Contemporary Crafts:
Opening doors for resident artists

Houston ChroniclePosted May 29, 2013 in In The News

Five emerging and midcareer artists make up the Artist Residency Program at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft. Each artist receives a monthly stipend, studio space at HCCC, and the coveted opportunity to create works, experiment with new mediums and to enjoy public interaction without typical day-to-day distractions. A review panel selects the artists based on their creative work, career direction and diversity of medium, which can include glass, wood, metal, fiber, clay and mixed media. The residency program’s applicant numbers have tripled in the past three years, thanks to heightened national recognition. These artists were selected from 100 applicants to participate in the 12-year-old program, and they are in residence through the summer.

The public is invited to visit the artists in their studios during museum hours. Here’s the low-down on the 2013 year’s group:

Hometown: Kemah
Education: Bachelor of Fine Arts, Metals and Painting, the University of Texas at Austin
HCCC residency focus: Jewelry and wearable art
What does, and has, influenced you as an artist?
“I was born on a 30-foot sailboat built by my father and sailed my first five years with my parents. My father makes functional things. We used to spend time in the wilderness. If we needed a pot to boil water, then he’d make it. My brother builds robots. My father taught us the value of making things.”
What have you gained from the residency?
“It’s brought a sense of professionalism to my life.”
What’s next for you?
“It’s important to get my masters. I’ve had several offers and am first on the wait list for my primary choice in Stockholm.”

Hometown: Buffalo, N.Y.
Education: Bachelor of Fine Arts, Buffalo State College; Master of Fine Arts, Ceramics, Kansas State University
HCCC residency focus: Ceramic sculptures
What are you communicating through your art?
“We don’t see our stuff anymore. We don’t see how much we consume and how much we throw out. It’s about taking found items, giving new meaning to them (by creating visual juxtapositions).”
What happens after the residency?
“I’ve applied for some teaching jobs as well as additional residencies. It’s important to show and produce.”
What have you gained from the HCCC experience?
“I’ve learned to let go of my perfectionism. I’ve enjoyed talking and learning from other artists who also work with found objects, which they see differently than the way I do.”

Hometown: Philadelphia, Pa.
Education: Bachelor of Arts, German; Master of Arts, Library and Information Science; and Master of Arts, Environmental Art, the University of Art & Design (now Aalto University)
HCCC residency focus: Environmental art, both sculptural and wearable
What intrigues you?
“Plywood. You see it as scraps or on boarded-up windows … I began wondering how it could be applied architecturally and how it might interact on the body as something wearable. I came here with 9,000 plywood triangles—scraps from a laser-cutting company.”
What happens after the residency?
“I’ve been doing residencies consistently since 2008. I’m planning to stay in Houston. And I’d like to work on a larger scale, specifically with companies (to create sculptural art), using their manufacturing discards.”
What have you gained from the residency?
“It’s provided a different opportunity in that I’ve been able to engage with people, since my studio door here is always open.”

Hometown: Oakland, Calif.
Education: Bachelor of Fine Arts, Jewelry and Metal Arts, California College of Arts; Master of Fine Arts, Jewelry and Metal Arts, University of Wisconsin
HCCC residency focus: Metal sculptures, printmaking
What intrigues you?
“Silver-plated commemorative trays and trophies—for their one-time functionality, sentimental values (and, now, by the intricacies of several sculpted together).”
How has your work evolved?
“I’ve been trying out a new idea since being here. If someone donates a family tray, pitcher, trophy … I cut out the design and (any) commemorative mark and then present the family a single-edition print.”
What inspires your art?
“The metalsmiths in my family, as well as the family members who made tombstones. They each influenced my interest in objects that last and pay homage. Since the age of 5, I wanted to make stuff.”

Hometown: Freeburg, Ill.
Education: Bachelor of Fine Arts, Metalsmithing and Photography, Southern Illinois University; Master of Fine Arts, Metalsmithing, Edinboro University
HCCC residency focus: Jewelry with wood emphasis
Where do you get your ideas?
“My jewelry is based on interactions, memories, travel and the environment. My interaction, for instance, with a Girl Scout troop opened my eyes to the potential of a cotton pod: earrings!”
Who or what has inspired you?
“As a family, we’d go to art museums. And also music … I was playing piano at the age of 4. Art ended up giving me the creative outlet I needed and wanted.”
What do you see yourself doing in the future?
“I’d like to do larger things, like furniture. And I’d like to settle someplace, perhaps St. Louis.”

-By Susan Fox