Tuesday, 1 September 2009

All that glitters is sometimes gold.

The biggest virtual gallery on the planet has got to be the site Etsy.com. I discovered it a couple of years back. It's a marketplace for arts, crafts, handmade and vintage items of loveliness, all for sale at a set price and usually a reasonable one.

Etsy's home page randomly displays selections of work usually themed or representing one seller, giving you a taster of what is available. But if you are actively searching for something specific, there is a menu of categories, or you can search for items according to colour or theme, you can visit sellers in your local area or even ask for random suggestions.

One time I visited the site and this piece popped out at me.

It was by Steve MacDonald also known as Ramblin Worker. Glinting with gold and featuring gem like colours, San Francisco based Steve's work is a magpie's dream. The main tool of his trade is his trusty sewing machine. With this he stitches back together carefully cut up and shaped gold canvases, creating a textured base. Onto this he applies outlines in thread and finally the fillers are added, sometimes in paint, but also sewn in too. The end result being a hybrid of a traditional canvas work and a textile piece making it a highly individual creation.

Living in San Francisco, Steve is influenced by the diversity of the city that surrounds him. A favourite theme is the huge cargo ships that sail day in, day out, under the Golden Gate Bridge to and from the Bay Area.

San Francisco prides itself on its promotion of cycling and this is a cause close to Steve's heart.

A keen cyclist Steve also makes customized cycling accessories to die for.

Both local heavy industry and nearby rural beauty are celebrated.

Repeated urban style motifs, reminiscent of graffiti throw ups and street art are another trademark of Steve's.

He also dabbles in styles that perhaps pay homage to the traditional exquisite needlework of China, which of course has long historical and cultural links with San Francisco.

I was very lucky to find Steve's beautiful work on Etsy. Since that time, his profile is on the rise outside of the Bay Area, notably participating in shows in New York and gaining coverage from Juxtapoz. He has two solo San Francisco shows happening imminently, at Rare Device and Gallery Three upstairs at the Shooting Gallery. I think the appeal of Steve's work is soon going to reach a much wider audience.

(Here's a link to Steve's Flickr page featuring some of his new work.)

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