Elizabeth Berrien · World Class Wire Sculpture and Illustration · (707)445-4931 · THE VICTOR THOMAS JACOBY AWARD
elizabeth berrien's bbc cables wire sculpture illustration wins the BIG WON award for #1 Innovative and Alternative 2008.
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- Art Statement
- Artist Bio
- Artist Resume
- Jacoby Award

- Acclaims

- Creative Process
- Wire Technique

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- History of Wire
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- Mission Statement


The late Victor Thomas Jacoby was a gifted textile artist specializing in tapestry.

Victor Jacoby left a bequest in which each year, the North Coast Cultural Trust selects an individual for outstanding innovation, elegance and excellence in art.

Here is the proposal for which Elizabeth Berrien won the 2005 Victor Thomas Jacoby Award, a fellowship of $3,500 administered by the North Coast Cultural Trust.
owl spirit wire sculpture
Owl Spirit
Textile based, hand-twisted, non-traditional wire sculpture - animal forms
The medium is a hybrid of freestyle lace-making technique and structural engineering with infusions of weaving, basketry and other textile theory. Three · dimensional wire sculptures, consisting of single strands interwoven into a nucleus, combine fluid detail with strong structural integrity. Sculptures are created as lacework exoskeletons, topological relief maps of animal surfaces. Highly engineered surface tension negates the need for internal armature.

The technique is ultra low-tech, with no hot joinery. Shaping and bending is accomplished without pliers. Even large-scale works in heavy rod are shaped and twisted by hand. The artist draws, using individual wires as 3D mobile inklines, creating detailed sculptures that satisfy the eye from any angle, incorporating hidden structural exoskeletons by deliberate placement of combinations of twists that create a springy surface tension and inherent structural stability.

For animals subjects, the artist works from life or intensively researches multiple photographic images to create a composite. Thirty or more strands of wire are intertwined into a detailed, accurate and expressive face that lends an intuitive sense that the animal's spirit is manifest within.

Once a nucleus is established, hundreds of additional lines are spliced in, following muscle, bone or feather patterns that define the creature in terms of spirit and energy. There is an awareness of balanced tension between positive and negative space, fluidity and motion, delicacy of line and strength of structure, each internal abstract shape interacting with all adjacent abstract shapes and the sculpture's overall form. All add up to a disciplined, orderly and balanced whole  ·  order out of chaos.
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Artist's Statement  ·  I am sole creator of this medium.
I invented and developed my unique form of wire sculpture as compensation for being unable to translate the energy lines I see into conventional drawings. In 1968, wire became an outlet through which I could convey my insights about nature. When I lost access to a torch, I faced a challenge: how to make viable wire structures without hot joins? Initially I looped and twisted tiny forms that barely held together. I dipped them in liquid plastic that dried as a bubble shell, locking the forms in shape. For ten years, the size of the bubble pot restricted my scope to miniature animal ornaments. Then I sold at fairs, where customers demanded bare wire animals. This compelled me to organize my twists and loops into a more orderly system. Subconsciously drawing upon a lifetime experimentation with freestyle weaving, basketry and lace-making, I gradually developed a hybrid textile technique for creating strong forms with underlying, repetitive patterns that follow the inherent patterns of nature.

Freedom from the bubble pot meant I could work large, with heavier gauges of wire. Large sculptures must be woven with even greater care for structural integrity  ·  solid enough to withstand reasonable amounts of bystander contact, as at childrens' museums.

Only rarely does a self-taught artist create a medium, achieve museum level mastery, and remain unique within the medium. In my 36 year career as a wire sculptor, no other artist has mastered my complex and intricate medium. This places a responsibility upon me  ·  to see how much further I can expand and explore, while encouraging other artists to join me in pioneering this virtually untapped medium.
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Description of the purpose and direction artist wishes to pursue
Book: Documentation of wire sculpture history and techniques
Because so few have been published on the topic, I wish to create a comprehensive book about wire sculpture. The book would cover these aspects:

Documentation of spontaneous parallel evolution of wire art as folk art medium in Slovakia, Africa, India, New Zealand, the Caribbean, and other regions.

Documentation of contemporary wire sculptors, i.e. Alexander Calder, Ruth Asawa, Arlene Fisch, kinetic wire sculptors, etc.

Documentation of the evolution of my specific form of non-traditional wire sculpture, in terms of problem-solving challenges and solutions.

Guidelines for art instructors to teach wire sculpture at all levels, from K · 12 to college & university, with emphasis on exploration, discovery and development of new forms of wire sculpture.

International directory of wire sculptors, schools offering wire sculpture workshops, wire sculpture organizations, wire supplies, tools and resources.

Bibliography of published materials about wire sculpture.
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Research and Development: Slovakia
I'm linked up with wire sculptors around the world  ·  we've formed an international guild of wire sculptors. I'd like to travel to the mountain region of Slovakia for their annual convocation of wireworkers. They have a 400-year history of wirecraft and a wire history museum.
Research and Development: Jewelry and Skins
To experiment more with jewelry design, I need an inventory of ultra-fine gauge gold and silver wires.

To return to my creative origins, I'd like to acquire and apply skins to mixed media wire sculptures: hand-made paper, painted silk, Fiberglas, kelp.
Description of how the award money will be used
How the money will be used:
Slovakia trip to research wirework: $2,328.00

Digital camera for documentation of wire sculpture: $800.00

Laptop computer to maintain sculpture database and write book: $1,400.00

Gold & silver wire: $500.00

Materials for experimental skins: $750.00

The items above exceed the amount of the Victor Thomas Jacoby Award. Should I receive it, I will apply it to equipment and supplies, and eventually earn my way to the Slovakia research trip.
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The Jacoby Award - One Year Later
World Class Wire Sculpture · Elizabeth Berrien (707) 445-4931 · email wireladye@yahoo.com

Content and images © 1968-2010 Elizabeth Berrien. All rights reserved. · Updated Aug 10, 2010 · this page valid HTML 4.01

elizabeth berrien's bbc cables wire sculpture illustration wins the BIG WON award for #1 Innovative and Alternative 2008.
#1 Worldwide
elizabeth berrien's bbc cables wire sculpture illustration wins the Clio award 2008.
CLIO 2008
elizabeth berrien's bbc cable wire sculpture illustration wins two coveted cannes gold lions in 2008.
Cannes Festival
Double Gold
elizabeth berrien's bbc cable wire sculpture illustration wins two coveted ADC gold cubes in 2008
Double Gold
elizabeth berrien's bbc cable wire sculpture illustration wins the coveted Obie Best of Show award 2008.
Best of Show
elizabeth berrien's bbc cable wire sculpture illustration wins two coveted Andy gold awards 2008.
Andy Double Gold
elizabeth berrien's bbc cable wire sculpture illustration wins one show gold pencil awards 2008.
One Show Gold Pencil
elizabeth berrien's wire sculpture illustration wins double grand awards at London International Awards2008.
London International
Double Grand
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