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Oral history interview with Rosanne Somerson

Topic:
Fine woodworking
Interviewee:
Somerson, Rosanne, 1954-  Search this
Interviewer:
Michie, Thomas S.  Search this
Creator:
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Names:
Haystack Mountain School of Crafts  Search this
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Peters Valley (Craft center)  Search this
Rhode Island School of Design -- Faculty  Search this
Rhode Island School of Design -- Students  Search this
Richard Kagan Gallery  Search this
Snyderman Gallery  Search this
Abramson, Ron  Search this
Callahan, Harry M.  Search this
Capanigro, Paul  Search this
Cooke, Ned  Search this
Dunnigan, John, 1950-  Search this
Fairbanks, Jonathan L.  Search this
Follen, Eck  Search this
Frid, Tage  Search this
Jackson, Dan  Search this
Joseph, Peter T. (Peter Thomas), 1950-1998  Search this
Kagan, Richard  Search this
Keck, Hardu  Search this
Kranov, James  Search this
Maruyama, Wendy, 1952-  Search this
Mattia, Alphonse  Search this
Melanson, Gracie  Search this
Osgood, Jere, 1936-  Search this
Sfirri, Mark  Search this
Siskind, Aaron  Search this
Swanson, Charlie  Search this
Szasz, Merlin  Search this
White, Leroy  Search this
Wolf, Hans  Search this
Extent:
61 Pages (Transcripts)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Interviews
Sound recordings
Date:
2006 August 7 and 2007 June 22
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Rosanne Somerson conducted 2006 August 7-2007 June 22, by Thomas Michie, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, at the Rhode Island School of Design, in Providence, Rhode Island. In part one of this interview, Somerson speaks of growing up outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; attending RISD beginning in 1971; being asked to teach there nine years later; creating a new department of furniture design; tailoring that furniture design program to encompass the development from design to manufacture; introducing materials other than wood into the program; garnering international attention through worldwide exhibits; her first show at the Richard Kagan Gallery in Philadelphia; participating in a group show in New York City for female woodworkers; making connections through the Snyderman Gallery and Pritam and Eames Gallery; working directly with clients on commissioned pieces; the financial stability of teaching; designing a piece for the headquarters of Khon, Peterson Fox, and Conway in New York; the sculptural elements present in many of her works; moving from a small studio in Boston, Massachusetts, to a larger studio in Westport, Connecticut, and finally to a shared studio in Fall River, Massachusetts; the supportive and proud reaction of her children to her work; creating a production company with colleagues and designing furniture for the RISD dormitories; attempting to make these designs both flexible and environmentally-friendly; putting aside teaching for an administrative position in the department; recent travel to Japan, Australia, England, Israel, and France; enrolling in summer programs with art schools like Haystack Mountain School of Craft in Maine and others; and excitement for her upcoming sabbatical.
In the second portion of the interview, she discusses living in a house built by her father in Wyncote, Pennsylvania; enjoying the location of the house on a former cherry orchard and consequently being drawn cherry wood as a medium; the feeling of her parents that anything could be accomplished with a certain amount of study; her mother's interest in weaving and spinning later in life; the creative pursuits of her older brothers, including creative writing and photography; verbally communicating the outside world to her blind grandfather and gaining an aptitude for interpreting visual imagery; being more academically than artistically focused in her youth; visiting art museums and having other cultural experiences with her family; being fascinated with photography by seeing her brother's work; deciding to put off college in order to spend a year in Denmark studying photography; enrolling in RISD and feeling overwhelmed at first by her inexperience; taking a winter course in wood-working and preferring it to photography; being advised by her teacher Tage Frid to gain a wood-working education by pursuing sculpture at RISD; transferring into industrial design later; learning a great deal from and being extraordinarily influenced by Tage Frid as a furniture designer and teacher; taking a semester off to attend Peters Valley Craftsmen in New Jersey; spending a few years after graduation assisting Frid with the writing and publication of his articles; working as an assistant editor for Fine Woodworking magazine; being offered a job at RISD in the furniture department; creating the furniture design program; using RISD's collection as inspiration for her work and as a teaching tool; moving towards using more local woods in her designs; her recent lecture and travel in China; and looking forward to focusing on her work in the new studio.
Somerson recalls John Dunnigan, Dick Kagan, Ned Cooke, Jonathan Fairbanks, Wendy Maruyama, James Krenov, Dan Jackson, Jere Osgood, Alphonse Mattia, Peter Joseph, Ron Abramson, Charlie Swanson, Eck Follen, Peter Walker, and others. In the second part, Somerson recalls Merlin Szasz, LeRoy White, Hardu Keck, Gracia Melanson, Harry Callahan, Aaron Siskind, Paul Crot, Paul Capanigro, Tage Frid, Hans Wolfe, Mark Sfirri, and others.
Biographical / Historical:
Rosanne Somerson (1954- ) is a professor of furniture design and furniture designer and maker in Westport, Massachusetts. Thomas Michie is a curator of decorative arts, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, California.
General:
Originally recorded on 5 sound discs. Reformatted in 2010 as 2 digital wav files. Duration is 3 hr., 3 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.
Occupation:
Furniture designers -- Rhode Island  Search this
Topic:
Decorative arts  Search this
Educators -- Rhode Island -- Interviews  Search this
Furniture design -- Study and teaching  Search this
Photography  Search this
Women artists  Search this
Function:
Artists' studios
Genre/Form:
Interviews
Sound recordings
Identifier:
AAA.somers06
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-somers06

Oral history interview with David Ellsworth

Interviewee:
Ellsworth, David, 1944-  Search this
Interviewer:
Shea, Josephine, 1958-  Search this
Creator:
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Names:
Anderson Ranch Arts Center  Search this
Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts -- Faculty  Search this
Belles Artes Gallery  Search this
Cooper-Lynn Gallery  Search this
Del Mano Gallery  Search this
Gargoyle Gallery  Search this
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
New School for Social Research (New York, N.Y.) -- Students  Search this
Oberlin College  Search this
United States. Army  Search this
University of Colorado -- Students  Search this
Washington University (Saint Louis, Mo.) -- Students  Search this
Woodstock School of Painting  Search this
Bressler, Charlie  Search this
Bressler, Fleur  Search this
Dodson, Virginia  Search this
Foster, Clay  Search this
Gibson, Giles  Search this
Hogbin, Stephen  Search this
Holzapfel, Michelle, 1951-  Search this
Klein, Bonnie  Search this
LeCoff, Albert B., 1950-  Search this
Lindquist, Mark, 1949-  Search this
Lindquist, Melvin  Search this
Lipton, Irving  Search this
Mason, Arthur K.  Search this
Mason, Jane S.  Search this
Mastelli, Rick, 1949-  Search this
Moran, Lois  Search this
Moulthrop, Ed, 1916-2003  Search this
Prestini, James, 1908-  Search this
Rapp, Joanne  Search this
Scarpino, Betty  Search this
Sfirri, Mark  Search this
Extent:
5 Items (Sound recording: 5 sound files (2 hr., 41 min.), digital, wav)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Interviews
Sound recordings
Place:
Colorado -- description and travel
Iowa -- Description and Travel
Date:
2007 July 16
Scope and Contents:
An interview of David Ellsworth conducted 2007 July 16, by Josephine Shea, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, at Ellsworth's home, in Quakertown, Pennsylvania.
Ellsworth speaks of living and growing up in Iowa for the first fourteen years of his life; moving to Boulder, Colorado when his father became the director of libraries; being the youngest of two boys; his parents meeting at Oberlin College; his early interest and skill in leatherwork and woodwork as a child; spending time with the family at their cabin up in the mountains in Colorado; his experiences with music, vocals, and woodshop in junior high; attending a preparatory high school that had a very strong art program; singing in the Army for the Army Air Defense Command; traveling around with the band; being sent to the headquarters of United States Army of Europe in Heidelberg as a speed typist; studying and learning German while abroad; getting admitted into the architecture department at Washington University in St. Louis; flunking out after three semesters; going to New York City to follow a love interest as well as to study art; attending The New School for Social Research; moving back to the Midwest due of the heavy toll of city life; enrolling in the sculpture department at the University of Colorado and receiving both a bachelor of fine arts and a master of fine arts; his first independent show at Metropolitan State College in Denver, Colorado; working as a designer for a stainless steel food services equipment company called Green Brothers; working at the Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Snowmass, Colorado; opening up a private studio in Boulder; partaking in various craft shows; working with the Belles Artes Gallery in New York City and Santa Fe, the Del Mano Gallery in Los Angeles, The Hand and the Spirit Gallery in Scottsdale which became Materia Gallery, the Gargoyle Gallery in Aspen; and the Cooper-Lynn Gallery in New York City; working as a teacher at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Gatlinburg; his experiences working with resin; his past experiences working with various kinds of wood; his past divorce; the influence of Native American and Southwest architecture and landscape on his work; the lack of reviews on woodturners and woodturning exhibitions; the difficulty of writing about craft art because of the lack of language; turning down commission work because of the limitations it imposes on the artist or creator; the direction in which he believes the craft of woodturning is going; woodturning as predominantly a hobby for retirees seeking to satisfy a need for creative energy; woodturning as a male-dominated craft; the surprisingly large number of well-known men in the fiber field today; designing and making his own line of tools; creating tutorial videos; holding woodturning classes at his home studio; his working process and how it has changed over time; how he and his wife Wendy ended up in Quakertown, Pennsylvania; and how he came up with his various series and how each developed. Ellsworth also recalls Ed Moulthroup, Melvin and Mark Lindquist, JoAnn Rapp; Steven Hogbin, Lois Moran, James Prestini, Irving Lipton, Albert LeCoff, Rick Mastelli, Clay Foster, Michelle Holzapfel, Mark Sfirri, Virginia Dodson, Betty Scarpino, Bonnie Klein, Arthur and Jane Mason, Fleur and Charlie Bressler, Giles Gibson, and others.
Biographical / Historical:
David Ellsworth (1944- ) is a studio woodworker from Quakertown, Pennsylvania. Josephine Shea (1958- ) is a curator from Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan.
General:
Originally recorded 3 sound discs. Reformatted in 2010 as 5 digital wav files. Duration is 2 hr., 41 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:
Decorative arts  Search this
Woodwork -- Equipment and supplies  Search this
Woodworkers -- Pennsylvania -- Interviews  Search this
Genre/Form:
Interviews
Sound recordings
Identifier:
AAA.ellswo07
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-ellswo07

Oral history interview with David and Michelle Holzapfel

Interviewee:
Holzapfel, David, 1950-  Search this
Holzapfel, Michelle, 1951-  Search this
Interviewer:
Shea, Josephine, 1958-  Search this
Creator:
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Names:
Canadian Crafts Council  Search this
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
United States Information Service  Search this
Wood Turning Center (Philadelphia, Pa.)  Search this
Fitzgerald, Dennis  Search this
Galbraith, Peter  Search this
Hosaluk, Michael  Search this
Nutt, Craig  Search this
Prestini, James, 1908-  Search this
Sfirri, Mark  Search this
Extent:
4 Items (Sound recording: 4 sound files (1 hr., 39 min.), digital, wav)
31 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Interviews
Sound recordings
Place:
Croatia -- description and travel
Date:
2008 January 6 and March 2
Scope and Contents:
An interview of David and Michelle Holzapfel conducted 2008 January 6-March 2, by Josephine Shea, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, at the Holzapfels' home and studio, Applewoods Studio and Gallery, in Marlboro, Vermont.
The Holzapfels speak of their studio spaces and how they live and work together; the difficulty of marketing yourself as an artist; their involvement in artistic communities such as Wood Turning Center and Canadian Craft Council; traveling to Croatia to participate as guest artists in an exhibition curated by the United States Information Services; the financial difficulties of being artists; the impact technology has made on their work; the importance of apprenticeships; and their view of time spent with James Prestini. The Holzapfels also recall Michael Hosaluk, Mark Sfirri, Craig Nutt, Peter Galbraith, Denis Fitzgerald, and others.
Biographical / Historical:
David Holzapfel (1950- ) and Michelle Holzapfel (1951- ) are self-taught woodworkers who own and operate Applewoods Studio and Gallery in Marlboro, Vermont.
General:
Originally recorded on 2 sound discs. Reformatted in 2010 as 4 digital wav files. Duration is 1 hr., 39 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:
Art -- Economic aspects  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Woodworkers -- Vermont -- Interviews  Search this
Function:
Artists' studios
Genre/Form:
Interviews
Sound recordings
Identifier:
AAA.holzap08
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-holzap08

Oral history interview with Rosanne Somerson, 2006 August 7 and 2007 June 22

Interviewee:
Somerson, Rosanne, 1954-  Search this
Interviewer:
Michie, Thomas S., 1956-  Search this
Subject:
Abramson, Ron  Search this
Callahan, Harry M.  Search this
Capanigro, Paul  Search this
Cooke, Ned  Search this
Dunnigan, John  Search this
Fairbanks, Jonathan L.  Search this
Follen, Eck  Search this
Frid, Tage  Search this
Jackson, Dan  Search this
Joseph, Peter T. (Peter Thomas)  Search this
Kagan, Richard  Search this
Keck, Hardu  Search this
Kranov, James  Search this
Maruyama, Wendy  Search this
Mattia, Alphonse  Search this
Melanson, Gracie  Search this
Osgood, Jere  Search this
Sfirri, Mark  Search this
Siskind, Aaron  Search this
Swanson, Charlie  Search this
Szasz, Merlin  Search this
White, Leroy  Search this
Wolf, Hans  Search this
Haystack Mountain School of Crafts  Search this
Peters Valley (Craft center)  Search this
Rhode Island School of Design  Search this
Richard Kagan Gallery  Search this
Snyderman Gallery  Search this
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Type:
Interviews
Sound recordings
Topic:
Fine woodworking  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Educators -- Rhode Island -- Interviews  Search this
Furniture design -- Study and teaching  Search this
Photography  Search this
Women artists  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)13618
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)271125
AAA_collcode_somers06
Theme:
Craft
Women
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_oh_271125
Online Media:

Oral history interview with David Ellsworth, 2007 July 16

Interviewee:
Ellsworth, David, 1944-  Search this
Interviewer:
Shea, Josephine, 1958-  Search this
Subject:
Bressler, Charlie  Search this
Bressler, Fleur  Search this
Dodson, Virginia  Search this
Foster, Clay  Search this
Gibson, Giles  Search this
Hogbin, Stephen  Search this
Holzapfel, Michelle  Search this
Klein, Bonnie  Search this
LeCoff, Albert B.  Search this
Lindquist, Mark  Search this
Lindquist, Melvin  Search this
Lipton, Irving  Search this
Mason, Arthur K.  Search this
Mason, Jane S.  Search this
Mastelli, Rick  Search this
Moran, Lois  Search this
Moulthrop, Ed  Search this
Prestini, James  Search this
Rapp, Joanne  Search this
Scarpino, Betty  Search this
Sfirri, Mark  Search this
Anderson Ranch Arts Center  Search this
Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts  Search this
Belles Artes Gallery  Search this
Cooper-Lynn Gallery  Search this
Del Mano Gallery  Search this
Gargoyle Gallery  Search this
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
New School for Social Research  Search this
Oberlin College  Search this
United States  Search this
University of Colorado  Search this
Washington University (Saint Louis, Mo.)  Search this
Woodstock School of Painting  Search this
Type:
Interviews
Sound recordings
Place:
Colorado -- description and travel
Iowa -- Description and travel
Topic:
Decorative arts  Search this
Woodwork -- Equipment and supplies  Search this
Woodworkers -- Pennsylvania -- Interviews  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)13679
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)274890
AAA_collcode_ellswo07
Theme:
Craft
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_oh_274890
Online Media:

Oral history interview with David and Michelle Holzapfel, 2008 January 6 and March 2

Interviewee:
Holzapfel, David, 1950-  Search this
Interviewer:
Holzapfel, Michelle, 1951-  Search this
Subject:
Fitzgerald, Dennis  Search this
Galbraith, Peter  Search this
Hosaluk, Michael  Search this
Nutt, Craig  Search this
Prestini, James  Search this
Sfirri, Mark  Search this
Canadian Crafts Council  Search this
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
United States Information Service  Search this
Wood Turning Center (Philadelphia, Pa.)  Search this
Type:
Interviews
Sound recordings
Place:
Croatia -- description and travel
Topic:
Art -- Economic aspects  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Woodworkers -- Vermont -- interviews  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)15618
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)281469
AAA_collcode_holzap08
Theme:
Craft
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_oh_281469
Online Media:

Rejects from the Bat Factory

Artist:
Mark Sfirri, born Chester, PA 1952  Search this
Medium:
mahogany, curly maple, cherry, zebrawood, cocobolo, and lacewood
Dimensions:
overall: 37 7/8 x 25 3/8 x 5 5/8 in. (96.2 x 64.5 x 14.3 cm) bats: height: 15 5/8 - 37 1/8 in.; width: 2 1/8 - 2 3/4 in.
Type:
Decorative Arts
Crafts
Date:
1996
Topic:
Recreation\sport and play\baseball  Search this
Object\toy\sports equipment  Search this
Credit Line:
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Fleur and Charles Bresler in honor of Kenneth R. Trapp, curator-in-charge of the Renwick Gallery (1995--2003)
Copyright:
© 1996, Mark Sfirri
Object number:
2003.60.56A-F
Restrictions & Rights:
Usage conditions apply
See more items in:
Smithsonian American Art Museum Collection
Department:
Renwick Gallery
Data Source:
Smithsonian American Art Museum
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/vk73b02f712-5315-4133-b5a1-dc6f080df83f
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:saam_2003.60.56A-F

Glancing Figure

Artist:
Mark Sfirri, born Chester, PA 1952  Search this
Medium:
walnut
Dimensions:
46 x 15 3/4 in. (116.8 x 40.0 cm)
Type:
Decorative Arts
Crafts
Date:
1997
Credit Line:
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Fleur and Charles Bresler
Object number:
1998.137
Restrictions & Rights:
Usage conditions apply
See more items in:
Smithsonian American Art Museum Collection
Department:
Renwick Gallery
Data Source:
Smithsonian American Art Museum
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/vk7cc09f575-3982-4e52-b161-6232240b58af
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:saam_1998.137

Rejects from the Bat Factory - Exotics, (sculpture)

Sculptor:
Sfirri, Mark 1952-  Search this
Medium:
Wenge, teak, boxwood, purple heart, and curly maple
Type:
Sculptures
Owner/Location:
James A. Michener Art Museum 138 South Pine Street Doylestown Pennsylvania 18901
Date:
2006
Topic:
Abstract  Search this
Control number:
IAS 66770098
Data Source:
Art Inventories Catalog, Smithsonian American Art Museums
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_ari_421088

Ash Furniture Set, (sculpture)

Sculptor:
Sfirri, Mark 1952-  Search this
Medium:
Ash
Type:
Sculptures
Owner/Location:
Anonymous Collection
Date:
1993
Topic:
Object--Furniture  Search this
Control number:
IAS 66770099
Data Source:
Art Inventories Catalog, Smithsonian American Art Museums
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_ari_421089

Oak Folding Screen, (sculpture)

Sculptor:
Sfirri, Mark 1952-  Search this
Dodge, Robert G. 1939-  Search this
Medium:
Oak and acrylic
Type:
Sculptures
Owner/Location:
Anonymous Collection
Date:
1988
Topic:
Object--Furniture--Screen  Search this
Control number:
IAS 66770100
Data Source:
Art Inventories Catalog, Smithsonian American Art Museums
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_ari_421090

Attendees to the Ball, (sculpture)

Sculptor:
Sfirri, Mark 1952-  Search this
Medium:
Woods
Type:
Sculptures
Owner/Location:
Anonymous Collection
Date:
1994
Topic:
Abstract  Search this
Figure group  Search this
Control number:
IAS 66770101
Data Source:
Art Inventories Catalog, Smithsonian American Art Museums
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_ari_421091

Hall Table, (sculpture)

Sculptor:
Sfirri, Mark 1952-  Search this
Medium:
Lacewood and curly maple
Type:
Sculptures
Owner/Location:
Anonymous Collection
Date:
1995
Topic:
Object--Furniture--Table  Search this
Control number:
IAS 66770102
Data Source:
Art Inventories Catalog, Smithsonian American Art Museums
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_ari_421092

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