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Oral history interview with Kiff Slemmons, 2007 November 1-2

Interviewee:
Slemmons, Kiff, 1944-  Search this
Interviewer:
Riedel, Mija, 1958-  Search this
Subject:
Solberg, Ramona  Search this
Steffins, Ella  Search this
Toledo, Francisco  Search this
Herman, Lloyd E.  Search this
Di Mare, Dominic  Search this
Adams, Leo  Search this
Benjamin, Walter  Search this
Knobel, Esther  Search this
La Plantz, David  Search this
Höch, Hannah  Search this
Holshuh, Virginia  Search this
Messager, Annette  Search this
University of Iowa  Search this
Scripps College  Search this
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Type:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Citation:
Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with Kiff Slemmons, 2007 November 1-2. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Topic:
Metal-workers -- Illinois -- Chicago -- Interviews  Search this
Jewelry makers -- Illinois -- Chicago -- Interviews  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Theme:
Craft  Search this
Chicago's Art-Related Archival Materials: A Terra Foundation Resource  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)13662
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)273941
AAA_collcode_slemmo07
Theme:
Craft
Chicago's Art-Related Archival Materials: A Terra Foundation Resource
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_oh_273941
Online Media:

Oral history interview with Kiff Slemmons

Interviewee:
Slemmons, Kiff  Search this
Interviewer:
Riedel, Mija, 1958-  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
Scripps College -- Students  Search this
University of Iowa -- Students  Search this
Adams, Leo  Search this
Benjamin, Walter  Search this
Di Mare, Dominic, 1932-  Search this
Herman, Lloyd E.  Search this
Holshuh, Virginia  Search this
Höch, Hannah, 1889-1978  Search this
Knobel, Esther, 1949-  Search this
La Plantz, David  Search this
Messager, Annette, 1943-  Search this
Solberg, Ramona  Search this
Steffins, Ella  Search this
Toledo, Francisco, 1940-  Search this
Extent:
92 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Date:
2007 November 1-2
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Kiff Slemmons conducted 2007 November 1-2, by Mija Riedel, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, at Slemmons' home and studio in Chicago, Illinois.
Slemmons speaks of her childhood growing up in a small town in Iowa; helping her mother in the town pharmacy; working the printing press with her dad, who published the town newspaper; taking art lessons in grade school; learning to play the piano; attending one year at Scripps College before living for a year in Paris; attending the University of Iowa majoring in French; taking basic art classes her senior year; a spring trip to Oaxaca, Mexico, with her future husband Rod; financing the trip by selling 150 pairs of earrings at the student art fair; visiting Monte Alban and being inspired by the ancient jewelry in Tomb 7; moving to Washington state; meeting Ella Steffens and doing jewelry repair work; a strong feeling of the maker's presence in work she repairs; the Japanese aesthetic of wabi-sabi; imperfection as an attractive quality; the conscious decision made from jewelry making to art making, based more in ideas and concepts as opposed to simple decoration; series Hands of Heros, Figures of Speech; the importance of exhibiting her work as it would be seen worn as opposed to in cases under glass; the development of her breastplate pieces; the Top 10 Ethnic Hits; the layering of many meanings as well as materials in her work; her respect for the brevity of poetry and love of Emily Dickinson's work; the restraint of poetry in leaving things unsaid and her struggle to capture that essence; series Re:Pair and Imperfection coming out of her move to Chicago and the developing Iraq War; her workbench as an ever-changing sketchbook full of chaos, tension, and conversation; working with Francisco Toledo and the city of Oaxaca in developing paper jewelry; her travels to India, Africa, Mexico, and Japan; her piece Insectopedia and the great interest shown in it by entomologists; and her desire to send her work out in the world where it is seen and enjoyed. Slemmons also recalls Ramona Solberg, David LaPlantz, Leo Adams, Esther Knobel, Lloyd Herman, Dominic DiMare, Walter Benjamin, Hannah Hoch, Annette Messager, Virginia Holshuh, and others.
Biographical / Historical:
Kiff Slemmons (1944- ) is a metal artist from Chicago, Illinois. Interviewer Mija Riedel is a curator and writer from San Francisco, California.
General:
Originally recorded on 4 sound discs. Reformatted in 2010 as 13 digital wav files. Duration is 7 hr., 19 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.
Topic:
Metal-workers -- Illinois -- Chicago -- Interviews  Search this
Jewelry makers -- Illinois -- Chicago -- Interviews  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.slemmo07
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw9222e9ba2-9f1f-46d3-a206-c1d21baa29b3
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-slemmo07
Online Media:

Merry Renk papers

Creator:
Renk, Merry, 1921-2012  Search this
Names:
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Merritt, Francis Sumner, 1913-2000  Search this
Slivka, Rose  Search this
Smith, Paul J., 1931-  Search this
Soldner, Paul  Search this
Extent:
0.9 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Drawings
Video recordings
Date:
1952-2000
Summary:
The papers of San Francisco metal-worker, jeweler, and painter Merry Renk measure 0.9 linear feet and date from 1952 to 2000. The collection comprises business records that include sales invoices, inventories, exhibition price lists, correspondence, and other material related to Renk's business activities. Also found are printed materials, a few sketches of utensils, writings, and a video recording of the documentary "Merry Renk: Jeweler" by Alan Leveton.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of San Francisco jeweler, painter, and metal-worker Merry Renk measure 0.9 linear feet and date from 1952 to 2000. The collection comprises business records that include sales invoices, inventories, exhibition price lists, and correspondence. Correspondents include Greta Daniel, Mrs. Vanderbilt Webb, Conrad Brown, Rose Slivka, Paul Soldner, Paul J. Smith, Alice W. Nichols, Roger Armstrong, and Francis S. Merritt. Also found is other material related to Renk's business activities; printed materials including clippings, exhibition announcements and catalogs; a few sketches of utensils; writings including an unpublished typescript with illustrations and a draft of Renk's biographical statement; and a video recording containing the documentary "Merry Renk: Jeweler" by Alan Leveton.
Arrangement:
Due to the small size of this collection, the papers are arranged as one series.

Series 1: Merry Renk Papers, 1952-2000 (1.1 linear feet; Boxes 1-2, OV 3)
Biographical / Historical:
Merry Renk (1921-2012) was a jeweler, painter, and metal-worker in San Francisco, California.

Renk was born in Trenton, New Jersey as Mary Ruth Gibbs. She studied painting at the Trenton School of Industrial Arts before moving to Chicago in 1946 to study at Illinois Institute of Technology. In Chicago, Renk founded the 750 Studio, an art gallery, with Olive Oliver and Mary Jo Slick. After taking some time to travel, she settled in San Francisco in 1948 where she became a prominent member of the arts and crafts community. Renk was instrumental in the founding of the San Francisco Metal Arts Guild and served as president in 1954. She also became an honorary fellow at the American Craft Council.

Renk is primarily known for her jewelry work but after suffering an eye injury in a car accident she began focusing on creating large scale sculptures using jewelry techniques sometime in the 1960s to 1970s.

Renk married Stanley Edwin Renk in 1941. After his death in World War II, she married fellow artist Earle Watt Curtis in 1958.
Related Materials:
Also in the Archives of American Art is an interview of Merry Renk conducted on January 18-19, 2001 by Arline M. Fisch for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America in Renk's home and studio in San Francisco, California.
Provenance:
The Merry Renk papers were donated in 2003 and 2004 by Merry Renk as a part of the Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America.
Restrictions:
This collection is open for research. Access to original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Researchers interested in accessing audiovisual recordings in this collection must use access copies. Contact References Services for more information.
Rights:
The donor has retained all intellectual property rights, including copyright, that she may own in the following material: Unpublished typescript, "Memories for My Children's Children's Children's Children's Children's Children."

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.
Occupation:
Painters -- California -- San Francisco  Search this
Jewelers -- California -- San Francisco  Search this
Metal-workers -- California -- San Francisco  Search this
Topic:
Women artists  Search this
Women jewelers  Search this
Genre/Form:
Drawings
Video recordings
Citation:
Merry Renk papers, 1952-2000. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.renkmerr
See more items in:
Merry Renk papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw97ef5e415-aa9e-49eb-b9b1-ea261bba5a7a
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-renkmerr
Online Media:

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