Sunday, February 28, 2010


Lotus Lamp by Natasha Wozniak
silver, brass, cast glass

Before I started my jewelry business in 2001, most of the work I made was holloware. There were lotus sculptures, Japanese-inspired vases with delicate piercing, simple bowls of hammered metal. I also taught holloware at the now-defunct Craft Students League in midtown Manhattan. I really loved the contrast between the people in their corporate offices across the airshaft, and the studio in which I was practicing a craft that originated thousands of years ago. My students would come in from their high-stress jobs, and after 3 hours of meditatively hammering copper, would feel calm and rejuventated.

Before I began the craft business, I thought that there might be a chance to create holloware and make a living by selling it. Unfortunately, in the US, there is very little interest in holloware. This, coupled with the lack of support for young artists while developing a body of work, in terms of equipment, space and time, led me away from this aspiration.

Silver vessel by Hiroshi Suzuki

With all of this personal experience in mind, I was delighted to see, in The Economist, of all places, an article about a Japanese-British artist that has had success in holloware. His name is Hiroshi Suzuki and he is having a retrospective in London of his work. I had seen his work at the annual Sofa show in New York, and was always drawn to it, because of the beauty of his style, but also because it is so unusual to see silver vessels anywhere in the high-end craft world.

Silver sculpture by Junko Mori

He is represented By Adrian Sassoon gallery in London, also representing another Japanese-British artist, Junko Mori. She makes elaborate sculptures out of silver, and I remember seeing her work for the first time. I kneeled on the floor in the aisle of the show with another silversmith friend in order to see all of the pieces that were tucked away on a bottom shelf. I later found out that her early work was sponsored by a silver supplier in the UK. That is when the lightbulb went off and I realized once again that a little support for a young artist can lead to really sublime things.

Remember while admiring a beautifully crafted object the next time, that the concept of patronage should be a prominent thought in the decision to buy. The artist will be able to make something even more extraordinary the next time!

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