Crafting a Collection

December 2005 | BY | Issue 47 | NO COMMENTS

Ron Arad, represented by Carry Friedman Ltd. in New Yrok, adds a twist to steel with “AYOR.”
Image courtesy Graeme Montgomery, Barry Friedman Ltd., SOFA New York 2005

Collecting can be seductive, addictive and occasionally even overwhelming. What follows are answers to everything from gallery etiquette to displaying and insuring your new treasures.

Walking into an art gallery is an intimidating prospect.
What do I need to know?

Visiting a craft gallery is a much different, and more personal, experience than breezing through your typical department store. Here are guidelines for gallery etiquette:

What do I wear?
Actually, it’s more what you don’t wear. Leave your backpack and bulky purse at home, or ask an associate to hold your bag behind the counter while you look around. You may also want to come without young children, so you can concentrate on the merchandise rather than fighting to keep little fingers away from breakables.

If you’d like to dress up, a gallery opening might be a great opportunity.

Two Generations, One Love

December 2005 | BY | Issue 47 | NO COMMENTS

The family poses in front of another Jacqueline Warren painting: clockwise from left, Kim, Allie, Bryn, Tom and Ajax.

It all started with a Thomas Hoadley porcelain bowl. Marie Prater brought it into her Springfield, Mo., home 20 years ago with no inkling that she was starting a family tradition.

But at the time her son Tom, following in his father Bill’s footsteps as an ophthalmologist, had his eye on a certain blond radiologist. And when he wanted to give her a present, he asked his mother’s opinion of a Hoadley vessel he’d seen at the Craft Alliance in St. Louis. Marie, who was quickly becoming a serious ceramics collector, advised, “It’s pretty. She’ll like it even if she doesn’t like collecting.”

As it turned out, Kim did like collecting. “I was stunned at Tom’s first gift,” she recalls. So stunned, in fact, that she ended up marrying him. What’s more, Kim’s attraction to sculpture and form balance her husband’s appreciation of color and paint. The couple’s taste for sculptural ceramics has led to a second-generation Prater collection that complements Marie’s ceramics and Bill’s equally sophisticated turned wood.

The complete article “Two Generations, One Love ” can be found in the February 2006 issue of AmericanStyle.

Finding Strength in Bronze

December 2005 | BY | Issue 47 | NO COMMENTS

When the Nevada Cancer Institute commissioned Louis Longi to create “Flight Invoked,” a 25-foot bronze sculpture, he knew that he would finally be able to “complete the circle of fulfillment.” Fifteen years ago, Longi’s father died after a battle with cancer.

Longi creates art that delves into the deepest of human emotions, represented by layered bronze sections of partial human forms. He created “Flight Invoked” to symbolize the Greek goddess Athena because she is said to be enlightened by reason and protect the community. Standing outside the entrance of the cancer facility, the piece is meant to be a symbol of strength.

Keep an eye out for “Movement,” Longi’s next installation, in Montalvo Park in Ventura, Calif. For more information, visit

What Goes Around…

April 2005 | BY | Issue 49 | NO COMMENTS

Vollis Simpson does all of the work himself in a modest workshop near the pond.

Unsuspecting drivers spotting them for the first time are certain to experience a “what in the …?” doubletake. Around a rural roadside pond eight miles from the eastern North Carolina town of Wilson, a wonderland of three-story-high farmers, automobiles, airplanes and whimsical animals move in the wind and reflect light, many clinking harmoniously as they turn. The raw material for Vollis Simpson’s fanciful, highly engineered whirligigs is often discarded farm equipment.

Early inklings of Simpson’s artistry were evident in the 1940s, when he built a windmill to power a washing machine in Saipan during World War II. After the war, he returned to Wilson to farm and run a house-moving and farm equipment repair business, and his sculptural inclinations went largely untapped. Parts accumulated for decades, until in his 60s, with “too much junk lying around to ignore,” his latent genius for whirligigs blossomed.

Today, dozens of moveable metal sculptures tower from Simpson’s field in the tiny town of Lucama. Bicyclists pedal, mules pull a cart and wheels spin in the breeze. A daytime visit will reveal the effects of weather on the constructions, which Simpson first began erecting in 1985. Many oglers opt for a drive-by nighttime visit; the whirligigs, visible from the road, are covered in ref lectors that come alive when caught by a car’s high beams. The resulting show of light and motion has prompted locals to nickname the site “Acid Park”—it’s a truly psychedelic experience.

For more of “What Goes Around…”, pick up a June 2006 issue of AmericanStyle today!

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