Studio Open House 2018
For over 20 years, Brad Smith and Royce Yoder have brought together a variety of artists and craftspeople for a fun filled weekend of art and craft. Held each year over Thanksgiving weekend, the Studio Open House has become a tradition among families and friends alike. This year Brad and Royce have invited Rachel Isaac and Thomas Mann to join them at the open house.
Furniture makers frequently ride the coattails of easily recognized styles such as Shaker, Country or Arts and Crafts. In my work, I intentionally try not to be pigeonholed into an existing furniture design category. What I try to do is make furniture that has not been seen before, but still retains some familiarity. That familiarity is gained through the use of good proportions, honest construction, and old-fashioned usefulness. My basic concept is to use “off the shelf” parts in ways that were never intended—as elements in the furniture. Because the shop is located on a farm, I decided to develop that as a “theme,” which is why the parts are farm related. The idea is to make something special out of something ordinary. Ax handles seemed to be the perfect chair leg with their gentle S-curve and knobby foot. Pitchforks make ideal supports for chair backs and they even have some spring when you lean back. Disc blades, used on farm equipment, are equally good as bases for my coatrees, lamps, and music stands. These “parts” have become significant elements in my design vocabulary and give the furniture its distinctive Bradford “look.”
– Brad Smith
I enjoy making pots! I have a BA/Art from Goshen College, Goshen, IN, 1976. Started making pots for a living in 1978 and have been in my current studio since 1982. I love the rhythm, flow, and pace of working by myself. Each day has new problems to solve and work is never dull.
There is a certain satisfaction of seeing completed pieces at the end of a day, week, month, and year. The challenge is staying fresh and not allowing the work to become routine. I am always looking to “smarten up” my work by tweaking the details of form, color and purpose. It has been a rich and rewarding career.
– Royce Yoder
I grew up in the middle of nowhere on an old dairy farm in Bucks
County. We had few neighbors but acres and acres of woods and
fields, full of animals, plants, rocks, and other treasures. I came from a family of artists and learned to see beauty everywhere.
My artistic sensibilities were formed in nature. I continue to be inspired by the infinite variation in something as simple as a leaf. The influence of my environment can be seen in all my work no matter the medium I use nature most literally and directly in my botanical collages. In these, I work with actual flowers I have gathered. Like my mother, I started out as a printmaker. Later I incorporated collage, drawing, and cutouts in my mixed media work. In my more recent artwork. I still use the natural world as my initial frame of reference. I always start from a place of childlike enthusiasm. True to my outdoor childhood. I continue to enjoy using my hands and creating.
I have my own picture framing business in Manayunk, Rachel Isaac Fine Art and Framing. It’s wonderful to meet and frame the artwork of others. As a bonus, it also allows me to frame my own artwork so the framing becomes the final part of the vision.
– Rachel Issac
techno-romantic jewelry objects
“We’re immersed in an age of ever-expanding information and technology and it’s sometimes hard to remember that we’re human. Techno.Romantic™ jewelry objects are everyday talismans that talk about our connection to and separation from that technology.” – Thomas Mann
Thomas Mann, an icon of the American Craft Jewelry movement, a full-time practicing professional artist for over 45 years, describes himself as an artist working in the medium of jewelry and sculpture. He works with a variety of metals, thinking of them as painters think of their palettes – Each metal having its own color and luster. Inspired by parts from machines, electronic instruments, costume jewelry, and old postcards & photos, Mann’s recurring but always changing parts give his work its storytelling quality and theatricality. He calls this design vocabulary, which combines industrial aesthetics and materials with evocative themes and romantic imagery, “Techno-Romantic”.
Thomas Mann developed Techno.Romantic after years of experimenting with the idea of incorporating 20th-century collage and assemblage techniques into jewelry making – Attempting to humanize technology and provide raw material and inspiration for our imaginations.
Thomas Mann lives and works in New Orleans where he oversees a jewelry design and production studio, a sculpture studio, a gallery and most recently a teaching space.