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.

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

IN PROCESS Artist Demonstration

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 summer, form & concept teams up with local jewelers to celebrate jewelry design as its own exquisite art form. For the second manifestation of the IN PROCESS Artist Demonstration, Bunny Tobias, Brian Fleetwood and Leah Siegel will demonstrate their process.

IN PROCESS: Artist Demonstration takes place on Saturday, July 29, 1-3 pm. This is an open house event, so feel free to stop by at any point in the afternoon. Light refreshments will be provided.

RSVP on Facebook.

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.

Browse Bunny’s work.

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. Brian holds an MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University, and is currently teaching at the Institute of American Indian Arts.

Browse Brian’s work.

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.

Browse Leah’s work.

Designs for a Sweet Tooth.

Kelsey Simmen Jewelry- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Kelsey Simmen, Bartlett Necklace, sterling silver, maple, paint, $475.

Kelsey Simmen‘s jewelry designs are sweet—sometimes literally. The San Francisco designer likes to incorporate homemade sugar crystals into her work. Even when they’re not actually edible, Simmen’s wearable artworks are as colorful as confections and often resemble magnified grains of sugar.

You might guess that Simmen has a sweet tooth, but her vibrant designs actually have a deeper personal significance. The artist has had type 1 diabetes for over 15 years. Through her work, Simmen has found beauty and hope in a difficult situation. She is a frequent donor to the Diabetic Youth Foundation, and has incorporated insulin vials, pump supplies and other medical waste into her work. Browse her designs below, and click here to see more on the form & concept shop website.

Kelsey Simmen Jewelry- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Kelsey Simmen, Bartlett Sugar Drop Hook Earrings, sterling silver, wood, $170.
Kelsey Simmen Jewelry- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Kelsey Simmen, Sugar Babe Ring, 18k gold, $480.
Kelsey Simmen Jewelry- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Kelsey Simmen, Sugar Lump Earrings, 18 karat gold, $738.
Kelsey Simmen Jewelry- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Kelsey Simmen, Poprock Sweetie Necklace, sugar, glass vial, sterling silver, $244.
Kelsey Simmen Jewelry- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Kelsey Simmen, Fruit Punch Hook Earrings, acrylic, silver, $315.
Kelsey Simmen Jewelry- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Kelsey Simmen, Facet Bead Necklace, sterling silver, $165.
Kelsey Simmen Jewelry- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Kelsey Simmen, Superfine Hoops, sterling silver, $200.