Empty Vessel - Holding Place

Materials: Copper, patina, forged, fabricated
Dimensions: 8" x 8" x 16"

This sculpture is inspired by the idea of a vessel form that is both self-defining and defies it’s own boundaries. It has recently been acquired by the City of Houston as Portable Works Collection.

Photo credit: Jeff Sabo

Lisa M Wilson
Fort Collins, CO. USA

Conceptually, I consider a piece to be successful if a wide variety of people see a connection between the object and their own experience. My recent research interest has been in multitudes, and how the members of these multitudes tend to organize themselves. I am interested in patterns of organization and behaviors that emerge in groups of objects. Some behaviors are so pervasive that they are easily taken for granted, for example, the tendency of things like tree branches, vascular systems or population density overlays to split into smaller and smaller parts towards their extremities. Common patterns like this have become familiar to us on a fundamental level and inform our innate sense of aesthetics. In my copper sculptures, I borrow behaviors, and transform them into a new and abstract form, or juxtapose them over another, already familiar form. In their new context, the strength of identity of these patterns imbues the sculptures with a strange sense of familia rity and order.

These containers and vessels definitely hold their place in the world of stunning art objects as well as in the world of metalsmithing.

Since the dawn of time humans have created containers to hold things that were important to them, from large vessels to hold food and harvests to intimate containers for small precious things. They might hold memories, ashes, medicine, beverage, fruit or food - but all spring from the imagination and skill of the maker. Some have specific religious functions, some are meant for everyday use. When one thinks of a vessel or container the inclination is to think of something with solid walls - yet many of these works involve the exploration of positive and negative space, and the use of negative space to help create the illusion of the wall of the vessel.

As the world’s largest jewelry related internet site, Ganoksin strives to develop exhibitions showcasing work from around the world. This exhibition was open to all metalsmiths, professional and amateur, advanced and beginner. Participants are from The Netherlands, the USA, Canada, Australia, Costa Rica, the United Kingdom, Israel, Hong Kong, Colombia, Romania, Italy, Ireland, Japan, Malaysia and Denmark. While most of the pieces are by an individual metalsmith, some are collaborations, one of three artists spanning 50 years.

In total 319 artists contributed 729 show pieces for the permanent online exhibition.

Objects in the exhibition include boxes, lockets, urns, ash containers, bowls, wine cups, reliquaries, match holders, vases, teapots, pitchers, sugar bowls, baskets, nests, pillboxes, clutches and a range of sculptural forms. A variety of techniques are showcased covering a wide range of metalsmithing techniques. Materials used include everything from gold and silver to less expensive metals. Ornamentation includes the addition of enamel, chasing and repousse’, gemstones and found objects.

The exhibition was curated by Beth Wicker, President of the North Carolina Society of Goldsmiths in the United States, and Adjunct Instructor at Northeastern Technical College in South Carolina. Director of the exhibition is Hanuman Aspler, founder of The Ganoksin Project, the world’s largest internet jewelry site.