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Oral history interview with L. Brent Kington

Interviewee:
Kington, L. Brent (Louis Brent), 1934-2013  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:
Cranbrook Academy of Art -- Students  Search this
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Southern Illinois University at Carbondale -- Faculty  Search this
University of Kansas -- Students  Search this
Thomas, Richard C., 1917-1988  Search this
Extent:
95 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Date:
2001 May 3-4
Scope and Contents:
An interview of L. Brent Kington conducted 2001 May 3-4, by Mary Douglas, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, in Kington's home and studio, Makando, Illinois.
Kington describes his childhood and the impact of the Depression; his adopted sister Kay; and his hyperactivity and difficulty accomplishing schoolwork. He comments on his high school teachers; his academic and athletic accomplishments at University of Kansas (UK); his studies at Cranbrook Academy of Art with Richard (Dick) Thomas "the intellectual silversmith" and his "mentor"; Hugh Acton and the GM Tech Center; and fellow metalsmiths Fred Fenster, Mike Jerry, Stanley Lechtzin, and Heikki Seppä.
He discusses exhibitions including "Kansas Designer Craftsmen," "Michigan Designer Craftsmen," "Fiber, Clay, Metal," "Creative Casting, Young Americans 1962," and "Objects: USA." He talks about Ashanti gold weights; Scandinavian design; teaching at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois (SIU) and Illinois State University (ISU), and taking students to the Saint Louis Art Museum to see granulation in Mycenaean gold. He comments at length on his toys and experimenting with ideas about toys.
Kington also describes blacksmithing workshops held at SIU and the "renaissance" of blacksmithing in the United States. He recalls his involvement with the Society of North American Goldsmiths (SNAG), American Craft Council (ACC), World Crafts Council (WCC), Artist Blacksmith's Association of North America (ABANA), the Kentucky School of Craft, the National Ornamental Metal Museum, and other organizations. He discusses his weathervane pieces and other series such as Icarus, Crozier, Europa, and Axis Mundi. He comments on the influence of Mircea Eliade's book "The Forge and the Crucible" (1979), considers the blacksmith's role in various cultural mythologies, and evaluates publications such as "Anvil's Ring" and "American Blacksmith."
He comments on the current state of affairs in metalsmithing; his retirement from SIU and teaching in the University of Georgia-Cortona program; the impact of Cyril Stanley Smith's insights and the importance of his book "A History of Metallography" (1960); his appreciation of Daryl Meier's work; exploring new techniques such as mokume gane, kuromido, shibuichi, rokusho (patination process); encouraging Mary Lee Hu to pursue wire structuring; and his enthusiasm for sharing information. He recalls John Allgood, Philip Baldwin, Robert Ebendorf, Phil Fike, Maija Grotell, Marvin Jensen, Richard Mawdsley, Lee Nordness, Ron Pearson, Bob Peterson,Gene and Hiroko Pijanowski, Jim Wallace, and others.
Biographical / Historical:
L. Brent Kington (1934-) is a metalsmith from Makanda, Illinois. Mary Douglas (1956-) is a curator at the Mint Museum of Craft and Design in Charlotte, N.C.
General:
Originally recorded on 7 sound cassettes. Reformatted in 2010 as 14 digital wav files. Duration is 6 hr., 54 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 -- Interviews  Search this
Blacksmithing  Search this
Blacksmithing -- Technique  Search this
Learning disabilities  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.kingto01
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-kingto01

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 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 Mary Lee Hu

Interviewee:
Hu, Mary Lee, 1943-  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
Cleveland Institute of Art -- Students  Search this
Cranbrook Academy of Art -- Students  Search this
Lawrence Arts Center  Search this
Miami University (Oxford, Ohio) -- 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 -- Students  Search this
University of Washington -- Faculty  Search this
Baldridge, Mark S., 1946-  Search this
Choo, Chunghi  Search this
Christensen, Hans, 1924-1983  Search this
Dingeldein, Otto  Search this
Eikerman, Alma  Search this
Farafol, Daphne  Search this
Fenster, Fred, 1934-  Search this
Fike, Phillip G., 1927-1997  Search this
Halper, Vicki  Search this
Ho, Ron  Search this
Kidman, Hero  Search this
Kington, L. Brent (Louis Brent), 1934-2013  Search this
Marshall, John, 1936-  Search this
Matsukata, Miye, 1922-1981  Search this
Matzdorf, Kurt  Search this
McMurray, James  Search this
Moty, Eleanor  Search this
Noffke, Gary  Search this
Pujol, Eleanor  Search this
Seppä, Heikki  Search this
Turner, Gary  Search this
Warashina, Patti, 1940-  Search this
Extent:
8 Items (Sound recording: 8 wav files (5 hr., 42 min.), digital)
163 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Place:
Afghanistan -- Description and Travel
Australia -- Description and Travel
China -- Description and Travel
Indonesia -- Description and Travel
Iran -- Description and Travel
Nepal -- Description and Travel
Ohio -- Description and Travel
Papua New Guinea -- Description and Travel
Tibet (China) -- Description and Travel
Turkey -- description and travel
Date:
2009 March 18-19
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Mary Lee Hu conducted 2009 March 18-19, by Mija Riedel, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, at Hu's home and studio, in Seattle, Washington.
Hu speaks of growing up outside Cleveland, Ohio; her early interest in making objects; attending the Lawrence Art Center camp in Kansas at the age of 16 where she first experimented with metals; her like of working with tools in order to create something; taking metal smith classes at the Cleveland Institute of Art during high school; attending Miami University in Ohio for two years followed by two years an Cranbrook Academy of Art; working as a TA with L. Brent Kington at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale; her collaborative work in both textiles and metals while at Carbondale which lead to her first experimentation in weaving silver wire; creating a body of work for her Master's thesis in which all the pieces were woven wire; various works, their origins, when, where and why they were created, including her Neckpiece, Choker, Bracelet, Brooch and Ring series; her aesthetic interest in patterns, line and positive/negative space; a limited interest in and use of color in her work; the transition from silver to gold wire; a progressively larger interest in the history of jewelry and body adornment which eventually became a lecture at the University of Washington, where she taught for 26 years; numerous trips around the world to countries such as China, Tibet, Nepal, Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey, Australia, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia; a strong interest in ethnic and native jewelry/body adornment practices; the various purposes which jewelry can serve in society; her involvement with the Society of North American Goldsmiths and the American Craft Council; her technique based teaching practices; the role that modern technology plays in teaching, learning, and making jewelry; the lack of support and funds for metals programs in universities around the country; her library, which includes aver 2,000 books about the history of jewelry and body adornment; her collection of jewelry from around the world; her want to create beautiful and functional jewelry; the public and private aspects to jewelry and it's role in museums; current projects and the importance to maintain interest of metals in younger generations. Hu also recalls Gary Turner, Hans Christensen, Otto Dingeldein, Heikki Seppä, Hero Kielman, Phil Fike, Patti Warashina, Gary Noffke, Elliott Pujol, Chonghi Choo, Daphne Farafo, Vicki Halper, Ron Ho, Miye Matsukata, Alma Eikermann, Mark Baldridge, Kurt Matzdorf, Eleanor Moty, Fred Fenster, John Marshall, James McMurray, and others.
Biographical / Historical:
Mary Lee Hu (1943- ) is a metalsmith in Seattle, Washington. Smith was educated at Cranbrook Academy of Art and Southern Illinois University. She teaches at the University of Washington.
General:
Originally recorded on 4 sound discs. Reformatted in 2010 as 8 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:
Body adornment  Search this
Jewelry  Search this
Jewelry making -- Equipment and supplies  Search this
Jewelry making -- Study and teaching  Search this
Jewelry making -- Technique  Search this
Metal-workers -- Washington (State) -- Interviews  Search this
Women artists -- Washington (State) -- Seattle -- Interviews  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.hu09
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-hu09

Marie Agnes Hinrichs (b. 1892)

Subject:
Hinrichs, Marie Agnes b.1892  Search this
University of Chicago  Search this
Rush Medical College  Search this
Southern Illinois University at Carbondale  Search this
University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign campus)  Search this
Type:
Black-and-white photographs
Topic:
Women scientists  Search this
Radiation  Search this
Zoology  Search this
Local number:
SIA Acc. 90-105 [SIA2008-3237]
Restrictions & Rights:
No access restrictions Many of SIA's holdings are located off-site, and advance notice is recommended to consult a collection. Please email the SIA Reference Team at osiaref@si.edu
Copyright Not Evaluated
Data Source:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_297430

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