Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Paul Allen Counts Blown Glass at Smith Galleries

Paul Allen Counts

Most artists can tell you either a teacher or an experience that changed their lives; that put them on road to becoming the potter or glassblower they were meant to be. For Paul Allen Counts this pivotal event was when he was introduced to the art of glassblowing in 1978. As he says, “I was young, full of energy and still searching for my educational direction in college. One day I watched a glassblower work and this experience changed my world view.” From then on Paul’s affection for art became a passion for glass.  In 1983 he received his BA in Glass/Ceramics and in 1985 his MA in Glass, both from California State at Fullerton. He then worked in several California glass studios as a production glassblower and studied with Dick Marquis and Lino Taliapiatra at Haystack in the early 1990’s. Today Paul divides his time between his glass studio and sharing with college students his love for and knowledge of art.
Vase by Paul Counts

Paul is known for his colorful furled murrine vases which take a great deal of strength, determination, and skill to create. “I work at art for myself; I offer the fruits of my endeavors as a token of thanks for the life of an artist.” Paul says that his reward is the process of
Bowl by Paul Allen Counts
creation and that the finished piece is a bonus.  We are the fortunate recipients of that “bonus” for the beautiful pieces he creates reflect his passion for what he does. See more 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, June 20, 2017

Cynthia Webb...Pewter Gifts With Meaning at Smith Galleries

Cynthia Webb
Poets do it; songwriters do it; even greeting card authors do it. Either with their words alone, or in combination with an image, they pull at our heartstrings. They touch something within us that causes us to tear up, to bring to mind a person, a memory, or an occasion that is significant. Cynthia Webb is a California artist who plucks our heartstrings with her handcrafted fine pewter framed assemblages. “I’m inspired through the creation of what I call art that also tugs at the heart,”she says. With her enduring themes of
Entwined in My Heart
faith, family, and spirit; she combines a cast pewter image with just a title or phrase and evokes a memory that touches something within us.

Cynthia is formally trained in architecture but began creating original work in jewelry classes in London. For the last 25 years she has been working out of her San Diego studio and showcasing her work throughout the United States.  She began with making small pieces such as pins and
Perfect Union
ornaments, but more recently has focused on larger pieces, especially framed art. Each piece is individually signed and may be hung or displayed on a tabletop. She takes great care with both the pewter pieces and the framing.

Her collection grows each year with her designs ranging from a
Home is Where There is One to Love You
woven heart to a complex angel to words of inspiration. Each design begins with a sketch which she uses as a guide as she carves the design in jeweler’s wax and then signs and titles the original. From the original a mold is made, allowing for the piece to be duplicated. Each piece is then hand-finished, oxidized and polished, and finished with a thin lacquer coating. The casting is then mounted on mat board and framed as a piece of art.
Home is Where Your Story Begins

“I hope my work serves to commemorate that special person or occasion or place in our lives, that gets us closer in touch with what’s truly important, and is a source of quiet joy for those who give it as a gift, receive it, or simply bring it into their homes.”  As you look at her work I am sure that at least one piece will speak to you.

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, June 13, 2017

Vitrix Art Glass at Smith Galleries

Thomas Kelly making a
Heechee Probe.
When one looks at a finished piece of wheel-thrown pottery or hand-blown glass, it is difficult to believe that both of them essentially began as a blob of raw material. In the case of pottery, one watches the potter slap a ball of clay on the potters wheel, start the wheel spinning, and start pressing on the clay. After it is centered, the potter starts pulling, pushing, adding water, and with various moves shapes the blob into a vessel. In most cases you have an idea of the finished product when it comes off the wheel, although there are many changes it has yet to go through before it is a completed piece of art.
Heechee Glass Sculpture

In the case of glass, one watches a glassblower gather a glob of a molten liquid on the end of a pipe and with the aid of a few tools, begin to turn it and shape the glob into a form that as it spins becomes recognizable as the object it will become. And in the case of glass, one can most often see the finished colors as well.

Celestial Geode Sculpture
They make it look so easy! That’s part of the fascination of watching both the potter and the glassblower at work. Their skill and artistry is such that you think, “Well, I could do that!”  Talking with any professional potter or glassblower will soon dispel you of that idea. They will tell you that it takes years to hone your skills until you feel qualified to offer your work to the public for purchase.

Thomas Kelly is the owner of Vitrix Hot Glass Studio. Tom
Scalloped Bowl
learned the art of glassblowing under the tutelage of Alex Brand and Thomas Buechner who had two distinctive styles. As his skill grew, so did his aesthetic sensitivity continue to develop until he was ready to take over the Vitrix studio when Buechner was ready to move on.  Watching a video of Thomas Kelly making one of his Heechees is like watching a magician at work. The way he manipulates the liquid glass, adjusting the shape, adding pieces and color, is intriguing. Speaking about his work Tom says, “Hot glass challenges me constantly. I don’t think I really control the molten glass, I just influence it.”

I think you’ll agree that his influence over the glass produces exquisite results. Creative shapes,
Vertical Heechee Sculpture
vibrant color, and consistent artistry combine to give his glass lasting beauty and value.

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, June 6, 2017

Santa Fe Stoneworks Knives at Smith Galleries

Having worked with or around tools for most of my adult life, I can not underestimate the importance of having tools and equipment of excellent quality. It doesn’t matter whether you are working with heavy equipment or hand tools, your work will be easier and better when what you are working with is well made. Perhaps it is being married to a man who has used various types of equipment and
tools working with clay, working with wood, doing framing, taking photographs, working in the yard as well as working in the kitchen, that I have increased my appreciation for good quality tools. And all other qualities being equal, I choose tools that are beautiful to look at.

Around our home and business, we use a lot of different kinds of tools, but the one item we use more than any other, day in and day out is a knife. Wally carries one in his pocket every day because he never knows when it will be needed. I think this is true of many men, and with Father’s Day just around the corner, I think this is a good time to look at the beautifully made knives by Santa Fe Stoneworks. Set in the shadows of the Sangre de Crosto mountains, the artisans at Santa Fe Stoneworks handcraft art knives of rare beauty in a century-old adobe ranch house. From one of a kind custom designs to popular, affordable collections of pocket knives,
men’s gifts and accessories, each Santa Fe Stoneworks collectible is a unique example of the cutler’s art. Whether it is the design of the knife, the metals used for the body and the blade, or the various stones, woods, and fossils used on the handle; care is given to design and function so that each knife  is a marriage of fine steels with gemstone, shell, or intricate marquetry. Each knife has completed a journey of countless painstaking steps before it leaves the Santa Fe Stoneworks studio.

So if you are looking for something other than a tie or a pair of socks for Dad this Father’s Day, consider giving him one of our beautiful and functional Santa Fe Stoneworks knives. It may bring back memories of simpler times  when all the boys carried a pocket knife, even to school!

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