An African-American sculptor whose works can be seen in Framingham’s Danforth Museum, Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller was born in Philadelphia and trained at the Philadelphia Museum School of the Industrial Arts. Upon graduation in 1899, she moved to France, where she studied under Rodin, until her return to the United States in 1902. Seven years later, she married Dr. Solomon Fuller, a resident of Framingham, Mass. and the first psychiatrist of African descent to practice in the United States. She gave birth to three sons in quick succession, yet continued sculpting practically without interruption.
Meta Warrick Fuller is often described as a member of the Harlem Renaissance, and is best known for her groundbreaking depictions of the African and African-American experience. According to University of Maryland Professor Renee Ater, Fuller’s work is about “religion and nature, [and] art and nation.” The Danforth Museum’s collection of works by the artist is believed to be one of the largest in existence.
Collection Danforth Museum of Art
This weekend I visited Josh Dow and Lauren Holmgren, two Mass. Art alums who run the Green Foundry in Eliot, Maine. Lauren explained that there are many layers to the Green Foundry’s name. The building is painted green, Green is a family name, and the foundry uses environmentally-friendly casting practices. The Green Foundry offers all sculpture services: moldmaking; casting in bronze, iron, aluminum, cement; and cold casting metals.
I had mailed them waxes of a series of small faces to cast in iron (see photo below of the iron furnace made by Josh). I’ve always been curious about cast iron, not least because I wanted to experiment with different patinas.
What ended up being the high point of my sculpture year wasn’t seeing my work in cast iron, however, but the discovery of the foundry. I was impressed with Josh and Lauren’s expertise and the fine quality of their work, as well as the respect they show for both art and the environment.
When preparing the ceramic shell molds for lost-wax casting, Lauren boils the wax out of the shell instead of burning it–an environmentally friendly act that both recovers 100% of the (petroleum-based) sculpture wax and does not pollute the air. Lauren explains this and general moldmaking and foundry techniques in a video made for local TV, well worth watching: http://www.sanctuaryarts.org/tv/
Lauren and Josh are not only excellent craftsmen, they also teach sculpture classes (including the occasional group iron pour and classes for kids) at Sanctuary Arts, a school devoted to representational art next door to the foundry. The Green Foundry and Sanctuary Arts are just north of Portsmouth, New Hampshire: 117 Bolt Hill Road, Eliot, Maine (http://www.sanctuaryarts.org/green-foundry/).
The Fund for Women Artists is a community of artists and allies dedicated to celebrating and supporting art that tells the truth about women’s lives. For an overview of programs and services, including funding possibilities for all disciplines, go to: http://www.womenarts.org/