VIENNA — The Maine Crafts Association (MCA) has named metal artist Tom Ferrero as the 2019 recipient of the MCA Master Craft Artist Award.

Tom Ferreero of Vienna has been named the 2019 Master Crafts Art Award recipient. Tom Ferrero photo

MCA is a statewide non-profit organization promoting the work of Maine’s craft artists.

Ferrero recently shared information about his career as an artist.

“I knew what my priority was early on and I devoted most of my energy to that pursuit,” he said.

He attended a public high school that was supportive of the arts. He took every art class offered including drawing, graphic design, sculpture, ceramics and two dimensional design. He enrolled in the jewelry and metalsmithing class his junior year of high school.

“I really only signed up for it because I had taken every other art course offered and it was one of the last classes left I hadn’t tried,” he said. “I discovered a medium that blended my two-dimensional obsession for detail with a material and technical process that was endlessly fascinating and exciting. The technical side of my brain could understand the orderly construction processes necessary to create a piece. Procedures such as manipulating metal through hammering and attaching two pieces of metal together using a torch in the soldering process thrilled me and still delights me to this day. I was finally shown a medium that supported my two-dimensional love of design and ornament and also provided a vehicle for bringing those ideas into a three-dimensional realm.”

Ferrero said growing up a series of influential movies, with quests full of adventure and exploration led by a hero figure on a search for something precious, stimulated his imagination. They nourished his curiosity and fueled his creativity. This film genre with its expressive use of visual imagery is still a major source of inspiration for his artwork.

Ferrero said other interests also influence his work. When it comes to metalwork he enjoys designing necklaces and pendants as well as small handheld objects. He enjoys the flexibility and freedom those objects allow for.

“My jewelry and metalwork is very sculptural. It’s not meant to be worn or used (at least not comfortably). My artwork uses jewelry and common objects like knives as a vehicle for expression. I want to see how far I can push people’s understanding of what jewelry can be before it becomes seen as something else,” he said.

Ferrero has used a variety of mediums in his artistic endeavors. They include precious and semiprecious metals and gemstones; alternative materials such as enamel, resin, stone, bone, plastic, wood and found objects; ceramics/pottery both hand building & wheel throwing; painting, predominately acrylic on board/canvas and Photoshop or digital manipulation of imagery.

Dao Niger necklace made with silver, copper, plaster, mineral pigment, coral and onyx. Inspired by surface features on the planet Mars and from plaster carving project Ferrero taught his students. Tom Ferrero photo

“A common question I am often asked and one that I find challenging to answer is, “Where do your ideas come from?” While I can define certain over arching themes present when I design; contrast, repetition, architecture, science fiction and fantasy art, the fluid lines of art nouveau, current discoveries in space exploration, maps, anomalies and an interest in complex patterns and forms, it is difficult to say with any certainty the impetus for any one specific idea. Often a few gestural lines in my sketchbook will trigger the inspiration for a piece. Just as easily, something I see on one of my travels may spark a flash of inspiration,” he said.

Ferrero has had his work exhibited throughout the United States, in Canada and New Zealand.

He has won several awards. The awards he is most proud of are the Saul Bell Design Award which he’s received twice and this newest, the Master Craft Artist Award.

“These two represent some of the top awards in the field and in Maine and validate the years of hard work it has taken me to reach this point in my career,” he said.

Art education is important to Ferrero.

Tom Ferrero’s piece Collar of the Chancellor (Necklace). Made from silver and steel. Tom Ferrero photo

“Teaching is important to me because it’s a way I can help another person grow their skills and experience the same joy I get when creating artwork. Teaching art has made me a better writer, a better speaker, better at math, has made me more aware of my own thinking, has given me confidence, time management skills and has taught me how to handle failure and approach problem solving in a nontraditional way,” he said. “Teaching art is not just about introducing students to new techniques and helping them make beautiful things. It’s really about showing students a way of living and empowering them to pursue whatever they are passionate about. Furthermore, teaching art keeps me fresh and makes me a better artist. Some of my best ideas come from moments in the classroom. For example, I started painting professionally only after I had to teach a painting assignment to an art foundations class. And the Dao Niger Vallis Mars Necklace I created was a direct spin off from a plaster carving workshop I taught my students at camp one summer.”

Ferrero has worked for such artists and companies as the Barbara Heinrich Studio and New England Sterling. At the Barbara Heinrich Studio he held the position of Goldsmith and fabricated high-end 18k and 22k diamond earrings and necklaces. At New England Sterling he was the Assistant to the Head Silversmith and worked on pieces designed for Tiffany & Co.

He obtained a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree from Rochester Institute of Technology in 2002. In 2003-2004 Ferrero was awarded a United States Fulbright Grant to New Zealand where he lived and worked in the Auckland area and attended the University of Auckland at Manukau Institute of Technology. While there, he obtained his Post Graduate Diploma in jewelry design.

In 2008 Ferrero graduated from Indiana University with a Masters of Fine Arts degree. He has taught at NSCAD University in Halifax, Canada.

Currently, Ferrero is a part time instructor at Maranacook Community High School where he teaches a selection of classes in drawing, painting, darkroom photography, sculpture and metalworking. Additionally, he is an occasional lecturer at the University of Maine at Augusta offering courses in 3-Dimensional design.

Ferrero serves as the department head of metalsmithing at Camp Laurel in Readfield, Maine. There he develops and manages the metalsmithing program and instructs classes in jewelry making for children and young adults.

Ferrero will have an upcoming solo painting exhibition at the Harlow Gallery in Hallowell, Maine. It’s called “The Places in Between.” Opening night is June 21 from 5-7 p.m. with food and drink The show runs through July 27, 2019. His paintings feature many local scenes from around the state.

For more information, visit Ferrero’s website www.TomFerreroStudio.com. He can be found on Instagram at #Tom_Ferrero_Studio.

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