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