September 19, 2008

Metalsmith Society to host conference, auction

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The Southern Illinois Metalsmith Society, composed of students in Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s metals program, hosts its annual conference and fine art auction Sept. 26-27.

The highlight of the event for most non-artists is the auction, held under the pavilion at Turley Park beginning at 3 p.m. on Sept. 27. The silent auction lasts one hour and then a live auction begins at 4 p.m. The Neighborhood Co-op Grocery provides hors d’oeuvres. Of course metal artwork is part of the auction -- from jewelry to sculpture, wall sculpture and furniture -- but so is other art media, including glass, pottery, prints and paintings.

“There are items for every budget,” graduate student Stephanie Ellis said. “We’ve got items that will go for $20 and some that may go for several thousand dollars.”

The auction is the only SIMS fundraiser. The group uses the money to bring in visiting artists -- three of whom will be on campus for demonstrations and lectures prior to the auction --and to offset smithy fees.

Here is a schedule of lectures and demonstrations.

Sept. 26

1 p.m. -- Wham Education Building, Room 105 -- Ries Niemi lecture

Ries Niemi is an industrial artist with a studio in Bow, Wash. His recent public art includes a stainless steel scroll fence with individual panels in downtown Phoenix, Ariz.; totemic sculptures in downtown Seattle, Wash.; the “World’s Largest Walk-Thru Handbag” at the Bellevue Art Museum in Bellevue, Wash., as well as decorative fencing at sites in Pasadena, Calif., and Tacoma, Wash., and sculptures in such sites as the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority in San Jose, Calif., and Bellingham Technical College in Bellingham, Wash. Niemi’s recent solo shows include the PUNCH Gallery in Seattle, Wash., and the Lucia Douglas Gallery in Bellingham, Wash. To see more of Niemi’s work, visit his Web site at

2:30 p.m. -- Wham Education Building, Room 105 -- Michael Bondi lecture

Michael Bondi operates Michael Bondi Metal Design in Richmond, Calif. His custom design includes architectural and interior wrought metal using copper, bronze, monel, stainless steel, aluminum and iron. Elementi Bondi, another side of his studio, specializes in fine wrought products in steel, bronze, copper and aluminum. Bondi’s commissions include Disney World, Disneyland and Euro Disney, as well as work for Donald Trump, Wolfgang Puck and Alice Waters. Bondi recently held demonstrations of his power hammer techniques and bronze and aluminum forging for the Rocky Mountain Smiths. Visit his Web site at

4-7 p.m. -- University Museum -- SIMS/Latino Art/Josef Albers exhibits reception

A juried exhibit of student art is part of the exhibit and exhibit reception at University Museum. Other highlights include an informal gallery talk by Latino Art curator Encarnacion Teruel, a Flamenco Serenade by guitarist Sergio Barranco and an art song concert by tenor Gustavo Flores. Carbondale Community Arts co-sponsors the exhibit reception.

Sept. 27

9:30 a.m. -- Brent L. Kingston Smithy, Industrial Wing, Pulliam Hall, Michael Bondi demonstration

1:30 p.m. -- Brent L. Kingston Smithy, Industrial Wing, Pulliam Hall, John Medwedeff demonstration

John Medwedeff is an SIUC alumnus, having earned his master’s degree in fine arts here. His early training included a blacksmithing apprenticeship with Jim Wallace at the National Ornamental Metal Museum in Memphis, Tenn. Medwedeff’s studio is in Murphysboro. He specializes in site-specific sculpture, including fountains, architectural ironwork and furniture. Fans can see examples of his work locally -- Medwedeff created the sculpture called “Momentum” that stands near the SIUC School of Engineering as well as the Smysor Fountain in Murphysboro, and a sculpture titled “Parhelion” at the Carbondale Community High School, among other works. He also has large outdoor sculptures at Lewis and Clark College in Illinois, the Sarasota, Fla., Judicial Complex and commissions from the State of Illinois. Medwedeff also teaches sculpture and blacksmithing at national venues. Profiles of his work appear in journals such as Sculpture, Art and Antiques, Architectural Digest and Metalsmith. Visit his Web site at

3 p.m. -- Turley Park -- Silent Auction

4 p.m. -- Turley Park -- Live Auction

Contact the School of Art and Design at 618/453-4315 for more information and to register for the conference.