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Oral history interview with Harlan Butt, 2009 July 27-28

Interviewee:
Butt, Harlan, 1950-  Search this
Butt, Harlan, 1950-  Search this
Interviewer:
Riedel, Mija, 1958-  Search this
Subject:
Brooks, Jan  Search this
Glantz, Ken  Search this
Japanese tea ceremony  Search this
Kington, L. Brent (Louis Brent)  Search this
Lechtzin, Stanley  Search this
Moty, Eleanor  Search this
Paley, Albert  Search this
Pijanowski, Eugene  Search this
Pijanowski, Hiroko Sato  Search this
Pujol, Elliot  Search this
Scanga, Italo  Search this
Shirk, Helen Z.  Search this
Snyder, Gary  Search this
Staffel, Rudolf  Search this
Winokur, Robert  Search this
American Craft Council  Search this
Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts  Search this
Enamelist Society  Search this
Haystack Mountain School of Crafts  Search this
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Penland School of Crafts  Search this
Rhode Island School of Design  Search this
San Diego State University  Search this
Society of North American Goldsmiths  Search this
Southern Illinois University at Carbondale  Search this
Tyler School of Art  Search this
University of North Texas  Search this
Type:
Interviews
Sound recordings
Place:
Australia -- description and travel
India -- description and travel
Japan -- Description and Travel
Topic:
Art, Asian  Search this
Art -- Study and teaching  Search this
Buddhism  Search this
Metal-workers -- Texas -- Interviews  Search this
Weaving -- Study and teaching  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)15907
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)296475
AAA_collcode_butt09
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_oh_296475
Online Media:

Oral history interview with Harlan Butt

Interviewee:
Butt, Harlan W., 1950-  Search this
Interviewer:
Riedel, Mija, 1958-  Search this
Creator:
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Names:
American Craft Council  Search this
Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts -- Faculty  Search this
Enamelist Society  Search this
Haystack Mountain School of Crafts -- Faculty  Search this
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Penland School of Crafts -- Faculty  Search this
Rhode Island School of Design -- Faculty  Search this
San Diego State University -- Faculty  Search this
Society of North American Goldsmiths  Search this
Southern Illinois University at Carbondale -- Students  Search this
Tyler School of Art -- Students  Search this
University of North Texas -- Faculty  Search this
Brooks, Jan  Search this
Glantz, Ken  Search this
Japanese tea ceremony  Search this
Kington, L. Brent (Louis Brent), 1934-2013  Search this
Lechtzin, Stanley, 1936-  Search this
Moty, Eleanor  Search this
Paley, Albert  Search this
Pijanowski, Eugene, 1938-  Search this
Pijanowski, Hiroko Sato, 1942-  Search this
Pujol, Elliot  Search this
Scanga, Italo, 1932-2001  Search this
Shirk, Helen Z., 1942-  Search this
Snyder, Gary, 1930-  Search this
Staffel, Rudolf, 1911-2002  Search this
Winokur, Robert, 1933-  Search this
Extent:
7 Items (Sound recording: 7 sound files (5 hr., 19 min.), digital, wav)
90 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Interviews
Sound recordings
Place:
Australia -- Description and Travel
India -- description and travel
Japan -- Description and Travel
Date:
2009 July 27-28
Scope and Contents:
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.
General:
Originally recorded on 4 sound mini discs. Reformatted in 2010 as 7 digital wav files. Duration is 5 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.
Restrictions:
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.
Occupation:
Art teachers -- Interviews  Search this
Topic:
Art, Asian  Search this
Art -- Study and teaching  Search this
Buddhism  Search this
Metal-workers -- Texas -- Interviews  Search this
Weaving -- Study and teaching  Search this
Genre/Form:
Interviews
Sound recordings
Identifier:
AAA.butt09
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-butt09

Oral history interview with Ronald H. Pearson, 1979 May 31-1981 Nov. 23

Interviewee:
Pearson, Ronald H. (Ronald Hayes), 1924-1996  Search this
Pearson, Ronald H. (Ronald Hayes), 1924-1996  Search this
Interviewer:
Brown, Robert F  Search this
Subject:
Pearson, Ralph M.  Search this
School for American Crafts  Search this
Type:
Interviews
Sound recordings
Topic:
Silverwork  Search this
Handicraft  Search this
Artisans -- Maine -- Interviews  Search this
Silversmiths -- Maine -- Interviews  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Theme:
Craft  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)11953
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)215197
AAA_collcode_pearso79
Theme:
Craft
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_oh_215197
Online Media:

Oral history interview with J. Fred Woell, 2001 June 6-2002 January 19

Interviewee:
Woell, J. Fred, 1934-  Search this
Woell, J. Fred, 1934-  Search this
Interviewer:
Gold, Donna, 1953-  Search this
Subject:
Callahan, Harry M.  Search this
Boy Scouts of America  Search this
Cranbrook Academy of Art  Search this
Haystack Mountain School of Crafts  Search this
University of Wisconsin--Madison  Search this
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Type:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Topic:
Jewelers -- Maine -- Interviews  Search this
Metal-workers -- Maine -- Interviews  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Theme:
Craft  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)11914
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)227021
AAA_collcode_woell01
Theme:
Craft
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_oh_227021
Online Media:

Oral history interview with Chunghi Choo, 2007 July 30-2008 July 26

Interviewee:
Choo, Chunghi, 1938-  Search this
Choo, Chunghi, 1938-  Search this
Interviewer:
Milosch, Jane, 1964-  Search this
Subject:
Thomas, Richard C.  Search this
Bush, Cody  Search this
Chateauvert, Jocelyn  Search this
Kaufman, Glen  Search this
Fujio, Yuho  Search this
Grotell, Maija  Search this
McFadden, David Revere  Search this
Kao, Ruth  Search this
Lechtzin, Stanley  Search this
Lee, Sang-Bong  Search this
Larsen, Jack Lenor  Search this
Mayer-VanderMey, Sandra  Search this
Saarinen, Loja  Search this
Raab, Rosanne  Search this
Merkel-Hess, Mary  Search this
Park, No Soo  Search this
Smith, Paul J.  Search this
Yeun, Kee-ho  Search this
Cranbrook Academy of Art  Search this
University of Iowa  Search this
Haystack Mountain School of Crafts  Search this
Penland School of Handicrafts  Search this
Museum of Modern Art (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
University of Northern Iowa  Search this
Victoria and Albert Museum  Search this
Ihwa Yŏja Taehakkyo  Search this
Museum für Kunsthandwerk Frankfurt am Main  Search this
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Type:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Place:
Korea (South) -- History -- April Revolution, 1960
Topic:
Women artists  Search this
Asian American artists  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Korean War, 1950-1953  Search this
Jewelers -- Interviews  Search this
Jewelry making -- Equipment and supplies  Search this
Jewelry making -- Technique  Search this
Jewelry making -- Study and teaching  Search this
Metal-work  Search this
Asian American women artists  Search this
Korean American art  Search this
Korean American artists  Search this
Asian American art  Search this
Korean American women artists  Search this
Asian American jewelers  Search this
Asian American metal-workers  Search this
Theme:
Asian American  Search this
Women  Search this
Craft  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)13621
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)271722
AAA_collcode_choo07
Theme:
Asian American
Women
Craft
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_oh_271722
Online Media:

J. Fred Woell papers, 1943-2016

Creator:
Woell, J. Fred, 1934-  Search this
Woell, J. Fred, 1934-  Search this
Subject:
Renshaw, Wendy  Search this
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Type:
Interviews
Topic:
Poetry  Search this
Caricatures and cartoons  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Theme:
Lives of American Artists  Search this
Craft  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)13422
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)246684
AAA_collcode_woelj
Theme:
Lives of American Artists
Craft
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_246684

Oral history interview with Chunghi Choo

Interviewee:
Choo, Chunghi  Search this
Interviewer:
Milosch, Jane  Search this
Creator:
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Names:
Cranbrook Academy of Art -- Students  Search this
Haystack Mountain School of Crafts -- Faculty  Search this
Ihwa Yŏja Taehakkyo  Search this
Museum für Kunsthandwerk Frankfurt am Main  Search this
Museum of Modern Art (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Penland School of Handicrafts -- Students  Search this
University of Iowa -- Faculty  Search this
University of Northern Iowa  Search this
Victoria and Albert Museum  Search this
Bush, Cody  Search this
Chateauvert, Jocelyn  Search this
Fujio, Yuho  Search this
Grotell, Maija  Search this
Kao, Ruth  Search this
Kaufman, Glen  Search this
Larsen, Jack Lenor, 1927-2020  Search this
Lechtzin, Stanley, 1936-  Search this
Lee, Sang-Bong  Search this
Mayer-VanderMey, Sandra  Search this
McFadden, David Revere  Search this
Merkel-Hess, Mary  Search this
Park, No Soo  Search this
Raab, Rosanne  Search this
Saarinen, Loja  Search this
Smith, Paul J.  Search this
Thomas, Richard C., 1917-1988  Search this
Yeun, Kee-ho  Search this
Extent:
75 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Place:
Korea (South) -- History -- April Revolution, 1960
Date:
2007 July 30-2008 July 26
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Chunghi Choo conducted 2007 July 30-2008 July 26, by Jane Milosch, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, at the artist's home, in Iowa City, Iowa.
Choo speaks of establishing the Metalsmithing and Jewelry program at the University of Iowa in Iowa City; the elaborate equipment, tools, and safety protection used in the studio; her experience teaching silent metalforming at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Deer Isle, Maine; participating in international workshops and seminars in Korea; the extensive world traveling she does with her husband, Dr. Charles Read, including destinations in Scandinavia, Thailand, Austria, Italy, and South Africa, among others; the house she designed in Iowa City; her love of the city and being surrounded by treasured friends, a supportive university, and beautiful environments; an interest in creative cooking and appreciation for diverse dishes from all around the world; her childhood and young adulthood in Inchon, Korea; growing up with an appreciation for beautiful art objects and classical music; an early interest and talent in drawing; attending Ewha Women's University as generations of women in her family had previously; experiences during the Korean War and April 19 Revolution in 1961; coming to the United States in 1961 as a student; studying English, ceramics, enameling, and stone cutting for one semester at Penland School of Crafts in Penland, N.C.; attending Cranbrook Art Academy in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan and studying metalsmithing with Richard Thomas, ceramics with Maija Grotell, and weaving with Glen Kaufman; living with Mrs. Loja Saarinen during her three and a half years at Cranbrook; teaching general craft at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Rapids from 1965-1968; pioneering the mixed-media studies with her students at UNI; accepting the challenge to build a metalsmithing and jewelry program at the University of Iowa in Iowa City in 1968; learning and teaching electroforming; the development of the electro-appliqué technique; extensive donor support and fundraising for the Metalsmithing and Jewelry program and its students; finding inspiration in nature, East Asian calligraphy, classical music, and travel; her long friendship with Jack Lenor Larsen and the great influence he has had on her work; being represented in major art museums and institutions world-wide, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, Victoria and Albert Museum in London, Museum fur Kunsthandwerk in Frankfurt, Germany, and many others; the joy she has when her students succeed and surpass her; and plans for future work, writing projects, and travel. Choo also speaks of the 2008 flooding of Iowa City and the state of Iowa during which her studio was severely damaged and many things were lost. Choo also recalls Park, No Soo; Lee, Sang Bong; Ruth Kao; Stanley Lechtzin; Yuho Fujio; David McFadden; Paul J. Smith; Rosanne Raab; Cody Bush; Jocelyn Chateauvert; Mary Merkel Hess; Sandra Mayer-VanderMey; Kee-ho Yeun, and others.
Biographical / Historical:
Chunghi Choo (1938- ) is a Korean American educator, metalsmith, jeweler, and textile and mixed media artist based in Iowa City, Iowa. Interviewer Jane Milosch is a curator from Silver Spring, Maryland.
General:
Originally recorded 5 sound discs. Reformatted in 2010 as 27 digital wav files. Duration is 5 hr., 22 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:
This transcript is open for research. Access to the entire recording is restricted. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Topic:
Women artists  Search this
Asian American artists  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Korean War, 1950-1953  Search this
Jewelers -- Interviews  Search this
Jewelry making -- Equipment and supplies  Search this
Jewelry making -- Technique  Search this
Jewelry making -- Study and teaching  Search this
Metal-work  Search this
Asian American women artists  Search this
Korean American art  Search this
Korean American Artists  Search this
Asian American art  Search this
Korean American women artists  Search this
Asian American jewelers  Search this
Asian American metal-workers  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.choo07
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-choo07

Robert Ebendorf papers

Creator:
Ebendorf, Robert, 1938-  Search this
Names:
East Carolina University -- Faculty  Search this
Extent:
4.8 Linear feet
0.554 Gigabytes
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Gigabytes
Sketches
Sketchbooks
Collages
Date:
1920-2015
bulk 1960-2010
Summary:
The papers of metalsmith and jeweler Robert Ebendorf measure 4.8 linear feet and 0.554 GB and date from 1920 to 2015, with the bulk of the material from 1960 to 2010. The papers document Ebendorf's career through scattered biographical material; business correspondence with galleries, universities, and professional groups as well as personal correspondence with friends and family, including a large collection of mail art; artist statements, teaching philosophies, and reflections by Ebendorf as well as writings by others; application materials for the artist's position as Belk Chair at East Carolina University, student fellowship applications, and other teaching files; audio and video recordings of interviews in digital format; inventories, invoices, and publicity material, including several folders of notes and materials for retrospectives; exhibition catalogs, news clippings, and other printed material; sketches, cut paper, and collage work loose and in sketchbooks; and photographic materials of the artist, friends, family, and artwork.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of metalsmith and jeweler Robert Ebendorf measure 4.8 linear feet and 0.554 GB and date from 1920 to 2015, with the bulk of the material from 1960 to 2010. The papers document Ebendorf's career through scattered biographical material; business correspondence with galleries, universities, and professional groups as well as personal correspondence with friends and family, including a large collection of mail art; artist statements, teaching philosophies, and reflections by Ebendorf as well as writings by others; application materials for the artist's position as Belk Chair at East Carolina University, student fellowship applications, and other teaching files; inventories, invoices, and publicity material, including several folders of notes and materials for retrospectives; audio and video recordings of interviews in digital format; exhibition catalogs, news clippings, and other printed material; sketches, cut paper, and collage work loose and in sketchbooks; and photographic materials of the artist, friends, family, and artwork.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged as nine series.

Series 1: Biographical Material, 1920-2014 (Boxes 1, 6; 0.2 linear feet, ER01-ER02; 0.554 GB)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1965-2015 (Boxes 1-2; 1.1 linear feet)

Series 3: Writings, circa 1945-2014 (Box 2; 4 folders)

Series 4: Teaching Files, 1974-2012 (Box 2; 5 folders)

Series 5: Personal Business Records, circa 1963-2006 (Box 2; 0.4 linear feet)

Series 6: Printed Material, 1949-2015 (Boxes 2-3, 6; 0.7 linear feet)

Series 7: Artwork, circa 1940-1987 (Boxes 3, 6; 0.2 linear feet)

Series 8: Sketchbooks, circa 1963-1968 (Boxes 3, 6; 5 folders)

Series 9: Photographs, circa 1920-2012 (Boxes 3-7; 1.9 linear feet)
Biographical / Historical:
Robert Ebendorf (1938-) is a metalsmith and jeweler in Greenville, North Carolina. Ebendorf was born in Topeka, Kansas, and earned a BFA in 1958 and an MFA in 1963 from the University of Kansas. Upon receiving a Fulbright grant, he studied in Norway at the School for Applied Arts and Crafts in 1963 and returned to work at Norway Silver Designs in Fredikstad on a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation grant from 1965 to 1966.

A founding member and once president of the Society of North American Goldsmiths, Ebendorf has been deeply committed to forwarding the metals field as an innovator, organizer, and teacher. The artist is known for his original combinations of precious and non-precious materials alongside found objects and has held teaching positions at Stetson University, the State University of New York at New Paltz, Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Maine, Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina, and East Carolina University.
Related Materials:
Also in the Archives of American Art is an oral history interview of Robert Ebendorf conducted 2004 April 16-18, by Tacey Rosolowski, in Greenville, N.C.
Provenance:
The collection was donated by Robert Ebendorf in 2015.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Use of sound recordings requires advance notice. Contact Reference Services for more information.
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.
Occupation:
Jewelers -- North Carolina  Search this
Metal-workers -- North Carolina  Search this
Topic:
Mail art  Search this
Art -- Study and teaching  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sketches
Sketchbooks
Collages
Citation:
Robert Ebendorf papers, 1920-2015, bulk 1960-2010. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.ebenrobe
See more items in:
Robert Ebendorf papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-ebenrobe

J. Fred Woell papers

Creator:
Woell, J. Fred, 1934-  Search this
Names:
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Interviewer:
Renshaw, Wendy  Search this
Extent:
24.5 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Interviews
Date:
1943-2016
Scope and Contents:
The papers of jeweler and metalsmith J. Fred Woell measure 24.5 linear feet and date from 1943-2016. Included are biographical material; personal and professional correspondence; writings by Woell; teaching and worskshop files; gallery, exhibition and commission files; artists' files; printed material; photographs and a photograph album; a VHS video recording and a digital hard drive.
Biographical / Historical:
J. Fred Woell (1934-2015) was a metalsmith and jeweler on Deer Isle, Maine.
Provenance:
A majority of the collection donated 2018 by Patricia Wheeler, Woell's widow and executor. An interview, printed material, writings, and a photograph (0.2 linear feet) donated 2003 by J. Fred Woell as a part of the Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Use of audio visual recordings and born digital records with no duplicate copy requires advance notice.
Occupation:
Metal-workers -- Maine  Search this
Jewelers -- Maine  Search this
Topic:
Poetry  Search this
Caricatures and cartoons  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Genre/Form:
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.woelj
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-woelj

Oral history interview with J. Fred Woell

Interviewee:
Woell, J. Fred, 1934-  Search this
Interviewer:
Gold, Donna, 1953-  Search this
Creator:
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Names:
Boy Scouts of America  Search this
Cranbrook Academy of Art -- Students  Search this
Haystack Mountain School of Crafts -- Faculty  Search this
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
University of Wisconsin--Madison -- Students  Search this
Callahan, Harry M.  Search this
Extent:
75 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Date:
2001 June 6-2002 January 19
Scope and Contents:
An interview of J. Fred Woell conducted 2001 June 6-2002 January 19, by Donna Gold, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, in the artist's home and studio, Deer Isle, Maine.
Woell speaks of his childhood and the impact of many moves; his affiliation with the Presbyterian Church; his experiences at Park College and the University of Illinois, Champagne-Urbana, studying economics and political science; and the influence of jewelry teacher Robert Von Neumann. Woell describes his experience in the masters program at the University of Wisconsin at Madison and refers again to his early childhood noting his participation in Boy Scouts and how it engendered his respect for the environment. He also mentions collecting baseball cards and rocks; the absence of a peer group; and his lack of confidence. He discusses his affinity for open space and unpopulated places; his enjoyment of camping, kayaking with his wife Pat; and notes that his views of nature mirror those of Taoists. He cites effective teaching techniques and comments on secondary school curricula. He discusses a cover story about his work in Metalsmith and his mother's response; his early art classes and interest in drawing cartoons; his tendency to be a clown; his participation in an American-Legion-sponsored event called Boys State; artists as purveyors of culture; and the premise for a workshop titled "Art by Accident." Woell speaks of influence of a John Cage performance at University of Illinois and subsequently contacting Cage; and teaching at Boston University, Haystack, and elsewhere. Woell also provides thoughtful commentary on the teaching style and learning process at Cranbrook Academy of Art. He discusses in some detail the strong influence of Vincent Campanella and Frank Gallo on his work; sharing a workbench with Bob von Neumann; recording and saving ideas; drawing preliminary sketches for jewelry; and his early sculptures of helmets and spoons. He describes and interprets his piece, "Come Alive, You're in the Pepsi Generation," and he comments on found-object pieces that were inspired by Scouting and cartooning. Woell explains how his environmental concerns inform his work and argues that art has a healing function. He remarks on meeting and marrying Kathleen, his first wife; his one-man show at Garth Clark Gallery; and how his work is part of an American, rather than international, tradition. Woell discusses his relationship with galleries including Helen Drutt in Philadelphia, Sybaris Gallery in Royal Oak, Michigan, Connell Gallery in Atlanta, and Mobilia in Cambridge, Massachusetts He points out the value of being included in publications such as, "Metalsmith," "Jewelers Circular Keystone," "Ornament," "American Craft," "Craft Horizon," and "Craft Report." He speaks about commissions for institutions and individuals and describes his current obligation to Haystack and his plans for his retirement, which includes exploring photography and making videos. Woell also describes his typical workday and his symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorder and dyslexia. He recalls Peter Voulkos, Jennifer Burton, Francis Sumner Merritt, Ronald Pearson, Georg Jensen, Audrey Handler, Jerry Brown, Jon Wilson, and others.
On January 19, 2002 Woell added an addendum to the interview which included remarks about September 11, 2001 acts of terrorism in the U.S.
Biographical / Historical:
J. Fred Woell (1934-) is a jeweler and metalsmith from Deer Isle, Maine. Donna Gold (1953-) is an art critic from Stockton Springs, Maine.
General:
Originally recorded on 6 sound cassettes. Reformatted in 2010 as 11 digital wav files. Duration is 5 hr., 43 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:
Jewelers -- Maine -- Interviews  Search this
Metal-workers -- Maine -- Interviews  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.woell01
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-woell01

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