My life as a potter began in the early seventies when many of us were privileged to make career choices from our hearts. We were the generation that prided ourselves on having less in the way of possessions, and more in the way of a spiritual consciousness. So I followed my bliss, and was fortunate to have been given the talent for making things. I chose clay as my expression. Rather than pursue an academic route, I joined a pottery co-op in Seattle: Pottery Northwest, and worked for years alongside other aspiring potters. We took workshops from professionals and college professors, and sold our work through galleries and craft fairs.
My work became my life and steered me into a spiritual practice that acknowledged my pottery making as my sacred art. My way of life for 40 years now has been the making and selling of pottery and the moment to moment humble thanks for this opportunity.
ABOUT THE PROCESS:
My use of black, red and white glazing reflects a timelessness that I connect with. The Japanese kimono patterns create a theme which mixes with influences from the fine crafts of Africa, Greece, and Native American tribes.
The imagery on my vessels has been individually etched through layers of black and white slips on white stoneware, either on the wheel or by slab construction. they are then glazed with an earthy red glaze and electric fired to a mid-range temperature. A final coat of satin low fire glaze gives the pieces their soft shine. All pieces are food safe and have been fired for strength and durability.
Born and raised in Scotland, Chloe Duncan spent her formative years surrounded by whimsical and mysterious landscapes. Chloe attended an all girls high school where she was awarded an art scholarship and delved into her passion for pen and ink drawings. Constantly sketching the world surrounding her, she found that pen and ink portrayed the rawness and mysterious character of nature she loves.
Her mother, Perri Duncan, a well known watercolourist, has been a major inspiration and teacher to Chloe, assisting in training through Chloe's transition into light watercolour washes.
Chloe maintains her unique style by using a dipping pen with dipping ink because of the irregularities this method produces. Artist Arthur Rackham from the early 1900s has also inspired the Victorian, antique look in Chloe's work.
Chloe Duncan now resides in a small town in Nevada and travels to participate in Fine Art Shows throughout the West. Her approach to watercolours is fresh and light, and Chloe's collectors often say her work takes them away momentarily to another land.
Framed, limited edition, signed giclee prints of Chloe's work are now available at Essential Art Gallery.
The Exact Origin of Batik Is Uncertain.
Its roots can be found in many forms in many ancient cultures, including examples from 1st century Egyptian tombs. Batik became a highly accomplished art form in 13th century Indonesia, which is still the world's foremost Batik area. Modern, updated approaches give this ancient art a new look.
Batik is a "resist" technique. Melted wax is applied to the fabric, and then the fabric is dipped in colored dye (the waxed areas "resist" the dyes). The fabric is allowed to dry, and then wax is applied where that color is to be saved. The process is repeated again for each color in the design, working from the lightest color to the darkest. Color choices must be carefully planned, because each new color mixes with the previous colors in unwaxed areas. Mysterious and sometimes magical changes occur when waxed fabrics are dipped into different color baths. The crackle or veining that appears in most Batiks is caused by cracks in the wax that allow the dye to penetrate to the fabric. After the final color is applied, the wax is removed by either ironing or dry cleaning, and the final artwork is revealed.
Growing up a city girl I in Southern California I always felt out of place. I wanted wide open spaces and a lot more hiking and birds. Finding all of that and more at the University of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho was a delight.
So what do you do with a degree in Philosophy? You become an accountant and a sometimes artist of course! And what does a bird loving hiking artistic accountant do? Travel as much as possible…from backpacking in New Zealand, living in Japan, seeing Thailand on the back of a motorbike, chasing exotic birds throughout Central America, hiking the Atlas Mountains of Morocco to narrow boating the canals of England, sunbathing the beaches of Malaysia, stalking the wild everythings of Australia, shopping the beautiful villages of Bali and ogling some of the 1600 bird species of the Amazon and Andes of Ecuador, I always keep my eyes skyward for birds and my feet planted firmly on the trail.
That trail led me to Ottawa Canada and while “visiting” for 5 years I met and married my music loving husband Daryl (Mr Music). Now not only do I know bird songs but my I-pod song count is outrageous thanks to Mr Music’s influence. He is also handsome, a charmer and handy beyond belief!
Always interested in making things and mostly self-taught, I started sewing after university when I needed a backpack but didn’t have a lot of money. So I made one and it worked! After some traveling I decided to try my hand at weaving and I still have several floor looms in the studio for fiber exploration. Needing to cover a window with a broken seal led me to learning stained glass. Crocheting, knitting, woodworking, painting, I’m a jack of most trades and a master of none. But I’ve always loved jewelry so it was a natural progression from stamping and painting dominos several years ago to stamping and riveting metals. And with metals I found passion. Using charms, stamps, heat, enamel, argentium silver, copper, brass, metal clays and anything else I can find, I love bringing whimsy and birds to my workbench when creating my pendants.
Mr Music and I now live in Point Roberts Washington, the best gated community in the USA. Living here is sometimes a challenge made possible only by will and a Nexus Card since our small community is accessible only by car through Canada or by boat from the USA. We own a small mail and parcel business where those accounting skills come in handy when I’m not at my workbench. Our family consists of 5 silly chickens living in their grand henhouse and 2 adorable cats living with us in a very funky house on 2 quiet acres. Open space, hiking and birds are right out my door and a studio awaits upstairs for those moments of creative necessity and joy.
For those of you who have had the chance to visit with my father, I’m going to guess you quickly observed several distinct characteristics about him. First, he was meticulously dressed in dapper clothing with colorful dichroic glass cuff links adorning his pressed sleeves. Second, he twisted any sentence into a pun, and answered any question you asked with a silly joke. Third, his blue eyes lit up with excitement as soon as he could show you the work of an artist we are carrying in the gallery.
We are selective about the artists we carry. My father has done hundreds of art shows and has met thousands of artists. During an art show in Los Altos, California, he discovered the work of Sarah Alice Britton. She was busy in her booth making jewelry components by hand while she interacted with customers. Her playful jewelry in her booth intrigued him. Her warm, enthusiastic, personality immediately captured him. On top of all this perfection, she even laughed at his puns. She—and her work—perfectly fit our standard of “playfully elegant”. We have had the privilege of carrying Sarah Alice’s delightful work in our gallery for the past three years.
Sarah Alice was born and raised in the small Victorian town of Maine, New York. Britton was formally trained in Jewelry Design from Buffalo State College in New York and has won several awards including:
1st in Jewelry at the Beverly Hills Art Show in 2013,
2nd Overall at Art on the Main in Walnut Creek, CA in 2014, & 3rd Overall at Art on the Main in Walnut Creek, CA in 2015.
Now residing in Oroville, California, she creates her jewelry in a sunny studio filled with artwork made by her friends that overlooks her cottage garden. She shares her cozy California bungalow with her husband, Michael, and their golden retriever, Scarlett. Sarah often brings her granddaughters to art shows with her, leaving Michael-- her biggest supporter, home to run their brick-and-mortar dry cleaning business in Oroville, CA.
Sarah Alice’s granddaughters are her sheer delight, her inspirations, and her top sales team. They grant her the opportunity look at life from different angles. Too often the whimsy of childhood is lost or neglected as a person matures and embraces adulthood. Sarah Alice has chosen to celebrate the playful and fanciful parts of youth in her designs. In her work you will experience a new twist on childhood games such as jacks, bubble blowing and hangman, combined with the strong influence of the industrial North East.
Tactile by nature, Sarah Alice designs her jewelry to invite touch, inspire playfulness, and evoke a memory that results in a smile. She incorporates texture and maximizes the movement in her designs both literally and visually.
Anna Benham is a British designer who has had the privilege of seeing her work made into many different products for the fashion industry. Her designs were bought by a number of prestigious companies including Giorgio Armani, Harrods and Royal Grafton.
Born and raised on the Pacific coast into a family of mathematicians, artist Kelly Morgen turned to creativity and imagination at an early age. Living a childhood of artistic practice, by sixteen she had won a national competition that hung her painting in the United States Capitol Building.
Graduating high school with numerous awards in arts and language, she attended the prestigious Williams College in Massachusetts. Here she intensified her studies in art, taking a year abroad in Florence, Italy where she apprenticed with a master goldsmith on the famous Ponte Vecchio. She returned to graduate Magna Cum Laude and continue her studies in metal arts with a Cherokee shaman and silversmith in rural Montana. This unique training has made her work a distinct blend of the contemporary and the traditional: jewelry that honors the sacred art of storytelling. In 2015, Morgen revitalized her work with an intense 4-month metalsmithing program in London, where she also became licensed as an official Alphonse Mucha jeweler. Approved by the Mucha family to continue the work of the famous father of Art Nouveau, Morgen's work travelled around the world, following the Quest for Beauty: Alphonse Mucha museum exhibit. In a world of mass production, Morgen still crafts each piece completely by hand. Each tiny cameo holds a story within, exploring myths from around the world and empowering women to the magnificence they hold within.
Morgen’s work has appeared in numerous publications and is held in the private collections of John Mucha (Alphonse Mucha’s grandson), actress Teri Polo, author Peter S. Beagle, and author Robin Hobb. She has received over two dozen awards in juried exhibitions for her jewelry and currently resides in California, where she continues to create and share her art.
“Stories are, and always have been, a necessary part of the human experience; they allow us to live out all the different parts of ourselves. Each of my pieces has a story to tell, and I hope they will remind you of the strength already inside your heart." ~ Kelly Morgen
Tobias E. Sauer (“Toby”), western and wildlife artist.
As a child, Toby would run out of his house first thing each morning and then spend as much time as possible in the outdoors of a small town in the exact center of Montana. He and his father would bike, hike, hunt, and kayak, and after he’d filled his soul with its daily dose of nature, making sure that every surface of his body was covered in dirt and bugs, he would come in the house and sit down with his mother, who would teach him about creativity, color, form, and artistic expression. When she taught him how to paint and draw, he would get frustrated that he couldn’t make things look just right like she could. She would tell him, “These are 40-year-old artist’s hands. You have little 5-year-old hands. When you have 40-year-old artist’s hands, you’ll be able to do make it look just right, too.”
Toby's hands are not yet 40 years old, but he has never stopped working to train his hands to make his artwork look just right. He has sought out expert artists with whom he has studied to help him hone his craft, and delights in passing that knowledge on to his students. Meanwhile, he has never strayed from his love of the outdoors, and celebrates nature by drawing and painting bison, elk, moose, and any other animal that dares show its face. Spending his whole life residing near the route taken by the Lewis & Clark Expedition has also instilled in him an appreciation for the American West, and he enjoys creating art that celebrates the lives of the people of that period.
Tobias’ drive to create paintings worthy of the beauty of nature has caused him to look more closely at objects. Trees, skies, antlers, grass, fur, and eyelashes must be studied and reflected upon in order to capture the right shade of purple or green in its light or shadow. This contemplation of his subjects and their elements has resulted in a deeper appreciation of the beauty of life and the people in it.
McKenzie makes every piece of jewelry completely by hand in her studio in Bend, Oregon. She has always been passionate about the arts and honed her skills at the Savannah College of Art and Design where she graduated with a Bachelors in Fine Arts in Metals and Jewelry. Ever since then it has been her goal to introduce people to jewelry that is not only beautiful and easy to wear but is of high quality craftsmanship.
Every piece is inspired by nature, family, and friends. She hand crafts jewelry made for everyday wear that is alluring, inspiring and symbolizes the joy and love in life. Simple lines and contrasting colors make her work unique and provocative. Every piece is made of sterling silver and high karat gold. McKenzie’s favorite techniques involve hammering the metal to add depth and texture and adding gold to certain pieces with a technique called keum boo. This adds a thin layer of gold to the surface of the metal using only heat making each piece come to life.
McKenzie will be joining us in the gallery on October 22nd, 2016 for a special trunk show with her complete lines of jewelry and her special one-of-a-kind custom pieces. Join us for a chance to win a pair of her Journey Earrings this month!
"I believe we are all born with an innate sense of awe and wonder for the natural world. It is this awareness combined with my life experience that is the inspiration behind the designs for my line of Art Jewelry."
From the Moment I touched metal in my jewelry making class in high school, I knew it was to be my life's work. There are times when I have finished a piece and I am simply amazed, "where did this come from"?, I ask myself. And there is a wonderful feeling of delight! The creative process is constantly evolving which keeps me excited and looking forward to what comes next.
I grew up in a small town surrounded by orchards, redwoods and oaks, the Pacific Ocean, The Sierra mountain range, three brothers and loving parents. They enriched our lives with many adventures from backpacking, and Colorado River rafting to touring Europe in our VW van where we visited castles, museums and collected the antiques that filled our home. We all worked in the family business where I learned my sense of business skills. At the age of 24 my parents blessed me with an opportunity in London where I trained with 'Masters' in traditional techniques of design, engraving and enameling.
I have always paid great attention to detail and visual balance in both composition and color. With each piece, it is my goal to create Jewelry of exceptional quality that will be treasured now and through generations to come. My hope is that my Jewelry evokes in each one of you who comes across it, your own sense of awe, wonder and delight!
I could not achieve my work alone. My husband, family, friends, and customers give me great support. Through the years, interaction with teachers, fellow artists and technicians has created an important avenue for my achievements.
Essential Art Gallery & Fine Gifts has been proud to represent Michele for over 5 years. Her extraordinary jewelry never ceases to amaze. We have a few pieces featured in our online store, but many more in our storefront. If there is something in particular you are seeking, please do not hesitate to send us a message: firstname.lastname@example.org.