The Penland Gallery and Visitors Center is pleased to present its fourth Focus exhibition of the season, a suite of jewelry and prints by Seattle-based artist and former Penland core fellow Sarah Loertscher. This show is on view in the Focus Gallery from Friday, July 6th through Sunday, July 29th.
Sarah Loertscher, flanked by her assistants.
Sarah Loertscher’s work is strongly influenced by minerals and crystalline structures. She has always been fascinated by minerals and how they are identified. One of the ways that minerals are identified is with the use of a “streak plate,” which is an unglazed porcelain square. A mineral is rubbed against these plates and the roughness of the porcelain causes a streak of color to be left behind. Whatever color the mineral “streaks” helps identify the mineral itself.
In this exhibit Sarah combines her interests in identifying minerals and jewelry. She creates her own rendition of the streak plate using silverpoint- a technique of drawing with silver wire. The prints are then paired with a piece of jewelry.
Jewelry in process…
“I grew up in Indiana, amidst open fields of corn and sweeping skies. As children, my brother and I spent copious amounts of time outside exploring our surroundings, and I would spend hours inching up our gravel driveway, meticulously looking for glittery “fool’s gold” that was sparsely scattered through the stones. This fascination with both intense process (our driveway was huge! and I had a system to leave no stone unturned) and sparkling facets would reemerge later in my both my jewelry and two-dimensional work.
From 1999-2003 I studied metalsmithing at Ball State University with Patricia Nelson, and in 2003 I received my Bachelor of Fine Arts with an emphasis in metalsmithing. After graduation, I apprenticed under a retail bench jeweler, and then applied for & received a Core Fellowship at Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina. The Core Fellowship, a two-year work-study program, introduced me to printmaking and drawing, which continues to exert a strong influence on my graphic, often line-based work. In 2006 I moved to Seattle, where I am currently teaching and working out of my studio in West Seattle.
My work reflects both the landscape I grew up in and my interest in the underlying structure of natural objects. Growing up in Indiana, with its expansive skies and industrial structures, nurtured my appreciation for clean, minimal forms. The Midwest’s vast fields and skies served as a visual canvas to power lines, granaries, and silos- structures wrought from pure function. These immense objects impressed upon me the feeling that structure itself is beauty, and the bare bones of a form are the often the beautiful parts.
My work is an exploration of these structural forms – building up a single line or shape into a dense mass, or distilling forms into their skeletal supports. All of my work revolves around crystalline growth: I am fascinated with the way that something made purely of hard edges and angles can grow as organically as a flower. I mimic crystalline formations in my jewelry, constructing simple wire forms into hard-edged, slightly chaotic structures.”
A finished necklace.
Click here to visit the Penland Gallery website.
Penland’s Focus Gallery is a space primarily dedicated to single-artist exhibitions. Focusing on individual artists over the course of the year, it will present a larger selection of their work to gallery visitors and patrons.