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All Together Now

All Together Now

All Together Now

April/May 2014 issue of American Craft magazine
Mediums Furniture Jewelry
Black Sheep Bikes

Black Sheep Bikes. Photo: DiMartino Photo

Artful objects that prove there is strength – and beauty – in coming together as one.

Black Sheep Bikes of Fort Collins, Colorado, operates from a simple principle: Instead of building more bikes, business partners James Bleakley and Todd Heath build better bikes. Their handcrafted titanium Jack’s Tandem tied for best in its category at the 2013 North American Handmade Bicycle Show.

In decorative Victorian-style furniture, Bay Area maker Michele Marti sees persona, gender, and the opportunity to explore relationships. All it takes is touch – contact – and two chairs become a flirtatious, personified pair.

In her work, Gwendolyn Yoppolo explores one of the most intimate and archetypical communal experiences: sharing a meal. The ceramist, currently at Ohio University, creates work that plays with familiar shared rituals – reorienting our perceptions of them.

We all know how to sit side by side. Minneapolis/St. Paul industrial designer Thomas Oliphant’s indoor/outdoor double rocker offers a fresh take on how to share a  chair – “allowing two individuals to rock naturally as one.”

Colorado-based Alleghany Meadows’ work seems to channel feelings of family, each object curving protectively over the next – the entire elegant arrangement made possible by each piece playing its part.

We’re all the product of families, whether through nature or nurture. Philadelphia-based Ashley Gilreath’s I Am Who They Were necklace puts the communal quality of our identities front and center.

Engagement rings proclaim (sometimes stridently) the intent to partner. Kate Mess’ ’Til Death Do Us Part knuckle duster, available in sterling silver or brass, clearly has  a bit more to communicate – but “I will leave it to speak for itself,” says the Maine-based jeweler.