Chuck Evans passed away July 31, 2015 at the age of 75. Evans was an artist whose works, technical innovations, writings and teaching have made lasting contributions to metalsmithing and the American Arts. He was introduced to metals through his friend David Pimentel and learned design and technique while studying under Hans Christensen and Albert Paley at the School of American Craftsmen, Rochester Institute of Technology, 1969-1972.
After earning his MFA, he taught at Bowling Green State University for six years before moving to Iowa in 1978 to open the metals program for Iowa State University’s College of Design, where he was Professor of Jewelry and Metals from 1978 through 2001. His artwork spanned 30+ years and has been shown in 200+ exhibitions in the U.S. and abroad. He authored the textbook Jewelry: Contemporary Design and Technique, 1983, and contributed to many books and professional publications over the course of his life.
A true purist, Chuck held individual expression above all and shunned labels with great vigor. Some of the noted artists with whom he interacted included Heikke Seppa, Philip Fike, John Marshall, Fred Fenster, Ronald Pearson, Richard Thomas, Eleanor Moty, Alma Eikerman, Dominick Labino, Wendell Castle, Peter Voulkos, Frans Wildenhain and Philip Morton.
June Schwarcz died at her home in Sausalito, CA on August 2, 2015. She was 97. Schwarcz was among the most innovative and highly respected artists working in the late 20th-century enamels field. Best known for her electroformed metal sculpture, embellished with rich enamel color, she produced an extensive body of work which, while referring to time-honored vessel making traditions, defy convention.
Recognized early on for her innovative approach to the medium, she was included in 1956 in Craftsmanship in a Changing World, the inaugural exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Crafts, New York (now the Museum of Arts and Design); that museum’s 1959 exhibition Enamels; and the traveling exhibition Objects: U.S.A. in 1969. She was designated a California Living Treasure in 1985.
She was a founding member of the Northern California Enamels Guild, a member of the Enamelist Society where in 1991 she was given a Lifetime Achievement Award, and in 2009 she was given the Masters of the Medium Award by the James Renwick Alliance of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Schwarcz was also a long-time member of SNAG.
In 2009 her work was featured in Transformed by Fire: June Schwarcz Enameled Vessels at the Mingei Museum, San Diego.
Examples of her work are in the collections of numerous institutions including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Smithsonian American Art Museum; the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and many others.
These are just some of June Schwarcz’s accomplishments. Much more about her can be found in the obituary published in the San Francisco Chronicle. Also see Mike Holmes’ article on the Art Jewelry Forum website.
Source: San Francisco Chronicle
Edith Sommer passed away in February 2015. Art was a driving force in her life and she was instrumental in the creation of Gallery House in 1958, an artists’ cooperative still thriving in Palo Alto, CA. Born and raised in Chicago and educated at the University of Illinois, Sommer and her husband moved to Palo Alto in 1949.
Her path as an artist began in the early ’50s, and jewelry was her biggest passion. She took classes and workshops throughout her life, studying with masters of the craft. Over the years Sommer added other media to her repertoire, including work with recycled copper she removed from auto radiators, which she fashioned into wearable vests, masks and containers. She recently became interested in adding polymer clay to her silver work. Sommer was a long-time SNAG member.
Edith Sommer: An Artist’s Retrospective will be on exhibition at Palo Alto Art Center Studio Gallery from June 26-September 6, 2015. Opening reception June 27, 1:00-4:00 p.m.
It is with sadness that we share the passing of another metalsmith. J. Fred Woell died April 2, 2015 at his home in Deer Isle, Maine. He was 81.
Woell was “known for using political and social commentary in the creation of jewelry,” according to a statement released by The Metal Museum Executive Director Carissa Hussong. “He was renowned for his found object assemblages, reflecting and critiquing the throwaway culture of late 20th century America with his characteristic wry humor.”
He taught at The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater; Boston University; Swain School of Design, New Bedford, MA; Haystack Mountain School, Deer Isle, ME; and SUNY/New Paltz, NY. His works are in the permanent collections of the Museum of Art and Design, (formerly Contemporary Crafts Museum) NYC; L.A. County Museum of Art, CA; Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC; Houston Art Museum, TX; and the Hermitage State Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia.
Woell received the Lifetime Achievement Award from SNAG in 2012, and the Florida National Metalsmiths Hall of Fame award in 2010. He held MFAs from University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, University of Wisconsin, and Cranbrook Academy.
The new documentary film about Woell titled J. Fred Woell: An American Vision is a documentary that features interviews with: Paul Smith, former director of the Museum of Contemporary Craft; Helen Drutt, curator and educator; and Glenn Adamson, former director of the Museum of Arts and Design, among others. The film is sponsored by the Union of Maine Visual Artists.
Bobby Hansson passed away in March 2015. He was a photographer of craft and sculpture for thirty years, during which time he was the principal photographer for catalogs produced by the American Craft Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and he taught photography at the School of Visual Art.
He started making sculpture, objects, furniture, and musical instruments from found objects in 1955. In 1996, he produced a how-to book titled, The Fine Art of the Tin Can.
Hansson started teaching tin-can-art workshops at Penland in 1997 and taught regularly until 2011. He also taught workshops at Arrowmont, Campbell Folk School, Haystack, Peters Valley, and Touchstone.