Sherry Nickell Tennessee
BFA in Sculpture, Washington University, St Louis, MO
MFA in Sculpture, Wichita State University, Wichita, KS
Sherry Nickell got her start in glass by making neon signs in the 80’s. She has been working in flamework glass art since the 90’s, when she studied at Penland School of Crafts.
Flameworking is a type of glasswork where a torch or lamp is primarily used to melt the glass. Once in a molten state, the glass is formed by blowing and shaping with tools and hand movements.
Flamework glass, clay, wood, steel, light, fire, air, water, earth and spirit form the work that speaks to my heart and moves my hands.
Garden Goddesses are my interpretation in glass of the Greek myth of Demeter, the abundant goddess of the harvest and her beloved daughter Persephone. Persephone is abducted from her mother by Hades. Demeter spent long months looking for her daughter. When Persephone is discovered by Helios, the Sun God Demeter negotiates with Zeus for her release. Zeus’s people cry for her release because without Demeter’s attention to the land, all is dying and unproductive. Hades agrees to her release, but presses five pomegranate seeds into her mouth and Zeus commits Persephone to five months in Hades for each seed eaten in the Underworld. This is a story of the “cycles of life,” the continuum that includes life, death, and the rebirth.
This is the myth that speaks most eloquently to me as the artist. The joy of rediscovering ideas and plans after the seemingly long period of laying fallow. My goddesses embody the joy and renewal which is the result of the reunion of Persephone and Demeter’s in the Spring.
The symbols found in the Goddess’ belly are the five universal signs of life.
Spiral = growth/change
Circle = wholeness/unity
Equidistant Cross = relationships
Triangle = transformation
Each goddess has the bindu which is the Hindu sacred seed of life.