fusorio di Vulcano” (VOLCANO FURNACE)
Prof Coral Penelope Lambert (NYC, USA) in collaboration with Blacksmith Andreas Glaser (Basel/Switzerland) and Sound by Data Artist Paul Higham (NYC/USA)
“Volo di Fenice” Danza (Flight of the Phoenix Dance)
Costumes & Choreography by Cynthia Handel (Montana/USA) and Prof Jenny K Hager (Jacksonville/USA), Third Dancer Susanne Roewer (Berlin/Germany)
“Volo di Fenice” Scultura/Marionetta (Flight of the Phoenix Sculpture/Puppet)
Susanne Roewer (Berlin/Germany) and Andreas Glaser (Basel/Switzerland)
Con la partecipazione di Susanne Neumann, fotografia di Gerhard Haug