Teaser: Broken Boxes | Cara Romero

“Indigenous people are artists. We look at the world in a different way and we see beauty in everything. We’re tied to the mediums that we’re using. We’re putting our hands in clay and we’re stripping willows to make things. We’re sewing regalia. We’re touching these objects of our ancestors and we’re talking to our ancestors.”

– Cara Romero

 

 

Broken Boxes, an exhibition curated by Ginger Dunnill and Cannupa Hanska Luger, features Douglas Miles and 40 other creators from around the world who are affecting change in their work. All of the participants have appeared on Dunnill’s Broken Boxes Podcast.

There will be a catalog realease event at form & concept on Friday, September 29 from 5-7 pm. Click here to learn more, and make sure to RSVP on Facebook.

Art Network: Brian Fleetwood & Tania Larsson

Over the first 16 months of form & concept, we’ve discovered that a gallery’s network grows like tree roots. Word passes from one artist, journalist, collector or curator to the next, forming a big, beautiful tangle that miraculously connects back to us. When it comes to picking new artwork for our exhibitions and the form & concept shop, we’ll tap our network of artists and trace the roots of their influences in search of something that speaks to us.

Case in point: Santa Fe artist Brian Fleetwood, who has exhibited his wearable sculptures in the shop since we opened, introduced us to Tania Larsson. He was one of Larsson’s professors at the Institute of American Indian Arts, and though their work is markedly different, they share a proclivity for nature-inspired materials and forms that clearly links them. Scroll down to see artwork and read bios from Fleetwood and Larson.

Tania Larsson

Tania Larsson is of Gwich’in and Swedish descent and she was born and raised in France. At the age of fifteen, she moved to Canada with her family with the goal of reconnecting to her culture and her land. She is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Fine Arts with a focus in digital arts and jewelry at the Institute of American Indian Arts. Tania is a founding member of Dene Nahjo, a non-profit organization that focuses on cultural revitalization projects. She constantly seeks out opportunities to learn traditional practices such as tanning hides on the land, making tools and sewing. To create her intricate jewelry works, she combines her traditional skills and contemporary arts education.

Tania Larsson Jewelry- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Tania Larsson, Muskox Shield Ring, diamond, 22k gold, sterling silver, muskox horn, $975.
Tania Larsson Jewelry- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Tania Larsson, Muskox Necklace, muskox horn, vintage Venetian glass beads, sterling silver, $185
Tania Larsson Jewelry- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Tania Larsson, Dentalium & Coral Earrings, dentalium shell, sterling silver, 18k gold, .04 ct (TDW) diamonds, $90.

Brian Fleetwood

Brian Fleetwood is a Santa Fe-based jewelry artist whose work is addresses the connections between knowledge and the act of making, and the ways we can use making as a way of knowing. His work explores scientific themes, especially relating to biology and ecology, systems, and taxonomy. Brian holds an MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University, and is currently teaching at the Institute of American Indian Arts.

Brian Fleetwood Jewelry- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Brian Fleetwood, Spore Brooch, muslin, rubber, copper, steel, $140.
Brian Fleetwood Jewelry- Form and Concept Gallery- Form and Concept
Brian Fleetwood, Single Branch Silk Earrings, silk, sterling silver, $80.
Brian Fleetwood Jewelry- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Brian Fleetwood, 3D Printed Flower Pin, 3D printed plastic, sterling silver, $260.

Artist Interview: Matthew Szösz

Matthew Szösz Artist- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Matthew Szösz (right) creates one of the glass sculptures in his Inflatables series.

Seattle-based artist Matthew Szösz approaches materials with an innate impulse to alter, build and investigate. Using glass as his primary medium, he creates performance-based experiments that bring the material into a state of flux. His completed sculptures capture the dynamic lines of molten glass. Szösz harbors an enduring fascination for the “state change” of glass from solid to liquid (and back again), but producing the necessary conditions to successfully reshape the medium is a delicate process. A sculpture can shatter if just one of many variables tips in the wrong direction. “You can never really force glass,” he told us. “If it’s not happy, it just breaks and that’s that.”

Szösz says 75 to 80% of his artworks break, though working through the process is the real reward for him. He sets up the conditions for a state change, but nature is the ultimate decider. We spoke to Szösz about his path to becoming a glass artist and his penchant for unbridled experimentation:

Matthew Szösz Glass Artist- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Matthew Szösz, Untitled (inflatable) no. 61b, fused and inflated glass, 17 x 8 x 2 in.

You started working with glass in graduate school at the Rhode Island School of Design. What did you do before that? 

I got my undergraduate education in furniture design, but within the first couple of years after I graduated, I started working for glass sculptors in non-glass roles. I was a mold maker and a hardware person and a tool maker, and I just kept getting traded from one glass artist to another. I spent about 8 years between undergraduate and graduate making other peoples’ glass. 

I went to grad school kind of late. I was in my early 30’s. But that period between was actually really helpful. It gave me an idea of what I wanted to do and how I wanted to do it. I was ready to put a lot of work into it. 

What else did you learn from those years before graduate school? 

Working with multiple people, I really got a chance to see how artists structured their various practices so that they could keep making art. All of them had different ways of going about that: contract work and gallery work and teaching. It really gave me a chance to see a lot of different options.

Matthew Szösz Glass Artist- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Matthew Szösz, Untitled (inflatable) no. 46p, fused and inflated glass, 11 x 13 x 14 in.

What was it about glass that drew you to work with the material? 

The thing that’s kept me with it is that it’s incredibly versatile material. It has a lot of different behaviors, and a lot of different states. You’re always working with it when it’s in state change, changing from a liquid to a solid. It’s a very strange material, there’s a lot of problem-solving with it, and it has a very good idea of what it likes to do and what it doesn’t like to do. I spend a lot of my time just experimenting with it.

There’s an element of performance to your art making. What’s more important, the process or the finished object? 

I make objects, and I’m invested in making quality objects, with a very strong craft background. But the things that I really enjoy are the moments when things work or don’t work, and the experimenting that I do trying out new things and seeing if they fail. There’s a certain amount of suspense and surprise. When it actually does work, you get the idea that you’re working as a team with the material, kind of a partnership rather than just imposing your idea on something else. There’s a response from the material that’s not necessarily predictable.

Matthew Szösz Glass Artist- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Matthew Szösz, Untitled (inflatable) no. 23, fused and inflated glass, 18 x 7 x 9 in.

How is working with glass different from your previous design work with wood, metal and other materials? 

It’s definitely different from ceramics or woodworking or metalworking in that there is an enormous number of variables, from the base chemistry to the temperature. Everything’s in the air at once.

There’s a lot of times where I’ll make something, and make it the same way 3 or 4 times, and get different results, just because of differences in temperature or circumstance. Sometimes the humidity in the room affects it. It’s a lot more like working with a partner than working with a material. A lot of them do fail, even with processes that I’ve been doing for almost ten years now. 

Is that frustrating? Gratifying?

I used to have a professor that said “no surprise for the artist, no surprise for the audience.” I think that’s very true. If I wasn’t being surprised, I would get bored and probably stop playing around with it. That surprise, and that thing where you create something that’s independent of you a little bit, where it’s as much a product of the material and circumstance that you set up as well as your own vision, that’s the thing that’s kind of exciting for me.

Matthew Szösz Glass Artist- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Matthew Szösz, Untitled (inflatable) no. 47c, fused and inflated glass, 24 x 11 x 10 in.

What type of glass do you use in your sculptures? 

Typically I use window glass for them. There’s two reasons for that. One is that it’s free, usually. I just use recycled windows. Then there are certain things about the material that I really like. It adds in a couple of behaviors that add extra variables, which are usually good.

Window glass is different from blowing glass or casting glass or fusing glass that you usually see in glass pieces. It’s got a very narrow range of malleability, temperature-wise. Blowing glass is engineered to give you a very long window of time to work with it. It stays stretchy and elastic but doesn’t get gloopy. Window glass is made to go through machinery and cool off as quickly as possible so you can maximize your output. I heat it up, pull it out and it freezes very quickly. It also doesn’t deal with heat very well, especially the older glass, especially the salvage windows. You’ll get a bunch of different glass types from old windows, and most of the glass is not as well honed. The chemistry is not as fine-tuned.

How do you create the inflated glass sculptures that are on view at form & concept? 

You can think of them as a series of envelopes that are connected. There are these chambers that are created flat inside the glass and share this common area. I do that by putting one piece of glass over the other with a ceramic paper. When you heat it up to fusing, it all heats up and fuses together, and that ceramic paper creates areas that don’t fuse. Somewhere in there I’ll add a little brass tube, and that puts the air inside of it. They’re a little bit like pool inflatables, but there is more of a limit in the shapes that you make because the glass starts out flat.

Do you envision the sculptures in three dimensions as you’re building them out of flat pieces of glass? 

I typically start out with an idea of what it’s going to look like when it’s three-dimensional. I can get pretty close most of the time with that. The best ones are still the ones that are most surprising, though. I want to get the most material-influenced shapes. I’m looking to end up with these things that I don’t think of when I’m starting out. 

Click here to browse all of Szösz’s artwork in the form & concept collection.

Heather Bradley’s Innominate Series

After injuring her neck in an accident, Heather Bradley decided to reflect on rupture and healing in a new installation of ceramic sculptures titled innominate. We visited the artist’s Santa Fe studio to discuss her art and massage practices, both of which have helped her to recover—and create. Read the full interview below, and come see Bradley’s monumental innominate installation on a 30-foot stretch of wall at form & concept.

Heather Bradley Ceramics- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Heather Bradley, Spinal #3, stoneware, 12.5 x 5.5 x 5.5 in.

What does the title of your new series, innominate, mean? 

The series is innominate, which is a Latin word that means “unnamed.” It’s what they were calling the pelvic bone for a while, because it’s so mysterious. It was also what my massage school class chose to name itself.

It’s a special word for me in that it encompasses a lot of mystery and the unknown. I was having a really hard time titling the piece because it was such a wide range of subjects for me. I like the title innominate because it feels like it didn’t classify it too much.

You’re weaving together several personal stories in this series. Tell us about the different threads. 

One thing that always goes into my work is whatever my heart is going through, what’s really happening in my personal life. Personal stories always go into it, but I try to encrypt that somewhat. I want there to be a sense when you look at the work that this person has put her heart and soul into the work in some kind of intimate way, but I don’t want it to be totally revealing.

I made this work while I was in massage school, but also I was nursing a whiplash injury. It’s about healing and really feeling my body and my bones and my skin and my muscles. I was learning the insides of bodies and feeling that connection between my own experience of giving massage and healing from my whiplash injury.

Heather Bradley Ceramicist- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Heather Bradley, Arterial #12, stoneware, 4 x 4 x 4 in.

What drew you to massage school? 

I decided to go to massage school because I’ve always loved to work with my hands. I’ve also wanted other people to feel comfortable in their own skin. I wanted to be of service to people. It was a six-month program. A month in, I had a pretty serious car accident. I got rear ended and I found myself with whiplash, and in desperate need of massage. So during massage school I really felt how important it is for someone to heal.

When I first had my car accident I was told by my chiropractor and the neurologist that I really needed to stop clay work. I started seeing a chiropractor three times a week and massage therapist once or twice a week. The car accident changed the curve of my sine. I felt like I hadn’t spent a lot of time thinking about my spine or the vertabrae and how everything fits together.

How did the experience of injuring yourself and healing manifest in the innominate series?

I feel like the necks of my pots have always been pretty prominent. It’s kind of a signature thing. When I started working on the necks this time, there was a special sensitivity in my fingers that I didn’t have before.

The necks of the pots started reminding me of my own neck, and how when you’re working on someone’s neck you can really feel the individual vertebra. It’s really important for the therapist to have that sensitivity in their fingers because the neck is so delicate. It just felt so similar to me, to create the vertebral column in the clay after my own vertebral column had been adjusted.

Heather Bradley Ceramicist- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Heather Bradley, Handheld II, ceramic.

What are some other similarities that you’ve discovered between your art practice and massage?

In school we took a class called The Healing Power of Touch. It wasn’t so much about special techniques with your fingers. It was about the importance of going into a massage with the right mindset and intention for that person and yourself. You have to go in with clean energy. 

I related that right away to the way I make art. I’ve always thought that whatever I’m feeling when I go into the studio comes out into the clay. The clay feels that and the clay sees that.

What about the actual technique of shaping clay versus moving the body?

When you first learn to close a vessel when you’re doing in pottery, you learn that your inside finger is important in relation to what your outside finger is doing. Finger coordination in massage felt really similar in that way.

The main thing is the actual physical sensation of the wet clay on your hands and the way it responds to your fingers. That’s really similar when you’re working on a body. It’ll first feel like there’s no response, and then eventually your fingers start to feel the details.

Heather Bradley Ceramicist- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Heather Bradley, Spinal #7, porcelain, 13 x 6.5 x 6.5 in.

Describe the compositional decisions that went into creating the innominate installation.

One thing that was really important to me from the beginning was the color red. There had to be red pieces that felt like blood. I wanted it to be like a vein through the installation. So I started with the red.

And then there’s the white porcelain pots that I made. All of them have necks that are like spines, with black lines on them. Music has always been a big influence on my work, so I wanted to put the white pots on the wall in a way that mimics sheet music.

How did you decide to put text directly on the wall?

Once I put the pots together it felt like there was some element missing. I’ve always been a writer. When I went to India I spent 6 months writing a book. I write, write, write.

One of the elements of the show is journal pieces that I made out of porcelain slabs. I shook them out and made them thin so they’d kind of echo paper. And then I literally wrote my journal entries on them. They’re personal about my relationship or dramas that went on at the time. But I though they worked with the show. The writing element just tied it all together. I think of the journal pages and the writing on the wall as just one piece. The verbal part of the show.

Heather Bradley Ceramicist- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Heather Bradley, Arterial #6, stoneware, 4 x 4 x 4 in.

So, despite being told not to massage or work with clay, they’re the things that helped you heal? 

Yeah, I think so. When I first got into the studio, I had so much pain and numbness in my neck and shoulders. My ego got crazy and I thought, I’m gonna make the biggest pieces I’ve ever made. And I tried to muscle through making these gigantic pieces, but they had no grace. They just went back into the slop pile. When I started to slow down and think about what would be an honest thing for me to make in this situation, they got smaller and more intimate.

Click here to view all of Heather Bradley’s work in the form & concept collection.

Heather Bradley- innominate ceramics installation- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico

Introducing Lisa Klakulak

Lisa Klakulak Artist Portrait- American Craft Magazine- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Lisa Klakulak. Photo by Michael Mauney for American Craft Magazine.

Lisa Klakulak first exhibited at form & concept this winter in Shifting Landscapes, our juried show with Surface Design Association. She’s a longtime member of the organization, and her work was a perfect fit for the place-themed show. Klakulak has traveled the world studying the textiles of diverse cultures, from Appalachia to India, West Africa and Spain. On her far-flung travels, she also takes in the flora, fauna and geography that surrounds her in search of inspiration. Her contribution to Shifting Landscapes captured the dynamism of glacial formations in a series of vivid blue necklaces:

Lisa Klakulak- Felt Necklaces- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico

Now Klakulak is one of our newest represented artists, and she draws inspiration from lava flows in a fresh series of wearable artworks. We’ve been eagerly learning about her travels and their impact on her work. It came as no surprise that she was featured in American Craft Magazine, in a lovely profile about her inclination for globe-trotting:

Travel is a crucial artistic resource for Klakulak. And yet art is not what compels her to leave home. “The places I’ve chosen to go are dramatically different from the world I live in. Travel turns my world upside down and challenges me,” she says. “My artwork is how I process these visual and emotional experiences. I wouldn’t say that I travel to make art; I make art because I travel.”

Klakulak has been artistic since she was very young, growing up in the suburbs of Detroit. Her interest in culturally diverse travel emerged in her teens. On one trip to the Caribbean with her father, she recalls being more intrigued by the people working at the resort than by the other guests. Then there was the eye-opening class trip to Nicaragua during her college years at Colorado State University, where she earned a degree in fiber arts in 1997. But it was two years after graduation, on a six-month spiritual and artistic quest with a boyfriend through India, Nepal, and Thailand, that she began to meld art and travel.

“It was the most monumental trip of my life,” she says. Forgoing the beaten path in favor of rural villages rife with textile traditions – once traveling a week by camel – she was taken by the “magnificence of work made with the simplest of materials. The poverty of materials and resources but the richness of the forms was totally inspiring,” she recalls. She gravitated to the highly ornamented Rajasthani embroidery of northwestern India and natural dye processes, as well as patterns in the landscape, and returned to the United States eager to expand her knowledge of fiber arts.

From there, Klakulak worked as a teaching assistant at the Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina, where she took up the medium of felt in 2000. She went on to complete a two-year residency at the Appalachian Center for Craft in Tennessee. She taught felting and other textile techniques to public schoolchildren through the center’s outreach program, an experience that kickstarted her ongoing teaching work and advocacy for fiber art as an important component of the visual art curriculum. Now residing in a cabin in Asheville, North Carolina, she continues to create wearable textiles, accessories and non-functional sculpture. She also teaches workshops around the world, of course. “For me, the medium is life,” she told American Craft. “That’s the art; it’s what you do with your life.”

Lisa Klakulak Art- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Lisa Klakulak, Tuff Ring Necklace, merino wool fiber, metallic silk organza, tulle fabric, cotton rope , cotton thread, found stones at Kalbarri Nat Park Western Australia, nylon netting wet felted, free-motion machine stitched, $900.
Lisa Klakulak Art- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Lisa Klakulak, Intertwined Hoop Earrings, merino wool fiber, metallic silk organza, tulle fabric, cotton thread, found beach glass, sterling silver hoops, needle and wet felting, free-motion machine embroidered, $460.
Lisa Klakulak Art- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Lisa Klakulak, Bracelet with 3D Tabs, merino wool fiber, cotton thread, waxed linen thread, stainless steel armature, leather, wet felting, naturally dyed with cochineal and osage, free-motion machine embroidered, hand stitched, $260.
Lisa Klakulak Art- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Lisa Klakulak, Circuitous Path Choker, merino wool fiber, metallic silk organza, tulle fabric, cotton thread, found beach glass, wet felted, free-motion machine stitched, $1200.
Lisa Klakulak Art- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Lisa Klakulak, Trampoline Earrings, merino wool fiber, metallic silk organza, tulle fabric, cotton thread, found beach glass, sterling silver hoops, needle and wet feling, naturally dyed with madder, free-motion machine embroidered, $430.
Lisa Klakulak Art- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Lisa Klakulak, Wool Bracelet, merino wool fiber, cotton thread, waxed linen thread, stainless steel armature, leather, wet felting, free-motion machine embroidered, hand stitched, $240.

Click here to browse all of Klakulak’s work on the form & concept website, and make sure to read the rest of Melissa Reardon’s profile of the artist in American Craft.

Studio Visit: Robert Ebendorf

“It’s about not being afraid to put diamonds and pearls with broken glass and bone,” says Robert Ebendorf. The master jeweler’s mixed-media philosophy comes from nearly six decades of working with found objects. When you’re a self-proclaimed “gleaner,” life is an endless treasure hunt. Ebendorf’s innovative work has landed in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery and the Victoria and Albert Museum. Now he’s form & concept’s newest represented artist. We visited Ebendorf’s studio to talk about his remarkable career, philosophy of design and day-to-day studio practice.

How did people react to your initial work with found objects in the 1960’s? 

I was in the forest by myself for quite a while, in a sense. I made such a radical swing from making jewelry with silver and stones—I was never big with gold and diamonds. So when that was happening, I kept thinking “Who’s going to be interested in this work?” I had to contemplate that and make that choice. I stayed with it an pursued it.

The thing is, I have been very blessed. Because I was a teacher at a university, I got a paycheck every month and that helped my studio practice. I could venture into the unknown and uncover my imagination.

Robert Ebendorf Jewelry- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Robert Ebendorf, Lucky Fish Necklace, mixed-media, $850.

You’ve been a teacher for over 50 years. Could you reflect a bit on that experience?

One part of my journey has been mentoring. It’s been a gift to be that involved with young, enthusiastic minds. I was locked into a time zone of 22 years old to 29 years old. Each year I got older, I don’t know about any wiser, but I was locked into that time zone. I realized there was a lot of juice there. A lot of problem solving. Looking back on it, I realize it had a wonderful benefit of being with young people as they creatively try to find their way.

How do you organize your space?

If you look closely at my workbench, I try to make order out of chaos. Now, chaos is all this stuff in front of me. But order is designing, putting colors and textures together. What I call order, you might think doesn’t make any sense. It’s ugly.

There are certain tools I must find and put back on the rack exactly where they belong, so when I’m ready I can go back and it’s there. So I guess there is an order. My beloved wife looks at it, and says, “I don’t see any order.”

Robert Ebendorf Jewelry- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Robert Ebendorf, Sea Spoon Brooch, mixed-media, $385.

You call yourself a “gleaner.” What does that mean to you?

When I’m walking, I’m picking things up and I’m putting things in my fanny-pack. At the seafood restaurant I might gather the claws from the table and bring them home. And in a month, I come back and begin to make a brooch out of it. 

Gleaning, finding the discard, I find very enjoyable. When I’m gathering things, I come home, lay them out, clean them, put everything in the right order. It’s my kind of meditative playfulness. There’s something about gleaning that’s been in my DNA since I was a small child.

What sorts of things did you collect when you were growing up in Kansas? 

I would go down the alleys with my little wagon. In Kansas, it was a dry state, but I’d go through trash cans and find liquor bottles and go, “Oh, they’re naughty. They drink.” I’d take these things back to my garage. It was a very early sense of gathering and gleaning objects.

Robert Ebendorf Jewelry- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Robert Ebendorf, Yellow Oval Earring, mixed-media, $75.

I know your gleaning translates into a more holistic life philosophy for you. You speak about the objects you find with really powerful compassion. 

I often make reference to the fact that this has been discarded, someone ran over it, it’s been thrown in the dumpster, it’s on the way to the landfill. I enjoy reconstructing it into my world and bringing it out into the universe for another life, another journey. There’s something about putting it back out in another configuration that’s very caring.

 Color and composition are foundational to your process. What’s the lesson there?

I just did a workshop with 15 people. A lot of the other workshops at the conference are about technique. Everybody was eager to take a technique home. My group came together and made postcards. I wanted them to take paper, and collage their story together. What I’m trying to share with them is that they can be open to ideas and not be precious. Make mistakes, circle back around.

I was pushing and pulling with them to be more observant and also more loose and open. Everything doesn’t have to be perfect. It comes back to the playfulness.

Robert Ebendorf Jewelry- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Robert Ebendorf, Shell Ring, mixed-media, $325.

Do you find yourself puzzling over the lifespan of the objects that you find? Where have these objects traveled before they reach you? 

It’s interesting. This piece of copper that I buy in a sheet, I think, “How many lives did this piece of copper have?” It could have been stolen in the sixteenth century— a copper goblet—and then pilfered and taken away, then cut up and melted down, and hammered and maybe made into a tray, or a knife handle. How many different lives? How many wedding rings, or lockets? And now I have it here, and I can hammer it, I can bend it, I can melt it. That’s the magic about that.

There’s a dichotomy in your work, between craft techniques that have been passed down for generations and this radical, avant-garde use of materials. 

There is that dichotomy in my work. Maybe that’s why they call me the outlaw. But I do work hard to honor the craft. The workshops were a little different then, but we have the same tools. Fire, melting, hammering. I go to the museums and I look at these pieces that were done in Italy or Nigeria and I think, “These are my brothers and sisters. They are a part of my family.”

When I lecture, I talk about that a lot. It’s something that I honor and feel very joyful about. My grandfather was German. My grandmother was Swiss. They had their own mom-and-pop tailor store.

I remember being 9 years old and watching my grandmother cutting the pattern, getting ready to do button holes. My grandfather pulling out the fabric. Connect the dots. Measuring. Stitching. Fitting. Getting everything perfect. So I do come from a family of makers. Craftsmanship and honoring that—and getting that across to the students—is a biggie.

Robert Ebendorf Jewelry- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Robert Ebendorf, Spool Pendant, sterling silver, copper, $375.

The places you’ve lived—from North Carolina to Kansas to Norway—have such interesting and diverse craft histories. What are some of the things you learned from journeys? 

I left the University of Kansas on a Fulbright to Norway, and then I went back as a Tiffany Grant honoree for another year, and then another as a guest designer. I think that during the Scandinavian design sensibility was coming into the United States in the 1950s. The highly polished silver bowls. Old textiles. Ceramics. Glass blowing.

Living there and going to school under the leadership of those craftsmen really honed me down into the “do it the right way” philosophy. I learned design sensibility and understood the beauty of the craftsmanship. Things being made just perfect.

When I got back, I did high-end commissions for presidents of universities and things for the temple or the church. Highly polished. I started feeling stifled. I was stuck in this one dance. It was very much a result of the Norwegian love affair. That’s when I started to peel the onion and become comfortable. Those were important years. They were the foundation.

When you’re in the process of composing a piece, how do you know it’s finished?

If I was being critical, I’d say I have a problem with editing. I have the tendency to overload. But I like it that way. 

That would be my main criticism of my work. More doesn’t always make the piece stronger. Like, do I put pearls here, here, and here. Or just one? I’m constantly struggling with that. 

Robert Ebendorf Jewelry- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Robert Ebendorf, Lager Brooch, mixed-media, $485.

You’re totally shaking up the hierarchy of objects, and the perceived value of different materials. 

My work is not about intrinsic value. The value is my sense of design and my language. 

When the Victoria & Albert Museum selected a piece of mine that’s on permanent display in their historic jewelry collection, it was nothing more than a paper necklace with decoupaged paper from the street and gold foil. It was not about something having high-end stones and precious metals. It was about celebrating design, and making a personal statement.

Click here to view more of Robert Ebendorf’s work, and stop by the form & concept shop to try it on!

Robert Ebendorf- Working in his Jewelry Studio- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico

Call for Entries: Guns to Art Benefit Show

New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence- Guns to Art Benefit Show- form & concept gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico

Calling all artists, designers and craftspeople! We’re looking for artwork and jewelry that reflects on gun violence prevention for this November’s Guns to Art Benefit Show at form & concept. The two-week exhibition was inspired by an ongoing collaboration between the non-partisan 501(c)3 organization New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence (NMPGV) and the Santa Fe Community College Art Department (SFCC).

In August 2016, NMPGV launched a gun buyback program that invited gun owners to anonymously turn in unwanted firearms to New Mexico law enforcement. SFCC’s Art Department offered to turn part of the stockpile into art, and a collaboration with the Colorado-based RAWTools project called “Guns to Gardens” transformed some of the guns into gardening tools. Creations from both programs will appear in live and silent auctions at the Guns to Art Benefit Show reception on Friday, November 17.

We’re also inviting artists from around the world to submit up to three pieces of art or jewelry for potential inclusion in the show. The deadline for submissions is October 9, after which a jury will select works and notify the artists by October 20. The works will be on view in the Guns to Art Benefit Show from November 7 to 17. Proceeds from sales  will go to the participating artists, NMPGV, SFCC’s art and welding scholarship program and form & concept. Learn more at the links below, and make sure to submit!

Read the submission guidelines & download the submission form.
Learn more about the Guns to Art Benefit Show.

Artist Workshop: Bunny Tobias

Bunny Tobias:
Designing Unique Jewelry with Paper Beads

Saturday, August 26, 11 am-4 pm

Click here to register.

Colorful strips of paper transform into beautiful beads at an upcoming workshop lead by multi-media artist Bunny Tobias. With expertise and humor, she’ll guide participants as they craft 20-inch necklaces using Japanese handmade papers and other media. Participants will learn how to make the beads and create a necklace over the course of the workshop. All tools and materials will be provided—along with great conversation and delicious refreshments. The workshop takes place in form & concept’s lofty second-floor gallery space. Make sure to reserve your spot, as seating is limited and filling up fast!

Bunny’s Bio 

Bunny Tobias was born in Brooklyn, New York and is a graduate of the New York School of Visual Arts. While developing her career as a multi-media artist, she lived in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico and in San Francisco until moving to Santa Fe, NM, in 1972. Along with her husband, artist, Charles Greeley, she made her studio outside of Santa Fe on their mountain property in the Glorieta Pass. For the past forty years Bunny Tobias has continued to create cutting edge ceramic art, paintings, mixed-media collages and to design and fabricate jewelry using the same eclectic imagery. Recent work includes sculpture using recycled material and hand fabricated bronze jewelry.

Register for the workshop.
RSVP on Facebook.

Image (top): Clayton Porter, THE Magazine

Winona LaDuke at form & concept

Winona LaDuke- Broken Boxes Exhibition- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico

Last night’s opening reception for our Broken Boxes exhibition was a great success! Many of the participating artists were on-site, along with Broken Boxes co-curator Ginger Dunnill, Winona LaDuke of Honor the Earth, filmmaker Keri Pickett and Art of the Indigenous Resistance curator Kim Smith. LaDuke is an American environmentalist, economist and writer, known for her work on tribal land claims and preservation. She spoke to the crowd about her experience as a leader of the Dakota Access Pipeline protests at Standing Rock, and the power of art:

“There is a collapse at many, many levels of society. Those of us who were at Standing Rock saw what that was like, and felt that. We knew what that looked like, both looking down the face of the evil, and then also knowing what it tastes like to be free and to remember who you are. I think about that a lot, and I thank everybody that was there. […] The people at Standing Rock remembered what it was like to be free, and I think a lot of us are remembering what it was like to be free and not be, perhaps, wage slaves. Or just encumbered in the system. We need to be coherent. We need to be those people. To me, that is part of what this moment is about. Art like this, and moments where you get to be conscious and you get to think, and you get to be present, and you get to really figure out exactly where we are in this time. […] Artists remind us of our humanity, because there is so much around us that destroys our humanity and eats it. Here we are, and we can see who we are, and we can see how beautiful we are as human beings. […] It reaffirms our place.”

-Winona LaDuke

Broken Boxes Opening Reception- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico

Broken Boxes opening weekend continues today with an artist celebration from 2-5 pm, featuring music, food & live demonstrations from Ian Kuali’i, Douglas Miles, Nani Chacon, Micah Wesley, Yatika Starr Fields, Rose B. Simpson, Frank Buffalo Hyde, Cannupa Hanska Luger, Freyr A. Marie, Cloudface, Kim Smith and Demian DinéYazhi’. A live cut paper work by Ian Kuali’i will be auctioned off in support of cultural practitioner and activist Pua Case. On Sunday we’re hosting artist talks by Armond Lara (2-3 pm) and the Broken Boxes curators and artists (3-5 pm).

Time to break the box.

JESS X SNOW Art- Broken Boxes Exhibition- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
JESS X SNOW, TO SURVIVE, I TURNED MY BODY INTO A PRAYER FOR THE EARTH, digital photography and poetry.

It’s opening weekend of Broken Boxes, an exhibition featuring the art and ideas of over 40 visual artists, filmmakers, sound artists, activists, performance artists and community organizers from around the world who are effecting change through their work. The show is co-curated by Ginger Dunnill and Cannupa Hanska Luger, and all invited artists have participated in an interview on Dunnill’s Broken Boxes Podcast over the past 2 years. Here’s Megan Bennett’s take on the show from today’s Albuquerque Journal North:

 Ian Kuali'i Art- Broken Boxes Exhibition- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Ian Kuali’i, For They Know Not What They Do/Those Who Don’t, hand-cut paper and mixed media.

A local podcaster is giving a platform to artists from outside society’s mainstream experience through a gallery exhibition starting this evening.

The exhibition, titled “Broken Boxes” after Ginger Dunnill’s podcast of the same name, is displaying work from some of the people Dunnill has interviewed since starting her show in 2014. All the artists, activists or community organizers involved in the show are either Native American, queer-identifying or non-binary, transgender, women, or people of color.

“My main focus for the podcast is to celebrate artists that are outside of the scope of the cis(gender) white male format that is really prevalent in the art world,” said Dunnill, who is co-curating the show with husband and Native artist Cannupa Hanska Luger.

“I wanted to celebrate … people who are doing the really important work in society and often don’t get to share their stories in a personal way with community members that can really benefit from hearing what their work is doing,” she said.

Click here to read the rest of the article. Michael Abatemarco covered Broken Boxes in Pasatiempo‘s Mixed Media column:

Valentina Gonzalez Art- Broken Boxes Exhibition- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Valentina Gonzalez, Cultural Value-vs-Property Value, 2017, aerosol paint and wood.

[Broken Boxes is] a good adjunct to the Native arts festivals happening around town this weekend, providing a look at some of the more challenging and cutting-edge works done by Native and non-Native artists alike. “I am interested in creating content that honors the intersections where our stories overlap, and which refuses to box us out of each other’s narratives,” said Dunnill in a statement.

Click here to read the full column, and join us for the Broken Boxes opening weekend events on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Tonight’s opening reception (8/18, 5-8 pm) features an appearance by Winona LaDuke of Honor the Earth and documentarian Keri Pickett. A traveling show called Art of the Indigenous Resistance, curated by Kim Smith, fills the downstairs of our atrium. Broken Boxes spans our top floor, anchored by monumental installations by Chip Thomas, Nani Chacon and Demian DinéYazhi’. Get all the details on the Broken Boxes exhibition page, and make sure to RSVP for opening weekend on Facebook.