The Buzz

"Along The Garden Path" by Harrison and June Caldwell of Caldwell Forge and Enamel


About The Show

"Along the Garden Path invites the viewer to look with truly open eyes at the beauty that is all around us. Too often, we look without seeing, walk by without stopping, or pass the time without really living each moment. The “path,” in life as in art, is before us. We must step into each moment in mindfulness."    - June Caldwell


Artist MBG Interview

MBG: June, your mediums are both oil painting (is it acrylic?) and enamel on metal. Can you speak about which came first and did one lead to the other? Are both essentially painting techniques executed with a brush?

June Caldwell:  I work in oils, watercolor, and enamels.  Oils came first, with watercolor right behind, as I loved the fluidity of the medium, and the unexpected effects one could get due to the flow of water and paint. Enameling began by happy accident: years ago, my husband was taking a blacksmithing class at the John C. Campbell Folk School for a week, and wanted me to go. There were no painting classes available, so I signed up for enameling, with the understanding that I really had no interest in pursuing it. The first day of classes, I fell in love immediately with the medium, and the many different effects one can get. Within a month, I had set up a full enameling studio, and I haven't stopped since!vI have a strong interest in color, and all three media offer vast possibilities.  Oils and watercolor, of course, are liquid, flowing, and usually are applied with a brush, although I love using sponges, cloth, paper, etc. to apply and texture the surface. Enamels are powdered glass, and are applied in a very different manner. The various colors are sifted on to a copper surface, one color layer at a time, and fired in a kiln at 1500 degrees. I typically use transparent enamels, as I love the depth of color and the overlap one can achieve.

MBG: You are one half of Caldwell Forge and Enamel, the enameling half. Do you work on just flat pieces of cut metal, or do you enamel forged works created by others?

June Caldwell: I work on both flat and three dimensional objects. Many of the pieces I form from the copper myself, cutting, texturing the metal, and hammering as needed. I love to enamel bowls and small cups, as well as abstract shapes that I use in wall pieces. All pieces are made here in our studios, often from recycled copper, as we love the idea of reusing something meant for the scrap pile!

MBG:  Lastly June, can you speak on Harrison's behalf and tell us something about his pieces that we will see in the show. Harrison's work will not be for sale, as they are being reserved for family members, but can you tell us something about his process or what inspired his work in metal?

Harrison Caldwell: Harrison always had a keen eye for details, and loved to use my large herb and flower garden for inspiration. Once something caught his eye, he studied it intensely before ever starting to work. This included looking carefully, making sketches and photos, and sometimes even dissecting a blossom to be sure he knew the exact way petals and sepals were attached! His works always started with detailed sketches, done to scale, or often full-sized, with careful planning of each component. He often said that there was no room for guessing when working with metal, as pieces had to fit and be made to attach properly. He also made many of his own tools, customizing them to fit whatever project he was currently working on.      Harrison was a unique blend of engineer and artist, and it showed in both the beauty and details of his work. He thought art should be more than "interesting;" rather, it should move the viewer to look closely at the world around him, and it should be beautiful.


About the Artists

Harrison and June are a husband and wife team who draw their inspiration from nature. Avid hikers, bicyclers and gardeners, they work in metal, enamels, oils and watercolors to capture the essence of each plant, flower, or scene they observe.




Posted by Stephanie Cosby at 11:46 AM

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