Biographies and statements from select featured artists:
Artist Linda Dolack was born in 1949. Dolack’s artwork uses exaggeration and humor
as a means of celebrating contemporary popular culture. She explains, “Since childhood,
I have been fascinated by the way foods are mass marketed and eventually become
the foodstuffs of our communal desire. Through media advertisement, musical jingles,
signage and the artwork of packaging, processed or ‘junk’ foods transform into familiar
comfort foods. Drawn to these ubiquitous foods, it seemed natural for me to investigate
and ultimately celebrate this manipulation.” To create her pieces, Dolack either hand
embroiders or directly applies brightly colored, sparkling glass beads to discarded
food packaging ––creating newly embellished versions of common food items. Dolack’s
work can be found in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Boston,
Massachusetts; the Museum of Arts and Design, New York, New York; and the Corner
Children’s Hospital, Chicago, Illinois.
Born in 1954 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Christina Eustace began making jewelry
as a young child. Eustace’s first creations were tiny shot balls that were then melted and
used as decorative elements. She often experimented with creating her own jewelry while
her parents were out selling adornment they had made. Eustace went to the University
of New Mexico and studied fine arts, taking a range of different classes such as painting,
ceramics, and jewelry. With a mother of Cochiti Pueblo descent and a Zuni father, Eustace
draws on her native heritage. Often, her work is based on ancient petroglyphs. The piece
currently on display has several elements of known petroglyphs—such as Kokopelli,
the flute player associated with fertility; the Zuni Bear symbolizing good health; and
the straight arrows symbolizing protection. Eustace’s work can be found throughout
the US and in the British Museum in London, England. She has received awards from
the Santa Fe Indian Market, Santa Fe, New Mexico; the Museum of Indian Arts and
Culture in Santa Fe, New Mexico; and the Denver Art Museum, Denver, Colorado.
Jan Huling was born in 1953 in Chicago, Illinois, but was raised in St. Louis, Missouri.
Huling began to focus on art later in life, following a career as a successful product
designer. To put it simply, she beads and embellishes forms, often dolls or animals.
Her goal is to transform the everyday into, in her words, “spectacular, meaningful,
hypnotic works of art.” To create patterns, Huling strings glass seed beads and lays them
onto a form in a line of glue. When the beads are correctly positioned, she slides out the
thread. Huling designs spontaneously; rather than planning how her design should look,
she allows each one to grow as a meditation on color, form, pattern, and texture. Huling
has garnered numerous awards and honors, including Category Winner, Sculptural Works
at Fiber Art Now’s Excellence in Fibers IV juried exhibition; an artist residency at 360
Xochi Quetzal, Lake Chapala, Mexico; and a fellowship from the New Jersey State Council
on the Arts.
Born in 1951, Donna Kato began working with polymer in 1991. During the latter half
of the 1990s, as polymer was undergoing a revival in the United States, Kato played
a part in the resurgence as both artist and educator. She has written several books that
have become essential for artists, such as The Art of Polymer Clay. Kato’s work currently
on display, Sculpted Animal Necklace, consists of large beads that are in the form of
molded animals made early in her career. She ultimately shifted to techniques that focus
on pattern and surface using millefiori and imitative practices that made her well-known
in her field. Significantly, Kato has also developed a new form of polymer known as Kato
Polyclay. This variant of the material differs from others in its strength, stability, and
firmness, and is available in a wide array of colors.
Holly Anne Mitchell was born in 1970 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Mitchell uses recycled
newspaper to create beaded bracelets, brooches, necklaces, and earrings that speak to
eco-friendly practices as well as challenge assumptions about which materials can be
used for jewelry. Mitchell is inspired by social and cultural issues as well as material and
aesthetic ones. The tone of her work can range from playful—as is the case with Mitchell’s
bracelet in RAM’s collection, The Joke’s On You!––to serious.
Her I Can’t Breathe Neckpiece incorporates newspaper with articles and images
regarding the death of George Floyd. As she states, “It is a direct reflection and
expression of my emotional response to this horrific, senseless death. As an African
American, I felt a deep connection to Mr. Floyd. If it happened to Mr. Floyd, it could
certainly happen to any and every African American man in my life.”
After graduating in 1992 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Mitchell worked on creating
a marketable line of her jewelry. Since, she has been included in numerous exhibitions
such as at the Newseum in Washington, DC; Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian American
Art Museum, Washington, DC; and Museum of Arts and Design, New York, New York.
She has received honors and awards including an honorable mention at the Smithsonian
Craft Show, Washington, DC; Niche Award Finalist, Niche Magazine; and an Associate
Craft Fellowship with the Indiana Arts Commission, Indianapolis, Indiana.
Navajo artist, Jasper Nelson, was born in New Mexico in 1961. Nelson is known for
his silverwork jewelry, though he also uses copper and gold. Self-taught, the artist utilizes
techniques that were passed down to him generationally, as well as ones he created.
One of his best known designs is a piece comprised of silver beads that appear to be
pearls. One strand of beads, about 22–24 inches in length, takes Nelson two to three
days to create. Throughout the year, he travels to shows throughout the US selling his
work. Nelson participates in Native American art markets in Texas, Kansas, and New
Mexico. Since he travels so frequently, Nelson can often be found creating adornment
in the bed of his truck.