SNAG is proud to present the 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award to J. Fred Woell
J. Fred Woell has had a successful career in art and education that spans 50 years. He’s taught quite a number of well-known jewelry artists, and is noted for being the first in the field to work with cast found objects and found objects in his metalwork for political and social commentary.
“I make things I hope people can laugh at and yet take seriously. I use my work as a platform to express my reaction to things I see around me. I use humor in my work to make the serious nature of those things bearable.
It is my aim to make an object look complete and posses a quality that gives the work a presence or life of its own. I try hard to keep the freshness of my fingerprint on the work and to maintain an intimate, spontaneous quality that will give it a timeless character. I work largely with found objects that come into my life by serendipity. I do my best to allow these “things” I assemble to come together and form unique objects. Taking the chance of assembling these things means some things must be changed and even destroyed when they are assembled. It makes the work a discovery and keeps the creative process edgy. ”
His pieces are in the permanent collections of museums across the country, including the American Craft Museum, the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian, the Contemporary Museum of Honolulu, the Detroit Institute of Art, and the Cranbrook Academy of Art Museum.
Woell’s work has been published in Metalsmith and Ornament magazines, numerous jewelry reference books, and he’s the author of Handouts from the 20th Century: A Collection of Teaching Aids Created and Gathered by J. Fred Woell During 20 Years of Teaching.
His teaching career has included teaching positions at Boston University; Swain School of Design, New Bedford, Mass.; Haystack Mountain School of Crafts; and the State University of New York at New Paltz.
Woell has received 3 National Endowment for the Arts Grants, an American Craft Council award (1995), a Society of Arts and Crafts Arts Award (2004), a “Master Craft Artist Recognition” by the Maine Crafts Association (2009), and in 2010, The Florida Society of Goldsmiths named Woell the recipient of their National Metalsmith’s Hall of Fame award.