Artist Spotlight: Olivia Pevec & Natasha Seedorf
The PI recently caught up with Natasha Seedorf and Olivia Pevec, metal workers and the curators of “ALLOY!,” a new exhibition at the Launchpad in Carbondale that also includes work by Haley Bates, Mark Cesark, Matt Haugh, Alison Finn, Reina Katzenberger and Ira Sherman. It will be on display in conjunction with “Feverish Migrations,” which features the poetry of Cameron Scott and engraved prints by Johanna Mueller. Both shows open Friday night with a reception from 6-8 p.m. at 76 S. Fourth St..
How did you get into smithing?
NS: It’s always been metal for me, in some form or another. I had a BFA in metalsmithing when I came here, so I worked for a wholesale jewelry company and for Myers Steel in Basalt for about 12 years. Then I went back to graduate school and got my master’s. I was at SAW for a while and just moved into my own studio. I also teach at CMC.
OP: I was always looking for a craft, I think. I kind of grew up being told I was an artist, so I believed that, but I wanted to apply it to something practical. I found metal while I was working with horses. The farrier who came to shoe them was a blacksmith as well, and she introduced me to Alison Finn who was doing a class at the CRMS shop.
Any other creative outlets?
OP: Music… I’ve always participated in the fashion show. I’m not a seamstress by any means but I love working with fabric and paper, as well. I never went to college, so I guess I’m trying to educate myself.
NS: I like to sing. I like cowboy songs. I also got into oil painting for a while. I draw.
What is about metal that appeals?
NS: I think it’s the practical nature of metalsmithing, and its longevity. You can go anywhere with it. You can squish it and roll it out. It’s rigid and strong but it can also be light and delicate. I think that’s what the show is really about.
OP: I’m particularly fond of the act of forging steel. There’s just magic in watching it unfold. It’s a bit like working with clay but you can’t use your hands. There’s a moment where you can see the energy that you’re driving into the metal with your hammer. It pulses and glows — it actually gets hotter as you’re working on it even though it’s cool. It’s total magic.
Is there a fear factor?
OP: When I was a kid, I was afraid of sparklers. Every now and then the torch explodes in your face and sparks go down your shirt or in your shoes. I don’t like that. I’m not a pyromaniac. It’s not what attracted me to it.
NS: I think it’s a dance that we do. I’m not sure I’m attracted to the danger, but I’m not afraid of it.
What’s it like to work in public?
OP: We both got really excited about the phrase ornamental blacksmith, because it’s what you might call the work, but also when I’m on stage displaying it I am one. I find a lot of humor in that, but it’s kind of the perfect combination of my skills.
NS: Teaching makes you sweat, particularly if I’m doing a demo. My students say I’m such a good teacher that I always make mistakes so that they feel better.
Why do you think blacksmithing has such a presence here?
NS: I think it’s a lot Francis Whitaker.
OP: He taught all of the generation who taught us. It’s also Aspen. There’s a market for custom ironwork, so there are people here to provide it.
Is it different to display it in a gallery?
OP: There will be a couple of pieces of ornamental ironwork, but mostly it’s going to be conceptual.
NS: We’re telling you it’s art, but it’s really up to the audience to decide if that’s the case.
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