Forest and Field – Flora and Fauna
J.M. Syron & Bonnie Bishoff
Shop Maine Craft presents an installation of spring-themed sculpture and jewelry by J.M. Syron & Bonnie Bishoff at the Center for Maine Craft.
On View: April 8 – May 30, 2022
In this collection we celebrate the complex beauty of common wildflowers. We take a closer look at sometimes unseen wildlife and birds in our Maine wilds and woods. Can we take the time to see the amazing structures and colors in flowers that carpet the fields? Can we feel them tower above us like trees as they might feel to a bird or a chipmunk? If we could get close, what details of markings would we find in the feathers and fur of the birds and quiet neighbors in the woods? We play with color and texture and pattern , and in the jewelry in particular, we sometimes move into the imagination inspired by these forms. Wildflowers, weeds, wildlife, critters, vermin: pervasive, persistent, resilient, intricate, adaptable survivors.
Bonnie Bishoff and J. M. Syron work collaboratively with detailed polymer clay veneers, wood and metals to create these wall sculptures and one of a kind jewelry. Canes or loaves of intricate cross-section design are built with polymer clay much like the millefiori technique used in the medium of glass. These colorful canes are then sliced and rolled into thin veneers which are combined with an innovative marquetry technique to form imagery full of color gradients and detailed patterns. Once cured with heat this plastic veneer is glued down to a thin plywood substrate and cut to form the final shape to create the large wall sculptures. Edges are painted with acrylic paint to further the illusion of depth and magnetic hangers and wooden cleats are mounted on the backs of these pieces. Metal is used as an armature for the smaller jewelry pieces where the polymer veneers are cured around wire forms and sheet silver and bronze as well as stainless steel wire.
Please enjoy this short video of Bonnie Bishoff’s polymer clay technique:
Bonnie Bishoff and J.M. Syron have been collaborative artists for 34 years. They started as furniture makers, exploring the use of polymer as a decorative surface using millefiori techniques to create highly detailed veneers. Over time they have shifted to making sculptural wall pieces and jewelry. They have exhibited in a wide range of venues from galleries – national and abroad to fine craft shows with the Smithsonian and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.