Maker x Maker with Marcy LaBella (Week 1)
Artists from our community introduce you to the makers they adore.
We’re excited to be collaborating with Connecticut-based mixed-media artist and educator Marcy LaBella on a brand new series of Maker x Maker. Over the next two weeks, Marcy will be shining the spotlight on other makers she admires. See who's featured below, with a new artist added to the list each day.
About the curator
Marcy LaBella has been making art since early childhood. She works in a variety of craft mediums as well as painting and drawing, with her main focus being painting, sculptural ceramics, and metals. Her work in these mediums draws on her love of color, composition, texture, and space – recurrent themes that are present throughout her body of work. Perpetually excited about art and about engaging with artists from all disciplines, Marcy is also a teaching artist and is passionate about community-based arts programming.
Love and art are intrinsically connected, and you cannot help but see the deep connection that this maker, Deborah Strano, has for her craft and materials. Deborah is an extremely gifted metalsmith who works with sterling, copper, nu-gold (a brass alloy), and gold. She incorporates semiprecious stones, pearls, and crystals into her work as well as mixed media-processes, creating dioramas set in resin-filled bezels and etched words that dance across surfaces. Found objects such as coral, beach stones, and drift wood from her travels also weave their way into her pieces. Deborah uses many unique surface treatments – from highly polished to deeply patinated – to bring out her detailed and textured surfaces.
To say her work is unique is an understatement, as Deborah stands out as the unique among the unique. Like an alchemist, she seems to have a special touch that can transform raw materials into something altogether new and different. Deborah creates rings, earrings, pendants, bracelets, metal bowls, and spoons as well as sculptural metal work. She is a well-rounded and skilled craftsperson and includes fusing, marriage of metals, stone setting and other traditional techniques in her work. I always love to see what new and gorgeous thing she is working on – she never fails to surprise and delight. Every piece she creates is a work of art and a testament to the skill of this maker.
I am in love with the work of artist and designer Karen Fleisch of New York City, whose work has a decidedly East Village flair. Karen creates statement pieces that stand out for her NYC clientele as well as her celebrity clients, including such notables as rock stars Steven Van Zandt and Kelley Swindall, and director David Pilot. Like a time traveler in a Jules Verne novel, she picks up the best details and creative influences from past eras.
Karen fashions couture clothing, jackets, and bags, as well as a super fun new line of COVID-19 masks that I just adore. The masks feature her unique embroidered and fringe elements and make mask-wearing much more fun since they have become daily essentials. I love everything that comes out of her studio because of her fresh ideas and how her designs manage to be both sophisticated and unpretentious. All the while, you can feel the flavor, energy, and rhythm of the city in her work. She is an artist to watch as her work is always evolving in new and exciting ways.
Linda Staphos Wosczyna
Linda Staphos Wosczyna creates wearable metal jewelry that is uniquely beautiful. What I love about her esthetic is the amount of space contained in her pieces. Linda’s work with the oxy-acetylene torch creates organically cut and rolled edges and areas of negative space. These delicate places within her work create space for the piece to breathe and allow an altered perspective of their surroundings when worn against the body or when dangling from the ears.
Linda’s jewelry is all you need to make your “basic black” into something spectacular. You can literally go from office to “wow” with some Staphos Wosczyna cuffs and earrings on your way from work to a dinner or cocktail party with friends.
Linda is a metalsmith with a finely honed set of skills who uses many different processes in her work: etching, fold forming, anti and syn-clastic forming, and incorporating beads are just some of the techniques and methods she employs. Linda also relates the craft of metalsmithing to the art form of dance – the relationship between the metal and the fire, the energy and rhythm that must come together when creating.
Her surface treatments range from brightly shining silver to deeply patinated coppers and enamel work in a range of colors from candy apple red to subtle pastels. The love and passion for her craft are apparent in each piece she creates.
David Frank’s beautiful and functional tableware continues the time-honored tradition of the New England village potter. You'll find David’s home and studio perched high upon a winding country road in a converted chicken barn on his generational property. Here he creates delightfully beautiful utilitarian ware. He creates platters, bowls, ovenware, and mugs that feel just right in your hand.
David believes that every piece of pottery has its own narrative and that its new owner will finish its story. David mixes his own glazes and fires them in reduction in the gas kiln in his studio in the lower level of his converted barn. The upper level of the barn has been converted into a gallery space where he has biannual sales attended by the people who love and collect his quality wares.
David is very accomplished and has two pieces of work in the permanent collection at the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution (Washington, D.C.) as well as one piece at the Slater Memorial Museum (Norwich, Connecticut). Having shared his love and knowledge of ceramics for many years as a teaching artist in his popular clay classes, David’s work is a fine example of quality, tradition, and fine craftsmanship.
Cheryl Tuttle is an amazing artist who works in multiple mediums: paint, clay, and fiber art are all equally and passionately executed by her skilled hands. But, her metal work and jewelry making show off her talent to its highest level. She effortlessly creates unique and whimsical one-of-a-kind pieces from of copper, silver, and nu-gold (a brass alloy).
Cheryl loves incorporating semi-precious stones, cabochons, beads, and fiber into her work, which is sensually organic and textural. The use of found objects, natural items, and collected pieces in her work gives every piece a feel of familiarity – what some people would call good energy.
Cheryl uses many techniques to create her uniquely styled jewelry: stone setting, forging, dapping, etching, and repousse are among the many steps involved in her process. She applies special care to surface treatment and loves to create luminous surfaces by using a variety of patinas and by enameling. Every piece is made with loving attention to detail and with the care of quality construction, making for truly wearable art. You can look at her body of work and see the passion and joy of the maker in every piece she creates.
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