Robkin crafts her pieces from slabs of clay soft enough to create folds in their clothing. Some pieces have little doors on them that open to reveal a vintage piece of jewelry or old photograph.
One of Judy Robkin's "Ladies," handcrafted from clay. Contributed by Judy Robkin
“People see my ladies and inevitably tell me some personal story about their mother or their grandmother or their aunt,” said Robkin. “When I’m making them, each lady has her own story, and sometimes it’s revealed and sometimes it’s not. They are all different. They have different faces, different bodies, different clothing. I never make the same one twice. Each one feels like some woman I’ve known or want to know.”
This is the third year Robkin, whose work averages $350-$400, has shown at the American Craft Show.
“It’s the best show in the Southeast without a doubt,” she said. “The quality of the work is exceptional.”
Spruill Center for the Arts also figures prominently in Theresa St. Romain’s artistic evolution, but it was a fluke that made her a metalsmith.
“I have no art degree, but I’ve always had an interest in art,” said the 48-year-old Tucker resident. “My mom and I decided to take a pottery class, but it was full, so we decided to take a jewelry class across the hall. Then I took another class and another. I kept taking classes. I was there so much, one of the instructors asked me to help with her class. Then I started teaching. I still do. I’ve been teaching there for more than 15 years.”
Although technically jewelry, St. Romain’s creations are more like small sculptures.
Aqua Fringe, a necklace made of silver, aquamarine and patina by Theresa St. Romain. Contributed by Cole Rodger
“Sometimes they’re not always easy to wear, especially the rings,” she said. “There are some really upright ones — you can’t put your hands in your pocket. Jewelry can be very flat. It doesn’t have a lot of dimensions. My jewelry has a sculptural feel. They have a very organic yet constructed look. It looks like I grew it, but I also made it.”
St. Romain works with a variety of metals, including silver, copper, brass, bronze and gold. But she favors a Japanese alloy she makes herself called shibuichi.
“They created this alloy that has a higher copper content than silver,” she said. “What I do with it is different than what Japanese and Koreans do with it. They’re interested in the color. I’m interested in the texture of the surface. I will overheat it so it gets bumpy and wrinkly. It gives a very animal skin-like look to certain pieces. A lot of my pieces have that visual texture.”
This is St. Romain’s second year at the American Craft Show in Atlanta. Her pieces range in price from $80 to $550, although she has some larger neckpieces that go for $1,500.
Mixed-media portrait artist
An accountant and CPA by trade, Wycliffe “Linc” Bennett spent decades working in the corporate world. After he retired, he spent a few years teaching at Morris Brown College. But he always had artistic aspirations.
“When I was at Morris Brown, I found myself in the art department more often than not,” said the 72-year-old Southwest Atlanta resident. “The professors said, ‘Linc, you have some talent. You really need to do something about it.’ They inspired me to pursue it.”
Wycliffe Bennett layers plywood and fabric to create his multimedia portraits, which also include sculptural elements. Contributed
Since 2004, Bennett has been a full-time artist, making vibrant, mixed-media portraits composed of layered plywood and fabrics. He favors African batiks and his own, homemade tie-dyes to add color to his portraits.
He also incorporates sculptural elements into his work using a molding product called Sculptamold.
“When you step back from the pieces, it’s hard to tell what is three-dimensional and what is two-dimensional,” he said.
In addition to selling his work in shows, Bennett accepts commissions for portraits.
“I tell people, I can paint your portrait, and it will look just like you,” he said, “but if I make your portrait in fabric, it becomes a work of art that you are the subject of.”
This is Bennett’s second year at the American Craft Show. His work ranges in price from $600 to $3,000.
American Craft Show. March 15-17. $12 advance, $13 at the door, $5 after 5 p.m. Friday only, free for children 12 and younger. Cobb Galleria Centre, 2 Galleria Parkway, Atlanta. 612-206-3100, craftcouncil.org/atlanta