An interview of Harlan W. Butt conducted 2009 July 27-28, by Mija Riedel, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, at Butt's studio, in Ptarmigan Meadows, Colorado.
Harlan Butt speaks of the influence of Asian art on his work; the use of text and imagery in his work; the use of pattern in his work; his undergraduate minor in weaving; the influence of Asian religion and mythology; series The Earth Beneath Our Feet , Garden Anagogies, and Snakes in Heaven; his childhood growing up in Hopewell, New Jersey, near Princeton; undergraduate work at Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; discovery of Buddhism and Eastern religions; his mother's death when he was 20; studying with Stanley Lechtzin and Elliot Pujol at Tyler; graduate school at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale; interest in Japanese tea ceremony; more exploration of Zen Buddhism; use of color in his work; studying with L. Brent Kington; reliquary series; move to Connecticut in 1974; second trip to Japan in 1984 to co-curate Kyoto Metal: An Exhibition of Contemporary Japanese Art Metalwork; introduction to Japanese system of artisan apprenticeship; early efforts as a writer and poet; the influence of poet Gary Snyder; summer teaching position at Rhode Island School of Design, Providence; teaching job at San Diego [California] State University in the mid-1970s; rattles and pipes series; exploring the Western landscape; the power of the snake image; taking a teaching position at University of North Texas, Denton (1976- ); first trip to Japan in 1980; differences in artisanal/metalworking practices in Japan and the United States; teaching workshops at various craft schools, Penland School of Crafts, Penland, North Carolina; Haystack School of Crafts, Deer Isle, Maine; and Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, Gatlinburg, Tennessee, compared with teaching in a university; the pros and cons of the gallery system; work with the Nancy Yaw Gallery, Birmingham, Michigan; the challenge of commission work; National Parks Project, Denton Center for the Visual Arts, Denton, Texas; the role of haiku and text in his pieces; series 1,001 Views of Mt. Mu; series Snakes in Heaven; the influence of his wife and children; trip to India and organizing Colour & Light: The Art and Craft of Enamel on Metal, National Gallery of Modern Art, Mumbai, 2001; trip to Australia; involvement with the Society of North American Goldsmiths, Enamelist Society, and American Craft Council; subtle issues of environmentalism in his work; his affinity for metalsmithing and enameling. He also recalls [Rudolf] Staffel, Robert Winokur, Italo Scanga, Jan Brooks, Mike Riegel, Rachelle Thiewes, Eleanor Moty, Albert Paley, Shumei Tanaka, Ken Glantz (Ken Chowder), Randy Thelma Coles, Sandy Green, Mickey McCarter, Gene Pijanowski, Hiroko Pijanowski, Toshihiro Yamanaka, Helen Shirk, Ana Lopez, and Sarah Perkins.
Biographical / Historical:
Harlan W. Butt (1950- ) is an artist, metalsmith, and educator in Denton, Texas. Mija Riedel (1958- ) is a writer and independent scholar in San Francisco, California.
Originally recorded on 4 sound mini discs. Reformatted in 2010 as 7 digital wav files. Duration is 5 hr., 19 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.
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.
The papers of metalsmith, jeweler, and educator Arline M. Fisch measure 9.8 linear feet and 3.82 GB date from 1931 to 2015. The papers include awards and certificates, correspondence, exhibition and gallery files, project files, San Diego State University teaching files, membership records, and printed and digital and photographic materials.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of metalsmith, jeweler, and educator Arline M. Fisch measure 9.8 linear feet and 3.82 GB and date from 1931 to 2015. The papers include awards and certificates, correspondence, exhibition and gallery files, project files, San Diego State University teaching files, membership records, and printed and and digital photographic materials.
Awards and certificates are from the Indonesian National Crafts Council, Internationale Handwerksmesse Munchen, San Diego State University, State of California, and other organizations. Correspondence is with Edith Antunes, Skidmore College and other educational institutions, as well as galleries, students, and colleagues. Files for exhibitions consist of inventory and price lists, loan and shipping records, printed material, correspondence, a digital disk, and a video recording for Elegant Fantasy: The Jewelry of Arline Fisch (2000), The Art of Arline Fisch (2003), Arline Fisch: Creatures from the Deep (2008), and various exhibitions.
Gallery files contain business records for Atrium, Electrum Gallery, Lee Nordness Galleries, and galleries in Germany and Switzerland. Project files include records for an advertising campaign, articles and lectures, Textile Techniques in Metal for Jewelers, Sculptors, and Textile Artists, a cataloging project, commercial ventures, curriculum development at Boston University, NEA and Fulbright grant projects, an artwork installation, an oral history project, a seminar, and workshops.
San Diego State University teaching files include correspondence, evaluations, exhibition material, grant programs and projects, university programs, recommendations, and sabbatical records. Membership records are for the American Craftsmen's Council (ACC), Society of North American Goldsmiths (SNAG), and World Crafts Council (WCC).
Printed materials consist of booklets, a calendar, clippings, exhibition announcements and catalogs, periodicals and posters, and chronological files. Photographic materials are of Fisch, her family, travel, her studio, with colleagues and in class, and works of art. A detailed archive of Fisch's work on slides and in digital format is also included.
The collection is arranged as nine series.
Series 1: Awards and Certificates, 1961-2001 (0.3 linear feet; Boxes 1, 11)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1956-2003 (0.8 linear feet; Box 1)
Series 3: Exhibition Files, 1957-2010 (1.0 linear feet; Boxes 1-2)
Series 4: Gallery Files, 1968-2010 (0.5 linear feet; Boxes 2-3)
Series 5: Project Files, 1956-2010 (1.4 linear feet; Boxes 3-4, 11)
Series 6: San Diego State University, 1955-2014 (1.0 linear feet; Boxes 4-5)
Series 7: Membership Records, 1964-1994 (1.0 linear feet; Boxes 5-6)
Series 8: Printed Materials, circa 1960-2015 (3.3 linear feet; Boxes 6-9, 11, OV 12)
Series 9: Photographic Materials, 1931-circa 2005 (0.5 linear feet; Boxes 9-11, 3.82 GB; ER01)
Biographical / Historical:
Arline M. Fisch (1931- ) is a metalsmith, jeweler, and educator in San Diego, California.
Fisch was born in Brooklyn, New York. She studied art education at Skidmore College and earned a master of arts degree from the University of Illinois. From 1956 to 1957 she studied at the School of Arts and Crafts in Copenhagen Denmark, and she returned to Denmark in 1966 under a Fulbright Research Grant. She also received Fulbright and NEA grants for multiple projects in Uruguay, Austria, and the U.S.
From 1954 to 1961, she taught at Wheaton College and Skidmore College. Fisch began teaching at San Diego State University (SDSU) in 1961 where she developed the Jewelry and Metalsmithing program. She retired from SDSU in 2000.
Fisch was a member of the American Craft Council (ACC), Haystack Mountain School of Crafts' Board of Trustees, and was vice president of the World Crafts Council (WCC) from 1976 to 1981. She was a founding member of Society of North American Goldsmiths (SNAG) and was president of the organization from 1982 to 1985.
Fisch has received numerous awards and honors for her accomplishments in craftsmanship including an honorary doctorate degree from Skidmore College, United States Artists fellowship award, and Fresno Art Museum Council of 100 Distinguished Woman Artist award in 2012.
Fisch has exhibited her work all over the world including her solo retrospective exhibition titled, Elegant Fantasy: The Jewelry of Arline Fisch, which was shown in San Diego, Oakland, New York, and Washington, D.C.
Also at the Archives of American Art is an interview of Arline M. Fisch conducted July 29-30, 2001 by Sharon Church McNabb, for the Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, in Fisch's home, in San Diego, California.
The papers were donated from 2003 to 2018 by Arline M. Fisch as a part of the Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America.
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Use of archival audiovisual recordings and born-digital records with no duplicate copies requires advance notice.
Arline M. Fisch retains copyright for the manuscript for the 2nd edition of her book Textile Techniques in Metal for Jewelers, Sculptors, and Textile Artists (New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, c. 1975) and notes for the first edition.