Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Ree Gallagher: Nests, Orbits and the Moon!

Ree Gallagher

Orbit Series
Moon Series

Nest Series

I found Ree Gallagher's work while checking out the GFS Craft Show participating artists web page. The event took place in early March and included some of the finest jewelry design artists I have seen.

Ree lives in Chadd's Ford, PA--Andrew Wyeth country--but was first introduced to jewelry while studying in Florence.

Actually, in undergrad I was a studio arts/ painting major.I travelled to Florence to study painting and stumbled into the jewelry program.I loved to buy jewelry, so I decided to try my luck at designing my own work! Italy seems like so long ago now, but I am definitely influenced by contemporary European work, be it by Italiana, Germans, Swedes, Finns.

I am influenced by Tone Vigeland's jewelry and Arlene Fisch. I love the sculpture work of Eva Hesse. I'm also very influenced by tribal and ancient cultures' designs and handwork.

Tell us about your inspiration for your "nest", "spiral" "orbit" and "moonrock" designs?
My work grew out of a love of material.Coming from a painter's background, aluminum enticed me with its color, but won me over with its properties. The malleability of this material, has allowed me many luxuries during the creation process. This work (NEST.series, SPIRAL.series, DISC.series, HOOP.series) is either handwoven or hand spun under pressure to create the forms I desire. From there, further ornamentation and embellishment is woven into the forms or pieces are brought together to create further landscapes. My metalwork (ORBIT.series, MOONROCK.series) allows me to be totally free and less precise. My aluminum work requires incredible time, attention to detail, focus and tedious intricate work.My metalwork allows me to let loose more and bring the beauty of the metal's properties to work as they may. I don't fight those pieces to make them perfect, I let them have a life of their own.
Where does your inspiration for space-like jewelry come from?

I suppose it is in releasing my need to control a piece to the universe. I find beauty in creating these pieces comes when they find a home and very often I'm surprised by the home (i.e. from sixteen year olds to sixty year olds from all walks of life and styles!)

What do you find most challenging about balancing the creative work with having a successful business?
The business end of things takes up so much of your time so the challenge is to set aside time for each aspect of the creation and business process. I believe this is one of the hardest jobs out there. You not only must conceive of an interesting idea, you have to engineer and plan the creation, find and order supplies, determine the cost and feasibility it will sell, determine your wholesale and retail prices, manage a shop and/or store, enter shows, do photography, graphic design, sales, accounting, collections, PR and marketing, shipping, etc. you name it!Never a dull moment. Must be a great "multi-tasker" !

What advice do you have for fledgling jewelry designers?

Don't give up.Take your designs to the public as often as possible to see what sells, what the public thinks of the work, how it hangs, the size, price, etc.

Ree's unusual, one-of-a-kind work was chosen for the Friedrich Becker Prize Exhibition and her limited production work has been featured in the Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum, NY's New Museum of Contemporary Art and New Orlean's Ogden Museum.

It was a pleasure meeting Ree!

Thanks for stopping by...

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