Posted on September 11, 2015
I was recently asked to participate in a Women’s Jewerly Association fundraiser called “The Maker Project”. This project was conceived by Lisa Slovis Mandel who is in charge of scholarhsips for WJA. Lisa Slovis is a well-known studio jeweler that sells her work in several jewelry galleries across the country and teaches jewelry classes at Palomar College.
The Maker Project was created to raise scholarship money for students that are currently enrolled in a jewelry program. While I was in graduate school at San Diego State University, I was a two-time recipient of the WJA scholarship. When this opportunity arose to participate in this fundraiser, I immediately felt this would be a wonderful opportunity to give back to an organization that had helped me tremendously during my studies at SDSU.
The well-known marriage rhyme from English folklore was the primary inspiration behind The Maker Project, “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.” Jewelry artists were asked to find interesting metal components (something old) that they made in their studio. They then take their handmade creations and give them (something borrowed) to another artist to make a new piece of jewelry. In addition, every participant was given a large blue bead (something blue) and a peach colored freshwater pearl (something new). Lastly, I won the drawing to receive an additional stone, a faceted blue zircon. After receiving the artist pieces and various stones, I was excited to start fabricating my piece of jewelry!
I thank my lucky stars that I received such stellar pieces from Michelle Loon! Michelle gave me several modern silver leaf shapes, some of which had richly patterned raised surfaces! I knew it would be effortless to make a beautiful necklace when I had such fantastic elements to work with!
I wanted to continue with the nature theme and titled the necklace “Leaves and Rain”. I fabricated tear drop shaped silver frames. One of which I set the blue zircon and the other I placed pieces of the blue bead. Because of the large size of the glass bead, I decided to crush the bead into several small pieces so that they were more manageable in size and fit more ideally into my delicate design. I then fabricated a dangling blossom to hang in the back of the necklace and set the peach pearl inside the flower. I also fabricated my signature tag into a leaf shape. Lastly, the clasp I made also featured a leaf and branch toggle bar and ring.
The pieces went on display at the Womens’ Museum of California in Liberty Station in San Diego. It was very exciting to finally view all the completed jewelry pieces. It was nice to see how creative the other studio jewelers were with the other artists’ components. Below are some of my favorite pieces from the event.
I was pleased that my design was chosen to be in the live auction! Lisa Slovis, did a knock out job as both an organizer and an MC! She was a lively host and promoted the work very well to generate more interest from potential buyers. The show was well planned and looked professional in its display.
The live auction was particularly exciting, especially because it culminated in a bidding war between two different buyers! I was so pleased that my necklace raised a decent amount of money for the WJA scholarship fundraiser and sold for $800! My friends Ron and Helen took pictures of my reactions during the bidding process. You can see that I became progressively more excited as the bidding prices kept escalating.
All in all, The Maker Project fundraiser was a highly successful event! All the artist made jewelry sold well, raising thousands of dollars for the WJA scholarship! Right now is an exciting time for the organization, especially because of Lisa Slovis’ involvement. She has plans for continuing to make the organization more interactive for its members here in San Diego and I look forward to participating in future events.
Category: Blog Tagged: Alexandra Hart, Ardee Atwood, Betsy Kinsey, Carla Caravante, Eliana Zepeda Graham, fundraiser, Grace Hays, handmade jewerly, Liberty Station, Lisa Slovis Mandel, magboocandyandjewelry, Michelle Loon, necklaces, San Diego chapter, Sara Rey, scholarship, tara magboo, the maker project, WJA, women's jewelry association, Women's Museum of California
Posted on April 6, 2014
In January I made the decision to apply to Haystack Mountain School of Crafts artist’s residency program. Haystack received an anonymous grant that allowed them to offer artist’s residencies for the very first time!
For a period of three years, starting last year, Haystack started offering a juried artist’s residency program. I attended Haystack on scholarship in 2007 and it was one of the most incredible experiences of my life! Because I have such fond memories of my time there, I wanted to take advantage of this opportunity since I knew that this program will only last for a limited amount of time. So off to work I went and I scoured over my application for two months before I submitted it! Fortunately, my hard work paid off, and I am very happy to say that I will be one of the artists in residence this summer at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts! Fifty artists from varying craft backgrounds from across the country will be participating in the residency. We have the opportunity to utilize all of Haystack’s incredible studios to make our art! I truly look forward to having this two week period of time completely set aside where I can focus making my own personal work! I certainly recognized some of the well-known metalsmiths from the list of artists chosen: Jeffrey Clancy, Tina Rath, and Lauren Kalman.
I will talk a little bit about my past experience at Haystack so I can paint a better picture of what an incredible school Haystack truly is! Haystack Mountain School of Craft was founded in 1950 by a group of craft artists in Balfast, Maine. The school is located on the coast of Deer Isle, which is a remote area in Maine. The school is tucked away in a beautiful forest next to the ocean. The scenery is breathtaking! Anyone would feel inspired just walking the grounds at Haystack!
I was awarded a scholarship from San Diego State University School of Art to take a class at Haystack. I wanted to experience working in a completely different medium, so I decided to take a table making class. The instructor was Matt Hutton, who is head of the furniture department at Maine College of Art. Matt had two teaching assistants: Yuri Kobayashi and Cory Robinson. All three received their MFA from San Diego State University studying under Wendy Maruyama. Yuri graduated from SDSU while I was still in the graduate program and was happy to see a familiar, friendly face!
As I mentioned earlier, the studios at Haystack are well-equipped and well-maintained. Below are some images inside the wood working studio.
The atmosphere at Haystack is wonderful. My fellow students were friendly, supportive and driven. We had 24 hour access to use the studios to make our work. There were many instances when I hobbled out of the studio at 1am or 2am and still saw students working away in other areas. The students understood that this was a special opportunity to focus on creating art at this amazing school and therefore, everyone wanted to fully utilize their time at Haystack.
Arthur, one of my classmates, was in his eighties taking his very first woodworking class! He was a retired doctor and he very generously invited us to visit his home where he could show us his breathtaking craft collection! Arthur had traveled all over the world and had acquired well-known works of art, including original Hokusai Japanese woodblock prints. The few pieces that really stood out was his collection of original George Nakashima furniture pieces.
When Arthur was living in Pennsylvania, Nakashima was a neighbor of his. Before his career took off, Arthur purchased several furniture pieces which included a dining table, chairs and coffee table. George Nakashima was born in 1905 and was given the title of “Living Treasure” by the emperor and government of Japan in 1983, which is the highest title any crafts person from Japan can achieve. Some of his furniture pieces have sold at auction for over 100,000.
In my furniture class, I decided to make a very small table, since I knew I would have to lug this back on the plane to California. I designed the table to look like a tree and be about the size of a foot stool.
I made my table out of cherry wood. Above, is the table top, the foot of the table and a small leaf-shaped shelf.
All meals and housing are provided when attending Haystack. Generally, people have the impression that camp food isn’t very good. I certainly did. Oh, was I so wrong! My classmates and I would often joke about students coming to Haystack simply for the food!
All the meals were freshly prepared with local produce. There were plenty of vegetarian options as well. Of course, we cannot forget about the dessert!
Someone was so inspired by the desserts at Haystack that they chronicled their experience through sketches! The desserts were amazing and always eaten up very quickly!
I became friends with many of the students in the textiles area. I went on a walk through the forest with a few of the students and their instructor, Jon Eric Riis. Jon is an internationally recognized fiber artist whose work resides in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian and Metropolitan Museum of Art just to name a few.
At the end of the two week session, the students displayed their work in the studios for everyone to view.
My classmate Caleb made a beautifully designed coffee table. He was barely twenty and was clearly very talented. I love how his modern table doubled as a magazine rack!
Below are the furniture pieces that my classmate, Arthur, made.
He made a Chinese Go table and was ambitious enough to make a second piece: a wine rack.
Above, are the tables that my instructor, Matt Hutton, made for Haystack’s auction. At the end of each session, artists donate some of their work which go to auction. The proceeds help to support Haystack’s programs.
Below, is my “finished” table. I finished all the components of my tree table but didn’t finish the assembly. It took a little longer than expected to carve. 😛
I just taped the parts together so people could get the idea of what the table would like when complete.
Below, is an example of work made in one of the other craft studios.
In the paper making class, the students made sheets from alternative materials, namely vegetables and fruits. The above paper was made from thinly sliced garlic.
I took this picture while standing at the top of Haystack’s famous wooden flight of stairs. I wanted to capture a view of the trees, the school and part of the ocean on my last day at Haystack. These images above were a sampling from my Powerpoint presentation that I gave to SDSU’s School of Art in fulfillment of the requirements of my scholarship to Haystack. I hope these images inspired you and I cannot wait to step foot again on this amazing campus.