Skip to comments.A Most Noble Pursuit (Local Metal Arts Community Breathes New Life Into Ancient Craft)
Posted on 12/29/2013 1:47:39 PM PST by nickcarraway
The 100-plus members who comprise the Monterey Bay Metal Arts Guild (MBMAG) share a deep love and appreciation of the metal arts in its various forms, and are dedicated to helping this ancient craft thrive in the modern, technological world.
One of the nicest benefits of belonging to the guild is that you are surrounded by mentors who are already very skilled and willing to share techniques, resources, and help you with problem-solving, says Toni Danzig, MBMAG vice president. I have seldom been in a group that is as sharing as these people are.
The guild, which was formed 15 years ago, offers numerous opportunities for people to explore a new creative outlet, regardless of their age or profession. MBMAGs mission statement reads: The art and craft of fine metalworking is an ancient and noble pursuit. It is the mission of the [MBMAG] to celebrate that art through public education, exhibitions and workshops.
Dawn Nakanishi does just that as the head of the Small Scale Metals and Jewelry Area at Cabrillo College. Nakanishi has taught at various Bay Area institutions since 1981 and has owned her own jewelry studio since 1975. She received her first metalwork commission in high school, and has been experimenting with the medium ever since. But finding a balance between creating her own metalwork and teaching can be tricky.
I try to do [metalwork] during my winter and summer breaks because the teaching I do is so all-encompassing for me that its frustrating and futile for me to try to be creative because Im constantly thinking of creative ways to present material to my students, Nakanishi laughs. But its very freeing. Thats the beauty of artits creative and its all about doing something yourself.
While Nakanishi has been working with metal most of her life, the art form is still a relatively new hobby for people like Danzig. Her four-year journey into the field of metalwork began after entering retirement. While she admits its been a challenge at times, its also a rewarding one.
ae2The MAH is hosting a metal arts exhibit featuring a vast collection of locally made creations.Im more of a field biologist person, a nuts-and-bolts person, so going from the right side of the brain to the left side is very difficult sometimes, Danzig laughs. Its a retraining process and its not been an easy one. Its been very strange and new, and has been a lot of hard work. But thats the pleasure of it, actually.
MBMAGs current exhibition at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History, titled Mind, Heart, Hand: From the Metal Artists Studio, features metalwork ranging from delicate jewelry to large sculptures; techniques like fabrication, etching, chase and repoussé, and mokume ganne; and the list of artists includes everyone from students to internationally renowned artists like Jerry Blanchard, Albion Smith and Lynda Watson. The collection, on display now through Feb. 2, 2014, was born out of an invitation to MBMAG members to think about what inspires them to create.
I am always intrigued by an artists creative process, and that was why putting this challenge to our guild was so exciting to me, says Danzig. It was great to have everyone do [some] introspection as to where their own creative process takes them, what kind of journey it takes them on, and all the pieces in this exhibit really reflect that introspection.
That willingness to not only create, but to also do so intentionally, is something that drives people like Danzig, Nakanishi and others in the MBMAG. Each project has boundless potentialfrom determining what the piece will look like to practicing a certain technique.
And as much as the creative process means something different to each member, Nakanishi captures the spirit of the guild when she explains why teaching metalwork is just as important as creating. It is great to be an instigator of something that is really meaningful to people, she says.
The Mind, Heart, Hand: From the Metal Artists Studio exhibit is on display now through Feb. 2, 2014, at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History, 705 Front St., Santa Cruz. For more information, call 429-1964. For more info about the Monterey Bay Metal Arts Guild, visit mbmag.org.
Are they gearing up for a return to primitivism in California?
I guess preppers are.
***I am always intrigued by an artists creative process, and that was why putting this challenge to our guild was so exciting to me,***
Same here, but I did it for a living! In a Steel shop building electrical transmission towers, flood control gates, glycol reboilers, oil crackers, still columns, grain bins, stands for coal crushers.
One local “artist” took a piece of I beam, cut through one side and the web, bent it to a 45 degree shape, spray painted it and entered it in an art contest at a major art gallery.
The judges slobbered over how “original” it was.
I had been doing that for years, 500 at a time, in the shop, covering them with galvanizing, but no one slobbered over my work or ever called it art.
Now I blacksmith for fun.
You just needed better PR.
***You just needed better PR.***
LOL. My unsigned steel work is spread over a dozen or more states but no one notices, even when the power goes out.
I’ve seen some really cool metal art made with “detanography” - using plastic explosives to fuse sheets of metal together.
detanography -Is that what they now call explosive welding?
Apparently. You probably get put on a different list by Homeland Security if you call it that.
I have nothing but the upmost respect for those who can work with metal. I’ve known some real artists who worked as tool & die makers, and one of the greatest revolver gunsmiths in history (Ron Power, but I’ve only been lucky enough to spend some time with him twice).
A very interesting show I saw on a cable channel followed Jesse James when he went to Israel to learn the art of hammer forging and blacksmithing. James was already an artist, but he was blown away by the master craftsman who was teaching him.
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