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

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Arden Bardol Jewelry at Smith Galleries

Arden Bardol
It’s becoming more and more common to find artists who are in the Second Act of their careers. American Craft Week even sponsored a contest and has an online gallery of artists whose craft career is their second act. But usually when this happens, they have left or retired from their first career. Not so with Arden Bardol. An architect with a degree from Carnegie Mellon University, Arden is still active in the architectural world, but about a dozen years ago she decided to branch out.
Pin Pendant & Earrings

For Arden, architecture is art on a large scale. But her love of color led her to use those same mathematical and design skills to create colorful art on a small scale. Using polymer clay and metals, Arden sculpts jewelry that is inspired both by nature and the industrial world. Much of her inspiration comes from the kaleidoscopic colors in the paintings of Gustav Klimpt and the simple shapes of the mobiles of Alexander Calder. As you look carefully at the skillfully designed jewelry of Arden Bardol, you will see the repetition of simple shapes enhanced with a wonderfully complex array of color and layers. Arden uses only the primary
Necklace & Earrings
colors of polymer to mix all the colors you see in her jewelry. Each piece is either an original or one of a very limited edition.

Not content with a two act career, Arden has recently embarked on a journey to learn metalworking skills. She has taken blacksmithing classes and welding classes and has built a forge at her studio so she can construct large scale sculptures. She recently was awarded an NEA Artist Fellowship representing the state of Delaware. Her most recent work is evidence of these new skills as she incorporates the carefully worked metal into the graceful forms and geometric shapes that make her jewelry intricately feminine yet playful. As Arden continues to study and learn new skills and techniques, one can only wonder if there will be a  fourth act to her career.
Pin / Pendant & Earrings

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, July 18, 2017

Ugone and Thomas Lighting at Smith Galleries

When she was only 5 years old Janna Ugone knew she was an artist. As a teenager in high school she focused her talents on jewelry and received awards and scholarships. When she entered the Massachusetts College of Art at 17 her love for jewelry was surpassed by her interest in the hand-painted ceramic surface and at the same time she fell in love with the possibilities of mixed media. At 21 she had to find a way to make a living, so she spent her early twenties as a corporate product developer for a national company. This also was the time she found a love for blending art and
Bronze Tree Trunk Table Lamp
business into the design process. At 27 she left the corporate world.

Like pieces of a puzzle that alone have no significant function, yet joined they make a well defined unit; Janna connected these independent experiences to define her niche in the art world.  It was while she was visiting a successful home store and saw a “run of the mill” sconce that the light came on, both figuratively and literally.  Using her artist’s point of view, which she combined with technical capabilities, her blank canvas became a product that filled a market need. Janna launched a business making  beautifully creative lighting that performs a needed function while still being pleasing to the eye.
Steel Table Lamps

Thirty years later the products of Ugone and Thomas have evolved, blending historic references with industrial elements and a fresh contemporary approach that continues to inspire. Incorporating their backgrounds in jewelry, ceramics, and painting with their business experiences and design skills, they have created unique lighting products. The lamp shades are printed on museum quality archival paper or hand cast out of earthenware clay. The molds for the pewter finials and pull charms are first made in jewelers’ wax and then each one is individually cast. Bases include ceramic, brushed copper combined with Vermont slate, and hand forged
Edison Globe Lamps
steel. Each element of the lamp is carefully designed and constructed to bring function and unique beauty for generations to come. In a world of uninspired mundane lighting, Ugone and Thomas lamps shine brightly. 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

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Dickinson Woodworking at Smith Galleries

Kiyomi, Audrey, Miles, &
Aaron Dickinson
I think deep down every serious craftsperson is a conservationist. They appreciate the natural materials they work with to create their products, and they realize the value of the raw materials. They can not bear to throw out useful materials. Quilters use scraps of fabrics to make their quilts; knitters find small projects to use up yarn left from larger ones; potters make small vases or bottles to fill the small spaces between large pots in the kiln.

Cheese Slicer, Wooden Spoons, &
Cutting Board with Drip-rim
But let me be clear; using left over materials in no way diminishes the creativity or functionality of the product. In fact, I believe it increases it. The artist must devise items that are functional, well constructed, and beautiful.

Aaron Dickinson, a furniture maker, started a whole business making kitchenware as a way to use up leftover wood from his furniture business. As you look at the designs and purpose of Dickinson Woodworking cutting boards and treenware, I think you will agree that Aaron and his wife have been successful in their pursuit to make the most of reclaimed materials.  In fact, their
Single & Double Spoon Holders &
Various Wooden Spoons
kitchenware is now their primary business. Using locally sourced wood, they combine them in such a way as to bring out their warmth and depth of color. Using creativity, they have developed products that are both useful and lovely to own.

Because I spend a good amount of my free time in the kitchen, I love to use utensils made of wood. They feel so good in my hand Dickinson’s Woodworking.)
Cutting Board Selection
at Smith Galleries.
and do not damage cookware. I love wooden cutting boards because they are both functional and lovely to look at. They also make beautiful serving pieces for certain applications. See more 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, July 3, 2017

Bree Richey Jewelry at Smith Galleries

Bree Richey
Doctors’ children become doctors, lawyers' children become lawyers, and actors’ children have careers in film. So it should come as no surprise that artists’ children frequently become artists. This is the case with Bree Richey. Bree was born into a family of artists, and even as a young child explored the fields of drawing and sculpture. She attended the Boston Musuem School of Fine Arts where she discovered the jewelry studio. She continued her education at the Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts in San Francisco, and then apprenticed with jewelry designers Connie Mainne and Jayne Redman.

Bree’s style has been influenced not only by her Scandinavian heritage,
"Compass" Pendant &
"Marquis" Earrings 
but also by her love for mid-century modern design. As with many artists, she is influenced by good design in architecture, textiles, and the world around her. She combines these to form truly elegant yet wearable jewelry constructed with expert craftsmanship, creating a style that is distinctly Bree. Working in sterling silver and vermeil, Bree adds color to her designs with her choice of stones.

23K Vermeil Necklace and Earrings
with Pink Tourmalines
Bree was the winner of theinaugural “Future of Design” contest, a competition for jewelry designers.  She lives in Massachusetts with her family and assorted pets. She has jewelry pieces in museum collections of The Guggenheim Museum in New York City, The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC as well as many other museums across the country. A collection of her work has recently arrived at Smith Galleries.

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