From the Field
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.
New blog by Olivia Shih, 2016 SNAG/crafthaus Conference Scholarship Recipient
“In this crafthaus blog, I will explore the intersection between gender and jewelry with a three-prong approach: interviewing artists who do not shy away from words like “gender issues,” “feminism,” and “sex”; analyzing the work of said artists and the reach of their work via questionnaires; and reinvigorating conversation about gender in jewelry by putting together an online exhibition.”
Welcome to a new feature called “Compelling Questions.” Every month SNAG will feature a question that is posed to one or more people in the field of jewelry and metals and post their answer(s). We start with jeweler Kate Wolf.
Mary Ann Scherr, recognized as one of America’s most prestigious and influential designers, died at her home in Raleigh, NC on March 1st. She was 94 years old. Mary Ann was born in Akron, Ohio, and lived in Illinois, Michigan, and New York City before moving to Raleigh, NC in 1989.
Mary Ann’s voluminous resume includes seven decades of work as a designer, metalsmith, jeweler, educator and studio artist. She created book illustrations, fashion designs, costumes, graphics, product designs, and jewelry. Subsequent to WWII, she was the first woman to be hired by Ford Motor Company’s automotive division, and she designed for other corporations, including Goodyear, Alcoa, and US Steel. She owns patents for her design of body monitors, and copyrights for processes such as the instant photo etching of metals. She pioneered the use of exotic metals in adornment, stainless steel, rare earth metals, aluminum and mild steels.
Mary Ann Scherr’s jewelry, and designs in metal, can be found in the permanent collections of major museums, including The Vatican, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Art and Design in New York, Goldsmith Hall in London, The Renwick Gallery in the Smithsonian, the U.S. National Archives in Washington, and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.
Mary Ann shared ownership in Raleigh’s Roundabout Art Collective, where she exhibited her work. Her jewelry designs have been featured in North Carolina by the Gregg Museum of Art and Design, The Mahler, the Carolina Designer Craftsmen Guild, and the Penland School of Crafts.
A companion career as an educator began in 1950 at the Akron Art Institute. Teaching was one of the greatest joys of her life. She taught at Akron University, Kent State University, Parsons, Duke, Meredith, Penland, Haystack, Arrowmont, and the NCSU Crafts Center, and in workshops both in America and abroad. She was beloved by thousands of students worldwide who referred to her as a master teacher. She said that teaching was “a design in itself,” and students were thrilled to be involved in her unique process of creation. Mary Ann’s joyful approach to life was dynamic and inspirational, and her observation that “design is everywhere” riveted both students and friends. She lived by her motto “create something everyday.” Her longest tenure as an educator, 48 years, was at the Penland School of Crafts.
Mary Ann’s list of Boards, community service, publications and awards, is extensive. She served as a Board member for the Gregg Museum, Raleigh Fine Arts, the Contemporary Art Museum, and the Visual Arts Exchange. She also served on the Board of the Society for North American Goldsmiths and the Penland School of Crafts. She was a Fellow of the American Craft Council, and an Honorary Associate of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths in London. She was interviewed on the Today Show, Good Morning America, Dan Rather’s Evening News, and NBC’s That’s Incredible, and has been featured in over 25 books and magazines.
In 2014, Mary Ann was a nominee for Cooper-Hewitt’s Lifetime Achievement Award. She received many more honors, including the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society of North American Goldsmiths, The College of Fellows Award from the American Craft Council, the “Lifetime Achievement” Award from the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC, the North Carolina Medal of Arts Award, and the North Carolina Governor’s Achievement in Fine Art Award.
Mary Ann was predeceased by her husband of 54 years, Sam, and is survived by a daughter, Sydney, who lives in Malaysia, two sons, Randy, and Scott, daughter-in-law, Debora, and grandson Dylan, all from Raleigh. Hiroko Swornik and Jaclyn Davidson, from New York, lived with the Scherr family for many years. The family is deeply grateful to TEAM MARY ANN, and to all her devoted friends.
Mary Ann Scherr’s life was a model of living and loving life to the fullest. She sought to maximize the creative potential in herself and in everyone she met. Elegant, beautiful, unique, Mary Ann is deeply loved by those who walked on the path she traveled.
A private service for family will be held at the Brown-Wynne Funeral Home, 300 Saint Mary’s Street, in Raleigh.
A CELEBRATION of the life of Mary Ann Scherr for family and friends will be held at a date to be announced.
Memorial contributions may be directed to the Gregg Museum of Art in Raleigh, NC, and to the Penland School of Crafts, P O Box 37, Penland, NC, 28765, where The Mary Ann Scherr Metals Scholarship has been created in her honor to fund a student wishing to study at Penland.