New to our show, this year, is Master Artisan* metal artist, John Sokolovich. Welcome to Fall into Fine Craft, John!
What about your medium drew you to it initially and what’s kept you working in it?
I came into arts and crafts through the back door (like most every other thing I do). After high school, I worked for a while in a body & fender shop of a local Buick dealer. My mentor was an “old school” bodyman who taught me a lot about working metal and a little welding. After about three years, I grew restless and was searching for a fresh career. I entered a two year drafting & design program at Penn State. I worked for a couple of years at PPG as a draftsman and continued my education at night. After seeing how long it would take to get a degree through night school, I headed for PSU full time. While there, the I encountered the “arts festival” and watched a guy making flowers out of tin can lids and welding rod. He encouraged me to try making some, and then attend a crafts show to sell them. I sold all that I had and was hooked. In the meantime, I changed majors to Industrial Arts Education. I always liked working with my hands and this seemed like a perfect blend for me. During the school year I got to experiment with a few different aspects of metalworking, then during the summer months I could attend craft shows. It has worked out very well for me for the past 40 plus years.
If you had to choose a medium, other than your current one, what would you like to try and why?
Being a retired shop teacher, I’ve dabbled with several other art/craft materials. I’ve always enjoyed working with wood (except for the sawdust). A lot of the “incidental furniture” in our home was a product my spare time. I have relatives that had a small glass business where I tried my hand at doing some paperweights and vases “off-hand”. I guess the magnet in me always brought me back to metalwork. A real challenge to me would be water-color painting. Something about their finished work looks like “real art” to me and I realize just a little too much of color or water and you end up with mud.
What are you most looking forward to at FIFC?
I’m most looking forward to interacting with a fresh audience with my work.
We’re sure the folks who attend Fall into Fine Craft will enjoy meeting you and collecting your work, John!
*Master Artisan is a status awarded by the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen to artisans whose work is judged exceptional by these three key benchmarks: Excellence in Craftsmanship, Resolved Design, and Unique Voice.