12 Women 12 Voices

Sept. 12 – Nov. 9, 2019
Opening Reception: Sept. 12, 6:30 – 9:00 p.m.

Get to Know the 12 Artists

Katie Bernstein, glass

My sculptural work is not solely conceived as the creation of a glass object. I prefer to let my sculpture become an extension of my work in drawings, printmaking and life experiences. Since my works are cast, I am often working the original in wet clay. Once complete I am interested in transformation. The plasticity of the clay is frozen into seemingly liquid glass and the dense clay is changed into the perfect vehicle for pure light. Anticipating the refraction and the peculiar reverse perspectives of glass sculpture is complex and often surprising.

Margaret Cogswell, paper/mixed media

I am a storyteller at heart. Over the course of my career I have journeyed from weaving to ceramics, fabric collage, artist books, and painting as a vehicle for my tales. Cloth, thread, paper, color and pattern have been constant connectors through the years. My conviction that our greatest rewards often come from simple, everyday objects and moments is a recurring theme. Communicating with people through the objects I make continues to be the primary and sustaining focus of my work. I received my BA from Rhodes College. Since that time I have continued my education at Rhode Island School of Design, Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts and Penland School of Crafts where I was a Resident Artist 2008-2011.

Paige Hamilton Davis, metal

Paige Davis is best known for her sculptural forged ironwork. Moving effortlessly between sculpture and function, Davis puts a contemporary spin on primitive forms. “In terms of the work I forge, iron lends itself perfectly to this mixing. It is ancient in origin, holds enduring strength, and possesses the character to be sleek, fluid, and elegant. I love the process; the challenge of getting metal to do what I visualize, and using very basic tools.” Davis studied at Penland School of Crafts and at the Maryland Institute of Art. She has been working full time as a studio artist since 1979. She has taught workshops throughout the country, including at the University of North Carolina, Penland School of Crafts (NC) and Haystack Mountain School of Crafts. Her work is in private collections, including the Gallery of Art and Design at North Carolina State University. Paige currently works from her studio in North Carolina.

Vicki Essig, fiber

Living in the mountains has taught me to be in wonder of nature and her artistic hand. On my daily hikes my pockets gradually fill with artifacts and curiosities that I find along my path. These small treasures that are often overlooked are archived into my fine handwoven cloth where they are suspended in quietude. Many compositions incorporate nearly two hundred year old manuscripts and texts. The fragments of this rag paper, with barely detectable messages, are hand woven into the silk cloth producing an intricate structure that weaves the past with the present. In viewing my work, my hope is that, for at least a moment, you become lost in the discovery of the minute, the quiet of repetition, and the beauty of nature and pattern.

Silvia Ferrari Palmer, painting

My paintings are about a relationship with the different aspect of our selves. The oversize animals are most of the time very calm and perfectly comfortable with who they are. The humans figures, in contrast, are more in contact with the daily struggles and emotional conflicts of our life.

Carmen Grier, fiber

In May 2014, Carmen was privileged to live and work in a small, pre-famine stone cottage in a remote, secluded artist residency on the west coast of Ireland. Detached for two weeks from the usual world of telephone and internet, she soaked up the mysterious, rugged natural environment of Cill Rialaig, responding and recording her experience with watercolor.

Since returning to her own studio, the experience remains deeply influential. She incorporates her embrace of the Irish landscape along with other presiding influences (historic textiles and contemporary painting) into her current practice of natural dyeing on linen, free form piecing and mixed media. In her earliest study of music, Carmen laid the groundwork for her deep response to color, line, texture, and shape. She now combines that with her love of process to create visual work that is non-objective yet evocative of the memory of place. “Working with fabric suits my sensibilities. I love its tactility; it’s resonating color; its malleability and its ability to carry meaning. Marrying the predictable with chance makes every day in the studio an adventure. My challenge is to translate this into fresh and engaging work.

Sally Morgan Guerard, dolls

For this exhibit, I am continuing to challenge myself to use new techniques to develop technical skills needed to express my ideas while embracing a narrative form.

“Fantasy on Flite” is a fairly common doll building technique based on a literal cage. Usually I’m inspired by fabrics, fairy tales, dream images, or just an idea or image that pops into my mind. In this instance, I set out to make a cage doll as a technical challenge without my usual inspirations to guide me. I had several images in my mind of the piece being a type of bird or part bird/part woman. However, I reached a point where I couldn’t move forward with the work because I could not conceive what belonged it inside the cage. A cousin was visiting at the time; when I told her I felt I couldn’t continue to work because I couldn’t figure out what should be in the cage. She said simply, “maybe it’s because she’s Miss Flite.” The moment she said these words, I knew she was right. I had recently read “Bleak House,” by Charles Dickens. Of course, nothing was in the cage because Miss Flite had released her birds! From that moment, the image of the piece was clear in my mind, the characterization and costuming of the figure, the empty cage, and the bird “feathers” were all there. I just had to realize my vision.

The “Presidential Wives Series” is based on an idea I found amusing several years ago of our First Ladies being harpies — mythical creatures that have the bodies of birds and the heads of women. Although the characterization of harpies can have a very negative connotation, in Greek myth, these female monsters were creators of mischief who tormented wrongdoers. I thought of the contributions both good and bad of some of the First Ladies of my knowledge and this series began.

Jackie Kennedy was the first to come to mind as she was so iconic. I knew I could create Jackie based solely on her dress and hairstyles. Ultimately, I decided to use mixed media and have a photo for the faces of the First Ladies because I was going to use types of birds loosely, fitting my own ideas into their characters, and I wanted the audience to recognize each woman and think about their bird characters. Jackie Kennedy is a Sparrow Hawk, Nancy Reagan a Red Winged Blackbird, and Eleanor Roosevelt a Morning Dove.

It is my hope to contribute one other piece to this exhibit, “Thank You, Jane.” This is a doll based on my appreciation and affection for Jane Peiser and her work.

Courtney Martin, clay

As a gardener, cook, mother, and potter, I think a lot about food. It makes me so happy to serve something I know to be nourishing. I think that is why making pots seems so special to me. I love setting a table full of different bowls and plates and trays containing wholesome foods.

When I am in my studio making pots, I consider how I intend the pots to be used. Different pots for different foods. I work in series, and try to improve the form on each successive pot. The rhythm of my kickwheel, and the pace of making slab work are just the right speed for me. When I glaze my pots I consider how foods will be presented in the pottery. I draw bold patterns on my simple pots. I try to bring something of an urban sensibility to traditional forms and techniques.

The environmental implications of my craft are important to me, so I make my firings carbon neutral by using waste wood from the local saw mill to fire my kiln. I appreciate the connection that tending the fire affords. Wood crackles quietly and I am directly involved with the kiln. I love that the fire, ash, and salt make their mark on my pots.

I aim to make pots with integrity that radiate sweetness and joy.

Marian Miller, jewelry

I make one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces that adorn, celebrate, and honor the wearer.

In a world so rich with distractions, I believe we yearn for personal, elemental reminders of who we are and for the beauty in life. This is my goal with each piece I create.

As a child, the Saltine tins in our kitchen were my favorite containers and every since I’ve been drawn to metal. It’s malleable, yet strong. Reflective. Permanent. I texture, join, form, oxidize and add object I find at antique stores, flea market and gem shows.

My search for materials is like a treasure hunt. I look for old fashioned objects that have had a previous life – antique trading coins, buttons and vintage texts I long to find things from a time when objects were made slowly with care in process and design. I want to honor that history and I aspire to bring reminders of that time to the present, even if for a moment.

It is important that people have a relationship with the piece they invest in, and see it as work of art even when they aren’t wearing it. I want this jewelry to be a piece that brings meaning to the wearer. A reminder of a special place or time, a celebration of a significant event or simply something beautiful to delight in.

Today, if I can take what exists in one form and transform it into something beautiful, true, and meaningful, then I have been successful.

Jan Williams Ritter, glass

A photograph might fix our memories in time, but an image in glass may last a thousand years! I love the story that evolves from creative process. Be it by song, or formed in fire, art gives us a vehicle to celebrate our lives, to share the joys of childhood, to honor the love of a pet.

Valerie Beck, glass

I love to play with colors, patterns and stories. These story bowls began as illustrations of stories and fables that my sister read to me as a young girl. That is a vivid and favorite memory of mine. To this day I love being read to, so I can imagine the pictures in my mind.

Jane Peiser, clay

I am a self-taught potter, hand building one pottery piece at a time, loving to make things and content to spend the day by myself.

When I was 30, a used kiln showed up at the Chicago Sun Times and by the time the day was out, it was wired up, I had bought a bag of clay and had begun to work. Opening my first kiln was one of my life’s most thrilling days. I have loved making things in clay ever since.

My most successful work tells a real story. If I am lucky, the design is good, but design is not where I start. My art history friends tell me I have a horror of vacuums (can’t leave anything plain), and they are right. What saved me from a boring life of painting every square inch with something was the adaptation of the glassblowing ‘murini’ technique. I love this technique as it becomes an integral part of the clay and does not look applied afterward.

I don’t consider my work art, instead I am making a useful piece, something that takes it’s place as a part of everyday life. I think of my work as craft and myself as a crafts-person.

I love the working life I’ve had. I get to do my best, make my own mistakes, and feel great when something comes out looking special.

Featured Artwork

Opening Reception