Change, of course, is hard. And Roy Holmberg will openly admit that he wasn’t in the forefront of artists who embraced submitting to October’s Open Studios via the digital format that was put in place a few years ago. The metal worker says, “I was a believer in traditional slides and fought hard to keep this process as the standard. I had been doing it this way for years, and I understood it and had the equipment to produce high-quality photos of my work. But, times change, and so must we.”
Holmberg has taken the last three years off from participating in Open Studios and this year will mark his
10th time with the county’s recognized art tour. “Many of the items I hope to share at Open Studios this year will be aimed at showing people the type of work I am currently doing,” says Holmberg.
The work that he mentions is fascinating. He works primarily with metal arts but also incorporates wood and ceramics into his creations. “My preferred medium is working with hot metal using the forging processes associated with blacksmithing,” he says. “I also take great pleasure in constructing creations using found and fabricated objects.”
At Open Studios this year, Holmberg will have an assortment of items on display including found-object contraptions, pedal-powered vehicles that he made previously for Burning Man, forged steel and glass tables, ceramic candle holders, wall vases and bowls, and possibly even a forged steel gate.
His foray into the medium came initially from his interest in building hot rods where he honed his welding skills. After college he went into the Navy and worked as a machinist. Following that, he worked as a landscape architect for Los AngelesCounty. After taking some classes in blacksmithing and sculpture at CabrilloCollege, Holmberg found his creative niche. “Working with hot metal is like magic,” he says. “It’s very rewarding and I can’t get enough of it.”
You can find his work at Open Studios this October. And, if you’re an artist who’d like to become a part of Open Studios, applications are now being accepted online (openstudiosarttour.org) through April 30. At the Open Studios website you’ll find answers to all of your questions on how to apply, how to join the ranks of Holmberg by submitting your photos digitally, and lots more.
Two stores in Santa Cruz that I always love to peek into are Wallflower and Tomboy. Both have a bohemian sort of style that informs their clothing and accessories. If you look around in either store, you just might find some charming goods by metalworker and leather crafter Julienne English.
Her extravagant light fixtures are made mostly out of reclaimed parts like teapots and sugar bowls that she turns upside down and hangs antique silverware from them. With her leather wallets and bags, English inserts an old-fashioned feel into her creations but infuses them with modern functionality.
“As an artist, I identify more with the term ‘designer,’” she says. “I’m an assemblage artisan designing products and interiors.” (Discover her work on Etsy.)
Often, her vintage flair is influenced by inspirational historical figures, like her bronze and leather wallet that came to mind when thinking about Joan of Arc, or her dark brown cowhide and scrimshaw button closure wallet that was inspired by Annie Oakley.
“I was always emotionally involved in art in one way or another since I can remember,” she says.