Vinnie Sutherland, Metalworker
Vinnie Sutherland is a Metalworker working out of her studio in Newaygo, Michigan. She creates botanically themed wall panels and tiles in copper, pewter and tin. Employing repousse techniques, and tools, she hammers and scores original designs into the reverse side of copper to form intricate patterns of relief upon the front. She often employs embossing techniques on each piece. Each piece is a signed, one of a kind, original.
Vinnie’s work is inspired by all that surrounds her with subject matters consisting of the forest leaves and blossoms. While she endeavors to explore this world even more intensely through her art she keeps in mind the vision expounded by the artisans of the Arts and Crafts Movement–that moral and spiritual uplift will come with the creation of Art by Hand.
I have always had a profound interest in hand crafted work, from my Fatherʼs furniture making and forays into oil painting, to the gifts of tinwork my Grandmother brought back for me from her twice yearly trips to Mexico.
My Grandfather was a photographer and although he died just after my birth I believe he influenced my decision to pursue a degree in photography. After receiving a BFA in Photography from Wayne State University in Detroit in the early ʻ80s I did a year of post graduate work in the genre of Cliche-Verre, a photo-printmaking process.
Upon leaving school I entered the workforce for a time, paying off my student loan and longing for the day I could escape the city and live a simple life in the forest. Nine years later I moved to the woods of West Michigan where I currently live.
I began incorporating my love of nature, birds in particular, into my work. I traded the camera for a plasm cutter and began assembling sculptural, mixed-media pieces consisting of plasma cut steel birds, wood, clay and found objects.
In 2002 I jumped at the opportunity to take a one week intensive in Tin Smithing with Marion Moore in Taos, NM. I packed the truck and headed west for what would be, I later told a friend in a breathless phone call, a life-changing experience. I fell in love with tinwork and felt that I had traveled full circle, from Grandfather to Grandmother, from photography to tin. Even though my Grandmotherʼs lifelong promise of taking me to Mexico one day disappeared with her death, I felt very close to her there in those foothills, camping under the stars with the scent of sage all about me.
Currently I am working with copper, creating tiles, panels and mirrors, employing an age-old process known as repousse (working the metal from the back) as well as embossing techniques. My work is inspired by all that surrounds me and my subject matter consists of the forest leaves and blossoms. While I endeavor to explore this world even more intensely through my art I keep in mind the vision expounded by the artisans of the Arts and Crafts Movement–that moral and spiritual uplift will come with the creation of Art by Hand.