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Name: Jessica Calderwood
Medium: metal and enamel
Price Range: $500–10,000 and up
Since Jessica Calderwood can remember, there is no one particular thing that has sparked her interest in creating art.
“It’s more of just who I am,” says the Menasha-based metal and enamel artist who has been showing her work in galleries since she was an undergraduate student at the Cleveland Institute of Art in her home state of Ohio.
Trained as a painter and metalsmith, Calderwood has been working with enamel for about 15 years. Having sparked her curiosity after taking a class in college, enameling is an ancient practice of fusing glass to metal. She is fascinated by enamel’s creative properties and its historical reference as a “female-dominated ‘marginal craft.’”
“It’s a very craft-based tradition,” Calderwood says. “Most people are not familiar with it.”
Drawings, sculptures and wearables (jewelry) are Calderwood’s main focuses. Commercial and non-profit galleries have showcased her work all over the country. While the Julie Artisans’ Gallery in New York has been her most recent addition, Calderwood also has work on display in San Diego, San Francisco and Penland, North Carolina.
Most of her work that has gotten in galleries has come about through word-of-mouth and gallery owners who have invited her to showcase her art. More impressively, Calderwood says her number of showcased works is growing.
Her most recent series of work touches on the feminine by subtly addressing women’s place and life in contemporary society. She does this mostly through the use of flowers, using symbolism and combining fragments of the human body with botanical and floral forms.
“I created these works to be intentionally humorous and ironic,” Calderwood says. “These anthropomorphic beings are at once powerful and powerless, beautiful and absurd, inflated and amputated.”
When she’s not teaching art at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, Calderwood can be found in her basement studio which is home to most of her crafting. She explains rather unwaveringly that she loves to work with her hands and that if she wasn’t an artist, she would probably be doing something else that would keep her from being idle in the hands and mind.
“I love getting lost in what I am doing; time feels like it stops when I’m doing it,” Calderwood says. “I love to express myself in other ways besides words.”
Calderwood’s work will be on display during the Paine Art Center and Gardens’ Rooms of Blooms exhibit and at the new Oshkosh Waterfront Hotel starting in April.
For more information on Jessica and her work, visit her website at jessicacalderwood.com.
—By Sara Stein
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