Monday, May 4, 2009
About 17 years ago while I was representing fine artists in the Southwest, I met Joyce Nelson and her husband Mike. They owned an Art Gallery, and she represented some of todays best known and admired artists in the Prescott area.
If you've never been to Prescott,Arizona it's about 2 hours north of Phoenix in a high desert chaparell. Surrounded by pinetrees, scrubby oaks and red earth it's about a mile high. The air is fresh, and the streets are filled with tourists looking for an authentic old west town experience. Simultaneously, it just happens to be a hip, funky and serious art town. With Sedona and Jerome not far away, Prescott is the town where the artists LIVE.
Joyce is well-known to local, regional and national collectors by her raku horse-hair bowls and pots. She works in slab construction fusing gold, silver or copper leaf as embellishment to the clay, while the horsehair is burned and fuses into the clay resulting in a highly prized and desirable work of art. By following in a time-honored tradition much like the Navajo potters in the mid 20th century, she is capturing the spirit of the Horse. Her work is represented by Ratliff Gallery in Sedona along Oak Creek Canyon.
The style she has perfected has allowed Joyce to offer collectors, a contemporary elegance used artistically and decoratively. Her large bowls are about 28-32 inches and have the "WOW" factor all over them!
We had a great time in her studio perched above the famous Granite Dells designing some shapes for my own necklaces, fusing lavender pigments and the horse hair. I knew I would create a series of copper links and semi-precious stones like amethyst and citrine with wrapped charms and talismans. We have collaborated on a couple things over the years, so I know what to expect...and it's always perfect!
We had lunch on Whiskey Row and then started visiting with all of her friends and gallery pals. We stopped into the beautiful Van Gogh's Ear Gallery where you can find her work locally. And no sooner did Joyce introduce me to Tammy, the Gallery Director, a visitor from Indiana asked if she would tell her about who Joyce Nelson is!!! Just like that! Not missing a beat, Tammy turned to Joyce and said, please let me introduce you to the artist! In less than 5 minutes,she purchased a gorgeous bowl to have shipped home.
Shopping in Prescott is such a pleasure because it's relaxed, the quality of art is high, and the galleries make the experience easy, especially if you're traveling.
Driving back to the Nelson's 360 degree mountain and valley view, we shared our friendship over a brilliant Arizona sunset, thankful for the kindred spirits we are, and looking forward to the next time we'll see one another.