Creatures from the Deep: Shimmering Wire Sculptures by Pioneering Jewelry Artist on View at Houston Center for Contemporary Craft

Posted May 11, 2011 in Press Releases

This summer, visitors are invited to explore a beautiful world of shimmering wire jellyfish in Arline Fisch: Creatures from the Deep, on view in the small gallery at Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, June 4 – July 30, 2011.In 2008, the Racine Art Museum (RAM) commissioned internationally acclaimed jewelry artist Arline Fisch to create this special installation for its Windows on Fifth Gallery. According to Bruce W. Pepich, RAM Executive Director and Curator of Collections, the museum’s Windows Project began in 2003 to give artists like Fisch the challenge of creating site-specific works that pushed them in new directions. Bringing her work to a grand scale, Creatures from the Deep showcases Fisch’s use of knitting and crocheting techniques to create larger-than-life sea creatures made of wire. HCCC is pleased to host the touring version of this exhibition, which will transform the small gallery into a tranquil underwater world, with floating jellyfish of different colors and shapes.

Arline Fisch has rarely created anything but jewelry. When planning this show, she took inspiration from RAM’s physical proximity to the waters of Lake Michigan and decided to revisit her interest in the jellyfish form. HCCC Curatorial Fellow, Anna Walker, commented: “Living far beneath the surface of the ocean, the jellyfish Arline Fisch uses as inspiration are exotic species rarely seen, except when they wash ashore. Those who see the show will be entranced, not only by Fisch’s interpretation of these beautiful creatures but by the masterful techniques she uses to create them in metal wire.”

Fisch works with small-gauged coated wire, called magnet wire, which is used for industrial purposes. The colors of her works have been historically limited by the available colors of the wire. However, in more recent years, manufacturers have realized the wire’s potential as a material for contemporary craft artists and have offered a much more diverse color range. Fisch incorporates this broader range into her jellyfish sculptures.

Arline Fisch has been one of the most visible and influential forces in an international art jewelry movement that began in the 1940s. Artists and jewelers changed the definition of jewelry by questioning the importance of precious materials and traditional jewelry techniques. Fisch pioneered the application of textile techniques to sculptural work in metal that pushed the boundaries between jewelry and dress. Her integration of weaving, knitting, crocheting and braiding of metal into the creation of jewelry was a groundbreaking technique that has become standard among her contemporaries.

Arline Fisch: Creatures from the Deep is organized by the Racine Art Museum, Racine, Wisconsin. The exhibition is made possible by Racine Art Museum Premiere Sponsors: Karen Johnson Boyd and William B. Boyd; S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc.; and Members of the RAM Society.

Exhibition Dates
June 4 – July 30, 2011
Opening Reception
Friday, June 10, 5:30 – 8:00 PM
In conjunction with the opening of Crafting Live(s): 10 Years of Artists-in-Residence. Featuring open studios by the current artists-in-residence.

Mary Headrick (
Houston Center for Contemporary Craft
713.529.4848 x 107