2018 marked my 3rd year with a booth in Artisphere, which is a nationally juried retail art show. Main Street through downtown Greenville, SC is closed down to make room for the 200ish artists. Each artist has a 10 x 10 foot tent to fill with their creations, and thousands of people peruse the festival over Friday, Saturday and Sunday (Mother's Day). Every year, the festival's application period hosts a different jury so there is no guarantee that you will get in.
I was the "Emerging Festival Artist Award Winner" my first year in the festival. For my second and third year, I participated in the "Semi-Precious Jewelry" category. This year, however, took me by surprise! I got into Artisphere at 2pm on the day before it started! This year, I had only gotten onto the waitlist prior. Talk about stress. I had to check into the festival the next morning at 6am. I got it together, however, and made it to the show. Like any last minute packing, a few minor display items were missed, but I was able to work with what I had. I have to also thank a few trips to CVS and a last minute Professional Party Rentals miracle to get my booth in order. I did it though, and I did it well!
But let's be real... I absolutely could not have done it without the support of my friends and family who took turns helping me set up, tear down, help customers, go on food runs and more. To you loving people who helped, I cannot say thank you enough. You sat through insane heat and sweat for me. THANK YOU.
Anyway, Artisphere has been a really good experience. Thousands of people walk by, ask questions, shop, try on my jewelry and more. In return, I expose them to something unique. Jewelry made out of found bark... What!? When visiting these festivals, remember that the artist has worked incredibly hard on what they are selling. They are EXHAUSTED, and this is how they make their livelihood. Enjoy it, and keep supporting your local art!
Wow! The past month has been incredible. Most of it was consumed with my mural on Stax Original Restaurant in Greenville, South Carolina. As I mentioned in my previous post, I was collaborating with Furman University Art students, Stax and Pepsi. Today was our final day. As tired as I am, I still have to admit that I am a little sad that it is over.
Today we got to show Pepsi and Stax their final product. Everyone loved it, and eyes were tearing up. Projects like this show me how art does affect our community. As an artist, it is easy to feel down and uninspired, but today, I feel great. I feel like I made a tiny impact on our city, and I cannot wait to do it again. Until then, check out our mural in person, and "shop local" at Stax!
For me, it is on to my next project. Today, I have my first meeting on the City of Greenville's "Art in Public Places" commission. I am also gearing up for my upcoming 2D charcoal exhibition at the CB Caine Real Estate Gallery in downtown Greenville. The tentative date for the reception is July 19. I will confirm as it gets closer!
Have a wonderful and safe Memorial Day weekend everyone! Thank you as always for your continued support!
As any of you who follow me on social media know, I am working on a very large, public and outdoor mural. The Furman University Art Department asked me to be the artist and mastermind of the project. Each May session, FU Art leads two local murals. They choose an artist to design it and a class of students help paint it. This is Furman's third year doing it, and I was the artist chosen.
Our mural is located on the side of Stax Original Restaurant at Cherrydale intersection in Greenville, SC. Pepsi is sponsoring the mural. So far, the hardest part of the project was the designing phase. I needed to make sure Furman, Stax, Pepsi and myself were all represented and happy with the design. After MANY variations, meetings and some blood from the paper cutter, we came to a final design. I drew it in pen and ink and painted it with acrylic paint. Furman and I hoped to problem solve as much as possible before we ran into complications on the 39 x 13 foot wall.
As of today, we are a week into the work on the wall. The first 2 nights were spent projecting my drawing onto the wall in order to trace it. The projection was not super clear, so it took a while to get the drawing right. We are now several days into the painting part. A large portion of the wall has some paint on it, but we still have a long way to go. So far, Fox News and WYFF News 4 have both interviewed us!
This experience has already been a blast. It has reminded me of how much I love the academic art world. It is also so meaningful to be a part of a community project that people are excited about. And luckily, the Furman students may be the sweetest college kids ever. Anyway, stay tuned this month. We will have the it finished by the end of May.
A very special time in my life was in the years between when I graduated college and before I went to graduate school. This is the time where I found myself. I pushed my boundaries, challenged my body and found courage. Mostly, I found my artistic inspiration, which is nature. I was living in Jackson, Wyoming. I always loved the outdoors, but this was the first time that I got to fully live it. I worked as a raft guide for Sands Whitewater and as a lift operator at the local ski resort, Snow King Mountain. I taught a few classes for the local art center, but mostly I was immersed in hiking, kayaking, backpacking, rafting, skiing and anything that put me straight in the dirt, water and snow of Wyoming. My sweat, tears, blood and soul will always be in Jackson Hole. This time taught me confidence in myself and my views on our environment.
As I was transitioning to graduate school in Providence, Rhode Island (talk about a culture shock!), I began using materials that I gathered back in Wyoming. This is when raw wood found a prominent place in my artwork. I liked the ease in which I could cut and shape wood. I loved the contrast between heavy steel sheet and chain with soft and jagged wood. I continue this work today. My wooden art jewelry is typically featured in galleries and juried exhibitions. I also have a full wall covered in these pieces in my studio. My “wall” has become a focal point of the shop.
To give you a little more insight into my art jewelry, here is an excerpt from my thesis book written in 2012 for Rhode Island School of Design (RISD).
“My pieces tell stories. They tell of storms weathered and turbulent whitewater navigated. I collect things while I am wandering in wilderness, seduced by the cast-off flora generously littering the ground beneath my feet. They are scored with lines and scars depicting their histories and hinting to aspects of the primitive environment we deprive ourselves of. They are a part of the natural cycle, undisturbed and unprotected, and I aim to highlight their undulations and ornate subtleties. Each piece in my series evokes the place where it was found and what I was doing there. Their presence alone serves as a sketchbook, or journal, of where I have been and what I have seen.
I communicate with these objects through a process of give and take, similar to how we build relationships with each other. My investigation allows me to openly participate in this dialogue with the forest’s debris while jewelry’s proximity to the body deepens my understanding of it. Sigmund Freud’s Civilization and Its Discontents offers insight into my undertakings. My working methodology references our need to control nature. Freud sees “organic repression” as our human tendency to suppress it. We do this through our instinct to control it physically and laboriously, as in clear-cutting forests for lumber, in order to continue developing. Civilization is defined by the achievements that separate us from animals, including the ability to exploit the earth and to protect ourselves against its forces. Our
illusions of domination over nature have been instilled into us.I believe there is an inherent arrogance to this human trait. Natural disasters, including fires, challenge and defy our defenses. I want to form a
relationship with rather than oppress the monumental forces of this world I live in. Deconstructing and reconstructing found wood shows my need to interact with and influence it. I hammer and cut the objects that I was lured into admiring. These actions are violent and arduous, like Earth’s forces or
the ways that we are slowly destroying it. Therefore, I find it difficult to partake in them and am limited in how far I am willing to go in order to manipulate wood’s integral qualities.
Reconstructing the pieces allows me to honor and redeem having defiled them. We collaborate through the mark-making and the response system taking place. I engage with their beauty, even while in broken fragments, to recreate forms. I am part of the result, but the wood is an equal partner.
Hello to all. My name is Kate Furman, and I am a jewelry designer and maker located in Greenville, South Carolina. I have been making jewelry since I was 17 years old. I learned it in high school in Greenville at the Fine Arts Center. There, I fell in love with the tools and processes of metalsmithing. I then received my BFA from the University of Georgia in Jewelry and Metalworking. Next, I received my MFA from Rhode Island School of Design in Jewelry + Metalsmithing. I learned my skills and techniques in school, as well as to present myself as an artist.
After school, I worked for Emanuela Duca, a fine and fashion jeweler located in New York City, for Llyn Strong Fine Jewelry, a jewelry designer in Greenville, SC and for Hale’s Jewelers, a fine jewelry store also in Greenville. From these businesses, I learned how to price work, market myself, work with customers and acquire vendors.
For the past year, I have worked mostly full time for myself, Kate Furman Jewelry LLC. I have a fabulous working studio in the Village of West Greenville, which is an emerging arts district in Greenville, SC. My address is 547 Perry Avenue. Most of my space is designated working space. I have tools for casting, soldering, cutting, drilling, polishing and more. The rest of my small is a small store. I love that customers can see work in progress as well as finished pieces. My work is all hand crafted, which is what I think is special about it. My studio hours are Wednesday – Friday 11-5 and Saturday 11-3. Additionally, I am open by appointment, on First Fridays (a local gallery crawl on the first Friday of each month) and for special events (Open Studios, Pop-Up Shops, etc…).
If you are reading this, you clearly have found my website, which is a constant work in progress. Please peruse and enjoy! I am happy to answer any questions about the work, including how it is made and why I made it that way. Each piece has a story to me, and I hope creates a story for you as well. Best wishes to you all and thank you for your time!