More Early Images: Tory Hughes and Pier Voulkos

Victoria Hughes, Chinese Lantern Pin, 1989
Are you hooked on Kathleen Dustin’s presentation about the work done by the early polymer bead makers? Then, you’ll want to see even more images by those pioneers. After each of Kathleen’s next few installments, I will provide you with an expanded view of those artists’ early work.

In the gallery that follows you can put Tory’s and Pier’s work into context over a decade.  Click on each image to examine their pieces more closely.

Victoria Hughes, Chinese Lantern, Pin, 1989, 3″ x 2″ x 1/4″

Victoria Hughes in Her Studio Victoria Hughes in her studio

Victoria Hughes, Eire pin, 1985 Victoria Hughes, Eire, Pin, 1985, 2″x2″x 1/4″  Notice the early use of a postage stamp in this pin.  This will become the focus for an continuing and extensive series.

Victoria Hughes, Gifu Neckpiece, 1987 Victoria Hughes, Gifu, Necklace, 1987, 18″ long, plaques 1 1/4″ x 1″  Another early example of Victoria’s playful whimsical side.

Victoria Hughes, Pueblo Pot Wall pin, 1988 Victoria Hughes, Pueblo Pot Wall, Pin, 1988, 2 1/2″ x 2″ x 1/4″

Victoria Hughes, Summer Light pin, 1988 Victoria Hughes, Summer Light, Pin, 1988, 2 1/2″ x 2 3/4″x 1/4″

Victoria Hughes, The Globe pin, 1990 Victoria Hughes, The Globe, Pin, 1990, 2 1/2″ x 2″ x 1/2″  Victoria continued her postage stamp series well into the 1990’s. This pin appeared as part of the greeting card series printed and sold by Colorado Card and Curioisity later in the 1990’s. In response to my “fact-checker” email, Victoria writes about this piece, ” ‘The Globe’ with the Shakespeare stamp, is from the same series as Two Bees or not Two Bees”, the stamp pin that was on the cover of Ornament magazine in their winter 1989/1990 issue. They saw my work at a show in Los Angeles at ‘Sculpture to Wear’, and interviewed me there since I had flown out for the opening. This one looks slightly different than the one on their cover: at that time I made some of the most popular stamp pins in series, as I was doing the ACC shows and lots of wholesale/retail, so working in ‘similar but not identical’ series at that time. Each was the same concept but with slightly different details. ”

Pier Voulkos in her studio, 1994 Pier Voulkos in her studio in 1994.

15 voulkos earliest work

Pier has been extremely generous in sharing this image of her very first jury slide from 1978.  It’s an important reality check for all practitioners in the medium, a reminder that we all start out as beginners.  Apropos to the Synergy conference discussions on Craftsmanship, the next series of slides shows Pier’s increasing mastery of skills over a decade.

Pier Voulkos, Shrinky Dink Neckpiece, 1985 Pier Voulkos, Shrinky Dink Neck Pieces, 1985 Charms made of shrink plastic with polymer spacer beads.  Notice Pier’s early use of telephone wire to hang her charms.  She goes on to use this material in more complex ways as her work continues to mature.

Pier Voulkos, Double Strand Round Beads, 1986 Pier Vouklos, Double Strand Round Beads, 1986

Pier Voulkos, Round Face Beads, 1986 Pier Voulkos, Round Face Beads, 1986

Pier Voulkos, Odd Rock Beads, 1986 Pier Voulkos, Odd Rock Beads, 1986

Pier Voulkos, Pebble Beads, 1989 Pier Voulkos, Pebble Beads, 1989

Pier Voulkos, Caned Necklace, 1989 Pier Voulkos, sliced caned necklace, circa 1990 This necklace appeared in Nan Roche’s book, The New Clay. Notice that Pier has begun to use telephone wire both as a decorative element and to create more complex necklace structures.

I cannot remember a time in my life that I wasn't interested in looking at art, talking about art and the making of art. In 1990 I earned a Phd in art history at the University of Maryland. My first experiences with polymer clay were in 1992, but I consider my real work with the medium to date from 1999.