Mischief with metal

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When I learned that mischievous metal artists were in town, I knew I had to take a peek. I’m sure members of the Society of North American Goldsmiths, in town for their annual conference, are plenty tame in everday mode, but some of them are bringing a delightfully odd twist to metal in a pair of exhibitions running through Sunday at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts.

After previewing the 30 or so works in each juried exhibition (selected from a total of about 700 submissions), I got to thinking how much the folks attending Phoenix Comicon this weekend would enjoy these works. One artist imagined Darth Vadar as a little girl, and another created a jousting helmet for a newborn. Both are part of “Humor in Metal.” The other exhibition is titled “Hot Under the Collar: Survey of Contemporary Necklaces.”

While enjoying the exhibitions with my son Christopher, I ran into another mom who was there with her 7-year-old daughter, Arianna. Seems we’d each hit the center looking for something interesting to do that’d keep us out of the midday heat. I asked Arianna to show me her favorite piece, and she was quick to choose one featuring LEGO bricks.

I recalled Christopher’s many years of building elaborate LEGO towns on a large table in his bedroom when he was younger as Arianna told me about her favorite LEGO sets. Soon her mom, Arianna, was telling me about LEGO builds they’ve attended at Chandler Fashion Center together — and I was sharing tales of a long-ago babysitter who once taught at the school Arianna attends in Scottsdale.

As we got to talking about art, Arianna told me about her favorite programs for making art on the computer and Starrla spoke of her daughter’s love for drawing — mentioning that Arianna was once invited by a muralist to help paint a skull on the Barrio Cafe building after driving by one day and seeing the artist at work. I stopped to photograph that very mural today on my way to retrieve the cell phone misplaced during this year’s Arizona Press Club awards ceremony at the Duce.

It gets harder to meet fellow parents once kids leave the stroller stage, so I was delighted to meet a fellow art afficionado at the center that day. We parted ways as Christopher and I set out to explore Father’s Day gift options at The Store at Scottsdale Center for the Arts, but ran into each other again afterwards.

Arianna and her mom had just come from the young@art gallery, which is operated by the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art but located inside Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts — and Arianna was clearly excited about all she’d seen there, telling us we should be sure to check it out.

We did, of course, and found plenty of fun works. A pair of white buckets filled with body parts made of plaster. A box filled with little toy soldiers. A mannequin donning a skirt made of colorful comic strips. And much more — all created by students from various high schools who’ve participated in the museum’s “Visions” program for teens. There’s another exhibition of youth work in a hallway just off the center’s foyer.

Take it all in if you hit the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts to enjoy this weekend’s exhibitions by the Society of North American Goldsmiths. Both “Humor in Metal” and “Hot Under the Collar” take place Sat, May 26 from 10am to 5pm — plus Sun, May 27, from noon to 5pm. Some of the works featured are being offered for sale, and The Store will gladly give you all the fine print.

I spied a lovely “Chicken Choker” that’d be all the rage at Phoenix Comicon. Don’t say I didn’t warn you if someone beats you to that baby. For those with exotic tastes, finding just the right accessories can be brutal. And there’s nothing quite like artists who take pride in making mischief with their metal.

— Lynn

Coming up: Veterans who write, Musings on “First Position”

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2 responses to “Mischief with metal

  1. Lynn,
    Thank you very much for coming to the exhibition with your child and for writing about it. I am thrilled to hear that you enjoyed the show and I passed your blog on to all participating artists.
    May I point you to a book I recently published on the topic: “Humor in Craft” contains images of all the work you saw at the museum and many, many more really funny and amusing photos from a variety of craft media. I think you would enjoy it. The book can be ordered via my website (www.humorincraft.com) or via Amazon.
    Thank you again for your kind words.
    Best regards, Brigitte Martin
    PS: Your review is linked on my website 🙂

    • Hi Brigitte: Thanks so much for taking time to drop such a nice note, and to tell our readers about your book. I’m eager to check it out myself! — Lynn

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