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Skidmore College

Alumna jeweler to present Raab Lecture Nov. 10

November 7, 2008

Alumna jeweler to present Raab Lecture Nov. 10

Jeweler and metalsmith Sharon Church, a 1970 graduate of Skidmore College, will give this year?s Rosanne Raab Visiting Artist Lecture at 6 p.m. Monday, Nov. 10, in Gannett Auditorium of Palamountain Hall.

Sharon Church
Sharon Church

The illustrated lecture is taking place in conjunction with the current exhibition at the college?s Schick Art Gallery, ?Palette Maestro,? a retrospective of work by the late Earl Pardon, noted metalsmith and jeweler, and longtime Skidmore professor, who was a mentor of Church.

The exhibit runs through Dec. 14 at the gallery.

Church, who has won awards for her work and for her teaching, is a professor in the Crafts Department at the College of Art and Design at Philadelphia?s University of the Arts. Of the courses she teaches in the jewelry/metals program there, Church said, ?The search for jewelry form flows seamlessly from my studio to the classroom and back again. I am interested in adornment that girds the wearer, in jewelry that empowers, enables, and protects. I endeavor to evolve an image that is fierce yet responsive.?

An artisan who has exhibited nationally, Church had never thought of jewelry as an art form until she took classes from Pardon at Skidmore. She has found inspiration in her garden and in ?the scary, loamy underparts that support it,? she said in a 2004 interview with Skidmore Scope, the college?s quarterly magazine. Her work is inspired by nature: pods and flowers that evolve from seed and a division of cells, which burst with life. She uses materials that were once alive and are now dead. Using a drill with a flexible shaft, she carves bone, leather, deer antlers, exotic woods, and other organic materials into renderings of leaves, vines, seedpods, and fruits that ?appear formed by interior force rather than whittled down,? as American Craft magazine marveled. Her materials? bone, horn and wood?physically embody the life cycle in a symbolic language of growth and decay, death and renewal?timeless images that are at once tender and powerful.

In addition to her B.S. degree from Skidmore, Church received an M.F.A. degree from the School for American Craftsmen, Rochester Institute of Technology. Her awards and honors include a National Endowment for the Arts Individual Craftsman?s Fellowship Grant; Finalist Award (Discipline Winner) from the Pew Fellowship in the Arts; Lindback Distinguished Teaching Award; Richard C. von Hess Faculty Award; Venture Fund Award; and James Renwick Alliance Distinguished Educator Award.

Church?s exhibition?s have included the John Michael Kohler Art Center; the American Craft Museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, SOFA NY, and Helen Drutt: Philadelphia, among others. Her work is included in the public collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the National Gallery of Australia; the Samuel Dorsky Museum at SUNY New Paltz; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Charles A. Wustum Museum of Fine Arts, Racine, Wisc.; and the Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington, Del., and other venues.

The Rosanne Brody Raab Lecture was endowed at Skidmore by Raab, a member of the college?s Class of 1955 and an art advisor whose firm specializes in the arts of craft and design as a way to showcase artists working in clay, fiber, metal, and wood. Admission to the lecture is free and open to the public.

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