Monday, September 18, 2017

Creative Crafthouse Puzzles by Dave Janelle at Smith Galleries

"Stomachion Puzzle" worlds oldest
known puzzle. Invented by
Archemedes (287-212 BC)
536 Solutions
There’s just something about a puzzle that captures our interest. I can remember when our daughters were toddlers they were fascinated by puzzles and would sit and work them over and over. As they grew, their puzzles became more complicated. Now as adults, they still enjoy puzzles. Time and time again we see that adults have not lost their love of jigsaw puzzles, brain teasers and mind bender puzzles. That is why our puzzle counter in the gallery is one of our most popular with men and women alike, but particularly with the men. The star of the show is the work of Dave Janelle at Creative Crafthouse. Dave runs a primarily family
"Calibron 12" invented by
Thomas Edison's son Theodore in 1933.
Object is to get all 12 pieces in the square.
One solution - very challenging.
business and produces one of the largest collections of wood games and puzzles that I have ever seen. Some are old and some are new; some are original and some are reinvented; some are relatively easy and some are indescribably difficult. But all are well constructed and provide lots of mind stretching, thought provoking, and brain teasing fun.

"Shut the Box" ... created in the
14th century. Great game of reasoning
and math to play with children...they
will beat you.
One hundred years ago puzzles were a very common form of entertainment. With the advent of the electronic age many of them have been lost or forgotten. Dave is bringing back a lot of those puzzles that were known to for their power to develop the mind’s ability to think critically, visualize steps to problem solving, and stretch the imagination. Let us not forget that feeling of accomplishment when we finally succeed in solving a particularly difficult puzzle. So thank you Dave for reminding us that we don’t have to have batteries or wi-fi to entertain ourselves and help keep our minds active.
"Rhombus Five" is a great
desk puzzle for executives. Use all five
pieces to make 29 different shapes
inscribed on the wooden box.
Very challenging.

See more puzzles and games by Dave Janelle here.

Smith Galleries is located in the Village at Wexford, Suite J11 (UPSTAIRS), on Hilton Head Island. Gallery hours are 10 - 6 Monday through Saturday. 843-842-2280

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Vintage Girl at Smith Galleries


Everyone knows the power of words. We have all experienced the feelings of both joy and sorrow and probably anger by something someone has said to us. And very few among us have watched a certain greeting card company’s television ads without coming close to shedding a tear. Words have the ability to make us feel and sometimes someone else’s written words express those feeling better than we can, or else greeting cards would not be so popular. Add a picture to the words and make it more permanent by putting it on a plaque and you have Vintage Girl Designs.
Friends feed the soul.

Michelle Defillipo (pictured above) is a North Carolina artist and writer. Her combination of words and images shows us a range of caring and expression of ideas that we want to share but may not be able to do on our own. Michelle graduated from East Carolina University with a degree in art. For the last sixteen years she has combined her words with images that speak to us. Maybe her experiences come from her roll as a mother of three, or maybe they come from the eye and heart of an artist. But whatever their
Where there is peace you
will find balance.
source, Michelle makes it easy for us to give to others an expression of feelings on love, friendship, courage, fear, and just about any other emotion you can imagine.

The various sizes of the plaques make them just the right size for giving. There’s sure to be at least one that is perfect for someone you know.

See more Vintage Girl Designs here.

Smith Galleries is located in the Village at Wexford, Suite J11 (UPSTAIRS), on Hilton Head Island. Gallery hours are 10 - 6 Monday through Saturday. 843-842-2280

Monday, August 28, 2017

Jonathan's Spoons at Smith Galleries

Sometimes the smallest thing can change the whole course of our lives. It may be the accidental meeting of someone, being in the right (or wrong) place at the right (or wrong) time, or even a job you thought you were overqualified for. In the case of Jonathan Simons, it was forgetting to put a spoon in his lunch bag when he was working as an apprentice to a furniture maker. He had to have a spoon to eat his soup, so he grabbed a piece of scrap wood and quickly shaped a spoon. That was nearly four decades ago. Today Jonathan is the best known spoon maker in, well, the whole world.
Lazy Spoons

An art and design major at the University of Illinois, Jonathan knew he wanted to create something—something both beautiful and functional. So he began an apprenticeship with a furniture maker in Maine. Following that, he worked in a canoe-seat factory. But when he got laid off from that job he decided he should work for himself. A home workshop in a garage in the middle of winter when the temperatures would dip to 20 degrees below zero limited his options; it was too cold for glue to set, so he could only make single piece products Re-enter the spoon!

Folding Tongs
A move back to his home state of Pennsylvania put him in a milder climate and also provided him with a plentiful supply of native hardwood. In the following years Jonathan expanded his product line, solidified his business practices, and developed a wide market for his spoons. But he didn’t stop with spoons! After all, spoons aren’t the only utensil we use. One of the highlights of visiting the craft markets is seeing what new utensils Jonathan has developed since the last time we saw him! At our last visit I was brave enough to request Jonathan work on something I needed. He immediately started throwing out ideas of
how it could be accomplished, so it wouldn’t surprise me to see something along those lines the next time we see him.

As Jonathan says, “Wooden spoons are some of the simplest tools in our homes, yet have an unlimited variety of uses and designs to explore.” He’s still just as excited exploring and creating utensils with a balance of function and quality so that they function beautifully and are beautifully made. I don’t promise that they will make you a better cook, but I do think they will make your time in the kitchen more enjoyable.

Smith Galleries is located in the Village at Wexford, Suite J11 (UPSTAIRS), on Hilton Head Island. Gallery hours are 10 - 6 Monday through Saturday. 843-842-2280

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Jennifer Stas Pottery at Smith Galleries.

Which is the most important-form, function, or embellishment? For some the shape is their primary concern. Others focus mainly on the function while still others pay little attention to the shape and spend all their energies on embellishment. For Jennifer Stas, all three are important. She states, “The fundamental goal of my work is simple: a marriage between aesthetics and function, brought about through distinctive use of color and form. Jennifer starts with a practical form,
Utility jars by Jennifer Stas
one that serves the function well, and then adds volume and texture until it becomes a palette for layers of colorants and carving. Each step along the way is important in creating the right balance of function, form and embellishment.

Jennifer lives in North Carolina and finds that the natural beauty and wildlife in both the mountains and on the coasts inspire her.
Vase and plate by Jennifer Stas
They are reflected in her pottery through the use of vibrant colors set against the earthy brown of the clay as well as the contrast of matte and semi-matte glazes against shiny and hard surfaces.

Whether it is a sea turtle on a vase, a heron on a mug, or butterflies frolicking on a pair of salt and pepper shakers, Jennifer combines her love of nature with a form that serves a function as
Cream & sugar by Jennifer Stas
it pleases the eye. As in a good marriage, they compliment each other. See more of Jennifer's pottery.

Smith Galleries is located in the Village at Wexford, Suite J11 (UPSTAIRS), on Hilton Head Island. Gallery hours are 10 - 6 Monday through Saturday. 843-842-2280

Monday, August 14, 2017

Ed Branson Art Glass at Smith Galleries

“Mastering glass is in understanding it, not controlling it,” says Ed Branson. Over the last 30 years of being a studio artist, Ed’s understanding of glass has developed along with his skill as an artisan. Ed focuses on the creative glassblowing process at the same time stretching his knowledge and experimenting as he explores the nature of glass. His curiosity and creativity have led him to discover new techniques that he incorporates into his work.

"Cresting Wave" by Ed Branson
He states, “I’m not trying to create new forms and colors as much as I’m trying to discover them.” We are the beneficiaries of his discoveries! His forms are elegant and his colors are breathtaking! The combination of form and color with the addition of light produces an exceptional visual experience.

“Glass is a beautiful, fluid material,” states Ed. “I love to search for new ways of capturing this transparent liquid in motion.” The graceful shapes of his tropical bowls, his waves, and his vases are examples of arrested movement. The color combinations in light produce magic.

"Tropical Wave" Bowl by Ed Branson
Ed’s artistic approach to glassblowing he says is fairly simple: “trust the glass, have fun, accept mistakes, study nature and search for beautiful forms and colors inherent in the glass’ personality.” It may sound simple, but it has come with many years of day-to-day experience in the studio. We can trust that he offers us the best of what he has learned, experienced, and produced.

Smith Galleries is located in the Village at Wexford, Suite J11 (UPSTAIRS), on Hilton Head Island. Gallery hours are 10 - 6 Monday through Saturday. 843-842-2280



Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Victoria Varga Jewelry at Smith Galleries

Victoria Varga
Artists are typically innovators, stretching the limits of their imagination and skill looking for interesting materials to incorporate into their chosen medium. Victoria Varga is an example of a jeweler who is constantly looking for new and innovative ways to construct her “mini sculptures” or art to wear pieces.

Victoria typically begins by cutting out her designs in silver sheet. She then fabricates a rim with silver (or sometimes stone or synthetic ivory) and builds a hollow box for the inlays. The inlays may be 23 karat gold leaf, copper or pastel pigments that are applied with resin from the back. The use of these non-traditional materials in combination with the silver results in lightweight, three-dimensional inlays. The pieces
Necklace & Earrings by
Victoria Varga
are then finished by polishing the cured resin and silver to a high luster before they are assembled into the final piece of jewelry. Sound simple? Well, there are over thirty steps required to hand fabricate each piece!


Necklace & Earrings by
Victoria Varga
So how does one become interested in producing such unconventional jewelry? Victoria received the BS in fine arts from Skidmore College. After completing her graduate studies in metals at Syracuse University, she and her husband, Daniel Brouder, moved to New York City where they co-founded the studio that bears her name. Fourteen years later they moved their family and studio to the coast of Maine where they continue to hand fabricate ’s designs. She has always been challenged to transform a static material like silver into a miniature work of art that has strikingly clean graphic design both lightweight and comfortable to wear. Her bold use of color in combination with highly polished silver makes a statement. Her signature line of jewelry has a very modern yet timeless appeal and reflects her personality.
Necklace & Earrings by
Victoria Varga

 Smith Galleries is located in the Village at Wexford, Suite J11 (UPSTAIRS), on Hilton Head Island. Gallery hours are 10 - 6 Monday through Saturday. 843-842-2280

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Pottery by Ira Burhans at Smith Galleries

Ira Burhans Throwing a Pot
Earth (clay) and water...two such common elements. But that’s where the potter begins, and from those two elements he creates a vessel that is so much more. He will take a simple shape, make additions, alter the shape, make embellishments; and then add the element of fire!  Of course this is a huge oversimplification of all that the potter does. It takes huge amounts of skill and artistry, years of training, and vision for the potter to take these common elements and turn them into functional items that grace our tables, contain our flowers, and please our eyes. It’s almost like magic.
Bird Pitchers by Ira Burhans

Ira Burhans is one such magician. Ira received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from St. Cloud State University with a major in ceramic art and a minor in sculpture. During an internship in Clayworks Studio Ira studied numerous forms of ceramics, both functional and sculptural, and explored different firing processes that transform the basic raw materials into usable forms. Drawn to the classic Japanese pottery, like so many other potters, Ira finds the simple shapes and glazes appealing. “Over the course of 30 plus years I’ve found the relationship between form, texture, and glaze to be both challenging and interesting,” he says.

Batter Bowl by Ira Burhans
Although the majority of his current work is made of stoneware clay and functional by nature, it exhibits a strong sense of the sculptural. His altering of the surface, adding curled handles to the form, and then carving the surface, each create movement and seem to make the pots dance. One can sense the influence of his environment in the pieces: the Florida sands and breezes as well as the tides and breaking waves find their way onto the pots, enhancing the surface without lessening the function. Ira’s glazes add another element of variety and reflection of his environment and vary from a soft green and tan to a strong black and tan.
Wave Trays by Ira Burhans

Shape, color, function are all influenced by Ira’s environment and combine to create a balance, bringing us work that is sculptural yet functional, exciting yet calming, and stirring yet soothing. See more.

Smith Galleries is located in the Village at Wexford, Suite J11 (UPSTAIRS), on Hilton Head Island. Gallery hours are 10 - 6 Monday through Saturday. 843-842-2280