Meet a Maker: Aran Galligan

Meet upcoming visiting artist: Aran Galligan! Aran will be teaching Hollow Construction on September 17 and 18th, 2016 at Contemporary Craft. This workshop will push your soldering skills to the next level. Hollow construction utilizes sheet fabrication and uses multiple and complex solder seams. It can be used to make boxes, rings, lockets, beads, and much more.

CC: Can You Tell us about your background?

AG: I received my BFA in Craft/Material Studies with a focus in jewelry from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2000, and my MFA in Metal from SUNY New Paltz in 2012. Previous to my MFA I completed a two-year fellowship at Penland School of Crafts, Penland, N.C., and have taught jewelry at SUNY New Paltz, North Seattle Community College, Penland School of Crafts and Danaca Design in Seattle. After completing my third cross-country move, and my seventh cross-country road trip, I re-located to Seattle (again) where I create one-of-a-kind art jewelry.

CC: Please talk about your current work and explorations.

AG: I am fascinated with the evidence of the passage of time as seen in architecture – particularly as seen in building additions. These repairs and additions are not usually keeping with the original architecture, but instead are in response to the inhabitant’s current needs and limitations. Repairs often create a disconnect between the original structure and the Band-Aid solution. Can that look of haphazard disregard be replicated or manufactured, or is it something that can only be produced out of time and necessity?

While considering this, and using jewelry as a starting point, I am exploring the colors and properties intrinsic in steel and silver alloys. Relying on the natural patinas, rust and fire scale, that occur during the making process (and through time) to imbue color onto the work. I have been exploring these materials, while also revealing the process to the viewer/wearer. Rather than striving for perfection by overworking the pieces and hiding the process, I have been pulling back control and polish in a search for the idea of authenticity and truth to materials. Currently I am working on pieces for the Bellevue Art Museum’s Biennial exhibition, and have a traveling exhibition that Melissa Cameron and myself curated called Shared Concerns.

Galligan, Aran 2

CC: What is Shared Concerns?

AG: Shared Concerns is an exhibition documenting the meeting of eight international artists, brought together to work in the Penland studios in the mountains of North Carolina. As a group, the artists were asked to share a word that encapsulated the main concern of their practice. Words were then swapped at random so that each person received a different word, and used it as a part of the inspiration for their new work, by interpreting the “concern” of another group member. My shared word was Time and my received word was connection.

The artists began their pieces during their Winter Residency at Penland and were finished in studios across the United States as well as in Australia and Denmark, in places where this diverse group of jewelry artists call home.