Whom In Your Field Do You Admire?

Whom In Your Field Do You Admire?

Emiko Oye, Jessica Green, Luke Haynes, Kate Hawes, and Crystal Morey

Left to right: Emiko Oye, Jessica Green, Luke Haynes, Kate Hawes (top), and Crystal Morey

When I look at our field, especially the remarkable women who set the stage for the rest of us, what propels them forward is integrity, passion, connection, and authenticity. Artist Harriete Estel Berman (“Pencils Make a Point”) is one of those women, having dedicated as much of her life to advocacy for professional practices for artists as she has for her own work. Now, as I begin to take on the role of mentor, I take a cue from her inclusivity, respectfulness, and how much she encourages the creative voice in others. ~Emiko Oye, jewelry artist, San Francisco 

In 2007, I went to see Lee Bontecou’s vacuum-formed sculptures at Knoedler gallery. Afterward, I was walking through Central Park in a kind of Bontecou-inspired trance. The nature around me seemed surreal and dangerously inviting. Without thinking, I walked up to a tree and put my hand into a black oblong hole in the trunk, where it was gently slapped by the paws of an angry squirrel. I admire an artist who has that kind of effect on her viewer, who changes our perception of the world! ~Kate Hawes, furniture maker, Brooklyn

Two kindred spirits who deeply inspire me as a weaver are Miss Lucy Morgan of the Penland School of Crafts and Frances Louisa Goodrich, founder of Allanstand Cottage Industries and the Southern Highland Craft Guild. Like me, both women were led to Appalachia by providence; they discovered the near-forgotten art of colonial coverlet weaving and fell in love. Each saw an opportunity to keep the craft alive and empower mountain women with a paying vocation. A century later, moved by the same fierce and tender flame, I’m honored to walk in the footsteps of this homespun history. ~Jessica Green, weaver, Sandy Mush, North Carolina

I admire Arthur Gonzalez in the way he continually reinvents himself, exploring depths of emotion. Beth Cavener Stichter for her handbuilding abilities, attention to detail, and sense of humanity in all of her creatures. Derek Weisberg for taking creative risks that lead to strikingly haunting and visceral outcomes. Cristina Córdova (“The Body Eloquent”) for her otherworldly figures that are beautifully dark and poetic. Finally, I admire Jim Melchert for his wisdom, wit, and interest in process and idea. ~Crystal Morey, ceramic sculptor, Oakland, California

I have two answers. I admire anyone who works through their own method (or visual aesthetic) without being dictated to by the works of others. The second answer is I admire Joe Cunningham ("Crazy Quilts"). He has spent years researching and writing about the history and tradition of quiltmaking; his work breaks out of the mold. I have spent time working to learn from him and his work, and am a better maker of art because of it. ~Luke Haynes, designer, Los Angeles