A new exhibit, “Put a Lid on It: Containers by Kentucky Artisans,” opens Sept. 13 at the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea.
Containers have been used over the centuries for storage and transport and to hold special objects. This exhibit showcases lidded containers by 47 Kentucky artists working with a variety of materials, including stone, clay, turned and carved wood, glass, metal, fiber and recycled materials. Some works are purely functional while others offer new interpretations of the container form.
Wood turners Richard Adams, Robin Costelle, John Keeton and Jack Fifield have created lidded works that showcase elegant forms and finials as well as the natural beauty of the wood used. Classical shapes can be found in ceramic works such as Seth Green’s “Ceremonial Jar” and David Waltz’s “Children Under the Arch.” Martha Puckett’s pit-fired white clay lidded container is patterned by what she refers to as “spontaneous markings made by flames and smoke on the surface of the clay.”
Containers with names that suggest purpose or patterning can be found in ceramic artist Joe Molinaro’s “Garlic Jar,” Amelia Stamps’ tall “Peacock Jar,” Philip Wiggs’ wood-fired “Bird Jar” and Wyman Rice’s “Industrial Teapot 2,” which mimics cast iron pipes and rivets with clay. Special-use containers have been created by wood turner Jamie Donaldson, who turned a shallow vessel to house a special silver medallion; and by Alan Hedgespeth, who has used multiple woods to create a wooden hinged jewelry box. Rachel Savane’s “Primordial Humidor” is composed of sterling silver and Kentucky agate to form a sculptural one-cigar container.
Whimsy and imagination can also be found in Fred Wiesner’s ceramic jar featuring a lid with ladies wearing derby hats and in Dan Selter’s colorful “Mr. Green,” a ceramic portrait of a man whose facial features are composed with frog, bird and mammal imagery. Adam Guyer has created a lidded container from leather called “Elfin Acorn,” and Sylvia Brestel has used felted wool to create a container that is her idea of a fairy house in the woods.
“I created ‘Faerie Hus’ to recreate an ancient time and magical place,” Brestel says.
Mary Jane Allen and Linda Fifield have stitched miniscule seed beads around and over containers to create reflective and rich colorful surfaces and imagery. Kathy Conroy has used scratchboard on the lid of her box to portray a detailed rendition of a foal, and Chuck Pearson has combined found and recycled materials to create a moving “Wheel of Life” composed of multiple old snuff tins, buttons and paint.
In her work “Horse Barrel Box,” Janet Bailey Burch has sculpted wood into a running horse whose body opens to reveal a hidden space. Julie Warren Conn’s container “Treasure Nest” is carved from alabaster, and Wayne Ferguson’s teapot “Zero in Flames” includes a lid that incorporates an ocarina disguised as a Japanese Zero airplane. This teapot was the first in a “Lest We Forget” series Ferguson made to commemorate Pearl Harbor.
Artists with works included in “Put a Lid on It: Containers by Kentucky Artisans” are: Richard Adams, London; Mary Jane Allen, Louisville; Robert Bagley, Berea; Tom Blanck, Nicholasville; Sylvia Brestel, Louisville; Marianne Brown, Lawrenceburg; Janet Bailey Burch, Crestwood; Amy Chase, Louisville; Julie Warren Conn, Lexington; Kathy Conroy, Pleasureville; Ron Cooper, Mount Vernon; Robin Costelle, Fern Creek; Wendy Currier, Lexington; Marlene Dennis, Louisville; Jamie Donaldson, Georgetown; Wayne Ferguson, Louisville; Linda Fifield, McKee; Jack Fifield, McKee; Susan Goldstein, Lexington; Seth Green, Morehead; Adam Guyer, Lexington; Ken Guyer, Lexington; Alan Hedgespeth, Henderson; Steve Heine, Louisville; Robert Henrickson, Lexington; Pam Hillard, Lebanon; Walter Hyleck, Berea; John Keeton, Winchester; Joe Molinaro, Lexington; Chuck Pearson, McKee; Gin Petty, Berea; Martha Puckett, Louisville; Wyman Rice, Lexington; Rachel Savane, Lexington; Henrietta and Jeff Scott, Columbia; Dan Selter, Lexington; Amelia Stamps, Lexington; Tonya Vance, Lexington; Cindy Vough, Lexington; David Waltz, Columbia; Fred Wiesener, Maysville; Philip Wiggs, Berea; Thomas R. Williams, Paris; Angelia S. Wilson, Clearfield; Elizabeth Worley, Lexington; Caroline Zama, Louisville and Mike Zoeller, New Haven.
“Put a Lid on It: Containers by Kentucky Artisans” will be on display Sept. 13, 2014, through Feb. 28, 2015, at the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea. A meet-the-artist reception will be held Sunday, Sept. 21, from 1:30-3:00 p.m.
The Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea, is located at 200 Artisan Way, just off Interstate 75 at Berea, Exit 77. The center’s exhibits, shopping and travel information areas are open daily, year-round, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and the cafe is open from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Admission is free.