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