An interview of Flora Mace conducted 2005 August 17-18, by Lloyd E. Herman, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, at the artist's home and studio, which she shares with Joey Kirkpatrick, in Seattle, Washington.
Ms. Mace discusses growing up in New Hampshire, in a house that her family had lived in for generations; various family businesses, including clam-shucking; how her mother suffered from depression throughout her childhood; her grandparents, who played a large role in her upbringing; joining the 4-H and becoming a skilled shepherd; her family's hunting, fishing, and gathering, on which they survived during her childhood; the various art projects she did with her mother and grandmother, including making wreaths for friends and relatives; building tree houses out of scrap wood; trapping animals and making their pelts into clothes for her dolls; saving up her money from after school jobs and the 4-H competitions to buy tools; getting a scholarship from her grandmother's old employer to go to college; attending Plymouth State; her involvement in college athletics, including field hockey, skiing, and softball; early artistic influences, especially Alexander Calder; traveling to Norway on the International Farm Youth Exchange; attending the University of Illinois for graduate school and being their sculpture technician; attending a summer workshop at the University of Utah with Dale Chihuly; being invited by Chihuly to go to Pilchuck Glass School to continue her work; becoming an artist-in-residence at Wheaton Glass Village; having her first show at the Contemporary Glass Gallery (later the Heller Gallery) in New York; the growth of the studio glass movement in the late 1970s; and finally going to Pilchuck Glass School for the first time in 1979, where she met Joey Kirkpatrick. The continuation of Mace's story, and her lifelong collaboration with Kirkpatrick, is discussed in a joint interview of Kirkpatrick and Mace. Mace also recalls Bill Morris, Ben Moore, Audrey Handler, Paul Stankard, Mary and Frank Wheaton, and others.
Biographical / Historical:
Flora Mace (1949- ) is a glass artist from Seattle, Washington. Lloyd E. Herman (1936- ) is a curator and former director of the Smithsonian's American Art Museum's Renwick Gallery and currently lives in Seattle, Washington.
Originally recorded on 3 sound discs. Reformatted in 2010 as 6 digital wav files. Duration is 3 hrs., 25 min.
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.
The Ralph Leon Beals papers are open for research. At Ralph Beals' request, his 1930-1933 correspondence were restricted until 2000. These include letters to and from his wife while he was in the field, several letters to his children, and one letter to his mother-in-law. Beals supplied edited copies of the restricted letters for public access. The restrictions have since been lifted, and the edited copies have been retained with the original letters. His field assistants' materials have been restricted for the lifetime of the creators.
Access to the Ralph Leon Beals papers requires an appointment.
Ralph Leon Beals papers, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution