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.
Manfred Bischoff (1947-2015) was one of the great goldsmiths of Europe. Born in Germany, Bischoff lived and worked in Munich and Berlin before relocating to Italy. Bischoff had a fascination with language, a sardonic wit, and an unerring eye for simple beauty. Bischoff’s themes are universal: fear, love, mortality, and sexuality. His exquisite objects in gold, silver, coral, and occasionally jade and diamonds are encased in sense of isolation and psychological uncertainty. Though small, they are charged with intellectual complexity, and indeed with monumentality. His work can be found in collections including the Danner-Stiftung Collection, Munich, the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, and the Power House Museum, Sydney, NSW.
source: Isabelle Stewart Gardner Museum
Daniel Frye, a metal artisan and widely respected teacher who was an art professor at California State University, Sacramento, died in July 2014.
Frye was an accomplished artist in metals before joining the CSUS faculty in 2000. He received awards in national and regional juried competitions, including a 1999 general excellence award at the Newburyport Art Association Craft Exhibition. He exhibited his works in galleries at CSUS and in the community, and he served as a juror for the California State Fair art show. Frye was a member of the Society of North American Goldsmiths.
In addition to teaching art education courses, he reinvigorated the metals and jewelry program at CSUS and nurtured connections between the university and the community. He mentored students in the studio and arranged in 2013 to introduce their works to a wider audience with a showing off campus, at The Temp Gallery on Del Paso Boulevard in Sacramento.
Popular among students for his talent as an artist and his warm, outgoing personality, he received the 2010-11 Outstanding Teacher Award for the CSUS College of Arts and Letters.
As chairman from 2007 to 2013, Dr. Frye kept the art department’s studio programs functioning despite spending cuts. He generated support among regional galleries and donors to enable art students to complete their studies and serve the region as art educators in local school districts and community college.
Frye was born in 1955 in Pennsylvania. In a 2011 story in Sacramento magazine, he said his father wanted him to study physics in college, but he preferred the arts – so he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in art education from Millersville University in Pennsylvania. He earned a doctorate in teaching and curriculum in 1991 from Syracuse University. He began teaching at the University of Missouri in Columbia.
His popular artworks included “Spirit Jars,” a collection of metal containers representing human attributes. He received a jurors award in the 1995 Texas “Hard and Soft” exhibition and a merit award in sculpture at Hoyt National Art Show in 1997.
An exhibition of works by Dr. Frye and his students is being planned this fall at the Robert Else Gallery at CSUS.
article source: The Sacramento Bee, Robert Davila
Renowned Blacksmith Ivan Bailey, a Georgia artist and teacher widely considered one of America’s greatest artistic blacksmiths, passed away at his farm in Monticello on September 9, 2013. Born in Oregon, Bailey entered a Christian Brothers’ monastery in Napa, California but left the novitiate to obtain a B.A. in art at Portland State University. He then studied at Penland School, North Carolina and received his MFA in 1971. A forge workshop with Alex W. Bealer, author of the seminal The Art of Blacksmithing and Bailey’s future father-in-law, altered the course of Bailey’s career forever. In 1972 he won a Fulbright fellowship but accepted a larger German cultural exchange grant to study for a year under Professor Fritz Ulrich at the Craft School of Aachen, Germany.
Bailey’s original commissioned work is represented in hundreds of private and public installations and collections, including Savannah’s Olympic Torch monument. His many honors include the Governor’s Award of the Georgia Council for the Arts and the Georgia Association of the American Institute of Architects Award for Craftsmanship. He was a founding member of the Artist Blacksmith’s Association of North America. Bailey retired to Monticello, GA seven years ago. Bailey led an exemplary life, as an artist, a father, and a grandfather.