“There is magic in the forging process. It occurs when a hammer impacts glowing yellow-hot steel. In that precise moment, beauty is given an opportunity to emerge.”
I opened David Browne Metal Design in 2002 with the mission of providing high quality forged architectural metalwork and sculpture, with a strong emphasis on creativity and design. Since its inception, DBMD has built a solid reputation as one of the premier artistic metalworking studios in San Diego. Our clients range from discerning homeowners, contractors and architects to small businesses and corporate institutions seeking unique branding materials and public art. As an Artist, my work is centered on the exploration of the plastic nature of steel when combined with the transformative properties of fire. Deeply rooted in traditional craft and industrial forging techniques, my work is informed by a love of primitive structures, architecture and my early work in ceramics.
“As I draw, render, wax, or manipulate the surfaces of the material, I am, in a sense, having a dialog with it.”
My artwork moves in between vessel making, sculptural wall work, body castings, installations and performance pieces. My primary medium is clay, both fired and unfired. I also use a variety of other materials such as glaze and paint, plaster and cement, wax and encaustic, wood and found objects. The mystical, the numinous, and the unexplainable are the subjects that preoccupy my artwork. Cosmology, existentialism, and Catholicism in all its manifestations also play an underlying role in my work. Intuitive thinking and making have dominated my art processes. As I draw, render, wax, or manipulate the surfaces of the material, I am, in a sense, having a dialog with it. There is no audience at this moment, but solely a maker and his objects. My choice of materials and intuitive way of working is then communicated to the viewer to elicit physical and emotional responses. Explore more of Levi’s extensive portfolio.
“Even the everyday matters; especially the everyday matters.”
For me, an artist’s book has content, often text, and sometimes image, but not necessarily pages in the traditional sense. Tactile, three-dimensional surfaces—the side of a miniature house or an origami paper dress hanging on a string—function as pages. My interest lies in the significance of the everyday concerns of life—from baking bread to pruning a rose, to conversations at the breakfast table. And my curiosity extends to the framework in which our daily life unfolds, the home. I have been involved with building and remodeling as long as I can remember, so my artwork often explores the house as a physical object as well as a container for the functioning of our lives. I like Gaston Bachelard’s term, “inhabited geometry,” to characterize this intermingling. The interaction of memory, experience, place, and language is central in my work, so I often include vestiges from the past—from my past or someone else’s, discovered at thrift stores, libraries or in magazines or newspapers. It is not their source or their relationship to me that is significant. Rather, I search for items that suggest the imprint of human life, items that, when integrated with other elements, engage viewers in a dialog with the piece, with themselves, and hopefully with each other. Click here to learn more about this creative mixed media artist.
“A good pot is like a tree or a stone, individual and inevitable.”
I make pots for use. This project is manifestly absurd in an era when industry provides so variously and inexpensively for our every requirement, but I make pots because I love the work, because some ancient, deep-seated human need drives me to make my mark, and because the clay has not stopped teaching me: about itself, mostly, but also about human nature and time and expectation. I know that my life is enriched by the pots I live with that bear the traces of their maker’s hand and eye, and I hope that the lives of the people who own my pots are enriched likewise. I have always been a wheel-worker; it is a skill I take pleasure in and a discipline that suits me. The wheel dictates the class of forms that I can make, and then I say, What can I make from this? What happens if I paddle it into a different shape? Excise a small sliver, perhaps? Attach another section distorted in some other way? How much can I stretch it, bend it, pound it, cut and paste it, this wonderful ductile, malleable material, without compromising its structural integrity or its ability to serve some useful purpose? The work is research. The work is play. The work is an independent organism, running on ahead, and every time I sit down to a new series, I wonder where it will take me next. I have been making pots, off and on, for over 40 years. What training I have, I picked up at the old UCSD Crafts Center and in the company of my late husband, Ed Thompson, whose hand and eye were peerless, and whose methodological innovations are an inexhaustible resource. To see more of Ellen’s functional ware, click here.
“Jewelry is meant to adorn and enhance the wearer.”
I have always been concerned with the making of jewelry to be worn, of unique works of art which have the human body as their site. I prefer working on a larger than usual scale with collars, pectorals, head and arm ornaments as favorite formats. The use of textile structures such as weaving and knitting enable me to produce pliable planes which conform readily to the human form, and which have a softness and warmth not always possible in metal.
“Materials and designs. Imagination, Creativity, Inspiration”
I have chosen fiber as the means to create my sculptural art. I am inspired by repetitive forms, outlines, contours, and close investigations of organic structures. With nature as a partner I interpret natural materials and industrial flexible fibers into undulating forms and shapes. Three-dimensional wall hangings and vessels come alive with tactile abstract surfaces and earthy colors. Explore Polly’s gallery of fiber art.
“I am interested in the stories that furniture can tell”
As a furniture maker, I know that the story often begins with me. As a craftsman who also works with antiques, I am aware that the story is already there, embedded in the objects that I am asked to restore. I delight in discovering the marks of the original maker, the evidence of the owner’s love or neglect, the impromptu repairs, the record of everyday use. Good furniture lasts for generations, carrying with it the visible memories of all who have used it. I have great respect for the tradition that created these objects. My own designs often incorporate antique parts, salvage, found objects – elements that contribute a sense of history to each new piece. I enjoy the playful interplay of the old with the new, the traditional with the unexpected, creating furniture that is unique and unrepeatable. Discover more of Paul’s furniture designs and detailed craftsmanship
William Leslie and Allesandra Colfi
“We strive to create beautiful forms that will invite people out of their mental busyness to see the timelessness in passing time. Human life, too, is a whirling dance of patterns within patterns.”
In 1976, William Leslie apprenticed to Stephen White, an architect who had developed a unique form of ‘lightsculpture’ made from thin strips of wood bent into a frame then covered with paper soaked in polyvinyl resin and internally by incandescent or fluorescent light bulbs. Most of William’s designs have been inspired by natural forms, which continue to generate new ideas and joy. In 2006, William’s wife Alessandra Colfi, an eclectic mixed-media artist and Expressive Arts Therapist, joined him in creating their LightSculptures together, adding colors and exploring new possibilities. ‘Our work reflects a fascination with how nature moves on graceful paths or organizes itself in flowing patterns. We strive to create beautiful forms that will invite people out of their mental busy-ness to pause and see the timelessness in passing time.’ William Leslie’s background includes degrees in physics and philosophy. He served as an infantry soldier in Vietnam and as a Peace Corps Volunteer in India. Presently, he teaches philosophy at Palomar Community College in the San Diego area and with his wife they create LightSculptures for homes, restaurants, hospitals, businesses, and religious institutions. Find out more about William and Alessandra’s LightSculptures.
“Art helps us to expand our understanding of our fellow humans, our world, and ourselves”
My work ranges from painting, sculpture, book arts, textiles, and prints to installations and site-specific pieces. The nature of each project dictates its form, content, and the choice of materials. Ideas are central to my art; therefore, it is not restricted to one medium. I recognize that materials simultaneously have meaning and produce meaning. Find out more about Viviana and her fiber art.
“If a viewer can take away or gain something new from something I have made,
then I feel that I have succeeded.”
I have been making innovative work for over 40 years. Addressing the issues of being a female in a male dominated field (woodworking), a minority, and being disabled (deaf with cerebral palsy) has made for an interesting adventure of navigating this challenging road to my career as I know it now. That, and challenging the norms of this chosen field of woodworking certainly has informed my practice of combined ideologies of feminism, ethnicity, traditional/domestic, craft objects (furniture) and historical and social narratives. My newer work has moved beyond the boundaries of traditional studio craft and into the realm of social practice. Executive Order 9066 explored my Japanese American heritage though the forced evacuation of my maternal grandparents from their home in California, and addressed the shared emotional loss suffered by the Japanese American community in 1942. My latest work, The wildLIFE Project, focuses on the endangerment of wildlife, a cause that is very personal to me. I traveled to Kenya and met with wildlife advocates to investigate the dangers of the continued poaching of these magnificent animals. The trip served as a source of inspiration to create a new body of work and incorporate a strong societal message of advocacy for animals. Discover more of Wendy’s fine wood craftsmanship.
“I can walk into a glassblowing studio anywhere in the world and know how to communicate. Glass is a visual language. It could be a nod or a gesture and you know your job.”
I make things, I always have. And like many other object makers, I am a collector of things, an assembler, an arranger. The techniques I employ to make my work are fraught with danger. Molten or sharp; glass and metal can burn you, cut you, scar you. The physical aspect of working, the sweat, the dance, the communion with your partner or your team…it’s earthy and difficult. I like that. Enjoy Kathleen’s extensive gallery of beautiful glass art.
“In short, I tell stories.”
Many of Nida’s drawings start as dreams or ideas in response to what she observes or hears, or because of an event or idea. During a later stage of her art career, Nida became a science teacher, starting out in biology. This constant exposure to human bodies and their parts began to assert itself into her drawings, and now is a crucial part of her work. As her teaching job changes, this new information becomes part of the toolbox of symbols and ideas that show up in her work, as do recent political issues. Her work very much is a narrative of her personal life, even as it refers to the greater human population. Issues of women’s rights, climate change, and gun control are recent focuses in some of her pieces. Most of her work is now fiber, quilts on the wall, using the traditional form of the quilt with what she learned from her printmaking days to create figurative imagery. The never-ending palette of commercial and hand-dyed fabrics brings her joy, and she also appreciates the slight three-dimensionality and tactile quality of working with fabric. Enjoy more of Kathy’s fiber art.
“I trust intuition to be my guide and the beauty and sacredness of nature to be my inspiration.”
What we bring into our home becomes part of our being whether we are aware of this or not. The images we see daily become part of our subconscious, affecting our mood and sometimes even redirecting our energy. I trust intuition to be my guide and the beauty and sacredness of nature to be my inspiration. In my furniture and sculptural pieces, I use wood as my primary medium that I carve and shape mostly using hand tools. This approach allows me to carve intuitively, allowing the work to bring out an inner voice that would otherwise remain dormant.
“I am a woman who grew up next to the Hudson River and the Catskill mountains,
a world that has always called to me to enter into a lure of risk.”
My present work is influenced by ancient Babylonian friezes of brick which often depicted animals and the violent conquest of nature and how these records of extinction and control come forward to us in our own time of trouble. Those first city experiments were based on mining, primarily soil and water, for the first large crops which depended on slavery and, at such an astonishingly early stage, conformity. I feel that civilization has so vastly expanded and made extraction the central issue of its survival that disappearance itself must be and will be dismissed. My desire is to bring a novel tension to these issues if we are going to have the multiple awarenesses necessary for the foundation of future alternatives. To present this as visual facts, I combine many different materials into the forms the viewer sees here. For me, these forms invoke sudden, unexpected senses of transformation that, from our most basic origins, pose questions about how we might discover a home for the realities that give us a hold on our planetary lives, or not. Click here to learn what inspires Gail and view her portfolio.
“My desire for the harmonious existence of human beings with nature is represented by figures that become a refuge for birds and animals”
Cheryl Tall’s sculpture uses metaphor and myth to create a surrealistic ceramic world. Her work touches on social and environmental issues, relationships, belonging and displacement, nostalgia, inherited histories, and our search for meaning and place.
Myths and dream imagery have been a recurring theme in much of Tall’s work. By combining contemporary references with ancient stories, Tall seeks to explore the nature of being human. See more of Cheryl’s whimsical sculptures, paintings, and public art.