Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Kids Who K.I.C.

TOBBLES
Stacking toy - 6+ months
I love toys. I remember some of my favorites from my childhood and  from the days of buying  from the days of buying and playing with toys meant for my children. There’s really a lot more to a toy than you might think. Of course you want the child to enjoy it and play with it enough to justify your investment in it because let’s face it: toys are not inexpensive! And you certainly want the toy to be well constructed for safety reasons as well as for longevity. Beyond that the toy should have some lasting value. When we decided to expand the toy section at Smith Galleries, we thought long and hard about the kinds of toys we wanted. Because we are primarily a gallery of American craft we would naturally like to have all "Made in America" toys; but we quickly saw that would be very limiting. We do have some American made and even handmade toys that we really like; but the main focus for our toy section is KIDS who K.I.C.  Just what does that mean? Knowledge. Imagination. Creativity.  Our focus is on toys that foster learning, imagination, and creativity while providing a large dose of fun! After all, people do a whole lot of learning before they ever go to school.
Q.BA.MAZE
Marble maze/chase
Ages 6 to 106

Construction toys take up a rather large section of our toy area. They offer so many good options whether the recipient is 1 or 101. Building blocks come in all shapes and colors. Some are traditional, some are magnetic, and some are nontraditional. They
ARCHITETRIX
Contemporary tinker toy
Ages 4+
all encourage a child to use his imagination, to solve problems, to improve hand eye coordination, and more. Other construction toys are machined to fit together in such a way they will create vehicles, people, geometric shapes, or just about anything you can imagine.

There are several groups of soft sculpture products featuring animals, both real and imagined, as well as teethers, rattles, and other cuddlers.

Another group features puzzles, mind benders, and other creative
MR. SOGGS
 Oddvark
toys and games that make you think, plot, plan, and figure out ways to get from point A to point B. Many of these are enjoyed by children of all ages (3 to 103). After all, no matter our age, we all can benefit from learning, imagining and creating and enjoying it!

See more on our KIDS who K.I.C. page on our web site.

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, October 9, 2017

American Craft Week at Smith Galleries

Click to see the craftsmen
 at VitrixHot Glass make
a piece for Smith Galleries.
If cotton is the fabric of our lives – which brings us comfort, functionality, and versatility; then craft is the silk of our lives. It too brings comfort, functionality, and versatility to our everyday existence, but it offers a source for our individuality and expression of our personality.

Look around your home. Picture your surroundings. Now take away all the handmade items; the pieces designed and made with skill by individuals. What do you have left? What remains could be found in any house or institution. It may be skillfully made, but without  the human touch that gives it heart and soul and expresses your
Watch the craftsmen at
 Ed Levin Jewelry make
a squircle bracelet.
personality, your surroundings have been depersonalized.

Years ago everyone had a skill, a craft, born out of necessity. What one couldn’t make himself he would trade what he could make with someone who made what he needed. As years passed, the artisans began personalizing their articles so that a particular broom maker’s product was recognized by the way the handle was braided, or a potter’s mug was identified by its thumb rest. On and on we have examples of crafts becoming more than just items needed for everyday life.
Click to visit with
woodworker Ed Wohl.
They became artful additions to the decor of the home. Though a very simplified “history” of the growth of craft,  it still represents an accurate progression. 

As people moved to cities and began working in factories, many of the everyday items that originally were handmade were replaced by machine made substitutes. So began the decline and the loss of appreciation for what people made by hand. A renaissance in craft began around fifty years ago. This time around we have the traditional crafts and craftsmen along side those who learned their skills not at their father’s side, but in colleges and universities.  Today craftsmen are highly trained and the result
Click to see a video
about Maruca purses.
is evident in their work. They have new equipment, new materials, and many new ideas; but the love for what they do and the pride they take in their work sets it apart from that which is mass produced.

Click to see a slide show
of potter Jennifer Stas.
This week we celebrate those who spend their time and apply their skills to enrich our lives with their craft. We acknowledge the important role they play in helping us express our individuality. So join us as we participate in  celebrating the eighth year of  American Craft Week.

Please take a few moments to enjoy the videos we have linked in this post of just a handful of the craftsmen we feature at Smith Galleries. We selected one video to represent each main category of craft...clay, wood, metal, fiber, and glass.

Click to learn more about American Craft Week 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

Monday, October 2, 2017

Matt Thomas Woodworking at Smith Galleries

Matt Thomas at work in his studio.
Sometimes success is born out of tragedy. For Matt Thomas, a West Virginia woodworker, his current career came into being because of a 16’ fall from a rain slick metal roof. That was six years ago.

Even as a teenager Matt valued fine craftsmanship. The son of a carpenter, Matt was one of the youngest craftsmen to be juried
Serving boards
into Tamarack, West Virginia’s showcase of fine arts and handcrafts. In 2002, shortly after high school graduation Matt started his own general contracting service to support his bride. Even then he kept up his woodworking skills and also became proficient at blacksmithing. Both skill sets  were growing, as was his family. All was proceeding smoothly until that fall from a roof in 2011. It was the fall that resulted in fractured vertebrae that put an end to his contracting business and brought him back to his woodworking roots.

Sushi boards and chop sticks
“I lay in that hospital bed, immobilized and worrying about how I’d support my wife and kids,“ Thomas said. He received a visit from Sally Barton from the Tamarack Foundation. They were launching a project to mentor promising artists for a year with the goal of sharpening their marketing and entrepreneurial skills. Matt was invited to be one of eight artists in the pilot program. Over the following months as he regained his mobility, Matt focused on his art-quality wood furniture. The business man in him blended with the artist to develop a production oriented
Centerpiece tea light holder
product line he could sell to galleries. Using marketing skills he learned in the Tamarack program, he produced a mailing he sent to galleries who would be attending a trade show where he would be exhibiting. We received one of those packets and were very impressed with both his woodworking skills and his business acumen. We along with many other galleries ordered from Matt and continue to represent him.

Individual teal light holders
Things are on track again for Matt. His studio next to his home has grown, his business has grown, and his family has grown. Life doesn’t always turn out the way we planned; but sometimes it turns out better. As Matt says, “Now I can do what I love, where I love, around those I love. In a way, I’m grateful for the fall.”

See more of the woodworking of Matt Thomas 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, September 25, 2017

Raymond Bock Boxes at Smith Galleries

What do you do when you think technology threatens to make your profession extinct? At best it presents a career changing opportunity. For those who have design skills and some old fashioned spunk, it can be just what is needed to turn a career crisis into both a totally new career and a new lifestyle.

Ray Bock studied design and photography at the Illinois Institute of
Technology where received a BA in Design in 1981. For the next ten years he worked in commercial photography, first as a photographer’s assistant and then as the manager of the dye transfer printing department in a commercial photo lab. It was the emerging popularity of digital photography that caused him to consider turning his serious furniture making hobby into a new career. Not only did he decide to change careers; he and his wife left their Chicago jobs, purchased a farm and moved to Viroqua, Wisconsin, where they have been for the last 25 years.

In the early years Ray focused on designing and making custom and limited production furniture. While rewarding, the time spent on any one piece left little time for experimenting with new designs and construction techniques. Since 2008 Ray has been making small, architecturally inspired boxes in exotic and figured solid woods and veneers in addition to elegant elliptical hardwood and veneer bowls. His small boxes are made of fine woods and have
both elegant shapes and interesting added embellishment. His combination of woods and metal accents are both striking and functional.

Ray has exhibited in many national craft shows and recently was included in the prestigious Smithsonian show. Country life agrees with this city boy, and his second career has brought out his talent for designing in wood.

See more of Ray's boxes available 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

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

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