Randy Stromsoe’s enthusiasm radiates like the rays from his highly polished silver and pewter work.
“Right now I’m still excited about everything in my profession,” said the blue-ribbon winner of the Fine Craft exhibit at the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art. His first-place entry, “Mardis Gras,” wasn’t what he planned to submit, but the other pieces he was working on weren’t quite finished.
The winning teapot was included in his solo exhibit at the SLO Museum of Art late last year. Of pewter and rosewood, it entailed quite a few pieces. “It’s a difficult construction,” Stromsoe said, and the handle and spout emulate those created two centuries ago.
He gets stoked in his Templeton studio. “This is where I’m coming up with all kinds of wild and crazy designs,’’ said the 61-year-old, adding that he hopes to send the creations worldwide.
Although he loves traditional work and tools, Stromsoe is eager to explore. Until he received a commission to do some silverware, he had been working on human faces. “I found out I could hammer out a pretty lifelike face.”
Stromsoe quit entering juried shows about a decade ago after a young silversmith he met on the East Coast said he wouldn’t stand a chance competing against Stromsoe.
So Stromsoe decided to give others an opportunity to shine, but he nearly waited too long. “Then people forgot who I was,” he said with a laugh.
The master silversmith has creations in the White House, the Smithsonian and the Vatican.
Second-place winner M’Lou Mayo also took a long hiatus except for a retrospect in the spring for the San Luis Obispo Arts Council. “There was kind of a silent period for about 10 years,” said the San Luis Obispo resident.
In 1989, Mayo took Best of Show for a work in paper for the 13th annual “Dimensions” exhibit. Her “Jump for Joy” is formed of aluminum foil, wire, ink and paint, a step down from most of the high-end materials in the exhibit.
Bud Tullis of Solvang used cherry and steel tubing to create his third-place prize-winning “S-Chair.”
Atascadero woodworker Barry Lundgren shared the fourth-place honor with San Luis Obispo silversmith Crissa Hewitt with “Two in One,” his ebony container with her silver edging and sterling-set gems on the lid.
Cambria’s Eric Danderand used various hues of autumn-colored wormlike tubes of glass to fashion a huge nest titled “Refuge” for his Honorable Mention.
Jewelry designer and goldsmith Hallie Katz of Ojai, co-owner of Human Arts Gallery, juried the show.
The exhibit includes furniture, a mirror, wood vessels, fused glass, sculptures in metals and wood, fabric and ceramics and jewelry.
Under the umbrella of the SLO Art Museum, the California Craftmakers invited four guest artists who work in clay, including the recently deceased Bill Shinn of Santa Maria to whom the show is dedicated.