OPB reviews Quality is Contagious: John Economaki and Bridge City Tool Works

OPB’s Aaron Spencer interviewed artist and tool-maker John Economaki about his current exhibition at Museum of Contemporary Craft for an upcoming episode of Oregon Art Beat. Excerpts from that interview were included in a recent review of Quality is Contagious, published on OPB.org.

From the article:

“Tools are not often thought of as art. They’re pragmatic utensils whose functionality is creation, a means to an end. They’re an artist’s paintbrush or a sculptor’s chisel.

But John Economaki sees tools differently. His tools have weight, sexy lines and rich finishes. Not the assembly-line items you let sit in a garage, but instead the kinds of tools you’d see on a display table at Restoration Hardware.

‘Tools sit and do nothing most of the time,” Economaki says, “and I always thought, why can’t they have a function when they’re doing nothing? Why can’t they be inspirational just through their presence? Why can’t they be a silent voice of encouragement to the maker?’”

Economaki and his company, Bridge City Tool Works, produce 8,000-10,000 tools a year on a made-to-order basis through manufacturing houses all over the country. His work is featured in a new book Quality is Contagious and in an exhibit by the same name now open at the Museum of Contemporary Craft in Portland. The exhibition is on view at MoCC until February 8, 2014.

Read the full review on OPB.org here.

Posted on 08/22 at 05:40 AM

PODCAST: A Conversation with Cumbersome Multiples, MoCC Open Studio Artists-in-Residence

Part open studio, part residency, part master class, Museum of Contemporary Craft (MoCC) has invited consummate makers of all types to temporarily relocate their studios to the Lab for week-long terms, July 8 through August 4. Resident artists will work from the Lab during daily open hours, 11am-6pm, connecting directly with the Museum’s audiences as they engage in their creative practice. In addition, artists will offer daily two-hour, drop-in workshops for visitors of all ages to have access the materials, processes, and concepts of various crafts. The intent of the Open Studio summer residency is to provide a public venue for the work that often happens behind the scenes in the artist studio. We believe that this residency provides a wonderful opportunity to share publicly all the starts, stops, challenges, and inspirations that happen as work is created. Furthermore, we hope to provide a space for direct and open dialogue between creative practitioners and the community around craft-based ideas, practices, and processes.

MoCC Open Studio Artists-in-Residence: Tracy Schlapp and Daniel Duford of Cumbersome Multiples



Volunteer project manager Greg Stuart discusses the studio practice of Tracy Schlapp and Daniel Duford of Cumbersome Multiples, Open Studio Artists-in-Residence, July 15 – 20, 2013.

Tree Dreams is a collaborative partnership between Cumbersome Multiples and Bay Area writer, Kristin Kaye, author of Tree Dreams: A Field Guide, Vol. 1. This ongoing project shares the devotional act of tagging trees with the public at large. During the residency, Cumbersome Multiples will be printing broadsides on their proofing press, (using antique wooden type). Some of the language in the broadsides will be generated by the conversations that they have with participants and passersby. They will also be carving and printing images for future Tree Dreams volumes. And finally, they will be spending time attending to the labor of assembling Tree Dreams tagging kits. Workshop participants will have the opportunity to assemble their own Tree Dreams kit, designed especially for the Museum of Contemporary Craft. Participants will sew a hand-printed book cover to a pre-printed interior and assemble tagging kits. They will then leave the studio to tag together on the park blocks — or just outside of the museum to build a shrine. Images from the outdoor activity will be posted at Tree-dreams.org and be shared with the MoCC community.

Cumbersome Multiples is a Portland-based print and design collective led by husband and wife artist team Daniel Duford and Tracy Schlapp, Cumbersome Multiples collaborates with artists and writers to create limited-edition multiples using a 1928 Chandler and Price letterpress, a cabinet of mixed lead type, block prints and whatever else happens to be in the studio. Cumbersome Multiples leads print-based workshops and produces small-batch paper ephemera such as cards, notes and stationery.

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Posted on 08/12 at 02:14 PM

PODCAST: A Conversation with Abi Spring, MoCC Open Studio Artist-in-Residence

In this podcast, volunteer project manager Greg Stuart discusses the studio practice of Abi Spring, who was MoCC’s Open Studio Artist-in-Residence from July 9 – 13, 2013. Spring’s work revolved around a common aspect of craft – repetition – and a traditional craft material – glass – to investigate meditative process and how the accumulation of marks in an object can result in an object that invites contemplation. Like the layers of glacial ice that hold records of atmospheric history, each layer in this piece will reveal a record of the day it was made. As part of a series of work that she will continue past the residency period, each day Spring took a single piece of clear glass, and made regular repeating drip marks with white glass paint enamel in lines over the surface. She also had a piece of glass available daily for visitors to paint on with the same white enamels. Each day this panel was replaced so that the visitors who were inclined to could add a row of drips or marks. At the end of the week this collaborative piece was fired into one solid panel that presents as a monolithic record of the time period.

Open Studio Artist-in-Residence Interview: Abi Spring



Volunteer project manager Greg Stuart discusses the studio practice of Abi Spring, Open Studio Artist-in-Residence, July 9 – 13, 2013.

About Abi Spring
Spring holds degrees from the Australian National University, Canberra and Maine College of Art, Portland, and has exhibited in numerous galleries throughout Oregon and Washington. She is inspired by music, in the way tonal modulations, rhythms, harmonies, and patterns combine and function as a portal to another world. She wants to create the visual equivalent with her work in glass objects that function as triggers for emotional states that cannot be defined by language.

About the MoCC Artist-in-Residency Program
Part open studio, part residency, part master class, the Artist-in-Residency program at Museum of Contemporary Craft invites consummate makers of all types to temporarily relocate their studios to the Lab for week-long terms. Resident artists work from the Lab during daily open hours, 11am-6pm, and connect directly with the Museum’s audiences as they engage in their creative practice. Artists also offer daily two-hour, drop-in workshops for visitors of all ages to have access the materials, processes, and concepts of various crafts. The intent of the Open Studio summer residency is to provide a space for direct and open dialogue between creative practitioners and the community around craft-based ideas, practices, and processes.

Download

Posted on 07/22 at 08:54 AM

East and West: The Hammered Metal Object

East and West: The Hammered Metal Object is an exhibition of 11 Japanese and 11 American artists’ contemporary interpretations of the ancient art form of hammered metal. These metal workers from different parts of the world share an understanding of the aesthetic possibilities of gathering and controlling a hard, but malleable substance. In their hands, metal art moves beyond functionality to objects that celebrate and enhance the inherent beauty of the metal.

Contemporary Japanese and American metal artwork reflect the emphasis within the two traditions. Very similar tools are used, but the results are quite different. East and West: The Hammered Metal Object will include two works by each of the 22 invited artists and will showcase a wide range of methods and styles.

The artwork can be seen in the Portland area at the Waterstone Gallery and the Museum of Contemporary Craft Gallery Store. Events planned to coincide with the opening of the exhibition include a panel discussion on Aug 2 from 6-9 pm at the Museum of Contemporary Craft. The panel will include artists from both countries responding to questions from a moderator and the audience.

This exhibition also allows an opportunity for the metal artists to learn from one another. Several of the Japanese artists will be conducting workshops teaching Japanese techniques and all of the visiting artists will participate in an informal “hammer-in” during the day on August 2.

Posted on 07/11 at 11:30 AM

PODCAST: WorldCraft Lecture: Agus Ismoyo and Nia Fliam of Studio Brahma Tirta Sari

Agus Ismoyo (Indonesian) and Nia Fliam (American) have been working collaboratively to produce contemporary batik textiles in their studio, Brama Tirta Sari, (Yogyakarta, Indonesia), since 1985. Brahma Tirta Sari, which means creativity is the source of all knowledge, was founded on the belief that there are many relevant traditions rooted in cultures throughout the world. Ismoyo’s ancestors were batik makers in the court city of Solo in Java. He was trained in industrial management at the Industrial Academy (AKPRIND) in Yogyakarta. Fliam originally explored dye resist techniques from Africa and Asia in America. She completed her fine arts degree at Pratt Institute in New York City before coming to Indonesia in 1983 to study traditional batik. Currently, Brahma Tirta Sari is recognized for their intricate, nuanced, and time-intensive fine art textiles. The studio has received critical acclaim for their use of traditional textile techniques to explore the contemporary potential of the medium. Ismoyo and Fliam have exhibited worldwide, and this year, will be featured in the exhibition Out of Southeast Asia: Art that Sustains at the Textile Museum of Washington D.C., April 12 – October 13, 2013.

This lecture was cosponsored by Museum of Contemporary Craft (MoCC) and the World Affairs Council.

WorldCraft Lecture: Agus Ismoyo and Nia Fliam of Studio Brahma Tirta Sari



Agus Ismoyo (Indonesian) and Nia Fliam (American), two celebrated batik artists, lecture on their work and on the variety and significance of Indonesian batik.

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Posted on 07/10 at 02:00 AM

PODCAST: WorldCraft Lecture with Martha Banyas

MoCC is pleased to welcome Martha Banyas, collector and world traveler, who will present a brief history of batik cloth in Java, Indonesia. Recognized by UNESCO as an Intangible World Heritage, the art and craft of batik has a singular and rich legacy that is intrinsically tied to the cultural life of Indonesia. Banyas will discuss batik’s early role in sea trade, its influence on historic events, and its current cultural and economic status. Using batiks from her personal collection, Banyas will introduce the techniques of the craft, and survey some regional and historic styles.

WorldCraft Lecture: Martha Banyas



MoCC is pleased to welcome Martha Banyas, collector and world traveler, who will present a brief history of batik cloth in Java, Indonesia.

Download (mp3)
Subscribe to the Museum podcast for other great recordings.

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Posted on 07/05 at 02:12 PM

PODCAST: CounterCraft: Crafting Conversation

PSU’s MFA in Art and Social Practice presents Crafting Conversation to Get What You Want: Art and Social Practice and the Art of the Ask, a panel discussion organized and moderated by Jen Delos Reyes in conjunction with CounterCraft, six weeks of programs, workshops, and events culminating with Open Engagement 2013, PSU’s annual conference exploring art and social practice.

Crafting Conversation to Get What You Want: Art and Social Practice and the Art of the Ask will ask socially engaged artists Harrell Fletcher, MK Guth, and Ariana Jacob, to reflect on how they reach out to communities, craft an ask, and otherwise manage to convince collaborators and institutions to realize projects along side them.

CounterCraft: Crafting Conversation



Museum of Contemporary Craft and PSU’s MFA in Art and Social Practice presents Crafting Conversation to Get What You Want: Art and Social Practice and the Art of the Ask.

Download (mp3)
Subscribe to the Museum podcast for other great recordings.

Download

Posted on 07/02 at 02:54 PM

PODCAST: CraftPerspectives Symposium: Craft and Social Practice

This symposium is in conjunction with Open Engagement, an international conference that explores socially engaged art making organized by Portland State University’s Art and Social Practice MFA concentration. Craft and Social Practice is a project of Museum of Contemporary Craft that will explore the role of craft-based media and technique in relation to social practice. In recent decades, many artists have turned to an interdisciplinary approach to making that draws from a range of materials and processes. The use of handcraft with project-based works has become an increasing trend. Perhaps rooted in the counterculture and DIY movements of the 20th century, craft has become a compelling vehicle to bring together collaborators to engage in social work, ranging from critical resistance to collaborative gesture.

This symposium seeks to explore: How can practices that have traditionally emphasized the production of objects play a part in a contemporary art movement that is invested in dialogue and the social as a means of production? What is it about craft-based media that is appealing to socially-engaged artists and how is it being engaged? How has craft always been a social practice, from workshop to dining table?

CraftPerspectives Symposium: Craft and Social Practice



This symposium is in conjunction with Open Engagement, an international conference that explores socially engaged art making organized by Portland State University’s Art and Social Practice MFA concentration. Craft and Social Practice is a project of Muse


Download (mp3)
Subscribe to the Museum podcast for other great recordings.

Download

Posted on 06/26 at 09:55 AM

PODCAST: Curatorial Walkthrough of Soundforge

Soundforge continues the Museum’s SoundCraft series with a multimedia installation, the result of a two-year collaboration between metalsmith Gabriel Craig and composer Michael Remson. The installation combines video, audio, and sculptural elements in an interactive piece that explores forging metal as an act of fabrication and percussion. Audiences are invited to use custom hand-carved wooden mallets to play hand-forged steel keyed instruments. As each key is tuned to complement the musical score, it is through striking the keys that viewers successfully engage and complete the work.

Curatorial Walkthrough: Soundforge



MoCC Director and Chief Curator Namita Wiggers, with artists Gabriel Craig and Michael Remson, presents an in depth look at Soundforge, on view through September 21, 2013.

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Posted on 06/24 at 12:19 PM

PODCAST: Curatorial Walkthrough, Object Focus: The Bowl, Parts 1 + 2

Objects that occupy daily lives can be some of the most challenging to present, analyze and consider in a museum environment. The second in the Object Focus series, this exhibition focuses on an archetypal cultural form: the bowl. Commonplace and familiar, the bowl can range from utilitarian to decorative, functional to conceptual. Pairing writers from a range of disciplines with bowls from the Museum’s collection and public and private collections, this exhibition focuses on writing and thinking about simple, everyday objects. The exhibition will include interactive elements for visitors to handle a variety of bowls, and space for collective thoughts and responses in writing to help build fresh perspectives on this powerful, yet often overlooked form. The exhibition will be unveiled and dismantled in two phases.

Object Focus: The Bowl, Reflect + Respond, pairs objects from local collections and the MoCC archive with short narratives written by individuals from a range of disciplines. The words of chefs, anthropologists, and poets will appear alongside those of critics, makers, and curators, all extolling on the art and craft of the bowl in its myriad incarnations. This portion of Object Focus will welcome visitors to contribute their own reflections on the bowl inspired by a work on display or by an object in your collection at home.

Object Focus: The Bowl, Engage + Use includes interactive elements for visitors to handle a variety of bowls, and space for collective thoughts and responses in writing to help build fresh perspectives on this powerful, yet often overlooked form.

Curatorial Walkthrough: Object Focus the Bowl, Part 1



Chief Curator Namita Wiggers and Curator of Collection Nicole Nathan offer an in depth look at Object Focus: The Bowl, Part 1, on view through August 3, 2013.
Download (mp3).

Curatorial Walkthrough: Object Focus the Bowl, Part 2



MoCC Director and Chief Curator Namita Wiggers offers an in depth look at Object Focus: The Bowl, Engage + Use, on view through September 21, 2013.

Download (mp3).

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Posted on 06/03 at 11:18 AM

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