Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Betsy Frost Jewelry at Smith Galleries

Betsy Frost in her studio.
What do a women’s ice hockey player, a Service Dog Project volunteer, and a metalsmith have in common? In the case of Betsy Frost, they are one in the same person. Being a girl in a family of boys may have had something to do with Betsy’s learning to play ice hockey, but she loved it so much she plays year round on a women’s over 40 team. Her Service Dog Project involvement is also a year round commitment. Her family owns two female Great Danes, Scarlet and Mischa, whose puppies are donated to the project and trained as service dogs.The whole family is involved in the non profit organization. In addition to her personal involvement, Betsy has designed a line of jewelry specifically for the SDP and donates half of her earnings from that line to the project.

Sand Dollar Necklace & Earrings by Betsy Frost
So how does Betsy have time to produce jewelry for galleries, and how did she become interested in jewelry making to begin with? At some point in their lives, most artists have a mentor who either introduced them to the love of their craft or encouraged them in their pursuit of it. In Betsy’s case there was the neighbor, a master metalsmith, who allowed her to hang out in his workshop and watch him work. But it wasn’t until Betsy reached the age of 30 that she focused solely on pursuing her dream. Betsy Frost grew up in North Bennington, Vermont, the eldest daughter of 10 children. She always thought she would be a doctor, as her father had been taking her along on his surgical rounds from the time she was six. But after a discouraging glimpse of the pre-med rigors at Williams College, Betsy majored in psychology instead.

Betsy with Scarlet and Mischa

After graduation from Williams in 1987, Betsy waited tables in St. Thomas, danced her way around the world with "Up With People," and studied silversmithing in Sweden and at Skidmore College. She later moved to Boston to be trained for a "real job" by enrolling in a master's program in Counseling Psychology, while still continuing to take classes in silversmithing. It didn't take her long to discover that she really wanted to design jewelry, so she quit the master's program and began studying at the Massachusetts College of Art, where she graduated with a BA in Metals in 1996.

Necklace and Earrings by Betsy Frost
Today Betsy has a custom studio in the basement of her home where she and her assistants design, make, and market her jewelry collections. Her location provides part of the inspiration for her designs, and daily life also provides ideas.  Betsy is inspired by such artists as Matisse and Degas, but also gets many of her ideas from her immediate surroundings--the shape of a flower or shell, or the "line" of a piece of furniture. Living near the water in Massachusetts influenced the sea life collection. Shells, sand dollars, and other sea life combined with a beautiful selection of stones form an outstanding collection of nautical jewelry. A keen eye for observing everything around her gives Betsy ideas for her sculptural pieces. A night owl, Betsy confesses that some of her best design ideas come when everyone else is sleeping.

Betsy currently resides in Ipswich, Massachusetts with her husband Jeff, sons Connor and Rowan, and dogs Jack, Scarlet and Mischa.

Smith Galleries is located in suite J11 (second level) of the Village at Wexford at 1000 William Hilton Parkway on Hilton Head Island, SC. Gallery hours are 10 - 6 Monday through Saturday. 800.272.3870

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Loren Lukens Pottery at Smith Galleries

Loren Lukens applies surface decoration.
The functional porcelain pottery of Loren Lukens has been a part of Smith Galleries for nearly as long as we have been Smith Galleries. That says a lot about the quality of his work. After all, Wally began his career in the arts as a potter; and because of his expertise in the craft, few potters have met his exacting standards. Loren's love affair with clay began just a few years after Wally's, and I think they share many of the same ideas about their craft. There is something so satisfying about taking a lump of clay and centering it, forming it with your hands into the object of your mind's eye, and then finishing it into a vessel with both beauty and function. In speaking about his work, Loren says, "The beginnings of pottery go hand in hand with the beginnings of humankind. Of contemporary crafts, only basket making is as fundamental. The shapes of pottery are the shapes of the human body, and are named as such: lip, foot, and shoulder. They are shapes we know very well on a level beneath our consciousness."

Porcelain Bowl
Like most potters who have mastered their craft, (Wally has always said that you have to make 10,000 pots before you make a good one), Loren has out maneuvered the potters wheel and figured out how to make pieces that though they began by being round,  their finished form is no longer dictated by the wheel. "My forms are extensions of traditional pottery with contemporary variations," he says. "They're strong, sleek and sculptural with a bold painterly surface and rich glaze treatment.  The pieces have a dynamic impact when viewed from a distance as well as an intensity of detail up close." Over the span of his career, painting, or the design aspect of the pottery, has become an increasingly important aspect of Loren's work

Porcelain Platter
Loren' studio workshop is complete, with potters wheels, clay extruders,  a glaze spray booth, a slab roller, a slip mixer,  a pug mill, a casting table, and both electric and gas fired kilns in 3000 square feet of both indoor and outdoor space. It is here that he makes his wheel thrown, hand built, and slip cast porcelain pottery. Loren's work has evolved over the years, his skill has increased with experience, his vision has expanded and developed; but he has remained true to the fundamentals that first guided him to make an outstanding product. We are pleased to be included in the list of prestigious American craft galleries. that carry Loren Lukens pottery.  

Smith Galleries is located in suite J11 (second level) of the Village at Wexford at 1000 William Hilton Parkway on Hilton Head Island, SC. Gallery hours are 10 - 6 Monday through Saturday. 800.272.3870

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

New Mike Smith Paintings at Smith Galleries

Mike Smith
I think at some point in our lives we have all created our own perfect world, the world in which we would like to live. Flowers bloom all the time, apples ripen on the trees, sailboats skim across the water, doves fly around the moon, and animals frolic in the tall grass while the sun shines brightly. Scenes like this can be found in the paintings of Mike Smith.

A native of Portland, Oregon, Mike grew up in the Vancouver, Washington, and the Puget Sound area. He graduated from the University of Portland with a degree in English Literature. After a brief period working as a writer in a dental school, he returned to his first love, painting. His passion for art began at the tender age of two and lasted until he discovered baseball at the age of ten. He rediscovered his first love at 25 and has never looked back. Carving out a career as an abstract painter was unsuccessful, so he abandoned all formal “schools” of painting and developed his autobiographical approach, using what was around him for
"Back of The Studio, July 2016"
by Mike Smith
subjects and creating a dialog with them, placing them in his idea of perfect habitats which he realizes can never truly exist. Baseball may have been his sport as a youth, but it’s easy to see from his paintings that golf plays an important role in his life as an adult! It is his autobiographical paintings that have made him successful.  He has had more than fifty one man shows in several countries, and continues to enchant us with his idea of the ideal.

Mike uses a wide range of mediums including watercolor, oil, bronze, and pastels. Most of the
"Window on Trondheim"
by Mike Smith
originals you see are watercolors, but occasionally you will see the rare oil or pastel. In addition to his originals, there are  series of serigraphs and giclees. For years there were many poster editions, but those reproductions have mostly been replaced by giclees because of their superior quality.

Mike’s use of color is what first draws most people to his paintings. The bright colors invite the viewer to discover a little piece of the world that looks inviting, animals that are obviously happy and secure in their habitats, and nature at its most bountiful and productive. Soon you are swept into the image and the cares you brought with you are forgotten. You can’t help but smile. Mike Smith paintings make you happy, and that is a true gift from the artist.

Click to see the new watercolors.

Smith Galleries is located in suite J11 (second level) of the Village at Wexford at 1000 William Hilton Parkway on Hilton Head Island, SC. Gallery hours are 10 - 6 Monday through Saturday. 800.272.3870

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Celebrating 28 years of creativity by Joan Z. Horn at Smith Galleries

Joan Z. Horn at her jeweler's bench
Artists are keen observers. It’s an undisputed fact they observe more closely than most of us do. They see ordinary objects as if through a microscope. They see detail in mundane items that make them extraordinary and worthy of attention. The result is reflected in their art. Joan Z Horn is such an artist. In speaking about her childhood, Joan says, "As an artist, I grew up influenced by the wonderful industrial design found in the objects of daily life. The beautiful lines, curves and shapes of kitchen appliances, sleek in chrome, stood proud on the counter. Our family waited for turns with the perfectly shaped heavy black telephone, with its coiled snake of a cord. Valued objects from our recent past so quickly disappear, and then exist only in their new incarnation as icons." In her collection of pieces for our anniversary one person show, Joan Horn reflects upon objects from everyday life, both past and present.Joan has captured the essence of some of these objects and brought them  to us in a sort of cartoon. Joan says,” In this series of one of a kind pieces I explore the line, or cartoon of items from daily life."

We’ve known Joan Horn and carried her jewelry for 28 of the 29 years Smith Galleries has existed.
Necklace from "Birds & Bees" - 2012
We’ve seen the influences of her travels on her jewelry. We’ve witnessed how her observation of architecture has influenced her; and in recent years how her growing love for gardening  (pun intended) has shown itself in a series she titled “Birds and Bees”. We have been fortunate to be guests in her home and have seen her at work in her studio. Not only is Joan a talented designer, she is an expert artisan, especially with a welding torch! It’s a delight to hear her talk about inspecting tools of  craftsmen who have done work in her home and how a trip to the hardware store can turn into a mental exercise of how unrelated tools can be used to create her silver and gold jewelry.

As I look at the 25 necklaces, 3 bracelets, and 14 pairs of earrings Joan created for this special show, I am again struck by her powers of observation and her reflection on life through her work. Using sterling silver with touches of 14k gold, she creates the line of the objects. She achieves bursts of color with iolite, amethyst, citrine, blue topaz, garnet, jade, agates and pearls. The necklaces “incorporate iconic images of everyday objects, worn around the neck to manipulate and play with to bring happiness.” And it does make me happy to look at them. Some of them bring back memories of childhood, others remembrances of days when Wally and I were just getting our first business going and starting a family. Others speak to the world around us and make me appreciate where I am now.
"Reflections..." opens at 5 pm on May 12, 2017
You may see the entire show here.

Smith Galleries is located in suite J11 (second level) of the Village at Wexford at 1000 William Hilton Parkway on Hilton Head Island, SC. Gallery hours are 10 - 6 Monday through Saturday. 800.272.3870

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Donna Toohey Ceramics at Smith Galleries

When we think of an artist, most of us picture a painter  who works in oils, water colors, or acrylics and paints on paper or canvas. Today we are broadening our canvas, so to speak; for Donna Toohey is an artist who paints on pottery. Donna attended the Cleveland Institute of Art  where she took her first ceramics class in 1979. From the very beginning she was fascinated with the endless possibilities of pottery.

The subject matter for her painting is varied, but is almost totally inspired by nature. Whether is it the
Floral Square Platter
bounty of the vegetable garden, the ocean, or the flower garden, her vibrant colors and representation of subject matter draw the eye and give the viewer that "happy" feeling. Her "canvas" is an earthenware clay and completely safe for everyday use. The glaze and underglaze are both non toxic and food safe. All of her pottery is suitable for use in the oven, the microwave, and the dishwasher. Her bowls, chip and dip platters and other plates come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes making it easy to find just the right one for your purpose.

Floral Pattern Bowl
In speaking about her work, Donna says, "I feel increasingly fortunate to have something which is both my passion and my livelihood. I am daily inspired by gardens, design, the spontaneity of painting, and the endless possibilities of color. I hope to convey fun, life, and a sense of intimacy in my pots." I think you will agree that she is successful in her quest. Donna's pieces brighten any table and delight the eye.Be sure to look at the additional pictures of Donna's work.Many of you will recognize her work from previous visits to the gallery, but it has been some time since we had seen her and we are delighted to have her work again. I was especially drawn to the florals. Which are your favorites?

See more of Donna Toohey's ceramics at Smith Galleries.

Smith Galleries is located in suite J11 (second level) of the Village at Wexford at 1000 William Hilton Parkway on Hilton Head Island, SC. Gallery hours are 10 - 6 Monday through Saturday. 800.272.3870