For Immediate Release
Clearly Collaborative exhibition: A Master of Glass Meets Masters of Craft
January 27 – March 11
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (January 19, 2023) Known internationally as an art glass master, Duncan McClellan has blown many decades’ worth of glass vessels for the use in his sandblasted, graphic-imaged art. Now, these vessels are the bases for nationally recognized craft artisans to incorporate into their own signature mediums, creating innovative new pieces. The final works will be featured in a stunning, original showcase Clearly Collaborative: A Master of Glass Meets Masters of Craft. The exhibition premieres at the Florida CraftArt Gallery from January 27 – March 11, 2023, with a public opening where people can meet the artists from 5 to 7 p.m. on January 27.
Curated by renowned art collector David Ramsey, Clearly Collaborative will feature original works from: Lucrezia Bieler (Paper, Tallahassee) Joyce Curvin (Mixed Media, Palm Harbor) the late Paul Eppling (Metal), Pamela Fox (Jewelry, Sarasota), Dominice Gilbert (Metal, St. Petersburg),Nneka Jones (Mixed Media, Tampa), William Kidd (Ceramics, St. Petersburg), John Mascoll (Wood, Safety Harbor), Duncan McClellan (Glass, St. Petersburg), Charlie Parker (Ceramics, St. Petersburg) and Sue Shapiro (Ceramics, St. Petersburg) All of the artists are seasoned art award winners, including John Mascoll and Lucrezia Bieler who won awards at the 2022 Smithsonian Craft Show in Washington, DC, and Nneka Jones who won Best of Show at Gasparilla Festival in Tampa.
The concept for the exhibition arose from a conversation between Ramsey and McClellan, inspired by the success of a commissioned piece of art featuring the metal work of the late Paul Eppling and McClellan’s glass work. Clearly Collaborative reveals the innovation produced when masters of one medium are introduced to new art disciplines under the guidance of another master artisan.
“As a collector, as well as a Florida CraftArt board member, I am familiar with the diverse types of fine craft and many of the top artists,” Ramsey says. “I felt it would be interesting to offer these artists the opportunity to combine their skills and creativity with blown glass. Duncan and I, along with Florida CraftArt CEO Katie Deits, selected the artists who are masters of their crafts for the project.”
Each artist met with McClellan to discuss the design and technical challenges of working with glass. The artists received the blown glass vessels, as well as access to the DMG School Project commercial sandblasting booth and other tools needed to realize their visions.
“I think it is important for an artist to give back to the community,” says McClellan. “I have been fortunate in my career, and many people have shared their inspirations and talents with me along the way. These collaborations are a way in which I can not only offer artists working in other media the chance to explore the magic of glass, but I am also inspired by their innovations, creativity and techniques. Artists must keep growing and expanding their perception, and sometimes this needs to be done by creating a communal opportunity for shared vision.”
The communal opportunity has already been a revelation to the participating artists, who all worked with glass for the first time in their professional careers during the Clearly Collaborative process.
“This project has expanded my work and taken me into a whole new way of thinking about future projects,” says mixed media artist, Joyce Curvin.
“This is a full circle moment for me as my first-time meeting Duncan was through a mentorship program provided by the Gasparilla Festival of the Arts a few years ago,” says Nneka Jones. “I was an emerging artist and blown away by Duncan’s work and his professionalism and knowledge. To now have the honor of working collaboratively on one of his glass pieces is surreal and this is one of my most precious art experiences that I will cherish for a lifetime. The advice that Duncan gave me years ago still applies to my art career today, so I can only imagine how long this artwork will live on for future generations and art lovers to appreciate.”
“Florida CraftArt is delighted to participate in this project,” says FCA CEO Katie Deits. “Now more than ever there is a need for local, state and national collaboration among artists and arts organizations.”
“As a statewide, nonprofit organization, we display outstanding handmade objects made by some of the best craftspeople in the country,” Deits continues. “Half of our gallery on Central Avenue features only Florida artists while the Exhibition Gallery, as well as our annual Florida CraftArt Festival in November, showcase fine craft artists from around the country. We engage and educate the community about fine craft. Admission is free to the galleries and the special programs.”
MARK YOUR CALENDAR
Friday, January 27, 5-7 p.m. Opening reception and meet the artists
Saturday, January 28, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Watch artist Lucrezia Bieler create her intricate paper art.
Wednesday, February 22, 5:30 p.m. Artists’ Lecture Series, Session One
Tuesday, March 7, 5:30 p.m. Artists’ Lecture Series, Session Two
ABOUT FLORIDA CRAFTART
Florida CraftArt is located at 501 Central Avenue in St. Petersburg, Florida, and is open Monday through Saturday from10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. For more information, visit www.FloridaCraftArt.org or call (727) 821-7391. Florida CraftArt is a nonprofit organization founded in 1951 and headquartered in St. Petersburg. Its mission is to grow the statewide creative economy by engaging the community and advancing Florida’s fine craft artists and their work. Florida CraftArt is the only statewide nonprofit organization offering artists a platform to show and sell their work.
Contact: David Ramsey, Curator
Brief video about the project on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y0r1zdaYiEA
Additional video and photographs available upon request.
- Nesting Blue Herons by Duncan McClellan and Paul Eppling
- Lucrezia Bieler, Seafoam Symphony
2a. Lucrezia Bieler Seafoam Symphony sculpture
- Pam Fox Connections_red with bronze base
- Pam Fox in studio
- Annulus sculpture by and with Dominice Gilbert
5a. Dominice Gilbert welding
5b. Annulus, bronze, corten steel and glass 90-inches tall by Dominice Gilbert
- William Kidd – Emergo 1, 2, and 3
- Charlie Parker – Pearl
- Sue Shapiro Journey
- Golden Panda, wood and glass sculpture 28-inches high by John Mascoll
- John Mascoll working on his studio lathe
Statement from Curator David Ramsey:
The idea for the Clearly Collaborative exhibition was the result of an early morning conversation over coffee with glass master Duncan McClellan over a year ago. We have been friends, board members on several nonprofit boards, and collectors of fine craft art for many years.
Coincidentally, we both had just seen the same article about a project where non-glass craft artists worked with a master glass artist. They used their imaginations to transform blank glass vessels with their designs. Duncan suggested that he would like to share some of his blank vessels with fine craft artists to see what they could create, with the stipulation that I would curate the project. In addition, he would offer the artists time in his glass studio and advise them on techniques.
I reminded Duncan that he had worked with a metal sculptor, Paul Eppling, years ago. My wife Becky and I had commissioned a six-foot stainless-steel sculpture of nesting blue herons featuring brilliant blue glass bodies blown by Duncan. Both of the birds were collaborating on building a nest, and so too was Paul, collaborating with Duncan. From there, creating the title of the show was easy, “Clearly Collaborative” was born.
As a collector, as well as a Florida CraftArt board member, I was familiar with the diverse types of fine craft and many of the top artists. Duncan and I, along with Florida CraftArt CEO Katie Deits, reviewed and selected artists who are masters of their crafts for the project.
My expectation for the show was that I wanted the artists to use their imaginations and talents to explore working with a new medium. Would their work look similar to their current pieces? Maybe, but there was some suspense in which directions they would go. Duncan and I had discussed how we thought certain artists would approach working with his glass vessels, but even with those expectations, we were surprised and very pleased with the final pieces.
I am always interested in new and different work from artists that I collect. All of the participants’ work in this show are creative departures from what they normally produce. As collectors, we need to reward them for their imagination and courage for taking their talents in new directions. Adding one of these pieces to an art collection would be the best reward for the artist and the collector.
Attendees of the “Clearly Collaborative” exhibition should admire the technical detail that goes into making these beautiful works. Duncan’s glass pieces demonstrate his mastery of glass. The amazing skill of these artists show that they are “masters of their craft.”
Bios of Clearly Collaborative Artists featured:
LUCREZIA BIELER BIO
Lucrezia Bieler is a Swiss-born artist living in Florida. She studied art at the Hochschule der Künste in Zurich, Switzerland, and graduated in 1988 with honors as scientific illustrator.
She worked as the chief scientific illustrator at the Museum for Anthropology in Zurich. In 1994, she moved to the United States.
Her images are often designed in the form of mandalas as an image of symbolic order of the universe and her work features endangered animals and ecosystems.
Her cut paper art forces us to intensify the way we look at things. While the black and white first overwhelm us visually, subtle thoughts gradually creep up on us.
Her work is included in museum collections and shown nationally and internationally, and she has received many awards.
Professional affiliations: Society of Animal Artists, Artists for Conservation, Guild of American Papercutters, International Association of Paper Artists (IAPMA), and American Women Artists.For more information, please visit: https://lubieler.com
JOYCE CURVIN BIO
Joyce Curvin was born and raised in St. Petersburg to a family that encouraged recycling, creativity, and nature. She and her sister spent countless hours doing a variety of crafts, learning to sew, build, and invent with all sorts of tools and materials. The backyard was teeming with a variety of animals from chickens to rabbits to the family dog. It was a great way to grow up. Joyce took private and group art lessons all through school and continued through college with a special emphasis on ceramics. She earned a Bachelor of Business Administration at Stetson University and spent a few years in corporate life.
Her work experience finally led her to the creative field of visual merchandising and store design, both for independent retailers and larger malls. All the while she continued to create art, experimenting with different mediums and techniques, finally landing in the world of papier-mâché. She resides in Palm Harbor, Florida.
“Reuse-recycle-upcycle, that has been the basis for my work for the past 28 years. I love to gather materials that might otherwise be discarded and use them to create a piece of art that captures a magical moment of everyday life…real or imagined.”
She resides in Palm Harbor, Florida.
PAM FOX BIO
Pam studied art at the University of Minnesota. Having always worked in the medium of metal, she decided that she would pursue metal smithing. She feels fortunate to be able to have a career in art for almost 50 years. Her work has run the gamut from creating metal sculpture to the fine art of jewelry making.
The Pam Fox Jewelry studio is tucked away in the lush subtropical forests of rural Sarasota, Florida. Her work has always been influenced by the diverse textures and shapes of her botanical surroundings.
Jewelry making allows her to work with captivating materials and tools in unison with fire. It excites her to design and engineer a piece that will be worn and become a part of someone else’s story.
All of the jewelry pieces are individually designed and hand-crafted using a variety of metal smithing techniques. Each piece she creates is wearable art that interplays between manmade structures and natural forms.
Pam enjoys combining glass and metal to create works that emit a strong yet fragile friction. The sculpture she created for this project strongly evokes that feeling.
DOMINICE GILBERT BIO
Dominice Gilbert received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. After graduation, she completed an artist residency at Crab Tree Farm and was an artist in residence at The National Ornamental Metal Museum.
She creates abstract organic sculptures by hand cutting, shaping, and welding individual pieces of sheet metal together to create hollow forms. This labor-intensive process requires a great deal of patternmaking, precision, and finish work. After fabrication is completed, she utilizes a variety of patina techniques that complement her natural aesthetic.
Her work is constantly evolving as every sculpture gives birth to new design ideas. She skillfully creates tension between forms, by juxtaposing contrasting textures and shapes achieving a harmonious balance.
Ms. Gilbert’s sculptures are a replication of her emotions but also serve as a reflection of the viewer. Her work is featured in private and public collections as well as museums around the world.
NNEKA JONES BIO
Growing up in the Caribbean (Trinidad and Tobago to be exact) was one of the main factors that molded Nneka Jones into the artist she is today. Her astounding love for color and special attention to detail (as influenced by her culture) have always been prominent throughout her artistic journey.
Nneka began her work as an artist during college and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts and minor in Marketing from the University of Tampa in May 2020. Her most recent achievement was a commission from TIME magazine to produce the cover artwork for the August 31/September 7, 2020 issue.
The artist speaks at events like Adobe MAX, inspiring others by sharing how she turned her doubts into dreams, and made those dreams into reality. She uses her artwork to speak out against social injustices overlooked in everyday life.
She says, “There is the artwork, the story behind the artwork, and the story that the artwork tells.” She believes that her artistic journey has only just begun, and she is eager to explore her creative purpose in life and to reach her goal of being an internationally renowned artist.
WILLIAM KIDD BIO
Inspired by the beauty found in the natural world, William Kidd’s work is not an imitation of any real living thing, but rather life forms that might exist in some other worldly place. He observes in detail microorganisms, fungi, seeds, cacti, and sea life inspiring him to create what he calls “organic possibilities.”
He uses a potter’s wheel and various hand-building techniques to produce his sculptures. He prefers a low-fire red earthenware clay finished using oxide stains and underglazes, and his signature crawl glaze to create a rich, textural surface that explodes with color.
At 22 years of age, William was attending college in Tallahassee but had not decided what career path he would take. His wife Andi was teaching drama and suggested that he take some art classes. He had an instant connection with ceramics and went on to earn his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Florida Atlantic University. He spent the next 30 years teaching art in Miami/Dade County high schools while also selling his work in art shows and at Florida CraftArt. He says, “It was like having two full-time jobs, but I am passionate about my art, and also we have four daughters!”
His mother was an artist and sold her work in craft shows to supplement William’s father’s income as a mathematician at Eglin Air Force Base. William says, “I guess I got my love of art from my mom.”
William retired from teaching in 2017 and in 2021, he moved to St. Petersburg.
“I have a sincere passion to create objects with clay and this energy radiates from within me into the work I produce,” he says.
JOHN MASCOLL BIO
John Mascoll was born and raised in Barbados. His father was a shipwright and provided his initial experience in woodworking, teaching him the beauty and workability of the material. He learned quickly how to use finely tuned woodworking tools to develop his wood-working skills.
He attended a university in Barbados with a track scholarship. In 1976, he moved to the United States to attend Vanderbilt University in Tennessee and then went to Fisk University in Nashville for four years as an All-American athlete. With a Bachelor of Arts in physics and a Bachelor of Engineering in civil engineering from Fisk and Vanderbilt Universities, he began a career as a construction engineer and manager.
In 1989, John started a new career in woodturning after purchasing a Shopsmith, which is a motorized machine with multipurpose functions such as lathe turning, table saw, sander and drill press. This led him to take a new approach by utilizing a lathe in an innovative manner crafting the various woods into forms more efficiently, and adding delicate finials and covers to accessorize and enhance each piece.
He started creating one-of-a-kind, hollow-form wood vessels in the late 1980s, using a lathe and a variety of specialty hand tools. Exploring different shapes that would best expose the natural beauty in the wood, he created vessels that showed a connection between his creative thought processes and his chosen medium.
He uses native American woods, burls, and international exotics. Each vessel sits on a contrasting base, and has a removable cover with a shaped finial.
DUNCAN MCCLELLAN BIO
Duncan McClellan’s fascination with glass began at age five, when he visited a glass factory in West Virginia. He never forgot the image of the glowing, molten mass being formed by an expert craftsman. After successfully working with leather and clay, he finally had the opportunity to learn to blow glass at a studio in Ybor City, Florida in 1987. Mr. McClellan has studied the creation of larger forms with Fred Kahl and John Brekke, two instructors and artists working at the New York Experimental Glass Workshop. He has also been honored as the second American invited to study and work at the ARS Studio in Murano, Italy.
Today, he owns and operates the Duncan McClellan Gallery in St. Petersburg, Florida, which includes exhibition space, a full-time hot shop, and the DMG School Project, a nonprofit arm dedicated to educating the public, studio artists, and schoolchildren.
Mr. McClellan’s processes enable him to place imagery on the inside and outside (and in some cases both) of his glass vessels. In his one-of-a-kind pieces or series of works, images are juxtaposed to articulate the message or idea. The focus is centered around the internal graal and overlay techniques, incorporating hand cutting, photo resist and computer graphics. To finish these works, acid etching, fire polishing and a six-stage grinding and polishing technique are used. Currently, his work depicts emotions relating to family, personal growth and the spiritual connections between each of us.
Mr. McClellan’s work travels internationally with its buyers and can be found in airports, museums, cruise ships, restaurants and corporate headquarters due to its universal appeal.
He has had a long and collaborative relationship with several art institutions in St. Petersburg, including the Museum of Fine Arts and serving on the Florida CraftArt Board of Directors. He has been instrumental in promoting St. Petersburg as a ‘glass mecca’, hosting the first Glass Weekend and the International Glass Art Society’s Conference in the Spring of 2019.
CHARLIE PARKER BIO
Charlie Parker’s ceramic career began in 1967 at the age of 14 when he joined Minnesota Clay Company as a part-time clay mixer. From 1971 to 1975, he studied with Warren Westerberg at Westerberg Pottery in Minneapolis. During his apprenticeship, he focused on form expression, glaze applications, and firing techniques.
In 1996, Charlie partnered with Russ Gustafson-Hilton and Stan Cowen to establish St. Pete Clay Company. It began as a small clay studio with twelve members, a ceramic supply store and gallery. In 2002, it moved to a 33,000 square foot location in the historic Seaboard Coastline Train Depot, where membership grew to more than twenty members. At St. Pete Clay, now the Morean Center for Clay, Charlie refined his firing and glazing skills with access to soda, wood and gas kilns.
Through his extensive experience, he established himself in the clay community as both an artist and educator. In 2010, Charlie left St. Pete Clay in order to fulfill his lifelong dream of owning his own studio. Charlie Parker Pottery is a premier studio, gallery and teaching facility located in the Warehouse Arts District.
He has received numerous awards including an award of excellence, two awards of merit and several purchase awards at the Florida CraftArt Festival.
In 2018, he was given the Muse Award for Artist of the Year by the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance.
SUE SHAPIRO BIO
Sue Shapiro began working with clay in 1976. She received a Bachelor of Fine Art in Ceramics from Massachusetts College of Art. After college, Sue apprenticed with Master Potter Michael Cohen in Amherst. She received a Master of Art and was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Apprentice Fellowship in Crafts Grant in 1981.
In 1982, Sue established her first studio, SMS Pottery, in St. Petersburg, Florida. She began showing her work at local and national outdoor art shows. Within a few years she was represented by American Craft Galleries throughout the United States of America.
Sue’s clay work offers a combination of sculpture with function. She works with both terracotta clay and stoneware clay. Most of her work is handbuilt, constructed from rolled out slabs of clay. Occasionally, she uses the potter’s wheel. Designs are incised in the clay and all glazes are hand painted.
Sue’s clay work reflects her interest in architecture and symmetry. Her forms are decorated with geometric patterns inspired by Art Deco Design, Native American Art, and Art of Ancient Cultures.
In 1998, Sue and her husband Mike opened Shapiro’s Gallery in St. Petersburg, Florida. Originally the gallery showcased only Sue’s pottery but before long, work by additional artists and craftsmen was added. The Shapiro’s Gallery today features work by over 250 American Artists and Craftsmen.