Clearly Collaborative exhibition:
A Master of Glass Meets Masters of Craft
January 27 – March 11
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (January 19, 2023) Known internationally as an art glass master, Duncan McClellan has blown many decades’ worth of glass vessels for the use in his sandblasted, graphic-imaged art. Now, these vessels are the bases for nationally recognized craft artisans to incorporate into their own signature mediums, creating innovative new pieces. The final works will be featured in a stunning, original showcase Clearly Collaborative: A Master of Glass Meets Masters of Craft. The exhibition premieres at the Florida CraftArt Gallery from January 27 – March 11, 2023, with a public opening where people can meet the artists from 5 to 7 p.m. on January 27.
Curated by renowned art collector David Ramsey, Clearly Collaborative will feature original works from: Lucrezia Bieler (Paper, Tallahassee) Joyce Curvin (Mixed Media, Palm Harbor) the late Paul Eppling (Metal), Pamela Fox (Jewelry, Sarasota), Dominice Gilbert (Metal, St. Petersburg), Nneka Jones (Mixed Media, Tampa), William Kidd (Ceramics, St. Petersburg), John Mascoll (Wood, Safety Harbor), Duncan McClellan (Glass, St. Petersburg), Charlie Parker (Ceramics, St. Petersburg) and Sue Shapiro (Ceramics, St. Petersburg) All of the artists are seasoned art award winners, including John Mascoll and Lucrezia Bieler who won awards at the 2022 Smithsonian Craft Show in Washington, DC, and Nneka Jones who won Best of Show at Gasparilla Festival in Tampa.
The concept for the exhibition arose from a conversation between Ramsey and McClellan, inspired by the success of a commissioned piece of art featuring the metal work of the late Paul Eppling and McClellan’s glass work. Clearly Collaborative reveals the innovation produced when masters of one medium are introduced to new art disciplines under the guidance of another master artisan.
“As a collector, as well as a Florida CraftArt board member, I am familiar with the diverse types of fine craft and many of the top artists,” Ramsey says. “I felt it would be interesting to offer these artists the opportunity to combine their skills and creativity with blown glass. Duncan and I, along with Florida CraftArt CEO Katie Deits, selected the artists who are masters of their crafts for the project.”
Each artist met with McClellan to discuss the design and technical challenges of working with glass. The artists received the blown glass vessels, as well as access to the DMG School Project commercial sandblasting booth and other tools needed to realize their visions.
“I think it is important for an artist to give back to the community,” says McClellan. “I have been fortunate in my career, and many people have shared their inspirations and talents with me along the way. These collaborations are a way in which I can not only offer artists working in other media the chance to explore the magic of glass, but I am also inspired by their innovations, creativity and techniques. Artists must keep growing and expanding their perception, and sometimes this needs to be done by creating a communal opportunity for shared vision.”
The communal opportunity has already been a revelation to the participating artists, who all worked with glass for the first time in their professional careers during the Clearly Collaborative process.
“This project has expanded my work and taken me into a whole new way of thinking about future projects,” says mixed media artist, Joyce Curvin.
“This is a full circle moment for me as my first-time meeting Duncan was through a mentorship program provided by the Gasparilla Festival of the Arts a few years ago,” says Nneka Jones. “I was an emerging artist and blown away by Duncan’s work and his professionalism and knowledge. To now have the honor of working collaboratively on one of his glass pieces is surreal and this is one of my most precious art experiences that I will cherish for a lifetime. The advice that Duncan gave me years ago still applies to my art career today, so I can only imagine how long this artwork will live on for future generations and art lovers to appreciate.”
“Florida CraftArt is delighted to participate in this project,” says FCA CEO Katie Deits. “Now more than ever there is a need for local, state and national collaboration among artists and arts organizations.”
“As a statewide, nonprofit organization, we display outstanding handmade objects made by some of the best craftspeople in the country,” Deits continues. “Half of our gallery on Central Avenue features only Florida artists while the Exhibition Gallery, as well as our annual Florida CraftArt Festival in November, showcase fine craft artists from around the country. We engage and educate the community about fine craft. Admission is free to the galleries and the special programs.”
The Clearly Collaborative exhibition runs from January 27 through March 11, 2023. Docent tours will be available upon request. Further information is available on www.FloridaCraftArt.org.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR
Friday, January 27, 5-7 p.m. Opening reception and meet the artists
Saturday, January 28, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Watch artist Lucrezia Bieler create her intricate paper art.
Wednesday, February 22, 5:30 p.m. Artists’ Lecture Series, Session One
Tuesday, March 7, 5:30 p.m. Artists’ Lecture Series, Session Two
ABOUT FLORIDA CRAFTART
Florida CraftArt is located at 501 Central Avenue in St. Petersburg, Florida, and is open Monday through Saturday from10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. For more information, visit www.FloridaCraftArt.org or call (727) 821-7391. Florida CraftArt is a nonprofit organization founded in 1951 and headquartered in St. Petersburg. Its mission is to grow the statewide creative economy by engaging the community and advancing Florida’s fine craft artists and their work. Florida CraftArt is the only statewide nonprofit organization offering artists a platform to show and sell their work.