Sunday, June 21, 2015

New Work in Vitreous Enamel

Anna Sprague
Necklace: Backyard Portrait, Spring, 2015.
Vitreous enamel, copper, sterling silver, brass, mixed media.
3" x 3" x 1/4"

Backyard Portrait, Spring was a way for me to push the scale of the enamel a bit. Wanting it to be wearable, but take up a larger portion of the body, the piece comes out in bas relief, with the addition of formed sheet metal leaves and cast tiny acorns. The added elements were fused into the enameled surface and adjusted into place through multiple firings. 

The cast elements within the composition and for the toggle were found in my yard, laying alongside miniature worlds of evidence left behind from the movement of birds, animals, and changing weather. I'll walk along the paths around the house and in the woods to clear the lists in my head, and pick up or study these objects. They are just common objects anyone living in the Northeast United States would find. However they are packed with texture, color, and detail that hold my attention. 

For this composition, local color was pushed, using vibrant hues within shadows and surfaces to accentuate the subtle punctuation of relief. The enamel is set within a box construction made of copper and sterling silver. A double strand of tiny brass beads allows the piece to hang somewhat close to the neck.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Summer & Ceramics

My summer working in clay at  Genesee Pottery ... 

Sure it was fun and addicting. Wonderful people and instructor. Miss working on the wheel already.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Summer: Maine Fellowship

detail from Altered Books
photo & book by Anna Sprague

Maine College of Art offers a terrific fellowship for art educators where they are given 24/7 access to studios, equipment, and supplies as well as workshops in various media. While there, I was able to complete a group of constructions in metal that I later turned into a necklace series titled "Pockets of Maine". Favorite workshops I attended included Altered Books, Screen Printing without a Darkroom, and insight into Illustrator's pattern making abilities.

Working in their Jewelry/ Metals studio was fantastic and what a great facility!  I was able to work throughout the entire day and visit local sites as inspiration. Although there were many wonderful people who shared ideas and insights, below are just a few who were fun, helpful, and inspirational.

    Jerrica Demers             Stacy Howe            Stratton McCrady           Laura Johnson
    jewelry/metals              mixed media             photography                  mixed media

From the Necklace Series: Pockets of Maine
copper, brass, steel, patina, semi-precious stones
other works from the series may be found at Anna Sprague Jewelry & Artwork on Etsy

soldering in the Jewelry/Metals studio

"Altered Books" samples I made for my 3D students.

The Altered Books workshop was taught by Laura Johnson. Great, great class. Set up for both the two and three-dimensional artist, there were many choices for altering imagery and form using books. I've included her teacher web page above which includes links to information she included in the workshop.

herbs & flowers outside our favorite little bakery

architectural detail within the city's many squares

Jenny looking for lobsters

Overall, a perfect start to the summer. A tour of one of the local beaches finalized the trip where Jenny took us to outlooks, through wildflower laden paths along the water's rocky coastline, and showed us how lobsters may be found hanging around in the weeds. My experience of Maine's fellowship may be summed up as lots of creative and friendly people, luscious lobster rolls and shrimp with lemon and dill, cobble stone roads and sidewalks, old architecture on city squares, and the ability to work within the medium I enjoy so much.


Saturday, May 18, 2013

Backyard Portraits

Backyard Portrait: Winter
sterling silver, patina

Working on vignettes, impressions from my environment. The pendants have become a way for me to preserve tiny scenes that I notice while walking around the yard and the woods behind my home. The elements that make up each pendant remind me of portraits, not of people, yet they each have their own personality. They speak of quiet, solitary small happenings on any given day within a season.

Backyard Portrait: Conifer
copper, sterling silver, patina

Backyard Portrait: Leaf Pool
copper, patina

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Recent Work: Studies in Enamel

Necklace: Untitled Study in Enamel 2
vitreous enamel, silver, copper, patina

Over the past months, I have spent time photographing what I see in my yard, the woods behind the house and other local natural settings. Each season is something new and every day, animals like fox, deer, and many types of birds travel past my lens. The plants are always changed in some way. I enjoy documenting all of this, and sometimes photograph these close-up.

For my jewelry, I've been working with details in line, shape, and forms I find within my natural surroundings. Each enamel within these pieces are built through layers in order to investigate compositions that reflect nature and my sense or impression of it long after the imagery is experienced.

Necklace: Untitled Study in Enamel 4
vitreous enamel, copper, silver, patina

I don't work from the actual photographs, or even look at them while I am painting in enamel (powdered glass). The work is from memory, impressions of what I have noticed. Compositions are arranged and rearranged, layering color, line, shape, and form with enamel, firing it and repeating the process until the image is complete.

Necklace: Untitled Study in Enamel 1
vitreous enamel, copper, silver, patina, gold-filled chain

Pendant: Summer
vitreous enamel, silver, semi-precious beads

Settings for each enameled composition are hand-fabricated, built in sheet metal and wire. They are designed to fit the feel of each piece. Chain for necklaces is found and mixed with hand-made chain and layered as well to work with the style of the enameled pendant.

Pendant: Untitled Study in Enamel 3
vitreous enamel, copper, silver, patina

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Seeds of Hope & Strength

During these last few months I have been working with my niece Eryn on her Senior Project. Each year, students from Webster High Schools are asked to team up with a professional in a specific field and are given the choice to also help within the Rochester community in some capacity.

Eryn wanted to make jewelry to give to the Battered Women's and Children's Shelter of Greater Rochester. There are many steps she has to follow for the project: writing and documenting the processes involved in making the jewelry, include a pamphlet, web page, contacting and delivering the work to the shelter. The main idea behind the Senior Project is to learn how to organize, problem solve, get others involved, and the act of giving.

My niece liked the grape seeds I had been casting and thought of an idea to use them as charms for bracelets. We have centrifugally cast 50 seeds for 50 bracelets. She wanted the seeds to hang from linen cord in colors that would symbolize a positive message.

Just the act of coming to a women's shelter is very courageous. My niece wanted them to have something nice and to have something new. She wanted the women to feel that they are not alone. She wanted them to be recognized for their act of bravery, to know that in bringing themselves and their children to safety, they have "planted the seed" of strength and of hope in their lives.

I have always seen the little grape seeds as little hearts, symbols of love, and a tangible from my early experiences in New York. Yet, Eryn's translation of what they could represent and that they could be used to help recognize acts of courage is both thoughtful and kind. We will be leaving the bracelets at the shelter soon and hope that they, however interpreted, help in some way.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Architectural Details: Pittsburgh & Photopolymer Etching

 Attended a great workshop given by Mariko Kusumoto this past weekend in Pittsburgh at the Society for Contemporary Craft. Kusumoto's work is phenomenal in detail and so much fun in how it is interactive and witty. She is also a fantastic instructor, making the process of photopolymer etching simple and affordable. For information about the process or where to get supplies, send me an email or for more detailed information, take her workshop. I know you will enjoy it immensely!

The Society for Contemporary Craft is in downtown Pittsburgh and shows innovative fine crafts from all over the world. I highly recommend taking a workshop from them or just stopping by to see their exhibitions. The gift shop is full of wonderfully made works by local and national artists and their staff is so kind. It's a fantastic place to experience.

Photopolymer Resist on Copper Plate

Etched Nickel Silver Plate

Driving and walking through downtown Pittsburgh was inspiring with its old and new architecture. Much of the downtown area includes old stone and brickwork from the late 1800s standing among newly built structures. Bridges are everywhere and were a blast to drive over and see while looking down city streets.

Architectural Details

Downtown Bridges