From the Field
This is SNAG’s third installment of “Compelling Questions.” We pose a question to one or more people in the field of jewelry and metals and post their answer(s). This month we hear from Nanz Aalund about “Paradigm.”
The permanent collection returns to the Renwick Gallery with a dynamic new presentation of more than 80 objects celebrating craft as a discipline and an approach to living differently in the modern world. This and more exhibitions can be found in this week’s news post.
Watch “Metal Man” on May 16, 2016 at 9:00pm PST, Bay Area PBS Station 22 KCRB
“Metal Man” is a fascinating documentary about the gifted artist and jeweler named Victor Ries. Born in Germany in 1907, Victor lived and worked until 2013, when he was 106 years old. After his apprenticeship as a silversmith, Victor fled the Nazis to Palestine, ultimately landing in Northern California just as the post-war crafts revival was beginning.
As both a highly regarded teacher and visionary artist, Victor Ries’ work has earned great respect. Victor’s mastery of metal and the range of his work, from small jewelry pieces to large scale art installations, are featured in synagogues and churches.
“Metal Man” was produced, directed and narrated by Bill Chayes. It premiered at the Mill Valley Film Festival in October, 2014. This enchanting short movie flows colorfully, sprinkled with words, metal work and drawings by Ries, as well as conversations with Alan Revere. This is an inspiring story of a man who spent 85 years as a working artist, his times and the evolution of crafts in America.
The Brockway Center for Arts and Technology (BCAT) is home to the newest Metal Arts Studio in western Pennsylvania. Part of the National Center for Arts and Technology system, which originated in Pittsburgh, BCAT is the first and currently only center of its kind with a metalsmithing program. The metals studio officially opened in June 2015, joining the then two year old Ceramics program and adult job training programs. Our state of the art facility was designed and run by current Teaching Artist Liz Steiner.
The BCAT Metal Arts studio serves both youth and adults, with our main focus being students in grades 9-12. Our mission is to inspire youth through the arts and provide active mentorship as practicing artists as well as instructors. Students are welcome everyday after school to come work in either the metals or ceramics studio, or both, as well as during our five week Summer Intensive. Students are provided with materials and individualized instruction and guidance on bringing their ideas to life. We also expose our students to the world outside the studio through field trips to colleges, museums, and conferences. Everything is at no cost to the students.
BCAT also has opportunities available for emerging and established artists though our exhibitions, residency and visiting artist programs. Residents are given studio access and living accommodations in exchange for 25 hours of volunteer work a week. Residents are also given the opportunity to teach adult classes and workshops for pay. Workshops vary by visiting artist, and are open to the public as well as our high school students. Visiting artists include Ken Bova (pictured at right), and Casey Sheppard, with Josh Kosker scheduled to present this June. Exhibitions rotate every 6-8 weeks, and include invitationals, themed juried shows, both high school and collegiate level student shows, and solo exhibitions.
The Metal Arts program is designed to expose students and the community to the broadest definition of art jewelry and metalsmithing. We instruct our students in all manner of traditional and non-traditional techniques from fabrication, casting, enameling, and forming to found objects. The studio is equipped with 15 individual student benches, each with its own set of hand tools. Students are welcome to make jewelry or objects from non-ferrous metals. We do our best to individualize instruction as much as we can so that the students are free to follow their own interests.