NomineeJessica Calderwood
Nominee Pronounsshe/her
Nominee Phone(480) 227-9999
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Nominee Address401 Greenland Lane
Yorktown, IN 47396
United States
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Nominee Resume or CVresume_JC_2024.pdf
Additional Information 1SAC-artist-highlight.pdf
Additional Information 2SGF-press-release-link.pdf
Additional Information 3ACC-Article.pdf
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Describe how the nominee fulfills the criteria for the IMPACT Award. Maximum 5000 characters.

I am a sculptor specializing in craft media. Trained as a metalsmith and enamelist, my work makes statements about contemporary life while exploring a variety of media, including metal, enamel, ceramics, fiber, and glass. My work has been exhibited extensively throughout the United States, Asia, Australia, and Europe. A large grouping of my work was recently exhibited at the Musée des Beaux Art - Limoges, France, a milestone for me, as it is a region that specializes in enameled artwork. My work has been published in Metalsmith Magazine, American Craft, NICHE, Ornament, the Lark 500 series, and the Art of Enameling and is included in 20 public collections.
Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, I have lived in multiple cities throughout the Midwest. A core part of my studio practice has been engaging in collaboration with local businesses that are peripheral to my own work. I have always been intrigued by the industrial history of this region and incorporate those elements in my work. A large part of my work with industry involves relationship building. It takes time to develop trust and a sense of mutual respect for each other's work. This requires good communication and a sincere interest in the other. Since 2020, I have been apprenticing with Muncie Metal Spinning, a fourth-generation family business that specializes in metal production.
In addition to my passion for metal, I have always been attracted to textiles and fiber arts. They are signifiers of class, status, gender, and rank but they are also beautiful to behold. Patterned textiles embody culture: they tell stories and create a sense of continuity throughout generations. They embody the wearer’s identity, history, and heritage. Textiles that interact with the body can serve as protection from the elements, comfort, and solace.
Delaware County, located in northeastern Indiana, is where I have lived since 2017. This region has a growing immigrant population, people who have relocated to this region for employment, education, or as refugees. My own husband is a naturalized citizen who is originally from Morocco. I have watched him grapple with a sense of place, identity and belonging in the United States. As he assimilated to American culture, there was a loss of the other, sometimes leading to a sense of confusion about what to keep and what to give up. I see this tension in many people who have emigrated here.
I am in the middle of an exciting new body of work that addresses the intriguing relationship between metals and fibers through a project that combines community engagement and collaboration with local industry. I am working with Delaware county residents who have emigrated to the United States and invite individuals to loan a favorite textile remnant or garment that is from their home country and reinterpret the object in metal and enamel. I want to create something that celebrates their heritage while also making a fragment of it permanent.
Each textile is documented, with the participants’ permission, in their home, showing the context of the object and further telling their story. The artwork is created using spun copper forms, using chasing and repousse to respond to the character of the textile, and is painstakingly recreated using enamel and glass seed beads. From a technical perspective, there are not many artists that are working with this material in quite the same manner. I am expanding on a process, that has been used in some contemporary jewelry, by pushing the limits of scale, form, content, and complexity.
This enamels and photographs will be exhibited at Gallery 924 Indianapolis in 2024, Minnetrista Center for the Arts Muncie in 2025, and will be seeking national venues for this exhibition. I am also in the process of creating a book that will detail this project. Each collaborator will receive a free copy of the book. I currently have participants from 19 different countries and counting. I will continue to exhibit the project and grow the list and work, until I have exhausted all contacts.
My goal is for the participants to feel that their presence here is valued, while honoring their heritage. To show the true diversity of this region is an acknowledgment of groups who have been underrepresented or excluded when considering the community of this region. Exhibiting this work will also be didactic for the larger community, who might be curious about people who have relocated here, but never had opportunity or access to start these conversations in a supportive environment. During our current socio-political climate, this work seems more important than ever. Reciprocally, it is also important for me to engage in conversations about art and craft and why it can be important to them personally. The field of metalsmithing needs more awareness. Community involvement is a powerful way to increase interest and visibility. It’s an opportunity for me to educate and engage in a manner that I have never experienced before.

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