Holiday Makers Workshop

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These days, seamless slabs of glass and metal are hot holiday gifts, 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 on Saturday, December 2 from 12-3 pm. form & concept will offer a special 10% holiday discount during the event. 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. Participating artists include Robert Ebendorf, Aleta Braun, Rand Marco, Brian Fleetwood, Bunny Tobias, Leah Siegel, Debra Baxter and Matthew Mullins. The public is encouraged to come support local artists at this dynamic and colorful event.

12:00-1:30 pm: Bunny Tobias, Rand Marco, Brian Fleetwood, Matthew Mullins

1:30-3:00 pm: Robert Ebendorf, Aleta Braun, Leah Siegel, Debra Baxter

Robert Ebendorf

Robert Ebendorf was born in 1938 in Topeka, KS. He received his BFA in 1960 and his MFA in 1962, both from the University of Kansas, Lawrence. Following graduation, he received a Fulbright Fellowship to study at the State School of Applied Arts and Crafts in Norway. He has taught at the University of Georgia (1967- 71) and State University of New York at New Paltz (1971-88). Ebendorf received the Louis Comfort Tiffany Grant in 1966/67. In 1995, he was awarded the American Craft Council Fellowship for his achievement in craft and commitment to the craft movement. He is a co-founder and past president of the Society of North American Goldsmiths (SNAG).

Ebendorf’s conceptual approach to jewelry questions the nature of adornment itself and explores alternative materials and ideas about the preciousness of jewelry. The creativity of his jewelry lies not only in the intellectual repositioning of familiar objects, but more in the physical transformations of materials that astonish the viewer. It is exactly this sense of astonishment that gives his pieces their value. The profound incongruity between what his pieces are made from, and what they become in his hands, engages the imagination.

View Ebendorf’s artwork.

Aleta Braun

Aleta Braun is a mixed media artist whose work is based in drawing, painting and collage, often focused on the sustained use of sketchbooks and journals. Her work explores the ostensibly simple language of geometric shapes and elemental forms – circles, dots, lines – as well as the layering of colour transparencies and delicate textures.

Rand Marco

Rand Marco is a third generation metal craftsman who has carried on his family tradition of innovation in metal. Function meets elegance with his bold designs and brilliant use of color.    Rand combines artistic integrity with contemporary form enhancing grand and modest architectural spaces. Made in his Santa Fe studio: – each piece is handcrafted and signed by the artist. Rand visualizes a simple, geometric principle, and then transformed it into a clean, sophisticated series of work.

View Marco’s artwork.

Brian Fleetwood

Brian Fleetwood is a Santa Fe based jewelry artist whose work is currently addressing ideas involving 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. His contemporary jewelry designs reflect the diversity of forms found in nature and invite us to adorn ourselves with its beauty. Brian holds an MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University, and is currently teaching at the Institute of American Indian Arts.

View Fleetwood’s artwork.

Bunny Tobias

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.
View Tobias’ artwork.

Leah Siegel

SHADOWLANDS DESIGN, created by artist/photographer Leah Siegel and based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, makes striking wearable art and functional items. Timeless, ageless and size-less, SHADOWLANDS DESIGN’s art-to-wear and home décor are fashion as well as lifestyle accessories for everyone in all seasons. You can immediately alter the ordinary, transform a mood, change an outfit or a room, make a powerful statement with drama and flair or a subtle one with restraint and elegance. You can buy them for yourself and easily give them as gifts to friends, colleagues and relatives – to men and women alike. SHADOWLANDS DESIGN’s creations are always collectible.

SHADOWLANDS DESIGN grew out of Leah’s desire to expand her portfolio so that more people might enjoy her artwork. Inspired by her investigations in digital technology and her explorations in the remote badlands of the American Southwest, Leah imagined the abstract irregular patterns in her contemporary digital work as interesting textile art. She experimented with altering some of her images and digitally printed them on silk.The fabric results were extraordinary, and SHADOWLANDS DESIGN was born!

View Siegel’s artwork.

Debra Baxter

Debra Baxter is a sculptor and jewelry designer who combines carved alabaster with crystals, minerals, metals, and found objects. She received her MFA in Sculpture from Bard College in 2008 and her BFA from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design in 1996. She also studied at Academia di Belle Arti in Florence, Italy. Baxter’s work is rooted craft, honoring the materials that express her ideas. Of form & concept, Debra says “with the marriage of craft, design & fine art, it makes alot of sense to show there.” Her contemporary jewelry designs are all about the minerals and crystals, showcasing their raw beauty.

View Baxter’s artwork.

Matthew Mullins

The interconnection of human consciousness and the natural world is what inspires the work of Santa Fe artist Matthew Mullins. Mullins’ watercolor and acrylic ink paintings merge human made patterns derived from social constructs with the visual perception of nature, creating a harmonious relationship that the artist feels is often lost in today’s culture.  “Humans are part of the natural world,” says Mullins. “But we often become so focused on our individuality that we lose track of that connection. My work is about reintegrating with nature and finding unity in that relationship.” Mullins has been working consistently as a serious artist for 15 years. Originally from the Bay Area of California, he received his MFA from University of California Berkeley. Here, he began his career with his Artifacts & Archives paintings, a series of photo-realistic watercolors that replicate the archival environments and materials he had access to during his graduate studies. Having always been drawn to pattern play as an experimental process that allowed for more risk and ambiguity, Mullins eventually transitioned from his comfortable illustrative style to the excitement of abstraction. This shift coincided with his move to New Mexico in 2011, where the high desert and nearby mountains continue to inspire him. His work now consists of paintings, works on paper and collage, with an encompassing theme of our innate connection to and harmony within the forces of nature.

View Mullins’ artwork.

Broken Boxes Catalog Release Event

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Broken Boxes features 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. Now the project is taking another turn, as Dunnill works with form & concept to turn Broken Boxes into a catalog featuring artwork, installation views and writings from the show. The book will debut at a release party on Friday, September 29 from 5-7 pm. Broken Boxes is open through October 21, 2017.

The Broken Boxes catalog release event will feature 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.

Broken Boxes Events

Opening Reception | Friday, August 18, 5-8 pm |
Artist Celebration | Saturday, August 19, 2-5 pm
Gallery Talk | Sunday, August 20, 3-5 pm
Catalog Release Party | Friday, September 29, 5-7 pm | RSVP on Facebook.

Learn more about Broken Boxes.

Upcoming Events: Robert Ebendorf & Bunny Tobias

Robert Ebendorf Artist- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico

Introducing 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. As form & concept’s newest represented artist, Ebendorf will appear in the gallery for an In Process Jewelry Demonstration on Saturday, August 12 from 2-4 pm.

Since his childhood in Kansas, Ebendorf (b. 1938) has been an avid collector of peculiar objects. “I would glean the alleys with my little wagon, going from one trash box to the next,” he says. “I’d bring all of the treasures I found back to the garage, and arrange them on a little shelf that my dad let me claim.” Later, when he was pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at University of Kansas, he started incorporating peculiar odds and ends into his work.

Robert Ebendorf, Lucky Fish Necklace, mixed media, $850

The practice appealed to his sense of compassion for abandoned objects, a feeling that he ties to humanity’s innate awareness of mortality. “When I see broken things at the flea market, they look wounded. They’re going to end up in a landfill,” Ebendorf says. “I enjoy picking up those lost souls and bringing them into a new context.” He completed his BFA in 1960, and earned an MFA at University of Kansas in 1963. After that, he traveled to Oslo, Norway to study at the State School of Applied Arts and Crafts as a Fulbright Scholar.

Robert Ebendorf, Muscle Man Brooch, mixed media, $465


From there, he showed in numerous exhibitions, won prestigious awards and taught art at various institutions for 57 years. He hit a career high in 2003, when he debuted a solo exhibition of 96 works at the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery. Ebendorf’s work is represented in 29 museums worldwide. He was one of the founding members of the Society of North American Goldsmiths in 1970, and was awarded the association’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014.

Now living in Santa Fe, Ebendorf remains a creative pioneer at the jagged intersection of art, craft and design. The wearable sculptures that appear in the form & concept shop feature countless materials, from a rusty spoon that the artist discovered on the Alaskan shore to a possum jawbone that he picked up on one of his long walks. Each object is elegantly incorporated into the larger piece, allowing the viewer to see it with fresh eyes. “I’m very radical in the way I work,” says Ebendorf. “Color is important, and composition. I put the ideas together and make a decision on what technical skills I need to employ that will bring the ideas to fruition.”

Robert Ebendorf, Golf Tee Earring III, mixed media, $75

At the jewelry design demonstration, Ebendorf will reveal a wide variety of techniques he uses in his work. “The tools and techniques I use have been passed down to me from a family of makers that stretches back to the 16th century,” he says.

Learn more about this event.
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Bunny Tobias Artist- Form & Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico

Artist Workshop with Bunny Tobias

Colorful strips of paper transform into beautiful beads at this workshop lead by multi-media artist Bunny Tobias. The workshop is on Saturday, August 26 from 11 am to 4 pm.

With expertise and humor, Bunny will 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 with them 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!

Register for this workshop.
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Bunny Tobias- Paper Bead Necklace Workshop- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Click here to register for Bunny’s workshop.


Preview | THE Soirée: Web Launch & 25th Anniversary Party

Lauren Tresp purchased THE Magazine in January of 2016 and has turned out twelve issues as editor and publisher. THE Magazine will celebrate its 25th anniversary this July as the voice of the region’s contemporary arts and culture. The anniversary coincides with THE Magazine’s launch into the digital world with a comprehensive new website.

Both will be celebrated with a web launch and 25th anniversary party on Saturday, July 8, 5-8 pm at form & concept. The event is free and open to the public, and will feature music by DJ Miss Ginger, food by Taco Fundación and drinks by Duel Brewing. At the event, Tresp will debut THE Magazine’s inaugural series of limited edition prints by local artists and illustrators. The first print in the series is by Santa Fe artist and illustrator Luke Dorman.

“When I first moved to Santa Fe, I remember picking up a copy of THE Magazine,” says Tresp. “I immediately sensed the valuable role it had in the creative community here. It really is a lens into New Mexico’s contemporary art scene.” Originally from Oshkosh, Wisconsin, Tresp arrived in Santa Fe from Chicago in 2012, where she completed her Master of Arts degree from the University of Chicago. Her field was Medieval and Renaissance Art History, and though she loved digging into the past, she wanted to engage with the contemporary cultural landscape. “About three people in the entire world might have been interested in the topics I was covering,” says Tresp. “I was looking to contribute in a relevant way to a broader audience.”

The Magazine- Santa Fe New Mexico- Lauren Tresp- Cover Images

THE Magazine debuted in Santa Fe in 1992 under founding publisher Guy Cross who saw the city’s need for intelligent arts writing. It quickly caught the attention of the regional community, engaging artists, collectors, locals, and visitors with its in-depth reporting, refreshing criticism, and distinctive design. Soon after her move to Santa Fe, Tresp reached out to Cross to become a contributing writer, sparking a professional collaboration that eventually lead her to purchase the publication in early 2016. Since then, Tresp has diversified her writing staff, introduced interdisciplinary coverage, commissioned cover art from local artists, and encompassed a fresh wave of emerging and established creatives working in New Mexico.

This summer, Tresp will celebrate the 25th anniversary of THE Magazine by launching a brand new website. Local web design firm Think All Day, which has worked with arts organizations such as CFile and Mindy Solomon Gallery, has been selected to complete the revamp.

The Magazine- Santa Fe New Mexico- Lauren Tresp- Cover Images

Even as she carries the beloved Santa Fe institution into uncharted digital territory, Tresp is committed to her role as a steward of ink-on-paper, tangible objects. “Audiences are rediscovering the compelling dynamics of niche print publications,” says Tresp. “We’re proving that a magazine on newsprint can be an art object in its own right.”

Make sure to RSVP on Facebook for THE Soirée. Learn more on the event page, and in this month’s issue of THE Magazine. Also on Saturday, July 8, form & concept represented artist Elana Schwartz will speak about her artwork from 2-3 pm. Click here to learn more about the talk.

*video by Narrative Media.

Opening: Rebecca Rutstein | Fault Lines

When your painting studio is set adrift on the open sea, things can get a little messy. Philadelphia-based painter Rebecca Rutstein spent her last three artist residencies in close quarters with oceanographic cartographers, examining never-before-seen images of the ocean floor and translating what she learned into undulating, semi-abstract paintings. She grew accustomed to the constant motion of the boat and its unpredictable effect on her brushstrokes.

In Fault Lines, her first-ever solo exhibition in New Mexico, Rutstein returns to dry land. Using the sunburnt palette of the high desert, the artist turns her attention to seismic events that occur deep in the Earth’s crust—and employs some tricks she learned at sea to imbue her compositions with dynamic motion. Fault Lines opens at form & concept on Friday, June 30, 5-7 pm. Rutstein will appear at an artist talk on Saturday, July 1 from 2-3 pm, and the exhibition runs through August 12, 2017.

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Learn more about this exhibition.

Preview: Superhero Masquerade

Calling all superheroes! We’re celebrating our one-year anniversary with a Superhero Masquerade this Friday, May 26, 5-8 pm. There are some serious perks to dressing up for the celebration, including exclusive access to a VIP breakfast cereal bar and the chance to win cool prizes in our costume contest. DJ Miss Ginger will provide music, and the El Sabor Spanish Tapas Y MASS food truck will be parked out front. The event is Santa Fe Reporter‘s calendar pick for Friday. Here’s Alex De Vore’s take on the proceedings:

It’s been a whole damn year since form & concept took over the old Zane Bennett Gallery space on Guadalupe Street, and the new-wave monument to contemporary weirdness, performance art and all-around killer visual creation is still going strong. Celebrate this achievement with an anniversary party for which attendees are strongly encouraged to arrive dressed as superheroes.

The Superhero Masquerade marks the debut of two new shows. The One-Year Anniversary Exhibition fills our ground floor and features new work by all of our represented artists. Upstairs, artist duo NoiseFold unveils an installation of glass art with a special multimedia element. Emily Van Cleve reports on NoiseFold’s new work in Santa Fe Arts Journal:

Form & concept celebrates its first anniversary on May 26 with a special installation by NoiseFold, a collaboration between interactive media and sound artist Cory Metcalf and visual artist, composer and performer David Stout. “We are trans-disciplinary artists working at the fuzzy boundary blurring nexus of visual art, music and interactive cinema,” explain Metcalf and Stout, who presented their first evening length work under the name NoiseFold in 2006. “Our work is hybridized, both solitary and social, often involving close collaboration with virtuosic performers, programmers, designers and scientists.”

To learn more about this event, listen our appearances on The Big Show with Honey Harris and the Richard Eeds Show. We’ll see you on Friday. Make sure to RSVP for the party on Facebook, and don’t forget your mask and cape!

Upcoming Event: Jewelry Artist Talks

In Process Jewelry Artist Talk- Form and Concept- Santa Fe New Mexico

In the form & concept shop, paintings appear beside jewelry designs and sculptures mingle with hand-painted ceramics. The space, which adjoins form & concept’s ground-floor exhibition rooms, is a powerful expression of the gallery’s mission: to blur the lines between art, craft, and design. This weekend, form & concept teams up with local jewelers to celebrate jewelry design as its own exquisite art form. IN PROCESS: Jewelry Artist Talks will feature special demonstrations from a number of jewelry artists represented by the form & concept shop. Participating jewelers include Bunny Tobias, Charles Greeley, Brian Fleetwood, Debra Baxter, Danny Hart and Victor Atyas.

Debra Baxter Fine Jewelry- Form and Concept- Santa Fe New Mexico
DB/CB by Debra Baxter, Crystal Quartz in Bronze Necklace, 2″ x 3 ¼” x 1 ¼”, $245

Debra Baxter is a sculptor and jewelry designer who combines hand formed bronze with crystals & minerals. Baxter’s work is rooted in craft, honoring the materials that express her ideas. Her wearable sculpture piece Devil Horns Crystal Brass Knuckles (Lefty) is in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian.

Bunny Tobias Fine Jewelry- Form and Concept- Santa Fe New Mexico
Bunny Tobias, Bronze Swarovski Hinged Pendant Necklace, 3 ½” x 2 ¼” x ½”, $1125

For the past forty years, Bunny Tobias has created cutting edge ceramic art, paintings, mixed-media collages. She designs and fabricates jewelry using the same eclectic imagery. Recent work includes hand fabricated bronze jewelry set with a vast array of crystal and gems.

Brian Fleetwood Fine Jewelry- Form and Concept- Santa Fe New Mexico
Brian Fleetwood, Cloth and Rubber Spore Brooch, 2 ½” x 2 ½” x ½”, $140

Brian Fleetwood is a Santa Fe-based jewelry artist whose work 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.

Charles Greeley Fine Jewelry- Form and Concept- Santa Fe New Mexico
Charles Greeley, Japanese Paper & Balsa Wood Earrings, 3 ½” x 1 3/4″, $40

Charles Greeley attended the New York School of Visual Arts, and moved to San Francisco in 1967 where he is in the permanent collection at SFMOMA. He uses the spiritualization of nature, the fantastic, the dream, psychedelics, and the study of Eastern religions as themes in his collages and jewelry.

Danny Hart Fine Jewelry- Form and Concept- Santa Fe New Mexico
Danny Hart, Walnut Bluegrass Green Acrylic Sterling Silver Feather Pendant, 3 ½” x 1 1/8″, $65

Danny Hart was born and raised in New Mexico. Hart’s childhood in Santa Fe cultivated his passion for creative processes and design. In his jewelry design work, he draws inspiration from the colorful landscape of his home state, his father’s woodwork, his mother’s inherent craftiness and his background in architecture.

Victor Atyas Fine Jewelry- Form and Concept- Santa Fe New Mexico
Victor Atyas, Sterling Silver Cuff Bracelet, 2 ½” x 2 ¾” x ¾”, $1050

Victor Atyas was born in Sarajevo, Bosnia Herzegovina, grew up in Italy, and at age 20 immigrated to the United States. Now a long-time Santa Fean, Atyas is well-known for his signature three-dimensional constructed gold and silver pieces, suited to be worn or framed and hung on a wall. His metalsmithing ability is reflected in the fine craftsmanship of the refined and elegant jewelry designs.

Click here to learn more about IN PROCESS: Jewelry Artist Talks, and make sure to RSVP on Facebook. If you’re coming to see a particular jeweler, here’s the speaking schedule. All of the artists will be in the gallery from 1-3 pm.

Bunny Tobias | 1:00 pm
Debra Baxter | 1:20 pm
Charles Greeley | 1:40 pm
Danny Hart | 2:00 pm
Brian Fleetwood | 2:20 pm
Victor Atyas | 2:40 pm

Introducing Tania Larsson

Tania Larsson Jewelry- Form and Concept- Santa Fe New Mexico
Tania Larsson, ‘Dentalium Shell & Coral Earrings,’ $90

We’re excited to introduce Tania Larsson, form & concept’s newest jeweler. Tania 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. Click here to view more of Tania’s work on the form & concept website.

Tania Larsson- Form and Concept- Santa Fe New Mexico
Tania Larsson, ‘Dentalium Shell, Muskox Horn, & Sterling Silver Necklace,’ $105


Tania Larsson- Form and Concept- Santa Fe New Mexico
Tania Larsson, ‘Muskox Horn & Sterling Silver Dangles,’ $75
Tania Larsson Jewelry- Form and Concept- Santa Fe New Mexico
Tania Larsson, ‘Two-Tiered Dentalium Shell & Sterling Silver Earrings (Brushed Finish),’ $120
Tania Larsson- Form and Concept- Santa Fe New Mexico
Tania Larsson, ‘Dentalium Shell, Gold, & Diamond Earrings,’ $220
Tania Larsson Jewelry- Form and Concept- Santa Fe New Mexico
Tania Larsson, ‘Muskox Horn Studs,’ $45

Last Look: Elegance of Mutation & Kin

As a new round of events and exhibitions approaches at form & concept, we’re bidding farewell to two brilliant shows. Look below for videos and interviews that explore Elegance of Mutation by Bunny Tobias, and Kin by Amy Weiks and Gabriel Craig. The exhibitions featured cutting edge contemporary sculptures made from repurposed materials and age-old forms. Make sure to come see them before they close on February 19.

Bunny Tobias

Bunny Tobias presents new artwork made from reclaimed materials—and a fierce philosophy of recycled art—in Elegance of Mutation. The longtime Santa Fe artist is known for charming, surreal artworks made from found objects and natural materials.

You’ve exhibited your jewelry in the form & concept shop since the beginning. How did this sculpture show come about?

Frank had come out to my studio, and I’m a multimedia artist. I work in a lot of different types of materials and art forms. At first we mostly talked about my new jewelry, but then he got to see my other work.

How did you start incorporating found objects into your work?

Form many years, I’ve participated in the Santa Fe Recycled Art show. That’s actually where I got my start in terms of making jewelry with found objects. I live on a rural property, and I used to find some really interesting rusted pieces on the ground. That sparked my interest repurposing material, first for jewelry and later for art.

Bunny Tobias Artwork- Form and Concept-Santa Fe New Mexico
Bunny Tobias, Mean Clown, found objects, 6.25 x 6.5 x 8 in.

What are some of your creative influences?

I’ve always been interested in surrealism, dada, and arte povera. These were periods of art that I can easily relate to, because I love taking material that once had another purpose and another life, and turning it into something new. I love vintage material.

Tell us about how you chose the title Elegance of Mutation.

My work morphs and mutates old material into new concepts. Anything and everything is capable of morphing: ideas, objects, functions and materials.There’s an awful lot of humor in my work—and chaos discipline and nonsense. Those are all part of what I see as the elegance of mutation.

Bunny Tobias Artwork- Form and Concept- Santa Fe New Mexico
Bunny Tobias, Hang Over, found objects, 15.5 x 7.5 x 6 in.

What’s your process of composing sculptures from the objects you’ve discovered?

I’ll often try many different variations with a piece. I’ll keep adding and taking away pieces that I think might work. Sometimes it takes an awful lot of experimenting, and trial and error. Other times, it happens very spontaneously.

A lot of it has to do with the material. It has to speak to me, whether it’s doll parts or rusted old tools. My biggest challenge is to avoid cliches, and make sure it’s something that is original, that’s just a simple statement of pure art.


Amy Weiks & Gabriel Craig

For their collaborative exhibition, Kin, artists Gabriel Craig and Amy Weiks revved up their time machine. The show was a chance for the artists, who co-founded a nationally renowned metal fabrication studio in Detroit, to delve into the human history of objects and tools—and explore their own past in the process.

When did you start working together?

Gabriel: We’ve been metalsmiths for 13 years. We met when we were both undergraduates at Western Michigan University in the metal studio. We started working in metal in 2003, and we’ve been working together since 2007. We did a collaborative residency for a year in 2009. When we started working on Kin, it had been a while since we collaborated. We wanted to have an exhibition that would serve as a catalyst to revisit some old ideas and some new ideas. 

How does your work differ?

Gabriel: Amy’s work has always been an exploration of objects and tools throughout history, and playing with the idea of function and utility. My work has been an exploration of ornament and pattern. Often, the things we’re exploring can get married together in really interesting ways in the same object.

Amy Weiks- Gabriel Craig- Artwork- Form and Concept- Santa Fe New Mexico
Amy Weiks & Gabriel Craig, Kin: Bracelet 2, forged and chased bronze, 3.25 x 1.75 x 2.25 in.

Amy, you were a photographer before you started metalworking. Tell us about that transition.

Amy: I took a class on a whim my last semester of undergrad. I was interested in exploring something that is more tactile. I was doing a lot of darkroom processing, but overall photography is so much about the image, so it was a really fascinating transition. I started thinking more about form and texture and tools. I got sucked into metalworking really quickly.

When did you become attracted to more tactile art practices, Gabriel?

Gabriel: Growing up, I didn’t really use my hands or tools very often. My dad was a salesman, and his dad was a salesman, and his dad was a salesman, and his dad was a horse thief. From a young age, I was very creative, but my outlets were painting and drawing and photography. When I discovered metalsmithing, it was this realization that I could use tools and manipulate the environment around me. The more I do it, the more I realize that my ability to build forms in metals creates a surface for me to draw on. That comes full circle from my original interest.

Gabriel Craig- Amy Weiks- Artwork- Form and Concept- Santa Fe New Mexico
Gabriel Craig & Amy Weiks, Kin: Clip Brooch 3, forged, engraved and chased steel and bronze, 5.5 x 1.75 x 0.25 in.

Tell us about the first time you collaborated, in the 2009 residency.

Amy: We had done some projects in the past, so we decided to take a bunch of pieces and parts and ideas that we had already. We were working on recycled metal and found materials, like coins and chain, and thinking about texture and pattern. We put them on a table and mixed things together.

Gabriel: We would create elements or small studies, and approached it almost like collage. We would start bringing these pieces together into a larger form, or we’d arrange them on a piece of paper and we would draw around them. It was very labored. There were a lot of parts we rejected and things that didn’t go anywhere. There was a lot of bickering. We kind of figured out through that process what’s at the core of our investigation and what we’re interested in. That body of work was very intricate, very layered.

Was your collaborative process different during Kin?

Gabriel: For Kin, we limited our palette in a way. We’re only using forged steel and forged or fabricated bronze. We’re starting most of the time with forging as a process to start shaping the material. It reads much cleaner, more simple than the previous body of work. It’s a deep investigation. Working together is a lot more comfortable now. 

Amy: We’ve created all these pairings with this series. We have form and pattern, and we have bronze and steel, and we have engraving and chafing.

Gabriel: For us, working together has been like playing exquisite corpse with one other person every day for a decade.

Gabriel Craig- Amy Weiks- Artwork- Form and Concept- Santa Fe New Mexico
Gabriel Craig & Amy Weiks, Kin: Fibula, forged and chased bronze, 6.5 x 2.5 x 0.5 in.

Tell us more about the Kin series.

Amy: We’re looking at ancient artifacts and objects. There was this idea that these objects come from somewhere deep in our past. I’m trying to achieve some essence of artifacts in museums that are really old and handmade.

Gabriel: It’s about the kinship we feel with historic, functional and metal objects, and how people who made these objects in the past approached them with simple, technical interventions. We’re trying to find a kinship with that in what we’re doing. There’s some connection across time between what we’re doing and what was done.

 Learn more about Elegance of Mutation and Kin on our exhibition page.