Craft Forms 2013 opens tonight at the Wayne Art Center in Wayne, PA. This is the 19th year of this well-known exhibition, and I am thrilled to be included. Craft Forms is an international juried exhibition of fine contemporary craft, showing both established and emerging artists working in clay, fiber, glass, metal, wood and mixed media crafts.
Nancy Campbell, the Executive Director of the Wayne Art Center, says:
Craft Forms has evolved into a favored showcase for the work of the nation’s most talented emerging and established artists. The Wayne Art Center is proud to be a part of this stunning exhibition which draws more than 5,000 visitors each year. We are very pleased to continue to bring such a high caliber “museum quality” exhibition of contemporary craft to the Philadelphia region.
In addition to the great exhibition itself, Wayne Art Center throws a pretty lavish Preview Party, which happens tonight from 6pm – 10pm. There will be wine, cocktails, a raffle, live music, a silent auction, and oh yes, a martini luge. Wish I could be there!
Here’s the piece of mine that is included in the show:
© 2013 Sarah Hood, Palm Tree Ring. Sterling silver, coconut shell, model tree.
There is a very cool interactive web catalog here, which includes photos of all the work and artist statement from the artists.
And if you make it to the show tonight, please send me photos!
Please join me this Friday, November 8th from 6:30 – 8:30 at the Artist Trust Awards Party at the Experience Music Project in Seattle. Help me celebrate my recent grant from Artist Trust, and party with all of the many other 2013 Artist Trust grant and award recipients, including recipients of the Arts Innovator Award, Twining Humber Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award, Fellowships, Grants for Artist Projects (GAP) and Conductive Garboil Grant, as well as the 2013 Creative Catalysts.
The party will feature dance performances from Etienne Cakpo and Amy O’Neal, storytelling and drumming with Delbert Miller, animation from Anna Czoski, Stefan Gruber and Clyde Petersen and short documentary excerpts by Evan Briggs.
You can purchase tickets through Brown Paper Tickets online.
See you there!
I’m happy to announce that I was recently awarded a GAP (Grants for Artist Projects) from Artist Trust! These project-based grants are awarded to artists of all disciplines once a year, and provide funding for a whole range of artist projects. From the Artist Trust GAP press release, “Among this year’s projects are: travel funds for novel research; feature documentary funding; production fees for an album; equipment purchase for an interactive installation; and artist workshop fees.” For this year’s cycle, there were 558 applicants, and 50 artists were chosen. Each artist received funding up to $1500, and the total amount given out to all the artists combined was $73,348. See the entire press release here to read more about the review panel, GAP contributors and funding partners, and to see the entire list of all GAP recipients.
I applied for funding for studio safety equipment. It was my goal this year to significantly improve the quality of the working conditions in my studio. I’ve already made some improvements on my own, and I’m thrilled to have Artist Trust‘s support to complete the upgrades. Check out my application below (quoted in part) to read more about my processes and how I hope to improve my studio:
I work with silver, gold, plastics, stones, organic material and resins, and I solder, file, sand, hammer and form. I am committed to my craft and to being a lifelong artist, and know that I need to stay healthy in my studio so that I can work for many more years to come.
My GAP application is to purchase studio safety equipment so that I can continue making art in the healthiest way possible.
I work with toxic, noxious substances, compounds and chemicals every day. I’m constantly at risk for damage to my liver, lungs, skin and eyes. I take precautions as I can—I wear goggles when drilling, a respirator when working with fumes, and a dust mask when doing finish work so the cast-off from my silicon wheels does not reach my lungs. But this dust settles on every surface, becoming airborne again many times. And the hazardous fumes produced during soldering stick around long after I’ve finished a piece. Since it’s often not practical (or comfortable) to wear a respirator every minute in the studio, my goal is to eliminate toxins at the source.
Two pieces of safety equipment would make my studio so much healthier—an under-bench dust collection system for my jewelry bench, and a table-top fume extraction system for my soldering bench. After much research, I’ve found a dust collector that features a two-stage filtering system and would connect to my jeweler’s bench to suck up particulates while I work. The fume extractor I’ve found for my soldering bench is specially designed to source capture solder smoke & fumes before they migrate throughout the studio. And because this extractor is a rolling unit, I can roll it to other areas of my shop for other noxious processes such as wax work, enameling or painting.
Earlier this year I purchased a high power HEPA air purification system which provides five complete air changes per hour for my entire studio (amazing!). It filters smoke, dust and pollen and any other little goodies (hello, cat hair) I might have floating around my studio. I have really noticed a big difference in air quality since I got it – (and my asthmatic, studio-assistant cat has noticed a difference too – much less coughing). Now that I’ve received funding from the GAP, I’m looking forward to doing even more to stay healthy. My next improvements will be an under-bench dust collection system, which will capture metal dust, sanding grit, and all the flying debris from polishing compounds when I’m at my bench, and a soldering fume collector, which will make sure all the nasty fumes from soldering don’t end up in my lungs. I want to be able to still breathe when I am 80!
These pieces of equipment are expensive, and as every small business owner knows, sometimes it’s difficult to justify the large purchases, even when they can make a huge difference in working conditions. It’s great to be able to purchase them now without feeling like I’ve made a dent in my finances.
I am lucky to have also received a GAP in 2008. At that time, I applied and received funding for photo equipment. That grant five years ago allowed me to purchase a new digital SLR camera, a light tent and photo lights so that I could more effectively photograph my production work. At the time, it was a hugely important step for me to begin to learn to take better photos, and the amount I was given has multiplied a hundred-fold. My photos are far from perfect, but they are so much better than they used to be, mostly from my equipment upgrade (and also from some one-on-one instruction from the lovely and talented photographer Jenny Zwick).
© 2013 Sarah Hood
I am thrilled to be a second-time recipient of the GAP and know that this year’s funding will be equally important for my work and my business, and most importantly, my health. A million thanks go to Artist Trust for its endless cheerleading and championing and support of all of us Washington state artists, no matter what our discipline. We are stronger artists and community members when we are supported, and AT has shown over and over that “support at the source” (to paraphrase AT’s mission statement) really does make a difference.
I know it’s not officially summer yet, but we’ve been having some amazingly warm and sunny weather lately here in Seattle, so it sure feels like summer. It’s supposed to be almost 80° tomorrow, and if you know anything about Seattle, you’ll know that’s pretty unusual. Normally we don’t get long stretches of warm, dry weather until…August, maybe? But it’s been a beautiful June.
One of my favorite summer flowers is crocosmia. It blooms here in Seattle around mid- to late summer and has the longest lasting blooms, and hummingbirds love it. In the garden at my last house, I had lots of Lucifer crocosmia, named for its fiery red color.
I love the way the flowers look before the blooms open, so I molded some of the stems and cast them in sterling silver. Here’s a crocosmia ring I made with one of those castings, below. There are a few other pieces in my Etsy shop made from crocosmia castings. Check them out here.
© Sarah Hood Jewelry
June is also my birthday month! My birthday has come and gone, but I thought I would invite everyone to celebrate with me all month long by offering a sale in my Etsy shop! Right now, all Ready to Ship items in my Etsy shop are a whopping 50% off. There are lots of one-of-a-kind pieces, some small experiments, and many pieces with very beautiful, unique stones. Check out some of the images below and check out my Etsy shop to see lots more!
© 2013 Sarah Hood, Botanical Ring Set in size 6.5, sterling silver
© Sarah Hood Jewelry
The Etsy Wedding category has been completely redesigned and just launched a couple of days ago. If you’ve ever tried to search Etsy for a specific style, artist or trend, you’ll know how difficult it can be to find exactly what you’re looking for among the thousands of listings in each category. Hopefully the new wedding category will make it easier for shoppers to find what they’re looking for. Certainly it is more eye-catching and interactive.
Etsy has this to say about the new category:
Etsy Weddings is a new browsing experience that includes wedding items, trends, how-to’s, expert advice and the stories of real couples — all in one place. A wide variety of items are featured and will change frequently to represent trends in the Etsy marketplace and beyond. Items can appear alongside real weddings stories, collections from guest curators, and advice for those planning their big day. Etsy Weddings will replace our previous weddings category pages.
Since the bulk of my Etsy work is commissioned engagement and wedding rings, I am hoping that I will not get lost in the crowd. I’m off to a good start by being featured in the Woodland Trends category, within the Rings section. “Woodland” is a category tag that always cracks me up because it sounds so silly. But among the dozens of slightly absurd, preloaded, available tags in the Etsy listing process (Abstract, Asian, Bohemian, Burlesque, Hippie, Nautical, Rocker, Spooky, Zen, etc. etc.), it is one that usually seems fitting for my work, which is so often based on natural forms. (Still, sometimes when I am choosing Woodland as a tag, I am imagining fauns and gnomes skipping across the forest floor…ha!).
Thanks, Etsy! That is one of my favorite rings in my shop. I’ve made a few so far, and have stones on hand to make two more. Since the morganite in this ring is a big stone, and since I’m picky about cut and color, stones I like are hard to find. When I do, I snap up as many as I can at a time, but last time I was shopping for morganite, I only found four that fit the bill. I used two for custom rings, and have two left. One is a very pale pink and one is a brighter pink. (Interesting fact about this stone: morganite actually looks more and more pink the larger the stone gets. Small morganites look almost colorless,but the bigger they get, the pinker they look). The morganite looks amazing in this rose gold setting, which is pretty pink itself and really brings out the color of the stone.
More fun facts about this stone: Morganite is a beautiful stone in the beryl family, which also includes emerald and aquamarine. Morganite is sometimes known as “pink emerald.” Pure beryl is actually colorless, but the natural intercalation (SAT word!) of beryl with other foreign elements and metals such as iron, manganese and chrome cause beryl to turn colors. Morganite was found off the coast of Madagascar in 1910 and was named after financier J.P. Morgan.
To see the stones I have in stock or to design a ring from scratch with one of the hundreds (yes, I’m a stone hoarder) of stones I have on hand, you can contact me here!
Have I mentioned how much I love appreciation letters and customer feedback? Love, love, love. It keeps me going, and keeps me knowing that what I am making actually means something to the people I am making it for.
I do a lot of custom work, both through my Etsy shop and my website. Often custom designs are weeks in the making, from the initial contact to the many emails back and forth clarifying design. I price out lots of stone and metal options, and then my client and I go back and forth until we find the combination that gets them excited and is still within their budget. It’s a fine balance, and sometimes this process can get personal and take a while. So it’s always odd to me to work on a piece (like an engagement ring) that feels very intimate and particular to a specific client and send it off and then… crickets….
But I love it when people do!
I recently received the most beautiful photos from Polina, a woman I made a wedding ring and a necklace for. She was a pleasure to work with from the start, and her follow up emails and photos were wonderful to receive.
Here’s the ring I made for her, plus the necklace pictured above, which she purchased from my Etsy shop. She wore both on her wedding day. She and her husband, who she described to me as her best friend, were married in August 2011, and here’s what she had to say about her special day:
We had a simple, fun, informal summer party at the cottage to celebrate our wedding day. Most things about traditional wedding make me cringe – it’s just not who we are. So we just had it OUR way! We rolled in on a canoe to be greeted by family & friends and got married barefoot on the beach of the lake, I even wore a colourful summer dress (gasp!). We had a picnic for dinner, with a bonfire, swimming, dancing, singing and fireworks! It was all about being ourselves in nature. That’s why I picked out this beautiful twig band by Sarah Hood Jewelry to be my wedding ring, it is so organic but also elegant. It’s unique, too, everyone asks me about it when they see it. I wore the branch necklace on the wedding day, and now it reminds me of this perfect day at the cottage spent with my loved ones.
Here are two photos of Polina on her wedding day (photos by Christina Woerns) that I love. So beautiful! I love the thought of getting married barefoot at the edge of a lake, surrounded by nature and wearing pieces inspired by nature.
Thanks, Polina! And everyone else–I would love to see photos of your wedding day or special occasion featuring jewelry I made. Send them to me for a possible future post!