Friday I spent the morning and early afternoon dreamily walking through the American Craft Councils (ACC) San Francisco show. Last year was my first year attending and it was a pure joy to return this year, meet new artists and see the growth in those I met the year before. This is very quickly becoming my favorite art event of the year!
This year the first to catch my eye was Reiko Ishiyama. I was first taken by her work and then by her self. Her work is composed of very thin sheets of silver worked into incredibly interesting forms to be worn as brooches or jewelry. It has a very delicate, paper like feel to it yet is big and bold, powerful and interesting. Taking “negative space” to another level her silver work seems to struggle against or support structures composed of negative space. She describes it best in her artist statement: “By shaping paper thin sheets of metal, I can house space itself.” House space itself. Imagine a mind that takes precious metals, the obvious focus of any work and instead uses it to carve a structure out of air. I’m still mulling over her vision and genius. What does her mind see as she works through a new design?
She seems lifetimes ahead of most of the artists I’ve encountered yet it is clear she has lived in this space for decades. Every bit about her mirrors her art – even her dress could have been a fabric rendition of her silver folded works, which caught the eye but then put the spotlight on what it enclosed. Having made this massive artistic leap she feels as though her current works are simply borrowing from past ones but the handful of avid fans who came by to say hello while I admired saw her progress. I would LOVE to see her portfolio over the last several decades.
Another highlight of the ACC show was seeing the growth in Beverly Tadeu. I’d been taken by her work at the last ACC show and commissioned her to refashion my wedding bands a couple weeks later. At the last show each piece was a great work of art in which she’d clearly pushed herself. She work carved out her name; it was fresh and inspirational yet felt exploratory and more sculpture than jewelry.
This year her work has moved from calling artistic metal sculptures jewelry to incorporating her sculptures into jewelry. The works and their style are clearly Beverly’s and their designs challenging yet she is now appreciating the body on which jewelry sits and the purpose of jewelry and adorning it with her metal sculpture. This shift will make her work tangible to a much wider audience. She has embraced the art of creating jewelry in addition to sculpture. She is an artist in every sense of the word and I will be watching her career with bated breath.