We are sorry to hear that former SNAG member Elise Winters passed away on January 1, 2019 after a long struggle with cancer. Winters, recognized as one of the nation’s leading polymer artists and jewelry designers, grew up in Rochester, New York. Her formal education includes an initial arts degree from Syracuse University, and advanced degrees from Montclair and the New School Universities.
Her life as an art professional began in the 1970s with work as a potter and then turned to photography. Time spent in Japan allowed her to enrich her understanding of both ceramics and sumi-e brush painting. The Japanese influence, in both its reverence for nature and its respect for subtlety of design, has informed her work with luminous polymer clay jewelry.
Winters’ work can be found in the permanent collections of 6 major museums. She and her work have been featured in more than a dozen of the most widely selling books on polymer art and in numerous arts magazines, the most recent being the Oct/Nov 2011 issue of American Craft magazine. and the June 2012 issue of Metalsmith magazine. An artist profile also appears in the Spring 2009 issue of Ornament magazine.
Information and images taken from www.elisewinters.com ; photo of artist by Barbara Bordnick.
In the spring of 1950, after finishing her formal studies, Imogene “Tex” Gieling moved to San Francisco where she worked as a scientific illustrator in order to support her jewelry making. She took night classes with the great Israeli goldsmith, Victor Reis who stressed technique and taught her everything she needed to know about hammering.
The art community in San Francisco in the ’50s was easily accessible and included painters, sculptors and craftsman, but also architects, photographers and industrial designers. It was not only an open society, it was also open handed. There was plenty of work to be had and any work that was offered to Tex, she always took, whether she knew how to do it or not. If it was something she was not comfortable with, she had a wide range of artist-friends to call upon for help.
She was hired to make the trademark for the Diamond National Company and executed it in bronze, copper and enamel for their corporate office building on Market Street in San Francisco.
In 1955 Tex was invited to join the faculty of at UC Berkeley to teach design in the Department of Decorative Art. She had never taught before and had no credentials to teach so was reluctant to take the job. The university saw this as a plus and felt this would be good for the students since she wouldn’t be inhibited. At the same time, Tex finished her graduate degree in metal arts.
This job lasted until 1962 when the university phased out the department. She then dedicated herself full time to her jewelry, developing some new techniques. These experiments lead to receiving a commission from Objects USA, as well as representation in the Lee Nordness Gallery in New York City. She also worked with local architects fabricating fireplaces and memorial plaques among other commissions.
In 1965 Tex was invited to set up a Metal Arts Program at San Francisco State College (now University). She taught at SF State until her retirement in 1990.
But while teaching at SF State in the ’60s, sit-ins and demonstrations brought police to the campus, which made teaching very difficult (with armed police in riot gear in the classroom). Tex went out on strike to show her strong opposition to this police presence. This led to the formation of a co-op with her students, off campus, where they could work without fear.
In 1971, Tex was able to buy a complex of old buildings where artists could live and work and which would become a real home for the co-op. The co-op was name Truesilver Union.
Thank you to SNAG Board Member Elizabeth Shypertt for providing this information. Elizabeth curated “Tex Gieling: Sixty Years” at the Museum of Craft and Design in San Francisco, on view November 17, 2018 – February 24, 2019.
The American Craft Council (ACC) Library & Archives has arguably the most comprehensive collection in the U.S. devoted to the study of modern American craft. Located in Minneapolis, the library holdings include over 20,000 monographs and exhibition catalogs, 150 current periodical subscriptions, and 700 bound volumes of periodicals and newsletters. Additionally, the library holds more than 3000 artist files.
It is also home to several archival collections, including the American Craft Council, the World Craft Council, the Craft Students League of New York, and the Museum of Contemporary Craft/American Craft Museum (now known as the Museum of Arts and Design). Many have been digitized and are available through the ACC Library Digital Collections. Additionally, organizations such as the Furniture Society and SNAG have shared materials to be included on the digital collections platform.
In 2004, SNAG donated a slide archive to The Metal Museum. It contained the portfolios of over 330 metalsmiths. The Metal Museum then partnered with the American Craft Council Library to make the collection available online. (at right: Ring by Philip Morton, 1968)
The 2019 SNAG conference will be in Chicago, IL from May 22-25. Many conference-related opportunities are already happening:
Conference Student Scholarships
Deadline: January 21, 2019
Juried Student Exhibition
Deadline: January 31, 2019
Conference Volunteer T-Shirt Design Contest
Deadline: February 8, 2019
Watch for more!
Conference registration opens January 17, 2019.