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photo courtesy of the artist

Greg Senn


Greg Senn  started college as a science major, specifically interested in marine biology.  He took a ceramics class with Ron Lang and that class "changed the way he viewed the world and all of its parts", and that semester he became an art major.   His fascination for metals started while he was an undergrad at the University of Wisconsin-Stout, where he studied with Ron Verdon and Humphrey Gilbert.  After he started teaching jewelry and sculpture classes at Eastern New Mexico University, his emphasis gradually shifted to these areas.  He feels that the thing that has most impacted him has been teaching.  


The last five years have been very productive ones for me both in terms of production and learning. I have been learning a number of new techniques for working materials, and have been learning new materials as well. The focus of my work has gone from ceramics (I was trained a purist) to mixed media with a decided emphasis in metals. Working with metal (mostly steel) in a fashion to make it appear soft, or to use it to make fabric which flows through one's hands, has an element of ambiguity which fascinates me. From comments and reactions others find the tactile stimulation just as fascinating as I do. The chainmaille pieces invite the viewer to handle them as well as watch them while they handle them due to the ever changing visual surface and the sensation caused by the metal. The wrought iron pieces are softly curvilinear for the most part and the paradigm is that steel is rectilinear and rigid.  In actuality the wrought iron pieces are relatively fragile due to the dimensions of the metal and these pieces must be treated with some degree of sensitivity. The "symbolism" of the wrought iron pieces ranges from religious to genre type realism and incorporates Native American, Christian, southwestern, oriental, and traditional western influences.

Sidelines of exploration over the past five years include; stone knapping because of its inherent beauty and historical import; HTML programming because it's the wave of future communication; computer art/graphics because it's fun and frustrating at the same time (I don't believe in the current existence of computer art but it is a whiz bang tool if one gets over one's phobia) (and there may come a time when art can be done on a computer...); stone carving because it's traditional as well as being fun; and of course all the various approaches to jewelry making. For me the process of making jewelry is the stepping stone of material usage to making art work. Its a relatively fast way to work out ideas and relationships while getting feedback on objects that most people can easily relate to because of the degree of familiarity. The ideas which seem to work well on a small scale can then be further developed into larger scale sculptural pieces. This is also where I do my preliminary explorations with the mixing of media as I can find out how well the mix will work before investing hundreds of hours on a piece. I often wish that I had more time for knapping because I thoroughly enjoy making what are called "eccentrics". These are non-traditional or atypical knapped pieces using traditional techniques.

I've done skunks, camels, hearts, and birds, and due to the shapes these prove to be very challenging and personally rewarding. But I haven't yet quite figured out how to incorporate them into my "serious" work.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Greg Senn