Members’ Show: Contemporary Craft at its Finest is a juried exhibition showcasing original art that showcases the best of handcrafted work by Florida CraftArt members. From across Florida, 40 artists created 70 pieces from intricate jewelry to glass sculptures. Visitors will have the opportunity to virtually meet the artists and the show’s judge at the opening reception on Friday, May 8 at 5:30 p.m.
Gallery Manager Liz Rogers highlights some pieces from the show. “A fascinating cabinet was created by Al Bibbero from Venice, Florida. He titled it “Tipping Point-A Study in Balance,” because he said that even when the world feels upside down, we can find a way to make it work. It seems very appropriate for these strange and unusual times. He created the wall cabinet with hard maple using quilted maple front and the lid. The red and black coloring was hand-applied using organic dyes. He will also donate half of his proceeds to a local COVID 19 relief fund.”
From Modesto, California, Jamie Eakin has several beaded jewelry pieces in the show. “Cat Love” is fashioned from gemstones and glass beads with a carved bone image of a cat. The artist’s motto is, “Life is too short to wear ordinary jewelry” and so she strives to spread the joy of wearing unique beaded creations.
Susan Gott, a renowned glass artist working in Tampa, is showing “Spring Moon” which she sand cast and sand molded the face, adding handmade leaves, gold and murrini (colored glass patterns). In her artist statement, she says, “My spiritual nature of the work embodies an interest in mythological imagery, symbolism, and philosophies from historic and ancient cultures. I am intensely interested in ancient civilizations, symbols of ritual art, ancient myths and how they connect us, most deeply, with our own nature and our place in this world. The resulting glass, with primitive qualities and metaphors, are a visual re—presentation of the cycles of life. The archetypal images that emerge explore spirituality, existence, humor, love, magic, dualities and the beauty of life.”
For art lovers who also love the sea, a freeform crocheted shawl depicting a coral reef would make the perfect accessory. Safety Harbor artist Barbara Insalaco uses natural fibers such as silk, wool, cotton and linen with a variety of techniques including crocheting, felting and knitting.
Kevin Knittel, whose work was recently added to the permanent collection of the Tampa Museum of Art, works with a cast-paper assemblage technique that he finishes with metal oxides and cementitious finishes.
Panama City artist Emilie Pritchard creates engineered structures such as “Circles,” a 10-inch long necklace fashioned from oxidized sterling silver, 14 karat-gold-filled tubes and thread. Her technique produces pieces that hold their shape, but because they are not soldered into a single unit, they are not entirely rigid and can move with the body. The mathematical basis of the work provides clarity within complex designs and allows the artist to create pieces that enclose a large volume of space while remaining open and minimalist.
“The first Members’ Show was held in 1951,” says Florida CraftArt’s Executive Director Katie Deits. “As a statewide, member-supported organization, we display outstanding handmade objects, made by some of the best craftspeople in the country. Half of our gallery on Central Avenue features only Florida artists while the exhibition gallery, as well as our annual CraftArt Festival in November, showcases fine craft artists from around the world.”
The exhibition will be judged by Alison Schaeffler-Murphy, an art museum professional from St. Augustine, who will present the awards at the virtual reception. The show runs through August 31 when the People’s Choice Award will be presented at the closing reception. People can vote for their favorite work of art on Florida CraftArt’s Facebook page under Photos\Members Show.
Florida CraftArt is located at 501 Central Avenue in St. Petersburg. For more information, visit www.FloridaCraftArt.org or call (727) 821-7391. Florida CraftArt is a nonprofit organization founded in 1951 and headquartered in St. Petersburg. Its mission is to grow the statewide creative economy by engaging the community and advancing Florida’s fine craft artists and their work. Fine craft art is presented in its 2,500-square-foot retail gallery and curated exhibitions are featured in its adjacent exhibition gallery. Florida CraftArt is the only statewide organization offering artists a platform to show and sell their work.
About the exhibition judge:
Alison Schaeffler-Murphy earned her Master of Arts in History and Criticism of Art, Master of Arts in Arts Administration, graduate certificates in Museum Studies and Art Museum Education, and her bachelor’s degree in art education from Florida State University. She has worked as a curator at several art museums, as a program director and gallery manager with Florida’s Division of Cultural Affairs, served as instructor of art appreciation at Daytona State College, and fulfilled numerous roles for many nonprofit arts organizations. She has been working in glass for over 30 years. Ms. Schaeffler-Murphy recognizes that all arts and craft creations serve an important role in every person’s life.