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We've Got News!


Left: Spanish Garden by Leila Tai; Right: Mantis by Leila Tai.

Awards & Honors
Temple University metals professor Stanley Lechtzin, who pioneered the use of electroforming and digital technologies in his jewelry, received a lifetime achievement award from the Society of North American Goldsmiths at its 2009 conference in Philadelphia… Leila Tai, a Beirut-born New Yorker who makes nature-inspired jewelry using the 15th-century plique-à-jour technique won the American Jewelry Design Council’s 2009 New Talent Award… Ceramics writer and curator Judith Schwartz was honored by the Clay Art Center in Port Chester, NY, at its benefit in September… Ron Lang, ceramics chair at the Maryland Institute College of Art, was the honoree at The Clay Ball, a fall fund-raiser for Baltimore Clayworks… Ceramist Cliff Lee, furniture maker Matthias Pliessnig, glass artist Judith Schaechter and silversmith Ubaldo Vitali have been selected for the next Renwick Craft Invitational, set for spring 2011 at the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery in Washington, DC… It’s been an eventful year for husband-and-wife jewelers David and Roberta Williamson. He assumed the Neal Malicky Chair in the Humanities at Baldwin-Wallace College; she joined the Ohio Designer Craftsmen board. Together they received an award of excellence in the ODC “Best of 2009” traveling show and a $5,000 artist fellowship from the state arts council. They’re also in the latest installment of Craft in America on PBS… Days of Summer by the Pond, a wall sculpture by Christian Burchard, took the $5,000 top prize in the Society of Contemporary Craft’s biennial, “Transformation 7: Contemporary Works in Wood, the Elizabeth R. Raphael Founder’s Prize” (at the SCC gallery in Pittsburgh through Jan. 2). Katie Hudnall and Matthias Pliessnig earned honorable mention, and Travis Townsend a merit award.

With founder Bonnie Marx moving on, the Marx-Saunders Gallery in Chicago has become the Ken Saunders Gallery, keeping its focus on glass art. The gallery recently showed work by Illinois State University students who received scholarship awards from the Midwest Contemporary Glass Art Group… Elsewhere in the Windy City, Dubhe Carreño Gallery is now in the West Loop arts district, offering more sculpture, paintings and works on paper along with its specialty, ceramic art… Citing the tough economy as “too much for even us seasoned veterans to manage,” JoAnn Edwards and her brother, Seb Hamamjian, have closed their Tercera Gallery in Palo Alto, CA, after 31 years. On the upside, the San Francisco Museum of Craft + Design, which they founded and also run, just celebrated a fifth anniversary and will move to the city’s SoMA (South of Market) arts district… Just opened in downtown Ashland, OR: the Ashland Art Center, a nonprofit multimedia space for resident artists and the community.

Taking Note
Richard Jolley will create a major installation in glass and metal for the Great Hall of the Edward Larrabee Barnes-designed Knoxville Museum of Art, TN… The Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft helped commission two local artists to create works for the new Norton Brownsboro Hospital in Louisville: in the chapel, a pair of stained-glass windows by Laura Mentor entitled Of the Earth–Healing Plants and Trees of America, and in the atrium, Johnny Gordon’s Arborvitae (Tree of Life), an 18-foot-high sculpture in copper and stained glass… New black diabase benches by Swedish designers Ulla and Gustav Kraitz grace the entrance of New York’s Museum of Arts and Design… Artist and glass historian William Gudenrath has been elected president of the Fellows of the Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, NY… Radhika Subramaniam, a curator whose interests include cultural exchange and cross-disciplinary encounters, has become director of the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center at Parsons The New School for Design in New York City…The Museum of Contemporary Craft and the Pacific Northwest College of Art , both in Portland, OR, have entered into a joint operations agreement, leading up to formal integration. The move, said PNCA president Tom Manley, “allows the Museum to re-center itself and grow in a more measured and viable manner, [enhances] the educational experience at PNCA for current and future students, and enables the College to explore new graduate offerings.”

In Remembrance
The master cabinetmaker James Krenov, 88, whose teaching and lyrical writings on working with wood made him a revered figure in the studio furniture world, died Sept. 9 in Fort Bragg, CA. Born in Siberia to Russian parents, young Krenov moved with them to Alaska and later Seattle, where as a teen he built boats. As an adult he learned cabinetmaking at the Carl Malmsten school in Stockholm, and went on to maintain his own woodshop in Sweden for over 20 years. In 1981 he moved to northern California to establish a fine woodworking school at the College of the Redwoods, and taught there until his retirement in 2002. He advocated a personal, intuitive approach to furniture making, grounded in technical excellence, facility with hand tools and sensitivity to the nuances of wood. Krenov’s books–including A Cabinetmaker’s Notebook (1976), The Fine Art of Cabinetmaking (1977), The Impractical Cabinetmaker (1979), Worker in Wood (1981), and With Wakened Hands (2000)–are considered essential reading for the serious woodworker. He was a Fellow of the American Craft Council and received the Furniture Society’s Award of Distinction.

Alice Kagawa Parrott, 80, the acclaimed weaver and ACC Fellow, died Sept. 11 in Santa Fe, NM. Hawaiian-born and Cranbrook-trained, Parrott drew inspiration from various cultures—her own Japanese heritage as well as Native American, Mexican and Guatemalan craft traditions. Her textiles, woven of yarn she spun and dyed herself, ranged from clothing and accessories to large public tapestry commissions and hangings shown in art museums. She also made the colorful wool ponchos worn for nearly 30 years by Santa Fe Opera ushers.

Ted Nierenberg, 86, founder and president of Dansk International Designs, known for its elegant tableware and early popularization of the Scandinavian Modern style, died July 31 in Armonk, NY. As volunteer president of the American Craft Council from 1979 to 1980 he led the organization through a pivotal period of growth and change, including the transition of its magazine, Craft Horizons, to American Craft.

William J. Mahoney, 88, a potter and the former chair of the Department of Art and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University, where he was professor emeritus, died Aug. 30.