An interview of Flora Mace and Joey Kirkpatrick 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 artists' home and studio, in Seattle, Washington.
They discuss their first meeting at Pilchuck Glass School in Stanwood, Washington, in 1979; the structure of classes and teaching philosophies at Pilchuck in the late '70s and early '80s; the change in equipment and the growth of the Pilchuck campus through the years; their first projects together, which were wire drawings made by Flora and based on Joey's sketches; leaving Pilchuck after the summer session and moving together to Waterville, New Hampshire, where they worked in a studio at the Rhode Island School of Design with Dale Chihuly; building up a body of work and then having to decide whose work it was, at a time when collaborating and co-signing was not standard practice; going back to Pilchuck every summer for 14 years after first meeting there in 1979; beginning to teach as a collaborative team at Pilchuck in 1981, the first women to teach glass blowing at that school; building their house together on the grounds of Pilchuck, a design which was then emulated for dormitories at the school; convincing Dale Chihuly to lower the class size at Pilchuck to 10, down from 20, to allow teachers to work more closely with the students; early shows of their work at Habatat Galleries in Royal Oak, Michigan, Ivor Kurland Gallery in Los Angeles, California, and Foster-White Galleries in Seattle, Washington; the support of their sisters and families throughout the years, mostly in providing them a place to stay as they traveled cross country; their relationships with collectors; what each artist brings to the partnership, including vision, inspiration, and technique; the influence of water on their work, as both artists are drawn to the sea and the tides; the purpose of their work, and what they feel it can bring to the viewer; the challenge given to the artists by Joan Borenstein to make 30 glass goblets, all with different fruits and vegetables; having their work cast at the Walla Walla Foundry; and the ideas behind various bodies of work, including the "Bird Pages" and the large latticino fruit. A more in-depth discussion of each artist's childhood, education, and artistic experiences prior to their meeting at Pilchuck can be found in the individual artist's interviews. They recall Italo Scanga, Bill Morris, Ben Moore, Rich Royal, Howard Ben Tre, Toots Zynsky, Therman Statom, Harvey Littleton, Lino Tagliapetra, Chris Wilmarth, Judy Pfaff, Lynda Benglis, Alice Rooney, Bertil Vallien, Ann Wolff, Betsy Rosenfield, George and Dorothy Saxe, Doug and Dale Anderson, Jon and Mary Shirley, Sarah and Bill Dehoff, Francine and Benson Pilloff, George Stroemple, Ann Welch, and others.
Biographical / Historical:
Joey Kirkpatrick (1952- ) and Flora Mace (1949- ) are glass artists from Seattle, Washington. Lloyd E. Herman (1936- ) is a curator and former director of the Smithsonian American Art Museum's Renwick Gallery of Art and is currently from Seattle, Washington. Mace and Kirkpatrick have been working collaboratively on glass since the late 1970s.
Originally recorded on 3 sound discs. Reformatted in 2010 as 5 digital wav files. Duration is 3 hrs., 17 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.