Preview: Pussy Bites Back Jewelry Launch

It’s no mistake that Laila Farcas-Ionescu’s launch party for the Pussy Bites Back jewelry line falls just before the anniversary of last year’s presidential election. The series is filled with imagery of fierce felines, in reference to the Pussyhat phenomenon and the political scandal that incited it. Still, Farcas-Ionescu would rather look forward than back. “It’s more than just a visceral reaction to the political situation, it’s a symbol of empowerment,” Farcas-Ionescu says. “At this party, everyone will have the chance to release some pent-up energy with a good, long roar.” The Pussy Bites Back launch party is on Saturday, October 28 from 5-7 pm. Ionescu will unveil rings, earrings, bracelets and pendants from the new series, along with a powerful manifesto and some fun surprises.

Laila Farcas-Ionescu- Pussy Bites Back Jewelry Line- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Rings from Pussy Bites Back.

“There’s something cathartic about Laila’s new line that inspired us,” says Clara Holiday, Sales Director at form & concept. “The work has a serious bite to it, but there’s also a genuine sense of humor there that’s been missing from much of the national discourse over the past year.” The launch party lands on the Friday before Halloween, and though it’s not a costume party, cat-inspired decorations, hors d’oeuvres and performers will create a festive atmosphere. Ionescu will hand out free Pussy Bites Back merch, including stickers and temporary tattoos with a bold, hot pink logo of a snarling cat. She’ll also display her Pussy Bites Back manifesto, which you can preview above.

Laila Farcas-Ionescu- Pussy Bites Back Jewelry Line- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Pendants from Pussy Bites Back.

Farcas-Ionescu employs a palette of hot pink, gold and silver in the Pussy Bites Back line. Snarling cat heads and gleaming claws feature prominently. It’s a departure from Ionescu’s collaborative work with her husband, Ion. Under the moniker Ionescu Designs, the duo creates opulent jewelry with 18 and 22 karat gold, platinum, high quality pearls and a multitude of precious and semi-precious gems. The New York Times Style Magazine has hailed them as “style-makers,” and they’ve received a number of other accolades and awards, including the first place AGTA award for “Evening Wear” and the 2014 “Fashion Forward” award among many others.

Laila Farcas-Ionescy- Pussy Bites Back Jewelry Line- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Rings from Pussy Bites Back.

Originally from Transylvania, Farcas-Ionescu arrived in the New York City by way of Romania in the 1970’s. In addition to her work with fine jewelry, she is also a sculptor with degrees in fine art from Hunter College and the Pratt Institute. Now a resident of Santa Fe, she continues to weave fantastical and deeply personal stories and characters into her sculptures and jewelry.

“Laila is a world-class artist and designer, and this launch party is definitely up to her standards of fabulous,” says Holiday. “She has a few tricks up her sleeve that are sure to surprise and delight our visitors.”

Preview this exhibition.
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Last Look: Broken Boxes

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

Our Broken Boxes group exhibition has had quite a few returning visitors, and there’s a good reason for that. Curator Ginger Dunnill worked with 40 activist artists who’ve appeared on her podcast to fill our upstairs galleries with over 50 artworks. A number of the pieces are interactive, and all of them feature intricate storytelling that takes time to fully absorb. One visitor spent a solid two hours poring over each and every piece, while others have worked their way through at events over the course of show’s run.

Broken Boxes comes to a close on Sunday, but there’s one last chance to take it all in. Stop by form & concept this Saturday, October 21 from 1-3 pm for an interactive walk-through with Dunnill. She’ll talk about the process of putting the show together, and answer questions about the artists and their work. The Broken Boxes catalog, launched at an event last month, will be available for sale.

Among the show’s recurring guests was Alicia Inez Guzmán, who wrote a great review of Broken Boxes in this month’s issue of THE Magazine. Here’s an excerpt:

I felt as if the space had been successfully engaged; there were intimate works that pulled me in but also art that cascaded from the ceiling, attached itself to walls like barnacles, settled into the corners, brought the outside in, and celebrated the booty in grand scale. It was as if the envelope of the gallery (another kind of box) was slowly being pulled apart, at least stretched to bear the voices of those compelled to break the box.

Guzmán’s piece inspired the form & concept staff to sound off on some of our favorite artworks from the exhibition. Scroll down for meditations on several pieces that you need to see before the show closes on Sunday.

Valentina Gonzalez Artwork- Broken Boxes Exhibition- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico

Valentina Gonzalez, Free Time – 10 Years of Paint, acrylic, latex and spray paint epoxy, aluminum screws, brass cabinet pull, 10 x 2.5 x 2.5 in. (right) 

Frank Rose, our director, writes:

It’s hard to choose, but I love Valentina Gonzalez’ Free Time – 10 Years of Paint. I’m a big fan of what I call “material inversions”: using materials in a way that masks their true nature creating a moment of surprise for the viewer. The way Gonzalez has taken a wall slathered with 10 years of paint and turned it into a spray can is delightful.

Nani Chacon Artwork- Broken Boxes Exhibition- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico

Nanibah ‘Nani’ Chacon, Between a Black Cloud and a White Cloud He Found Her, broken boxes, black and white charcoal, paint. (center)

Clara Holiday, our sales manager, writes:

Nanibah ‘Nani’ Chacon’s work really resonates with me. The expression is at the same time fierce and strong and yet it is also joyous and irreverent. There is a beautiful resilience to the piece.

Chip Thomas Artwork- Broken Boxes Exhibition- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico

Chip Thomas, Meditation on a Cloth Signifier, inkjet print/regular bond paper with wallpaper paste, inkjet print on cotton/silk voil. (center)

Jonathan Meade, our sales associate, writes:

There’s a sweet and sinister element to this work. It’s the innocent expression of the child on the side of the bead shack, the tattered American flag the child gazes upon, and the dust-filled and desolate canyon landscape where the shop sits. The way these elements express a hope-filled aspiration amidst deprivation, feelings all too common to indigenous populations across the country – under-served and oftentimes overlooked by the colonial patriotic government that perpetrated these impoverished conditions upon the native people, and yet has been apathetic to respond to their needs or to come to a resolution for the injustices endured in their survival. We’re left contemplating what the future of this country means staring in the eyes of the little child who searches for meaning in that tattered American flag, where we to find ourselves wondering what end it serves…

Kate Martin, our sales & marketing assistant, writes:

My favorite work in Broken Boxes is Meditation on a Cloth Signifier by Chip Thomas. Every time I look at Meditation I feel like I’m seeing it for the first time. There are so many details to stop and consider. I could spend hours looking at it.

Maria Hupfield Artwork- Broken Boxes Exhibition- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico

Maria Hupfield, In Case of Emergency, found objects and industrial felt, 11.75 x 18.5 x 3.25 in. (left)

Jordan Eddy, our marketing manager, writes:

Maria Hupfield compiles a survival kit for the modern protester, complete with a Sharpie paint pen, a silver emergency blanket and bandages made from grey felt. It’s a neatly organized reminder of a messy, never-ending struggle for justice. This is one of just a few intact boxes in the show, but it was made to be broken. Brilliant!

Click here to learn more about Broken Boxes, and make sure to RSVP on Facebook for Ginger Dunnill’s final walk-through on Saturday.

Fall at form & concept.

Thais Mather Solo Exhibition- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
A glimpse of the ceramic installation 200,000 from Thais Mather’s solo exhibition, Reckless Abandon.
The feminist artist’s show is just one highlight of form & concept’s fall schedule.

The high season is coming to a close in Santa Fe, but form & concept has an action-packed autumn in the works. We’re throwing a David Bowie costume party, hosting a musical tribute to Lou Harrison, and launching Laila Farcas-Ionescu’s fierce new feline-themed jewelry line. Korean ceramicist Wookjae Maeng and local feminist artist Thais Mather debut solo shows, and artists from around the world reflect on gun violence prevention in a powerful group show. A crew of maverick jewelers presents wearable artworks in the form & concept shop, and our represented artists gather for a holiday art making workshop (with hot cider and cookies) in our atrium. In a fitting finale for 2017, artists from a number of past form & concept shows reconvene for an invitational small works exhibition in our stairwell. Learn more about all of our upcoming exhibitions and events below, and watch our event page for updates.

David Bowie Costume Party- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico

InterPlanetary Ziggy Stardust Costume Party

Sunday, October 15, 5-7 pm | RSVP-only
Click here to RSVP for this free event.

For one wild evening in October, the InterPlanetary Project will ride David Bowie’s star-dusted coattails to the outer reaches of the imagination. The InterPlanetary Ziggy Stardust Costume Party lands at form & concept on the weekend of InterPlanetary’s fall event series. Hosted by Creative Santa Fe and the Santa Fe Institute, the party is a free, RSVP-only event with a cash bar by Santa Fe Spirits and interstellar hors d’oeuvres by form & concept. Guests who wear David Bowie-themed costumes will be entered into a raffle for fun prizes.

Learn more about this event.
RSVP here.

Image: David Bowie & Thomas Ashcraft.

Wookjae Maeng Ceramics Show- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico

Wookjae Maeng | Balance

October 27 – December 23
Opening Reception: Friday, October 27, 5-7 pm

It’s easy to forget that the world is experiencing a crisis in biodiversity, one that some scientists have called a “sixth extinction.” Humanity has grown ever more isolated from the rest of the animal kingdom, hiding away in climate controlled boxes and behind glowing screens. In his new solo exhibition at form & concept, Korean ceramicist Wookjae Maeng ushers animals out of the wild and into the spotlight. His detailed porcelain sculptures of deer, rhinos, lions, bighorn sheep and other creatures bring viewers back in touch with beings that are often pushed to the margins.

Learn more about this exhibition.
RSVP on Facebook.

Image: Wookjae MaengGrey adaptation-Rhino, porcelain, wood, 8.7 x 11.5 x 11.8 in.

Pussy Bites Back Jewelry Line- Laila Farcas-Ionescu- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico

Pussy Bites Back Jewelry Line

Saturday, October 28th, 5-7 pm

It’s no mistake that Laila Farcas-Ionescu’s launch party for the Pussy Bites Back jewelry line falls just before the anniversary of last year’s presidential election. The series is filled with imagery of fierce felines, in reference to the Pussyhat phenomenon and the political scandal that incited it. Still, Ionescu would rather look forward than back. “It’s more than just a visceral reaction to the political situation, it’s a symbol of empowerment,” Farcas-Ionescu says. “At this party, everyone will have the chance to release some pent-up energy with a good, long roar.” Ionescu will unveil rings, earrings, bracelets and pendants from the new series, along with a powerful manifesto and some fun surprises.

Learn more about this event.
RSVP on Facebook.

Image: Laila Farcas-IonescuPussy Bites Back rings.

Guns to Art Benefit Show- New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico

Guns to Art Benefit Show

November 7 – 17
Reception & Live Auction: Friday, November 17th, 4 – 7 PM

Decommissioned firearms aren’t the most pliable artistic medium, but that hasn’t stopped faculty and students at Santa Fe Community College from reshaping them into stunning artworks. They’ve been hard at work bending, slicing, shredding and melting old guns into sculptures, jewelry and even apparel. This fall, the art will appear at a special reception, live auction and silent auction in support of in support of art and welding scholarships at SFCC and the 501(c)3 non-partisan organization New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence, along with juried works by artists from across the world that reflect on gun violence prevention.

Learn more about this exhibition.
RSVP on Facebook.

Image: New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence.

Thais Mather Solo Exhibition- Reckless Abandon- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico

Thais Mather | Reckless Abandon

November 24th, 2017 – February 18th, 2018
Opening Reception: Friday, November 24, 5-7 pm
Reading: Saturday, November 25, 2-3 pm
Performance: Friday, December 15, 5-7 pm- $5-$10 suggested donation

“I think people are getting these catastrophic feelings, that this is the end,” says Thais Mather. “I don’t believe in that. I think this is a beginning.” The feminist artist’s new exhibition, Reckless Abandon, comes at a time of cultural, political and environmental upheaval. It’s an ideal moment to examine human history from a revolutionary stance—and present urgent questions that can reveal a new path forward. Through a monumental art installation and an interconnected series of performances and events, Mather will challenge viewers to abandon patriarchal structures in favor of a transcendent vision for humanity.

Learn more about this exhibition.
RSVP on Facebook.

Image: Design by Todd Ryan White, and art by Thais Mather.

Microcosm Small Works Invitational- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico

Microcosm | Small Works Invitational

November 24 – December 23
Opening Reception: 
Friday, November 24, 5-7 pm

“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together,” said Vincent Van Gogh. form & concept takes this thought to its logical conclusion in MICROCOSM, a holiday exhibition of small works by contributors to the gallery’s previous exhibitions. Over 20 artists, craftspeople and designers return with diminutive and dynamic offerings that measure 8 x 10 inches or smaller. The show fills the gallery’s stairwell and atrium, forming a charming microcosm of the space’s history—and representing a new chapter in each contributor’s story.

Participating Artists:

Nicola Heindl, Bunny Tobias, Charles Greeley, Mandy Cano Villalobos, Vanessa Michel, Susan Beiner, Wesley Anderegg, Priscilla Dobler, Jason Villegas, Garth Amundson + Pierre Gour, Jonathan Nelson, Lisa Klakulak, Katie Craney, Rena Detrixhe, Robert Ebendorf, Matthew Mullins, Aleta Braun, Heidi Brandow, Mark Newport, Ryan Singer, Brian Fleetwood

Learn more about this exhibition.
RSVP on Facebook.

Smitten Forum 2018 Exhibition- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico

Smitten Forum

November 24, 2017 – January 6, 2018
Opening Reception: 
Friday, November 24, 5-7 pm

Smitten Forum is an annual gathering of visionary makers from the metals and jewelry field. A new group of artists is selected each year by Sara Brown and Marissa Saneholtz, and meets for one intensive week to make work and share inspiration. The next gathering takes place in Abiquiu, New Mexico, coinciding with the debut of the Smitten Forum exhibition at form & concept in Santa Fe. The show includes artwork by all of this year’s Smitten Forum participants, a tribute to the crackling energy of this ever-growing creative community. 

Learn more about this exhibition.
RSVP on Facebook.

Image: Smitten Forum.

Holiday Makers Workshop- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico

Holiday Makers Workshop

Saturday, December 2, 12-3 pm

These days, the most popular holiday gifts are seamless slabs of glass and metal, but unique and hand-hewn objects are making a serious comeback. The makers who exhibit artworks and jewelry at form & concept are living proof of this phenomenon, and they’ll gather this holiday season to celebrate the traditional tools and techniques that bolster their contemporary creativity. The public is invited to sip cider, munch on gingerbread cookies and engage with form & concept artists at the Holiday Makers Workshop. form & concept will offer a special 10% holiday discount during the event. The Holiday Makers Workshop also features the debut of the first-ever form & concept annual, a free publication that includes a first look at the gallery’s 2018 schedule, artist profiles and more. 

Learn more about this event.
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Gamelan Encantada- Lou Harrison Tribute Concert- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico

Gamelan Encantada | In Honor of Lou

Saturday, December 2, 4-6 pm

$15-$25 suggested donation

West Coast composer Lou Harrison’s 100th birthday party has been a yearlong, global affair. The Harrison House in Joshua Tree, California live streamed a 24-hour celebration, Bill Alves and Brett Campbell published a sweeping new biography, and renowned musicians have played tribute concerts from New York City to San Francisco. Harrison passed away in 2003 at age 85, but his influence as a composer, instrument builder, environmentalist, pacifist and gay rights activist is as resonant as ever. This autumn, the party rolls into Santa Fe at an event presented by Albuquerque percussion ensemble Gamelan Encantada and LGBTQ advocacy nonprofit Equality NM. In Honor of Lou features a concert of Harrison’s works for gamelan instruments, along with a screening of the biographical film Lou Harrison: Cherish, Conserve, Consider, Create. All proceeds from the event will benefit Equality NM.

Learn more about this event.
RSVP on Facebook.

Image: Lou Harrison.

Click here to learn more about form & concept’s fall schedule.

Teaser: Broken Boxes | Kim Werner

“Even if your intentions are so the best on trying to ‘save’ something, if you don’t have a personal connection to it, if you don’t know it the way that I know it, don’t just go draw a circle around a map and say, ‘This is going to be a marine sanctuary.’ It’s like, ‘No, that doesn’t make any sense.’ It just goes to show why we need to all have conversations.”

-Kim Werner

Broken Boxes, an exhibition curated by Ginger Dunnill and Cannupa Hanska Luger, features Kim Werner and 40 other creators from around the world who are effecting 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.

This Friday: Broken Boxes Catalog Release

Broken Boxes Catalog Release Event- September 2017- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Broken Boxes Catalog cover.

form & concept’s Broken Boxes exhibition, curated by Ginger Dunnill and Cannupa Hanska Luger and featuring 40 activist artists, has received some stellar press in the past few weeks. Look below for quotes and links, and make sure to attend tomorrow evening’s Broken Boxes Catalog Release Event (9/29, 5-7 pm). The evening includes public engagement by participating artists Demian DinéYazhi’ and JESS X SNOW, a film screening of AFTER EARTH directed by JESS X SNOW, and a performance of 1000 Tiny Mirrors, a collaborative experimental trans*/queer rock project presented by Frexy.

Jess X Snow Artwork- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Jess X. Snow, TO SURVIVE, I TURNED MY BODY INTO A PRAYER FOR THE EARTH II, photograph with poem, 11 x 17 in.

“When it comes to art and activism, finding the necessary questions can be as difficult—and as messy—as searching for answers. This exhibition asks visitors to take time to engage in that messy work alongside the artists.”
Stacy Pratt, First American Art Magazine

Maria Hupfield Artwork- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Maria Hupfield, In Case of Emergency, found objects and industrial felt, 11.75 x 18.5 x 3.25 in.

“I believe that everything you do in your artistic practice should integrate a form of giving back, and that is powerful activism.”
Ginger Dunnill talks to Hello Giggles

Thomas Marcus Artwork- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Thomas ‘BREEZE’ Marcus, Tribal Territory, oil, ink, aerosol, 36 x 36 in.

“Dunnill says the catalogs are gorgeous, but extremely limited (there will only be about 50 copies available when all is said and done), and, at just $20, they’re a steal.”
Alex De Vore, Santa Fe Reporter’s “Pick of the Week”

Learn more on our website.
RSVP on Facebook.

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 Cara Romero and 40 other creators from around the world who are effecting 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.

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.