Elizabeth Berrien · World Class Wire Sculpture and Illustration · (707)362-2771 · ARTIST'S STATEMENT
elizabeth berrien's bbc wire sculpture illustration wins the Clio award 2008.


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Arabian wire sculpture by Elizabeth Berrien.

In high school, I dreamed of the beauty of animals but couldn't translate their energy lines on paper. My efforts to draw were clumsy; I wasn't aware that I'm left-handed. My teacher, Ken Curran, kept throwing new materials at me til something clicked. Wire clicked big. It was an inkline I could form directly with my hands. I taught myself to draw in three dimensions.
I followed the wire, and became a pioneer in the field of contemporary wire sculpture. Back in the 60's, it was a mostly untapped medium. There were no rules; no right way or wrong way to get where I was going. I explored and invented. Thirty-seven years later, I'm still at it.

Working wire can be an exercise in exasperation. Wire can be sharp, stiff, slippery, and downright uncooperative; it's hell on the hands. It took me three years just to figure out the Dread Hinge Effect. Then I worked at integrating principles of geometry and engineering into my freeform lacework technique, to make my structures stronger and more resilient. My subconscious mind created a hybrid textile approach; it's a blending of the weaving, basketry and lace-making arts I'd taught myself in childhood.

Fifteen years into the process, I achieved sufficient mastery to weave with a sense of absolute freedom and spontaneity. I started to work smoothly and rhythmically. If I focused on just following the lines that defined an animal, the hidden inner structure would take care of itself.

The animals themselves have always been the major element of my life; I've always had an affinity for nature. I have memories of catching bees in my bare hands as a five year old. Nowadays I have daily contact with cats, birds, dogs and horses. My husband Nick and I maintain a flock of laying hens. We make accommodations for the myriads of varmints that find this endeavor attractive; everything from skunks and raccoons to fishers, bears and mountain lions. I'll never stop studying the way animals move, their elusive spark of spirit and nature.

Animals are born with an inherent grace of balance and beauty. I could watch them forever. I still don't sketch much on paper; wire is the most direct way I have of expressing what I see and feel. One of the mysteries I'm contending with lately is the phenomenon of animal portraiture, creating a wire vessel as an invitation for the creature's spirit to visit and look outward. More and more folks are coming forward to ask me to translate special creature spirits. Sometimes a cat, sometimes a horse, sometimes a memorable wolf or mountain lion. I love them all.

The sculptures are a source of ongoing adventure. Large commissions take me all over. There's nothing half as lively as traveling with a life sized bear, giraffe or dolphin checked as oversized baggage...

I'm in my fifties. I've been immersed in the exploration of wire sculpture for two-thirds of my life. When I look back across the curve of time, I see a line of progress and discovery, trial and error. When I see a sculpture I made, I remember my feelings about the creature in question. I remember what was going on emotionally in my life while I twisted those wires. I hear again the music that was playing, or phrases from whatever nick was reading to me while I bent and twisted the wires.

The animals are telling me it's time to move forward again, to blur some boundaries and travel new paths. There is something in the nature of Guardianship involved. As I weave my sculptures, I infuse them with the intent to bring you peace, strength, health and well-being.

- Elizabeth Berrien
World Class Wire Sculpture · Elizabeth Berrien (707) 362-2771 · email wireladyE@yahoo.com

Content and images © 1968-2014 Elizabeth Berrien. All rights reserved. · Updated Apr 22, 2014 · this page valid HTML 4.01

elizabeth berrien's bbc wire sculpture illustration wins the Clio award 2008.
CLIO 2008
elizabeth berrien's wire sculpture illustration wins two coveted cannes gold lions in 2008.
Cannes Festival
Double Gold
elizabeth berrien's wire sculpture illustration wins two coveted ADC gold cubes in 2008
Double Gold
elizabeth berrien's wire sculpture illustration wins the coveted Obie Best of Show award 2008.
Best of Show
elizabeth berrien's wire sculpture illustration wins two coveted Andy gold awards 2008.
Andy Double Gold
elizabeth berrien's 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