Craftspeople answer the question: What are you working on?

As part of our Oct. 2 Craft Issue, we asked local craft artists to describe their recent work. Here are a few that we featured in the print edition: Ray Jones, Tom Shields, Lesley Keeble, Ed Beyers and Holden McCurry, Rebecca Kempson and Gertrude Graham Smith. Stay tuned for comments from the dozens of other craft artists we heard from.

Rebecca Kempson

I am currently working on changing the way I costume my figures by felting wool and dyeing it. This process is done using a mat of off-white prefelt that is felted, then dyed with subtle coloring. After the felted yardage is dyed, stamped cotton fabric enhanced with alcohol based dyes is appliqued to the surface of the garment and beading, plus hand stitching, add the final design work. I will be teaching a doll making class at John C. Campbell in May 2014.

Gertrude Graham Smith aka Gay Smith

Lighting up, what we crave, what it’s about? With this, my livelihood and passion for making pots converge blissfully. With the candelabra, metaphysically, references include fire and light, survival, transformation, transcendence. Who lit the first candle, an invention over 5,000 years old? Perhaps, there’s convergence of necessity, luxury, history, whimsy and a spin of the pottery wheel in the exploration of candelabra and work as a ceramic artist.

Ray Jones

I’m working on a box that was ordered last year at the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show. This is one of my favorite designs, which I call “Omega.” It stands about 18 inches tall and opens to 36 inches wide and has 12 removable trays inside. Like all of my boxes, it is made entirely of wood. My client has selected bamboo for the body, with Honduras rosewood burl hinges and pommele bosse trays.

Tom Shields

I have recently been finishing up a commission for a client. He purchased four Heywood-Wakefield mid-century modern tables for me, and I cut them up and built them into each other. I usually work with found chairs, so this project has been a fun and challenging leap into new territory. I have maintained my same aesthetic, but enjoyed seeing how much the finished product changed due to the style and form of these mid-century modern pieces.

Lesley Keeble

I am working on a series of Humpty Dumpty sculptures. I just finished my first interpretation of the famous egg, inspired by Oscar Wilde. He sports a polka dot silk knicker suit, topstitched leather boots and gloves and a foppish wig from silk roving.Sculpting a clay egg was not so easy! I swore I would never do it again, but my second Humpty is underway and wearing red leather, steel chains and studs!

Gary Rawlins

For several months now, I’ve been working on a mahogany sideboard cabinet. It is a very challenging project, utilizing hand cut dovetails and wedged tenons for the case, and a pair of dovetailed drawers, with ebony fronts. Two ebony doors will fit beneath the drawers, and the case will be supported on an ebony stand.

Ed Byers and Holden McCurry

Our newest ceramic work is developed through a collaborative process using hand-built earthenware forms combined with steel and wood. By stacking and balancing elements, we are able to express influences from nature and totemic forms. Our finishes include uniquely developed terra sigillatas, slips and glazes.

About Micah Wilkins
Micah Wilkins began her time at Mountain Xpress as an intern while a student at Warren Wilson College, where she studied history and creative writing. After graduating in December, 2013, she continued writing for the Xpress as a freelancer.

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