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L. Brent Kington papers

Creator:
Kington, L. Brent (Louis Brent), 1934-2013  Search this
Names:
American Craft Council  Search this
Artist-Blacksmith's Association of North America  Search this
Cranbrook Academy of Art -- Students  Search this
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Society of North American Goldsmiths  Search this
Southern Illinois University at Carbondale -- Faculty  Search this
Yellin, Samuel, 1885-1940  Search this
Interviewer:
Hsu, Ilin  Search this
Extent:
9 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Video recordings
Photographs
Interviews
Slides (photographs)
Sketches
Sound recordings
Date:
1944-2012
Summary:
The papers of influential blacksmith, sculptor, metalsmith and educator, L. Brent Kington, measure 9 linear feet and date from 1944 to 2012. The collection provides a valuable overview of Kington's career through correspondence relating primarily to exhibitions, subject files, drawings, photographs of Kington and his artwork, printed matter and audiovisual material. An additional 5.2 linear feet of papers was accessioned from 2007 to 2012 and remains unprocessed.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of influential blacksmith, sculptor, metalsmith, and educator, L. Brent Kington, measure 9 linear feet and date from 1944 to 2012. The collection provides a valuable overview of Kington's career through correspondence, subject files, drawings, photographs of Kington and his artwork, printed matter and audiovisual material.

Correspondence in Series 1 relates primarily to exhibitions in the United States at institutions such as the the American Craft Museum, the Evansville Museum of Arts and Science, and the National Ornamental Metal Museum, in which Kington's work was represented.

Kington's education at Cranbrook Academy of Art, his career at Southern Illinois University, his involvement with various professional organizations, his appearances at conferences and workshops, and his relationships with individual galleries, are more fully represented in Series 2: Subject Files.

The collection also includes printed matter, including exhibition announcements and catalogs for group and solo exhibitions in which Kington's work was featured, and publications containing articles about Kington.

Photographs in the collection include images of Kington's artwork and also picture Kington at various stages throughout his career. Audiovisual material includes an oral history interview with Kington from 2001, and two video recordings of a blacksmith workshop and a program entitled Brent Kington: Image of an Artist.

An additional 5.2 linear feet of papers was accessioned from 2007 to 2012 and remains unprocessed.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged into six series. Original arrangement has generally been maintained throughout the collection, with some merging of chronological correspondence in Series 1 to facilitate access.

Series 1: Correspondence, 1955-2004, undated (box 1; 0.8 linear ft.)

Series 2: Subject Files, 1956-2005, undated (box 1-3; 1.6 linear ft.)

Series 3: Printed Material, 1952-2003, undated (box 3-4, OV 5; 0.9 linear ft.)

Series 4: Photographs, circa 1944-2001 (box 4; 0.4 linear ft.)

Series 5: Audiovisual Material, 1982, 2001, undated (box 4; 4 items)

Series 6: Unprocessed Addition to the L. Brent Kington Papers, 1956-2012 (boxes 6-12, OV 13; 5.2 linear ft.)
Biographical Note:
L. Brent Kington was born in Topeka, Kansas, in 1934. He received a BFA from the University of Kansas, Lawrence, in 1957 and an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art in 1961. Kington began his career primarily as a silversmith working with small-scale objects such as jewelry, silverware, and toys, and then became interested in using forged iron to create sculpture. He sought the help and instruction of the few blacksmiths he could find working in a "traditional" style and began working with large-scale sculptures forged in iron and steel, weathervanes, and other kinetic sculpture. Kington's subsequent research, such as his exploration of forge welding techniques of iron and his experimentation with laminated, non-ferrous alloys, constituted an important contribution to the resurgence of traditional blacksmithing and was highly influential in the fields of blacksmithing and metalsmithing in general.

Kington served as Director of the School of Art and Design at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale from 1981 to 1994. He was a lecturer at SIU from 1961 to 1962, assistant professor from 1962 to 1967, associate professor from 1967 to 1972, professor from 1972 to 1996, and is currently professor emeritus. A committed educator and an avid spokesman for the arts, he has been honored many times as a guest lecturer, visiting artist, exhibit juror, workshop demonstrator, and panelist in the United States and abroad. In 1987 he spent a summer in Cortona, Italy as guest professor in the University of Georgia Studies Abroad Program.

Since 1962, Kington's sculpture and metalwork has been shown in more than 350 group and solo exhibitions in museums and galleries throughout the United States, Europe, Asia, Africa, Canada, Mexico, and South America. Over the years Kington has served in various professional organizations. He has been a Trustee of the American Craft Council, Director of the Artist-Blacksmith Association of North America (ABANA), and President of the Society of North American Goldsmiths (SNAG). In 1978 he was elected to the American Craft Council's Academy of Fellows and has been the recipient of two Artist Fellowship grants from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Kington continues to work from his home and studio in Makando, Illinois.
Related Material:
The Archives also has a transcribed interview of L. Brent Kington, conducted May 3-4, 2001 by Mary Douglas for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America. The interview was conducted in Kington's home and studio in Makando, Illinois.
Provenance:
The collection was donated to the Archives of American Art in installments by L. Brent Kington from 2001 to 2012. Materials donated from 2007 to 2012 remain unprocessed.
Restrictions:
The collection is open for research. Use requires an appointment and is limited to the Washington, D.C. research facility.
Rights:
The Archives of American Art makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational and personal use unless restricted by copyright and/or donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. AAA makes no representations concerning such rights and restrictions and it is the user's responsibility to determine whether rights or restrictions exist and to obtain any necessary permission to access, use, reproduce and publish the collections. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.
Topic:
Blacksmithing  Search this
Blacksmiths -- Illinois  Search this
Sculptors -- Illinois  Search this
Art metal-workers  Search this
Art metal-work -- Study and teaching  Search this
Genre/Form:
Video recordings
Photographs
Interviews
Slides (photographs)
Sketches
Sound recordings
Citation:
L. Brent Kington papers, 1944-2012. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.kinglbre
See more items in:
L. Brent Kington papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-kinglbre
Online Media:

Oral history interview with Philip Simmons, 2001 April 4-5

Interviewee:
Simmons, Philip, 1912-2009  Search this
Simmons, Philip, 1912-2009  Search this
Interviewer:
Douglas, Mary F., 1956-  Search this
Subject:
DeKoven, Ira  Search this
Philip Simmons Foundation, Inc.  Search this
Southeastern Blacksmith Association  Search this
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Festival of American Folklife  Search this
Type:
Interviews
Sound recordings
Topic:
Blacksmithing -- Equipment and supplies  Search this
Blacksmithing -- Study and teaching  Search this
Blacksmithing -- Technique  Search this
Blacksmiths -- South Carolina -- Charleston -- Interviews  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Ironworkers -- South Carolina -- Charleston -- Interviews  Search this
Metal-workers -- South Carolina -- Charleston -- Interviews  Search this
Theme:
Craft  Search this
African American  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)11873
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)226990
AAA_collcode_simmon01
Theme:
Craft
African American
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_oh_226990
Online Media:

Oral history interview with Michael John Jerry, 2004 November 15-16

Interviewee:
Jerry, Michael John, 1937-  Search this
Jerry, Michael John, 1937-  Search this
Interviewer:
Yager, Jan, 1951-  Search this
Subject:
Kington, L. Brent (Louis Brent)  Search this
Society of North American Goldsmiths  Search this
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Type:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Topic:
Art -- Economic aspects  Search this
Metal-work -- Technique  Search this
Metal-work -- Study and teaching  Search this
Metal-work -- Equipment and supplies  Search this
Metal-work -- Economic aspects  Search this
Metal-workers -- New Mexico -- Interviews  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Theme:
Craft  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)12052
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)249461
AAA_collcode_jerry04
Theme:
Craft
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_oh_249461
Online Media:

Oral history interview with Gary Griffin, 2004 August 4

Interviewee:
Griffin, Gary, 1945-  Search this
Griffin, Gary, 1945-  Search this
Interviewer:
Adamson, Glenn, 1972-  Search this
Subject:
Cranbrook Academy of Art  Search this
Rochester Institute of Technology  Search this
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Type:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Topic:
Metal-workers -- Michigan -- Bloomfield Hills -- Interviews  Search this
Metal-work -- Study and teaching  Search this
Metal-work -- Economic aspects  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Theme:
Craft  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)12630
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)249180
AAA_collcode_griffi04
Theme:
Craft
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_oh_249180
Online Media:

L. Brent Kington papers, 1944-2012

Creator:
Kington, L. Brent (Louis Brent),, 1934-2013  Search this
Kington, L. Brent (Louis Brent),, 1934-2013  Search this
Subject:
Yellin, Samuel  Search this
Hsu, Ilin  Search this
American Craft Council  Search this
Southern Illinois University at Carbondale  Search this
Artist-Blacksmith's Association of North America  Search this
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Society of North American Goldsmiths  Search this
Cranbrook Academy of Art  Search this
Type:
Video recordings
Photographs
Interviews
Slides (photographs)
Sketches
Sound recordings
Topic:
Blacksmithing  Search this
Blacksmiths -- Illinois  Search this
Sculptors -- Illinois  Search this
Art metal-workers  Search this
Art metal-work -- Study and teaching  Search this
Theme:
Lives of American Artists  Search this
Craft  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)5974
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)228079
AAA_collcode_kinglbre
Theme:
Lives of American Artists
Craft
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_228079
Online Media:

Oral history interview with Gary Griffin

Interviewee:
Griffin, Gary, 1945-  Search this
Interviewer:
Adamson, Glenn  Search this
Creator:
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Names:
Cranbrook Academy of Art -- Faculty  Search this
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Rochester Institute of Technology -- Faculty  Search this
Extent:
73 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Date:
2004 August 4
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Gary Griffin conducted 2004 August 4, by Glenn Adamson, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.
Griffin speaks of the opening of the new studio building at Cranbrook; growing up in Los Angeles, California; spending summers in Taos, N.M. with his grandmother; his mother's antique and decorating business; going to Catholic high school; working in a furniture repair shop as a teenager; taking college courses in welding and art; transferring to California State University, Long Beach, and getting a dual degree in industrial and fine arts; deciding to focus on metalwork; getting his M.F.A. at Tyler School of Art; metalsmiths who influenced his early work; the role of functional and conceptual art; having Stanley Lechtzin as a teacher and mentor; the craft community in Philadelphia, attending metalsmith workshops and conferences; and being influenced by decorative arts. Griffin also speaks of becoming head of the jewelry program at Rochester Institute of Technology; working with Hans Christensen; participating in the Society of North American Goldsmiths; his interest in machine technology; deciding to turn from jewelry to blacksmithing; finding dealers for his work; the art community in Rochester; keeping variety in his work; teaching at Cranbrook and rebuilding the metals program; how material culture influences his teaching and artwork; how economics impacts his work; working on commission; making the entrance gates at Cranbrook; working on some of his other important pieces; his current project; the difference between craft and fine arts; and his plans for the future. Griffin also recalls Al Pine, Jack Prip, John Marshall, Philip Fike, Olaf Skoogfors, Elliot Pujol, Rudolf Staffel, Albert Paley, Mary Jane Leland, and others.
Biographical / Historical:
Gary Griffin (1945- ) is a metalsmith and educator from Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Glenn Adamson is a curator and art historian from Wisconsin.
General:
Originally recorded on 5 sound discs. Reformatted in 2010 as 6 digital wav files. Duration is 4 hr., 52 min.
Provenance:
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.
Restrictions:
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.
Topic:
Metal-workers -- Michigan -- Bloomfield Hills -- Interviews  Search this
Metal-work -- Study and teaching  Search this
Metal-work -- Economic aspects  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.griffi04
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-griffi04

Oral history interview with Philip Simmons

Interviewee:
Simmons, Philip, 1912-2009  Search this
Interviewer:
Douglas, Mary F., 1956-  Search this
Creator:
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Names:
Festival of American Folklife  Search this
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Philip Simmons Foundation, Inc.  Search this
Southeastern Blacksmith Association  Search this
DeKoven, Ira  Search this
Extent:
30 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Interviews
Sound recordings
Date:
2001 April 4-5
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Philip Simmons conducted 2001 April 4-5, by Mary Douglas, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, in Simmons' home and workshop, Charleston, South Carolina.
Simmons speaks of his childhood and early education; jobs shining shoes and delivering papers at age 8; also at age 8, working as an apprentice to Peter Simmons in his blacksmith shop on Calhoun Street; Philip Simmons's attraction to blacksmithing and the action of the shop; being hired by Peter Simmons at age 13 in the blacksmith's shop where he has worked for 79 years. He also describes his apprenticeship and talks about blacksmithing as an ongoing learning experience; the necessity of adapting skills to an evolving market, from making wagons and horse shoes to ornamental iron work, and equipment for cargo shipments; the affect of the economic boom after World War II; drawing inspiration from nature and "God's creations in Charleston" for design ideas; working with wrought iron, mild steel, brass, and lead; making his own tools; craft as a representation of the past; giving demonstrations at the Smithsonian's Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C. in 1976 and 1977 (through John Vlach's invitation) and a gate he made at the festival that was purchased by the Smithsonian and featured in Southern Living; his 1982 lunch with Ronald Reagan on the occasion of receiving a National Folk Award; meeting other blacksmiths through the Southeastern Regional Blacksmith Conference; the public's understanding and reception of blacksmithing; recognition, awards, and publicity for his work; involvement with craft educational programs at schools, museums, and churches; the function of the Philip Simmons Foundation; blacksmithing in Charleston as a national tourist attraction; the relationship of farming and blacksmithing by slaves to his own blacksmithing; the impact of travel on his work; working with Ira DeKoven; his interest in preserving traditions; corporate versus private commissions; the importance of mechanical drawing skills; preserving old piece, salvage work; his retirement because of arthritis; current interest in sketching and drawing; family life with his wife and three children; and his involvement with the community.
Biographical / Historical:
Philip Simmons (1912-2009) was a blacksmith from Charleston, South Carolina. Mary Douglas (1956- ) is the curator at the Mint Museum of Craft and Design in Charlotte, North Carolina.
General:
Originally recorded on 2 sound cassettes. Reformatted in 2010 as 4 digital wav files. Duration is 2 hr., 7 min.
Provenance:
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.
Restrictions:
For more information on how to access this interview contact Reference Services.
Topic:
Blacksmithing -- Equipment and supplies  Search this
Blacksmithing -- Study and teaching  Search this
Blacksmithing -- Technique  Search this
Blacksmiths -- South Carolina -- Charleston -- Interviews  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Ironworkers -- South Carolina -- Charleston -- Interviews  Search this
Metal-workers -- South Carolina -- Charleston -- Interviews  Search this
Genre/Form:
Interviews
Sound recordings
Identifier:
AAA.simmon01
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-simmon01

Oral history interview with Michael John Jerry

Interviewee:
Jerry, Michael John, 1937-  Search this
Interviewer:
Yager, Jan, 1951-  Search this
Creator:
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Names:
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Society of North American Goldsmiths  Search this
Kington, L. Brent (Louis Brent), 1934-2013  Search this
Extent:
159 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Date:
2004 November 15-16
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Michael John Jerry conducted 2004 November 15-16, by Jan Yager, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, in Santa Fe, N.M.
Jerry speaks of his parents' background and their careers as artists and educators; his father, Sylvester Jerry's, work for the WPA; his father's role as director of the Wustum Museum of Fine Arts in Racine, Wisconsin; living at the museum during his childhood; taking art classes at the museum and industrial arts classes in school; doing metalwork in high school; winning the Scholastic Art Award; attending the Rochester Institute of Technology, School of American Craftsmen; working for Ron Pearson at Shop One and Toza Radakovich; attending Cranbrook Academy of Art; finishing his degree back at the School of American Craftsmen; making liturgical pieces on commission; the New England Silver companies; deciding to teach and taking a job at the State University of Wisconsin at Stout; attending the first Society of North American Goldsmiths conference; attending L. Brent Kington's blacksmithing workshop in Carbondale, Illinois; and teaching at Syracuse University. Jerry also speaks of some of his former students and what they are doing now; his teaching philosophy along with teaching partner Barbara Walter; the difficulties of teaching; the formation of SNAG; how industrial design has changed during his career; teaching at summer art schools; why he decided to work with metal; exhibiting his work; pricing his work; living in London and the metalsmith community there; living in Florence, Italy; how traveling has influenced his work; his tools and setup of his studio; the art community in Santa Fe; the process of designing his pieces; making models and drawings; his current project and working process; design influences; collecting ethnic crafts; making jewelry that is wearable; how the craft market has changed during his career; participating in craft fairs; having pieces at galleries and museums; the need for craft criticism and periodicals; the international versus American metal tradition; and current problems with university art programs. Jerry also recalls John Paul Miller, Hans Christensen, Jack Prip, Fred Fenster, Stanley Lechtzin, Robert Ebendorf, Olaf Skoogfors, Michael Monroe, John Marshall, Alex Bealer, Tom Markusen, Bruce Metcalf, Arthur Pulos, Kurt Matzdorf, Philip Morton, Charles Laloma, Henry Moore, and others.
Biographical / Historical:
Michael John Jerry (1937- ) is a metalsmith and educator from Santa Fe, N.M. Jan Yager (1951- ) is a jeweler and metalsmith from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
General:
Originally recorded as 7 sound discs. Reformatted in 2010 as 12 digital wav files. Duration is 9 hr., 16 min.
Provenance:
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.
Restrictions:
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.
Topic:
Art -- Economic aspects  Search this
Metal-work -- Technique  Search this
Metal-work -- Study and teaching  Search this
Metal-work -- Equipment and supplies  Search this
Metal-work -- Economic aspects  Search this
Metal-workers -- New Mexico -- Interviews  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.jerry04
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-jerry04

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