This blog highlights the talents of this years symposium presenters. For more information about attending this years symposium, please see

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Susana Arias

My new series of sculptures “Sailmaker” are large anagama and soda fired ceramics. They are representations of people going through passages in life. Abstracted, cocooned people traveling in vessels, the sculptures are about our secrets, the things we have within us, unseen, unheard.

I concern myself with the contrast between primitive cultures and contemporary aesthetics; and I explore man’s attempt to control nature in an entropic world.

My work is done in series.  Each series is inspired by a glimpse of nature, a word in a book or maybe a nagging thought such as how can I simplify this form to it’s essence.  The most amazing part of the creation of a series is the conversation between art and artist. I may begin with a specific thought and then the work starts talking to me, whispering it’s needs and guiding me through a process of growth and development that may even change the original concept and make it more profound and imperative.

See Susana's Website HERE

Susana Arias, a native of Panama, is an internationally recognized artist.  Her work is in the permanent collection of museums in the United States and Latin America.  Arias has lectured and taught workshops in Universities and Museums in the United States and Latin America and has participated in Symposiums in many Latin American countries. 
She was 2013 Santa Cruz County Artist of the Year; she received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1988 for her sculpture series “Earthworks”; and some of her other awards include: 2012 Project of the Year at Beach Area Roundabout in Depot Park, Santa Cruz, Ca., Santa Cruz Archaeological Society Presidential award for “Artistic Achievement and Advancement of Archaeological Awareness” for her Public art sculpture “Finding our Past”.
Susana has a strong interest in Public Art and working with the community.  Some of her projects include “Finding our Past” a bas-relief sculpture on Porter St./Bay Ave. Underpass, which won the “Environs Enhancement Award” given each year by Cal Trans to one California project.  She worked with Gateway Students on a traffic circle on King Street “Light time”, a working sundial; with 150 third graders, on the tiles for the Santa Cruz Police department; and many other public and private commissions.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Marissa Saneholtz's CollaboNation

A year ago, when I was writing my proposal to present at the Yuma Symposium, I had too many ideas, because I am far too passionate about metalsmithing and making in general. 

I ended up narrowing it down to two possibilities: a very metalsmithy demonstration on pin back mechanisms or a presentation on the collaborative projects that I have been working on.

When I was informed that I was chosen to be a presenter, and would have an opportunity to share my collaborative research projects with the Yuma Symposium crowd, I was over the moon!

What better venue to talk about the magic of collaboration than The Yuma Arts Symposium!!  The event that we will all be attending and enjoying this February is a superb example of how collaboration can inspire people and be something that is enjoyed for years.  The Yuma Symposium, and the friends that started it, have motivated younger generations, and we have hit the ground running in search of building our own collaborative relationships.
 Me, hard at work on my presentation.

I am happily working on my presentation, where I will share stories and artworks made during two recent collaborative partnerships: one with Leslie LePere, an illustrator who lives in Washington state, and one with Taekyeom Lee, a graphic designer and tech wizard who lives in North Carolina.

    Collaborative piece from Leslie LePere and I in the kiln.
     Collaborator Taekyeom Lee working with a altered 3D printer.

 Some 3D printed PMC before firing.

I will also speak about the artist residency Smitten Forum, which my good friend Sara Brown and I have collaborated on for the past 4 years.  

Recently I have been hitting the studio making some fresh collaborative work, and Sara and I have been finalizing Smitten Forum 2017, so I will have a lot of new things to talk about when February rolls around!

The benefits of working together can be highly energizing and inspiring on so many levels, bringing us closer and making distance dissapear!  It really is a "CollaboNation."

See More of Marissa's work HERE