WASH September 2011 : Page 119

mod pods Iron Man pOrtrait Of cHriS SHea by pete DuvaLL Even ironsmiths are having a little fun this season. Washington-area blacksmith Chris Shea (chrisshea.com) has taken his traditional concepts of craftsmanship and designs rooted in art nouveau and gone a little buggy. The collection from the art instructor, who has logged time behind the lectern in both Maryland and Virginia, has met with broad acclaim. In fact, come Oct. 1, the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Renwick Gallery will put Shea’s arthropod-inspired café chairs and table on display while concurrently adding them to its permanent collection. “The inspiration from insects is about the sense of wonder I get from looking at all the amazing forms,” says the artist, who has been working in forged iron and cast glass for 15 years. “I understand that there is something odd and a little grotesque about insects to most people. To me, they’re beautiful and wonderful—and fun.” Local blacksmith Chris Shea works with the Washington Glass School to create the seats and tabletop for his Arthropod collection, now on display at the Renwick. Sept/Oct 2011 | | 119

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