Joy Stember and Jim Cohen were each inspired to pursue their passion and honor their culture – one by a trip to Israel, the other by the need to do something more meaningful with his life after a long and successful career as an attorney. Both of these outstanding artists create Judaica that pays homage to the past while instilling a contemporary feel, and they will be among the more than 100 contemporary fine craft artists at Palm Beach Contemporary March 10-12.
JOY STEMBER, INSPIRED BY BIRTHRIGHT TRIP TO ISRAEL
In the winter of 2010, Joy Stember went on a Taglit Birthright trip to Israel. While there, she was captivated by the landscape, culture and history. When she returned home she felt a stronger connection to Israel, her culture, and her identity as an artist. This journey profoundly changed Stember’s perspective and led her to discover her true passion. “I began to focus on creating contemporary Judaica full-time and opened the Joy Stember Metal Arts Studio,” recalls the artist. “This decision has not only provided great personal fulfillment but also the opportunity to share my craft with the world.”
Clean lines and repetitive nature in urban landscapes inspire Stember’s work, as well as mid-century design. She uses a variety of metals such as pewter, brass, bronze, silver and copper to produce her work, which is handmade in her Pennsylvania studio. Each piece is lovingly fabricated by scoring and folding sheets of pewter to make 3-dimensional works of art. The gorgeous textures are pulled from many influences and are embossed into the metal. “As a designer and maker,” says Stember, “my intent is to create contemporary heirlooms for a new generation of collectors.”
JIM COHEN, WANTED MORE OUT OF LIFE THAN A JOB
After almost 20 years in the rat race, Jim Cohen needed a change. As a corporate attorney who worked more than 50 hours per week, he felt his life was stunted, and he was unhappy. His life changed for the better when he discovered a love for working with his hands, creating beautiful and functional pieces to honor his heritage.
Cohen’s artistic journey began at the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria, Virginia, where he took a jewelry class one night per week after putting in a full day’s work at the Pentagon. Then, at age 45 and following a life-changing trip to North Carolina’s Penland School of Crafts, he knew it was time to make a career change.
“I wanted to immerse myself in creating things by hand,” he explains. “At the end of the day, I wanted to have something that was real and said ‘Jim did this’.” Now he creates breathtaking metal works, primarily hollowware, with an emphasis on Judaica.
Cohen’s work has its design origins in contemporary American Judaica, starting with the Jewish Museum’s Tobe Pascher workshops. “My work comes to this time through the use of contemporary design motifs and cultural reference,” says Cohen, who calls the work “tomorrow’s Judaica heirlooms today.”
ABOUT PALM BEACH CONTEMPORARY
Palm Beach Contemporary features over 100 of the nation’s top contemporary fine craft artists offering their latest work in ceramics, glass, metal, mixed media, furniture and more. You’ll also find wearable art, jewelry and fashion accessories. All of the work is one-of-a-kind or limited edition, and it’s all hand-crafted.
IF YOU GO:
WHAT: PALM BEACH CONTEMPORARY: THE ART, DESIGN & FASHION EVENT OF THE YEAR!
WHEN: March 10, 11 & 12, 2017
HOURS: Friday & Saturday 10am-6pm | Sunday 11am-5pm
WHERE: South Florida Expo Center | 9067 Southern Blvd, West Palm Beach (1 mile west of the turnpike)
TICKETS: $15 | seniors (65+) $12 | 14 and under FREE