CoMA at Karats brings a golden spread to Vail |

CoMA at Karats brings a golden spread to Vail

Vail Daily staff report
Vail, CO Colorado
Special to the Vail Daily/Shauna Farnell

VAIL – Don’t let the name fool you. It’s going to be far from a sleepy occasion when two dozen metal artists from throughout Colorado and beyond put their proudest works on display at Karats gallery in Vail Saturday and Sunday.

Jewelers, sculptors and blacksmiths from CoMA – Colorado Metalsmithing Association – deliver an array of everything from unique necklaces dripping with raw black diamonds to miniature steel sculptures to golden masks for CoMA at Karats, a rare and short-lived art show from 10 a.m. Saturday through 6 p.m. Sunday.

“We’re turning the whole gallery over to CoMA,” Karats owner and designer Dan Telleen said. “It’s going to be exciting having all of these people in town showing their work. The pieces will be for sale but a lot of it is about camaraderie – it’s not just jewelers but all kinds of people who work in metal. The show is about vitality. It’s an infusion of many different ways to work metal. It is jewelry, embroidered sculpture … whatever the artist wants to be known for at this moment, this week.”

Elizabeth Stiber, a regular Karats artist and also a member of CoMA, has put together some special pieces for this weekend’s show.

“I’m learning a lot of goldsmithing,” she said. “I just really like working with the metal, being able to shape it and form it … manipulate it into whatever you dream up.”

Fellow CoMA artist Todd Tychewicz, who will have a number of silver and gold rings and necklaces at this weekend’s show, says he enjoys working with metal because it is “reliable.”

Whether they make huge bronze sculptures or tiny, intricately carved gold earrings, metal artists share a common thread. Over any other kind of art, metal work requires not only creative talent but a mandatory knowledge of technique, skill and special equipment.

“Metal happens to be one that takes quite a bit of technique to move,” said CoMA founder Ira Sherman, whose pieces at this weekend’s show include necklaces, earrings and bracelets as well as steel vessels. “We are passionate about learning those techniques. It’s one thing to get pure gold into an alloy that has a beautiful form to it. If you’re into blacksmithing, you have to work the metal red hot. For silver, you work it cold. The material itself is very, very malleable. Silver, gold and steel forms just like plastic if you know the right techniques. There are just volumes and volumes of techniques.”

Sherman, whose metal work runs the gamut from architecture to jewelry to public sculptures to mechanized prosthetic pieces for non-amputees, said, “I make jewelry like it’s sculpture and sculpture like it’s jewelry.”

“A lot of people think jewelry falls into the arts and craft movement rather than art,” he said. “I’ve given up on the argument of craft versus art. Jewelry is a way of wearing sculpture. The main thing is to consider how the sculpture is going to be worn.”

CoMA at Karats aims to unveil the masterpieces born from a variety of metalsmithing techniques to new eyes.

“When making art, you can only go so far with one technique,” Sherman said. “We hope people will learn through our organization, plus be exposed to new kinds of artistic inspiration.”

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