Oral history interview with Bob Winston, 2002 July 31-October 10
Winston, Bob, 1915-2003
California College of Arts and Crafts
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America
Place of publication, production, or execution:
Transcript: 95 pages.
Originally recorded on 5 sound cassettes. Reformated in 2010 as 10 digital wav files. Duration is 4 hr., 41 min.
Access Note / Rights:
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.
An interview of Bob Winston conducted 2002 July 31-2002 October 2002, by Suzanne Baizerman, for the Archives of American Art as part of the Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, at the artist's home in Concord, California.
Winston speaks of his early childhood and running away from home at 19 months old, being found in a garage and building things ever since; the numerous operations he had as a child; his dyslexia and how he got through college; the death of his father and move to Berkeley, California; teaching at Berkeley High school; 17 years teaching at California College of Arts and Crafts (1942-1959) and the growth of the school throughout that time period; moving to Arizona and teaching lost wax casting in an abandoned supermarket; his inventions, Win-Ox, an oxidizer, and Bubble-Be-Gone, a cleaner; his latest sale of Win-Ox; his title as "San Francisco's Most Professional Eccentric;" and finding that a lot of the people he teaches do not find the "magic" that he does in jewelry work. Winston then discusses his current studio layout in an former hospital building; his machines and different work rooms; his chemistry table, where he makes his Win-Ox solution; his collection; how he's accomplished so much despite his dyslexia; the Hunt brothers and how they made the price of gold drop; living from Art Festival to Festival on the road in his Jeep; his mentors John Haley and Chiura Obata; and his bike, which he still rides. Winston also recalls Aileen Webb, Margaret DePatta, Gene Bielawski, Mark Hopkins, Karl Kasten, and others.
Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with Bob Winston, 2002 July 31-October 10. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Transcript available online.
Funding for this interview was provided by the Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America.
Bob Winston (1915-2003) metalsmith of Walnut Creek, California. Suzanne Baizermann, art historian, Alameda, California.
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators.
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 750 9th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001