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2018 Metal Arts Lecture


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Helen Shirk is a metalsmith, jeweler, and educator. She is known for her large richly colored copper vessels that draw on the power and diversity of the natural world for inspiration and meaning. Though her forms were more architectural, her early jewelry and hollowware were influenced by the Art Deco style coupled with her teacher at Indiana University, Alma Eikerman. These works were often monochromatic, typically silver.

In her later works, she began utilizing anodized titanium to achieve striking colors. In the 1980's, much of her work was dedicated to vessels, where she had large copper and brass bowls spun for her so that she could apply rims and create undulating surfaces. She also added color to them through patinization, gilding, and pencils. While the color palettes she worked with became softer, her forms remained similar.