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green copper unique earrings robin kahn

Unique and Individual — Metal Jewelry by Robin Kahn

green copper unique earrings robin kahn

Texture, color, and form all coordinate into a one-of-a-kind, unique jewelry creation by Robin Kahn.

Nowadays, we are forgetting something extremely important, and thereby experiencing more problems than we need to. This is what we are forgetting:

Every single human being is unique. Though we share attributes, we do not march in mental lockstep. Every human has different experiences, thoughts, dreams, ideas, opinions. If we accept this truth and — through civilized interaction — learn from one another, we grow, both individually and as a society. If we insist, however, that 100 out of 100 people think and act the same, we relinquish creativity and life.

Jewelry designer Robin Kahn learned this lesson over 27 years of teaching special education in Florida and Washington. Now retired, she applies it to both her day-to-day living and her art.

“My students, each one special, were ages 5-10 with a wide range of developmental challenges both academically and behaviorally,” the Spokane artist says. “What I learned from these children is that each of us is unique. As I got to know each child, I could then divine and fashion an individual approach to help that child grow and learn.

blue metal earrings beads robin kahn

Blue metal earrings with beads by Robin Kahn, one of a kind and unique.

“I am now creating jewelry full time. I believe my creative process for designing jewelry is inspired by my students, each one different and unique. My jewelry is designed with no two pieces identical. Each has its own shine.”

Each has its own shine.

Hunting at the Hardware Store

Specializing in copper and silversmithing earrings, necklaces, and bracelets, Kahn is constantly focused on refining her skills as a metalsmith. Her first foray into jewelry making was years ago, a class on beading that, unexpectedly, unlocked the hidden artist within and a passion to get to know her. Since then, she has never stopped taking classes, from beading to coppersmithing, from yard art welding to ceramics. Each learning experience adds to her repertoire of creativity and ideas.

copper metal stamped bracelet beads robin kahn

Copper pendant necklace with stamped design and beads, by Robin Kahn.

“To say I work with a range of materials is an understatement,” Kahn says. “I love nothing better than hunting at hardware stores, garage sales, and auctions, foraging to find unusual materials that can be used in a unique and different way than was originally intended.

“Buttons, drawer pulls, coins, pottery, beads, car parts, keys, bullet casings, rocks, recycled copper — this is Nirvana for someone who likes to discover and give new life to the unusual!”

Not surprisingly, it requires a fair amount of space to not only store all the materials Kahn uses to create her craft, but to transform those raw materials into completed, wearable art.

Filling the Workshop with Unique Items

Initially, her studio space was a six-foot folding table set within the well equipped workshop of her husband, Marv, a retired math teacher who “can fix and fabricate most anything.”

Over time, she added kilns, a soldering station, a jeweler’s bench, storage for the many beads that she adores and accumulates, cabinets for gems, multiple tables for assembling completed pieces, display racks for shows, storage for specialized tools, and space for enameling, metal fabricating, and forming. If you’re wondering how this impacted Marv, well,

“Marv’s shop has migrated into a new space in our backyard.”

round copper earrings unique textured embellishment robin kahn

Round copper earrings with textured embellishments by Robin Kahn

It works. And they’ve each found their happy space.

Kahn’s latest focus involves enhancing individual pieces with texture, design, and patina. Using bits of lace, fibers from a lime bag, cactus or leaf skeletons, hammers and metal stamps, Kahn incorporates unconventional elements onto the metal surfaces of her jewelry pieces. Ideas ebb and flow during this process, she explains — often what she thought was going to emerge evolves into something very different.

“Being open to this evolving process is why I love sitting down to make jewelry.”

Traveling to Shows

Every year, Kahn takes part in the Little Spokane Artists Studio Tour at the end of September, and this year will also be at the Sun City Oro Valley, AZ, November Art Fair. She also attends the Tucson Gem and Mineral show which, with more than 4,000 vendors, is the largest, oldest, and most prestigious gem and mineral show in the world.

It’s been many years since that first jewelry class that started this journey, but for Kahn, every time she sits down to create a jewelry art piece, it’s a new, and unique experience.

“The process of fabricating a new piece starts out with a vision of color, texture and shape that inevitably evolves. Each piece finds its own direction, until ultimately, the final design is revealed.”

And the important thing about that final design is that it is unique, original, and one of a kind.

Just like each of us.

Wenaha GalleryRobin Kahn is the featured Art Event at Wenaha Gallery from July 17 through August 15, 2022.

Contact the gallery, located at 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA, by phone at 509.382.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Monday through Friday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.

 

 

 

Metal (and Horse) Lover: The Steel Sculpture of Anne Behlau

forkupine porcupine fork steel metal sculpture anne behlau art

Forkupine — a metal sculpture of a porcupine fashioned from forks. Steel metal sculpture by Anne Behlau of Milton-Freewater, OR

If you ever have a run-in with a porcupine, you’ll probably remember the experience. Anne Behlau certainly has.

“When I was a six-year-old child, a porcupine came into the tent I was sleeping in with my brother on a mountain pack trip,” the Milton-Freewater metal artist recalls.

“It ate the tops out of my cowboy boots.”

horse equine metal steel sculpture anne behlau art

Metal Horse, steel sculpture art by Milton-Freewater artist Anne Behlau

Years later Behlau, who creates steel sculpture from found, repurposed, and recycled metal, fashioned a forkupine, a whimsical, 3-D statuette of a porcupine created from forks.

A Family History of Metal and Blacksmithing

A retired registered nurse, Behlau grew up on small farms, and has been involved with animals all her life. As a young adult she moved to Dayton and raised four children on a 100-acre farm on the North Touchet, and after the kids grew and flew, went back to school for her RN degree. After 27 years of working in the medical field, she retired and turned to the welder, torch, and blacksmith forge. She now also trolls through salvage yards, junk piles, yard sales, and farms looking for metal materials to transform into her art.

“My father was a blacksmith and farrier,” Behlau explains. “My brothers continued the tradition as well as my nephew.

“Since there was such a strong family tradition of blacksmithing, I was drawn to metal work utilizing welder, torch, and forge.”

There is a learning curve, she says. In the three years she has been honing her skills with her tools, she has encountered challenges along the way.

Red Hot Metal

“Working with red hot metal can be tricky and painful at times if you are not careful,” Behlau says. “The upside of working with metal is that, unlike with wood, if you cut it wrong or put it together wrong, it is very forgiving.

small scotty dog animal sculpture metal steeel anne behlau art

Small Scotty Dog, metal sculpture by Anne Behlau, artist from Milton-Freewater, OR

“It can be cut apart and rewelded until it looks how you want it. It just takes patience and persistence . . . which I have a lot of.”

Citing a love for all things cowboy, Behlau expresses enthusiasm for creating metal sculptures of horses, ranging from the whimsical to serious.

“I have a lifelong love for horses. I’ve competed in horse shows, trained horses, team roped, barrel raced, and ridden in endurance rides.”

While raising her children, she threw herself and them into 4-H and FFA. Nowadays, that love for horses comes out in the work of her hands.

metal rose steel sculpture art anne behlau

Yellow Rose, metal sculpture by Milton-Freewater artist Anne Behlau.

Behlau does not limit herself to equine subjects, however. All farm and ranch animals, as well as porcupines, attract her interest, along with flowers, people, and graphic design shapes. Her two Scotty dog pets provide constant inspiration, and she has created a 30-pound Scotty sculpture using sections of heavy walled metal pipe, as well as a tiny Scotty, fashioned from a railroad spike. People who see both sculptures express surprise over what makes up the finished product.

Turning Metal Scraps into Art

From forks to garden tools, from scraps of farm machinery to old horseshoes, they all find themselves with new life in a new shape, after a little bit (or quite a lot, actually) of heat and inspiration. What Behlau ultimately creates depends upon the materials she has gathered, along with ideas she picks up from the Internet, personalized by her own spin.

Working out of an unattached shop/garage at her Milton-Freewater home, Behlau markets her work as Anvil Annie Metal Art. She has sold her pieces as a vendor at festivals, through her Facebook page, and at Hamley & Company Saddle and Western Store in Pendleton, OR. Learning as she goes with “a little instruction along the way,” she never quite knows what she will make next, but is certain that it will reflect her love for country and for country life: its people, its animals, its lifestyle.

“My art,” Behlau muses, “is inspired by things that are deep in my heart.”

Wenaha GalleryAnne Behlau is the Featured Art Event from Monday, March 25 through Saturday, April 20 at Wenaha Gallery. She will be at the gallery Saturday, April 13, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for a special Spring Art Show, where she will be joined by Kennewick photographer John Clement and Dayton jewelry and nostalgia journal artist Dawn Moriarty.

Contact the gallery, located at 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA, by phone at 509.382.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment.

 

Copper Wheat metal sculpture by Richard Czyhold, Wenaha Gallery guest artist

Upcycled Chic: The Recycled, Refashioned Art of Czyhold Metal Design

Copper Wheat metal sculpture by Richard Czyhold, Wenaha Gallery guest artist

Copper Wheat metal sculpture by Richard Czyhold, Wenaha Gallery guest artist

One of the challenges of living in a throwaway society is that we are in danger of losing our connection to the past. For example, it’s difficult to comprehend that the ubiquitous plastic gallon milk jugs, which most of us see as trash, are possibly the blue-glass medicine bottles of a century ago. By the time we realize that what we call junk isn’t always rubbish, newly appreciated material may not be around anymore.

An altar design and pulpit by Ben Czyhold

An altar design and pulpit by Ben Czyhold

Thanks to imaginative, foresightful, and artistic people like the Czyhold (Sea’-Hold) family, however, the stuff of the past is not doomed to be buried in landfills. The three-person team — consisting of Richard and his recycled metal sculptures; Richard’s wife Judy and her recycled copper and found object jewelry; and the couple’s son Ben, a working blacksmith — creates new fashions from old things, or, in the case of Ben, from old techniques.

All three work in designated studio spaces at the Walla Walla family home, which continues to operate as a working farm. Indeed, it’s that farming background that launched the whole process, beginning in 1995 when Richard was commissioned to create a sculpture for the neighboring Bunchgrass Winery. Inspired by nature as well as an innate drive to recycle and reuse , he looked around at what he had — a vast quantity of farm machinery parts — and saw, not junk, but future native grass, cat tail, and wheat sculptures welded and melded from metal.

“‘When farm machinery is repaired, most farmers have what is known as a bone yard where they pile all the worn out parts,” Richard explains. “On our farm, we try to reuse parts, but when that is no longer possible, they become artwork.”

As the family became more involved in metal design, they found, ironically, that they didn’t have enough extra material to keep up with demand,  so they started looking around for more.

Bracelet by Judy Czyhold

Bracelet by Judy Czyhold

“We use found objects that come from all different sources, auctions, and yard sales,” Richard says. “Many times, other farmers and clients will bring me parts, bits and pieces of unusual things.”

Not all of these unusual things wind up in Richard’s sculpture, especially if Judy gets to them first. Using traditional metal smith techniques of riveting, brazing, or soldering, Judy transforms disparate matter such as recycled copper roofing, electrical wires, engine parts, and pieces of 40-foot aluminum sprinkler pipes into bracelets, necklaces, and earrings with no twin on earth.

“Scrounging in the junk bin at the shop has produced many great found objects to incorporate into my pieces,” Judy says. Literally, it’s a treasure hunt.

Fortunately for the couple and their voracious appetite for salvaged materials, their son Ben works primarily with new steel. What is old in his art is the occupation itself — blacksmithing — and the venue in which he does it.

Ben Czyhold in his blacksmith shop

Ben Czyhold in his blacksmith shop

“My shop is on the family property,” Ben says. “The overall design and layout of it was influenced by another blacksmith shop that once existed on my family’s land over 70 years ago.” Ben creates everything from household hardware to architectural ironwork, maintaining a product line of small hardware and decorative pieces for sale at various venues. And while much of his larger work — like a customized wrought iron porch railing, or gate hinges shaped like a fleur de lis — is not portable, he is, transporting the necessary equipment to the Walla Walla Farmer’s Market to do live forging demonstrations near Richard and Judy’s vending booth. Beginning in June, the family will also show at the Richland Farmer’s Market.

“We meet such great people from all over the world at the markets, and they really enjoy seeing Ben hammering,” Judy says. During the off-market season, the trio travels to 6-8 arts and crafts shows throughout the Northwest.

It’s something new from something old, beauty from trash as opposed to rising from the ashes. And thanks to the cosmopolitan nature of today’s community markets, Czyhold creations are in homes throughout the United States, as well as Europe and Japan. Innovation is timeless, Richard points out.

“Our favorite part of the whole process is taking something that would have been thrown away and transforming it into something that brings a smile.”

Wenaha GalleryCzyhold Metal Design is the featured Pacific Northwest Art Event artist from Monday, May 23 through Saturday, June 18. There will be a special show Saturday, May 28 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the gallery, where Richard and Judy will be on site with their artwork. A short distance away, at the Dayton Historic Depot, Ben will do live forging demonstrations from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Free refreshments provided at the gallery.

Contact the gallery, located at 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA, by phone at 509.382.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.

Wenaha Gallery is your destination location for Greenwich Workshop Fine Art Prints, professional customized framing, and original fine art paintings and sculpture by notable Pacific Northwest artists.   Books, gifts, note cards, jigsaw puzzles, and more are also available. Visit at 219 East Main, Dayton, WA.

This article was written by Carolyn Henderson.

 

Welded horse sculpture by wenaha gallery artist Carlos Acevedo

A Boy’s Insistent Dream Becomes Reality — The Welded Metal Sculpture of Carlos Acevedo

Welded horse sculpture by wenaha gallery artist Carlos Acevedo

Untitled welded sculpture by Wenaha Gallery artist Carlos Acevedo

From the time Carlos Acevedo was a little boy, he wanted to be an artist. He knew that he was an artist.

But like many determined people with a strong dream and an equally strong personality to make it happen, he didn’t always have the support of the people around him.

“I can remember, in grade school, when the art teacher came into my fourth grade classroom to pick out the students who were ‘privileged,'” Acevedo says. He was never chosen.

Circumstances notwithstanding, Acevedo never gave up, and the way he let his wishes be known is one that generations of artistic students have used, and generations of teachers have scolded about:

Touchet welded metal horse sculpture by wenaha artist Carlos Acevedo

Touchet by Wenaha Gallery sculpture artist Carlos Acevedo

“I doodled on all of my homework and class worksheets, and was always trying to demonstrate to my teachers that I, too, had artistic abilities.”

It was not until three years later, however — upon entering junior high school — that Carlos achieved his goal of art study when he was now required to take the class as an elective, and all those years of persistent tenacity finally accomplished their purpose:

“That is when I was introduced to clay, block prints, drawing and painting,” Acevedo remembers.  “More importantly, I learned a valuable lesson back then — to never give up on what you dream.”

Acevedo’s dreams achieve reality these days in sculpture: his signature creations, many of which are horses, start out as eclectic fabrications of wood, metal, wire, and paper which he intertwines into the finished form, then casts into bronze. The resultant work of art is fluid with movement, spirited, conveying a sensation of action skillfully woven with a singular sense of tranquility.

Acevedo credits seven years of working at Walla Walla and Trevor Hunter Foundries with expanding his skill, his understanding of the different ways that metals interact, and his confidence as an artist:

“During my time working at these foundries, I had invaluable access to the contemporary art world,” Acevedo says. “It was there that I helped fabricate large and small-scale bronze sculptures for national and international artists.” Now, as a student at Columbia Basin College in Pasco, working on his AAS Welding Degree, Acevedo continues to learn, and when he isn’t studying, Acevedo creates in his art studio, an old army bunker at the Walla Walla Airport which he shares with photographer Amahra Leaman and two studio cats, Noche-No-Tail and Professor Tubby.

“The cats earn their keep,” he observes.

Welded metal horse sculpture by wenaha gallery artist Carlos Acevedo

Untitled 3 by Wenaha Gallery sculpture artist Carlos Acevedo.

So . . . why welded art?

“The welding process has always fascinated me,” Acevedo explains. “When I was a young boy, I watched my brothers fix broken bikes and other metal objects. It was truly remarkable that they could take something that was broken and make it function again.”

And the horses?

It’s back to those brothers again: “I remember my oldest brother, Jose, being placed on a beautiful black and white ‘Paint Horse’ to have his picture taken with his cowboy boots, caballero suit, and sombrero. I looked at that photo of Jose on that horse, wishing I too could only be placed on that same beautiful black and white paint horse to have my picture taken.”

Like the grade school art lessons, it never happened, but the love for horses, and the desire to sculpt, draw, and paint them, was born in that moment.

In many ways, the young boy in Acevedo — the one who watched other children attend classes he longed to be in, and an older sibling sit proudly astride the horse he would only admire in a photograph — has never grown up, but he’s done something better:

Welded metal horse sculpture by Wenaha Gallery artist Carlos Acevedo

Untitled IV metal sculpture by Wenaha Gallery artist, Carlos Acevedo.

He has taken the setbacks of youth and its frustrated dreams and translated them into a reality of adulthood. Like many artists, he juggles school and work and family to achieve that precious, never-enough-time in the studio, and the finished pieces reflect all of the time and process it takes to create them:

“Emotion for each piece is born simply by using my hands and physically feeling the materials,” Acevedo says. “It is this emotion, the tactile act of creating, and allowing my heart a chance to speak, that drives me to continue to create.”

Carlos Acevedo is the featured Art Event Pacific Northwest Artist at Wenaha Gallery, August 11 through September 6, 2014. Come see the exhibit at the gallery’s downtown Dayton, WA location, 219 East Main Street.  Wenaha Gallery

Contact the gallery by phone at 800.755.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.

Wenaha Gallery,  located in historic downtown Dayton, Washington,  is your destination location for Greenwich Workshop Fine Art Prints, professional framing, and original fine art paintings and sculpture by notable Pacific Northwest artists.   Books, gifts, note cards, jigsaw puzzles, and more are also available. Visit at 219 East Main, Dayton; phone 509.382.2124; e-mail art@wenaha.com.

This article was written by Carolyn Henderson.

Events

Anne Behlau - Steel Art

Anne Behlau – Steel Art

Anne Behlau will be featuring her metal art at Wenaha Gallery from March 25, 2019 through April 20, 2019. This is an event you don’t want to miss!