Every Spring, Idaho State University's Art department holds a juried art show for undergraduate students. The show is open to students who are taking at least one art class, and are enrolled either full- or part-time at the school. Students may enter up to five pieces, in any medium, for the jury. Each year, a different juror is selected to decide which pieces will be in the show. This year's juror was Ellie Moseman, Assistant Professor of Art History at Colorado State University where she serves as Coordinator for Art History Foundations. She has an extensive background in Central European art, and is currently curating an exhibition of drawings by the German Surrealist artist Richard Oelze for CSU's University Museum. It was an honor to have such a knowledgeable juror choose the best from over 230 submissions (the most the school has ever had!). It was also a great learning opportunity for participants to hear her criteria for choosing the pieces she did.
In the statement she gave at the show's opening, she said that she looked for works that invited the audience to engage with the piece beyond the personal conversation between artist and artwork - works that could sustain a visual dialog with the viewer. She looked at content, craftsmanship, finishing and presentation. It was quite an honor to have four of my five submissions selected.
I was deliberate in my own personal jury process as I chose the pieces that I would enter in the show. My four steampunk pieces that were featured in the Spring 2010 issue of Belle Armoire Jewelry Magazine would probably have garnered a spot, but I wanted to enter pieces that had not been featured before, to show a greater body of my work. I looked through all of my jewelry cases for the pieces that had a strong visual presence.
I knew that the Tribal Tundra Sapphire hoops would be one that I would choose. Sometimes I am lucky, and stumble upon a shape that just "works". These earrings pegged it! In all of my jewelry designs, one of my most important considerations is how the piece will feel when worn. I strive to make my work feel like a natural extension of the wearer's body. I succeeded in making these larger hoops very light in weight, while being visually full. I went all out in details on these earrings, using the finest gauge wire, and wrapping each filigree swirl to give it a wonderful texture. The most time consuming part was the outer edges of the hoops, which have a length of sterling rolo chain wrapped with tiny round silver beads and sapphires.
My second choice was one of my steampunk necklaces. Since I decided not to enter any of the ones that were featured in Belle Armoire Jewelry magazine, I chose Steampunk Cleopatra II, which was built around the sample winged scarab I made for the step out article included in the magazine. I was experimenting with Egyptian coil links, and included sections of the links wrapped with wire and watch parts.
The butterfly hairpin I made as a theme challenge piece for the Etsy Wire Artisans Guild was next on the list. I felt that it was a visually strong piece, and had a lot of interesting detail, so it had a good chance of being selected.
Number four was The Queen of Hearts pendant I finished the weekend before entries were submitted. It was another piece loaded with details, and I knew it would be a strong contender.
I wanted to include at least one of my signature seahorse designs, and thought of entering my personal one, but couldn't bear the thought of not being able to wear it for a whole month, so I entered the copper and seed bead seahorse earrings I made last summer. These were the only ones which weren't selected for the show, but they sold in my Etsy shop the day of the opening, so it all worked out quite well.
The show is open to the public, and is located in the John B. Davis Gallery in the lower level of the Fine Arts building on the ISU campus. The show runs through April 30th. Come take a look if you are in the neighborhood!
I have always loved making things with my hands. It has always amazed me that I am able to take an image in my mind and make it come into form. Like magic!
I will never have enough time to create all the wonderful things waiting to come to life from my imagination, but you can see a few of the lucky ones that actually get made here.
I hope they bring a bit of joy to your day!
Thanks for looking!