Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Lynn Cobb: Saul Bell Award Finalist

We have many talented and award-winning members on our Metal Clay Heads Team and it's always so exciting to "talk" to those about whom I have read or whose work I have seen in books.  I love to say I know these people!  One of our newest members is Lynn Cobb, who recently announced that she is a finalist for the 2011 Saul Bell Design Award in the Metal Clay Division for this beautiful Fine Silver Flower.

Photo by George Post
Lynn has been working with PMC for about six years.  Her background is in painting (mostly abstracts with acrylics) and polymer clay jewelry and she says the transition to PMC was a natural one for her.  She has always loved abstract, sensual, flowing forms and continued using them in her PMC work. 

The inspiration for her beautiful flowers is best left in Lynn's own words:

Of course as with most of us, I have made plenty of silver leaves by building up layers of paste on the back of actual leaves. They sometimes seem a bit trite perhaps, and yet I have been able to keep a steady flow of these flowing out of the booth at craft fairs. One day, I had a group of ginkgo leaves that I had not yet fired. When completely dry, the actual leaves pop right off the clay, so I began to play with arranging the leaves into a flower and realized that I could form them by using a small lump to hold them together, I began with two leaves and added as I went along, after each addition had completely dried. I added tiny balls of silver clay or slithery forms to draw the eye into the center of the flowers. (I add gold by painting gold paste on to the unfired silver, 2 layers before firing and another 2 layers, torch fired after the whole piece has been kiln fired.)
After I finished the first few flowers, I realized that I had created these sensual flowers that brought forth the beauty of Georgia O'Keeffe's spectacular flower paintings in three dimensional pieces of jewelry. I have been very strongly influenced by her flowers that just pulsate on the canvas.  I also love the work of Judy Chicago, particularly The Dinner Party which, you may know, was an installation of dinner plates and place "mats" representing 99 women from his(her)story. These plates in some cases were painted flowers and others were far more representational, in three dimensions, of a woman's own flower, her vulva. Not in the least bit vulgar, Chicago's work was meant to show the power of women's art and craft and indeed, women's bodies. This work was done at a time when women artists were beginning to demand that the male dominated art community exhibit art done by women. And, to demand that women's art be accepted equally with art done by men and that women's art is as legitimate as men's, regardless of the subject matter, materials used and style.
All of this has been brewing within me, as an artist for the last 30 years. I feel that with metal clay, I have finally found the medium that allows me to express myself, in a way that feels very authentic and this flower series, I would like to think, is my own contribution to women's art. Our art, often relegated to the back of the gallery in the past, has begun to truly flower within the art community.
It is no surprise to me that a majority of metal clay artists are women. We have always been drawn to craft, art with function: needlecraft, pottery, jewelry. We have added beauty to everyday items throughout the millennia and we, as women, should be proud of our heritage and continue to create real art as we see fit, whether to adorn ourselves, our homes or gallery walls!
 Lynn has made other beautiful flowers in this series as well: 

Photo by George Post

Lynn is a Certified PMC Artisan, Level 2, and is currently working toward the Metal Clay Masters Registry professional development program.   Her work has appeared in Metal Clay Beads by Barbara Becker Simon, Jewelry, the 'zine by Catherine Witherell, the 4th PMC Guild Annual and in Mixed Metal Jewelry Workshop, by Mary Hettmansperger.

Lynn lives in the San Francisco Bay area and teaches classes in PMC.  Her work can be seen in her Etsy shop as well as at fine craft shows in the Bay area and at


  1. I really enjoyed reading Lynn's own words. She's a friend of mine and I had not heard her speak of her work this way before. I agree that these flowers are really beautiful and they remind me of Georgia O'Keefe's paintings too. I am happy for Lynn's success. She puts a lot of good energy into her art.

    Catherine WItherell

  2. Lynn, these are truly stunning! Congratulations. :)