I just love a win/win, and this gorgeous new book, New Directions: Powder Metallurgy (Metal Clay) in a Sheet Metal World, put together by Susan Breen Silvy and Christine Norton, delivers in so many ways! First, it is an astonishing and inspiring collection of jewelry and hollowware pieces crafted from metal clay. Second, 20% of the purchase price is being donated to CERF+ (Craft Emergency Relief Fund) by the publisher with an additional $1 being donated by Blurb for Good, a program created by the website hosting the book sales, Blurb.com.
“The introduction of a new material in the visual arts gives birth to more than just new works of art; it necessitates new ways of working, enables new ways of thinking, and encourages new ways of realizing the potential of the eye to visualize and the hand to create,” writes Michael David Sturlin in the introduction to this small, powerful book. As one of the newest materials in today’s visual arts world, metal clay is doing exactly that. And the fruit of this new potential is delicious indeed.
This juried selection includes pieces that feature innovative finishes, intricate texturing techniques, and formations that simply aren’t possible without the unparalleled flexibility of clay. Pieces are set with stones or inlaid with glass, enamel, and found objects. Oxidized, bright-finished, patinaed, painted—the techniques for finishing are wide-ranging and imaginative. And I don’t doubt that just looking through these pages is going to sow the seeds for even more creative designs.
Then, to know that nearly a quarter of the price I paid is going to CERF+—and will help artists and craftspeople get back on their feet after disaster strikes—just adds that much more value to the book for me. Grown from the tradition of ‘passing the hat’ so intrinsic to the craft community, CERF+ has become a nationally recognized service organization dedicating to providing help to artists and craftspeople through direct financial and educational assistance, including emergency relief assistance, business development support, and resources and referrals on a variety of crucial topics such as health, safety, and insurance. CERF+ develops, promotes, and maintains resources for emergency readiness and recovery that benefit all artists.
Rio has long supported CERF+ through its “Sweeps For CERF+” program. Jewelers are encouraged to collect their sweeps and donate them to CERF+ to help sustain the careers of craftspeople affected by natural disasters and other emergencies across the United States. Rio collects all the sweeps until we have enough to refine them; all proceeds go directly to CERF+. Our collective contribution can make a big difference to fellow craft artists—so before you send your sweeps to the landfill, think instead of filling the hearts of craftspeople in need.
This book, small enough to fit into a purse or pocket, is packed with color photographs, artist biographies and website addresses, and a world of creativity. It’s easy to carry, easy to share, easy to immerse your creative self in. If, like me, you like a win/win, or if you could use a bit of inspiration or would just love to take a 30-minute vacation through a gallery of amazing beauty and artistry, pick up a copy for yourself.
Let us know what you think; what struck you? What surprised you? What inspired you? I’d tell you what my favorite is, but I wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise . . .