Read below to see Asher Gallery’s top artist picks for your holiday shopping. Please note: some items have limited availability.
Through her unique perspective as both a dancer and choreographer, Tana Acton combines air, movement and light to create pieces that are at once delicate and solid. Her jewelry pieces are contemporary, lightweight and affordable–they can be worn as either casual or formal accessories. She has progressed to graphic artist, choreographer and dance teacher, painter and eventually fashion designer to some of New York’s leading knitwear and house wares manufacturers.
Born in Birmingham, Michigan, Acton has lived a life focused on creative and artistic expression. She earned an Antioch College BFA in painting and completed the Parsons School of Design Fashion Design program. In Florence, Italy, she studied with Tomaso after studying silversmithing in Haystack’s high-school program with Glenda Arentzen.
Above: Tana Acton, sterling-silver cuff. Photo by HCCC.
$112 – $225
“Glass is my ultimate artistic medium. Self-sufficient when blown, it can transform itself when in relation with another medium. Mixing medium and techniques is essential for my visual language.”
“Nature is my principal inspiration; the four elements of nature, water, earth, wind and fire, are generally the focus of my work. I’m into textural contrasts, like between a full shiny space and an organic empty space. Representing a form’s transformation, as well as its fragility, linearity, and organic movements, are the essence of my work.”
Above: Carolyne Brouillard, blown-glass candy bowl. Photo by HCCC.
Linda Deardorff (Out of the Woods)
$20 – $45
Linda and her husband hand select and dry wood from forests on the Oregon coast, where they live. They work with Oregon Alder, a non-endangered hardwood that has been used in furniture and cabinetry for years. After searching for interesting shapes, textures, and patterns, the parts of the tree that Jim is unable to use in his furniture become the basis for the one-of-a-kind vessels and boxes that Linda creates. She shapes each piece following the wood’s natural contour, finely sands them and finishes each with tung oil. Much of the inspiration for Linda’s work comes from the natural beauty and wildlife on the 10 acres where she and her husband live and work. Her hope is to create a unique piece of artwork that will provide years of enjoyment while bringing the natural environment “out of the woods” and into the home, without further degrading our forests or wasting precious resources.
Above: Linda Deardorff, wooden box (Oregon Alder). Photo by HCCC.
$30 – $100
“I consider my work to be an exploration of drawing as a form of storytelling. My subject matter is inspired by my vivid and often frightening dreams, people and animals I have known and loved, as well as verbal and visual misinterpretations. The result is usually surreal in nature and narrative. The work has a tendency to represent things as they are, not as they appear. My subjects typically abandon their physical forms to present to the viewer something more intuitive and less confining. My ultimate goal is to simultaneously seduce and repel, drawing the viewer in with beautiful images and stunning them with an unexpected intimacy.”
Above: Gretchen Diehl, shrink-film necklace. Photo by HCCC.
$60 – $800
“ I find myself going in multiple directions with a focus on altering the wood, which is initially turned on the lathe, into forms using texture, pyrography, piercing and air-brushed paints to create either pictures or creatures. My pictures often involve garden scenes with butterflies, hummingbirds and dragonflies with floral designs pulling the story together. My creatures appear somewhat alien or anthropological with carved appendages.”
“I like using the wood as a canvas to try to create a relationship between the piece and the viewer, so that their natural curiosity draws them in closer to find hidden surprises in the pieces. I find inspiring the grain and figure of each piece of wood. Even when I intend to cover the surface with my designs, I first consider what that piece of wood will support and how I will work with it to create something new.”
Above: Paula Haymond, “Falling Leaves Vase” (magnolia). Photo by HCCC.
$80 – $4,000
“My line of large-scale, sculptural metal is cut by hand using a jeweler’s saw. The current collection was inspired by my early interest in stained-glass design, which I studied at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. I was drawn to the stained-glass artists in post-World War II Germany who revolutionized the medium by elevating the structural function of the lead lines into an artistic element.”
“I discovered metalsmithing when I moved to Austin, Texas. Jewelry design afforded me the opportunity to work on a smaller scale, and creating wearable art personalized the artistic process for me in a way that stained glass had not. I found I could achieve the dramatic aesthetic effect of lead lines by hand cutting them into the metal, leaving negative space where the glass had been. I’m inspired by the shapes and lines in the art of Jean Arp, Gerhard Richter, Egon Schiele, Johnnes Schreiter and Frank Gehry.”
Above: Christy Klug, necklace. Sterling silver, enamel, rubber. Photo by HCCC.
“My functional work reflects the way I live, from the way I cook to the way I like to shop. My designs are based on my passions: cactus, Houston, Texas, television, cooking, science, shopping, and family nostalgia.”
“I am constantly stimulated by the world around me and feel compelled to translate it into a way that I can share with others. Functional work is inspired from objects I use myself or would like to use. My figurative, sculptural works become conglomerations of my encounters sprinkled with the kind of nervous energy persisting in present-day America.”
“Inspiration for sculptural work is based on the human figure and my un-verbalized concerns about life and the human condition. Many of the forms are influenced by the objects I collect.”
Above: Lotus, “Skull Flask” (ceramic). Photo by HCCC.
$20 – $330
Cindy Luna is an accomplished wire sculptor. Her work has been displayed in galleries all over the United States. Each piece is hand woven out of stainless steel wire or brass. Her work has a clean, urban feeling, yet her life is deeply isolated. Cindy is a resident of Big Island’s secluded Waipi‘o Valley.
Above: Cindy Luna, stainless-steel wire basket. Photo by HCCC.
Robert Thomas Mullen
$95 – $925
Robert’s work is highly influenced by his current local environment and culture, as well as places he visited on family trips from his childhood: “My jewelry is a way for me to materialize the world I have experienced. I can take my environment and hold it in my hand, allowing me to better understand my surroundings.”
After taking two workshops in wood jewelry, Robert has discovered his love for the material and enjoys working with both native and exotic woods. During his residency at HCCC, he refined his techniques and combined wood and metal in unique ways to create his jewelry.
Above: Robert Thomas Mullen, “Texas Brooch” (wood and brass). Photo by HCCC.
Linnea Oliver (Bird of Virtue)
$20 – $88
“I create thought-provoking, intricately detailed, handcrafted accessories for men and women. I believe that jewelry shouldn’t overpower a person but, rather, should complement your natural confidence and style. My designs are modern, yet delicate, elegant with an edge. Lately, I’ve been drawn to the variations and warmth of high-quality hardwoods. In addition to using natural woods, my designs feature playful, hand-painted splashes of color—my nod to pop culture and the fun, lighthearted fashion moment we’re living in.”
“Conceptually, I also draw inspiration from the architecture of geometry and music. Being a musician, I’m fascinated with the mathematical components of music and the patterns that make us feel something when we hear a melody. This fascination with the mathematical, the patterned, and the organic is evident in many of my creations.”
Above: Linnea Oliver, wood-veneer necklace. Photo by HCCC.
$150 – $550
“Since Man’s earliest history, the Raven and Crow have held a high and honored position in our mythology and spirituality. Native American tradition holds the Raven-Crow as the courier of energy flow. Northwest coastal tribes believed the Raven was the Creator of the Heavens, Earth and Sea. For Southwestern Native Americans, he was their ‘Storyteller.’ For me, the Raven and Crow represent the ‘scavenger’ or ‘gatherer’ of my found objects from the past, and they are a ‘messenger’ of the many mysteries that we call spirituality. The ‘key’ symbolizes the opening of doors and welcoming positive change into our lives. Perched on a ‘ball’ serves as a representation of living in balance.”
Above: Mark Orr, raven sculpture (wood, 45 records). Photo by HCCC.
“My work is an exploration of man’s complex relationship with objects, specifically the ownership and attainment of things. I attempt to blur the line between beauty that is inherent and inherited. I am drawn to the innate aesthetic value of certain natural objects and arrange these natural items with man-made motifs.”
“I transform acrylic into objects reminiscent of quilts and upholstery, as seen on objects such as car seats, designer handbags, and bedspreads. I create a repetition of forms with a hydraulic press, and employ finishes which deviate from the structural material, contradicting the form’s original appearance and tactile qualities. I create an object of desire by isolating these parts that signify status and decadence.”
“On the other side of the spectrum, the Wooden Jewelry series pays homage to the stingy, do-it-yourself home improver. His methods may not be clean or standard, though the final product holds a special charm. I combine many personally meaningful elements–home-made docks, fishing lures, sheds, fences, and dodgy home repairs—to create my jewelry.”
Above: Leslie Shershow, “Three Plank Necklace” (brass, sterling silver and walnut). Photo by HCCC.
$38 – $88
“I love the glass blowing process. I was passionate about it from the moment I first gathered molten glass from the furnace. There is nothing quite as exciting as shaping and forming this hot material–a material you can never actually touch–and yet, there is a tender and intimate relationship with the medium. One can only guess that the person working a millennium ago experienced the same elation from the smooth, fluid symmetry in working a gather of molten glass. No piece is ever quite reproducible or predictable, and that is the part of the excitement and mystery of glass.”
“My work emphasizes the process of blowing and forming hot glass using design elements that can be incorporated into the molten material. The long tradition of working with the material in its ‘purest form’ is compelling. My challenge is to add these elements and still maintain the integrity of the process. I want to capture the beauty implicit in the simplest form, line and color.”
Above: Michael Sosin, blown-glass cream and sugar set. Photo by HCCC.
$20 – $182
“Over the years I have collected many found objects with the hope of one day turning them into ‘something.’ But it was the vintage tin cans I had that truly inspired me. The vivid colors, great typefaces and wonderful subjects lend themselves to being unique pieces of jewelry. And they vary so. . . some have amazing saturated colors and others are beautifully romantic, which really embodies both sides of my personality. . . My current work is a combination of geometric shapes that are all hand cut. I find beauty in their imperfect silhouettes, as well as the distressed nature of the tin. By narrowing the subject matter into something as simple as a circle or rectangle, I give it new life by changing the context in which it is viewed. Being creative is a gift and passion that I love and embrace. I am continually inspired by found objects of the past and look forward to where they will lead me in the future.”
Image courtesy HCCC.
Above: Kari Stringer, recycled-tin bracelet. Photo by HCCC.
Matt Thomas (Thomas/Work)
$30 – $56
Matt Thomas was introduced to woodworking by his father when he was fourteen. A few years later, his parents urged him to participate in a jury session at the retail gallery of Tamarack: The Best of West Virginia. Jeff Fetty, a Tamarack juror and local blacksmith, invited Thomas to apprentice at his shop from 1998 to 2002. Thomas slowly increased his skills and responsibilities, eventually contributing design ideas.
Matt launched Thomas/Work in 2002. Each of his designs begins as a sketch and is then adapted to three dimensions on the computer, so he can view it from all angles. From there, he creates a prototype. Successful pieces are added to one of his three lines: the traditional-inspired line, the contemporary line and the hybrid line (pieces that merge wood with iron). Matt says, “I want people to appreciate and enjoy timeless design.”
Above: Matt Thomas, wood serving board. Photo by HCCC.