The Queue: Lisa Gralnick

The Queue: Lisa Gralnick

Discover what individuals from our craft community are into right now.

Published on Monday, October 26, 2020.
Cover graphic for The Queue featuring Lisa Gralnick

Introducing the Legacy series of The Queue

Alongside the winners our 2020 Awards being featured in the October/November 2020 issue of American Craft, the Legacy series of The Queue offers a platform for this group of incredible artists and advocates to share personally about their lives and work. Plus, take in their shortlists of exciting projects, people to follow, content to consume, and more.

Fearlessness, adaptability, and charting new territory: Lisa Gralnick on Legacy

2020 ACC Fellow Lisa Gralnick is a Madison, Wisconsin-based metalsmith, studio jeweler, and academic whose work challenges the monetary, cultural, and personal value of objects by transforming metals into objects of thought-provoking visual beauty. Read more about Lisa's career in our "Honoring Accomplishments" feature from the Legacy issue of American Craft.

Portrait of Lisa Gralnick

Portrait: Courtesy of Lisa Gralnick

Tell us a little about your background in 50 words or less.
I'm an artist and metalsmith.

As an ACC Fellow, what responsibilities come with this type of recognition?
The responsibility to promote, support, and encourage excellence in contemporary craft practice and to educate the world about its importance to humanity. I see the recognition as coming with the responsibility of being an ambassador for the field.

What type of legacy do you hope to leave with your work and career?
I hope to leave two distinct but related legacies: one as a maker, and one as an educator. As a maker, I would hope my work leaves a legacy of excellence in metalsmithing practice, fearlessness and the ability to change and grow in one's work, and the ability to address and confront the times through work that challenged conventions and charted new territory. As an educator, I hope my legacy will be to have produced several generations of young artists and metalsmiths who will become the future leaders in the field and keep the importance of metalsmithing and craft alive in provocative work that is based in a profound attention to materiality.

Scene of the Crime by Lisa Gralnick
Scene of the Crime by Lisa Gralnick

See more of Lisa's work and learn about our other 2020 ACC Awards recipients in "Honoring Accomplishments."
Photos: Jim Escalante

What’s an exhibition or art project you think the world should know about, and why?
This is neither an exhibition nor art project, but the world should know about the European Ceramic Workcenter ([email protected]) in the Netherlands. I have been there twice for three-month residencies and hope to return for a third one. Its mission is to promote experimentation in ceramic arts, and it is the most perfectly designed residency program. Artists who have never touched clay can apply. The facilities are extraordinary, the technical consultants are brilliant and generous, and the freedom to experiment, with technical help, is priceless.

What’s one go-to tool in your toolkit that the world should know about?
My favorite tool is a pair of Starrett spring dividers. Most of my work is extremely precise, and rulers, even when they are divided into 64ths of an inch, are never precise enough for me. Dividers allow me to transfer measurements from one part of a piece to another with great accuracy. I have six pairs of dividers in different sizes, and I use them every day.

Cover of Friends of Interpretable Objects by Miguel Tamen

What book should we be reading or paying attention to right now?
This is not a new book, but everyone should read Miguel Tamen's brilliant little book titled Friends of Interpretable Objects. Its a discursive romp through the iconoclastic debates, the history of the veneration of objects, and a bit of a discussion of tort law and how we give rights to all kinds of non-human entities.

Are you binge-watching anything right now?
I am always binge-watching British and European mysteries: Inspector Morse, Endeavour, Forgotten, Broadchurch, Wallander, etc.

The responsibility to promote, support, and encourage excellence in contemporary craft practice and to educate the world about its importance to humanity. I see the recognition as coming with the responsibility of being an ambassador for the field.

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