One of the artists whose work I was really impressed by at Handmade Arcade Saturday is Megan Auman. This Pennsylvania resident creates jewelry with steel, and the simple, clean lines of her work were just so striking. Elegant and sophisticated but still accessible, her work really reminded me of a lot of the patterns I've seen in my recent studies of Art Deco, Craftsman, and related tapestries and woodwork and their integration into homes of those styles (full disclosure: I adore both Art Deco — hailing as I do from Detroit, considered by many to be the "Art Deco capital of the world" — and Craftsman). One finds many stylized flowers and flower motifs in each form of architecture and art, and I've begun amassing a small collection of such images.
As it turns out, there was a reason Megan's splendid work triggered my memories of these things. From her artist's statement on her blog:
The floral patterns I employ in my work are inspired by the patterns that appear on both printed and embroidered textiles. The patterns also borrow from contemporary advances in digital textile production that eliminate the need for repeat patterning. Floral patterned textiles have often played a crucial role in the creation of the home, yet the rise of Modernism relegated these patterns to the margins. The removal of floral patterned textiles from the home parallels the devaluation of domesticity and femininity in interior decoration. However, the recent outburst of floral patterned objects coincides with a renewed interest in the home.
By recreating furnishings and pillows using floral patterns rendered in steel wire, I eliminate the need for internal structure. Each object becomes a visual signifier of the ideals of the home, rather than a functional object. The loss of function highlights the tension between comfort and display in the contemporary home. I eliminate conventional indications of comfort such as padding and fabric through the use of steel.
Well then. Apparently I was close to the same wavelength. What a marvellous way to bring these patterns and ideas back, and so prettily as well.
These double drop flower earrings really, really caught my attention at the show, but there were so many people about I just couldn't get close enough to touch them (though as you saw, I got a decent shot of her table). The graceful curves end in simple blooms reminiscent of tulip or roses. Not at all ostentatious, they're not plain or boring, either. As I said, it's an understated elegance. $80.
Megan's shop also offers bracelets, necklaces, and rings, and has several sale items at the moment as well. It's wonderful to see someone making an artistic statement without being...well, brash or obnoxious, but instead doing so with real thoughtfulness and contemplation. I dare say her execution of intent is really quite clever, and that's definitely something to be thankful for.