From prehistoric to present times, Fire—associated with strength, vitality, and passion—has been integral to most cultures. Nikola Tesla (1856–1943) stated: “The spread of civilization may be likened to a fire; first a feeble spark, next a flickering flame, then a mighty blaze, ever increasing in speed and power.” Women artists have faced gender bias throughout history, their work has often been undervalued, and they have often been associated only with particular media, such as fiber arts, because of prevailing stereotypes.
First City Art Center (FCAC) and Pensacola State College (PSC) propose to harness that energy, while debunking stereotypes, with a collaborative multi-day event: Women of Fire. This diverse group of female artists includes a blacksmith, glassblowers, ceramic artists and a flame worker.
There will be six featured female artists, Corrina Sephora, Susan Gott, Rene Culler, Osa Atoe, Maya Blume-Cantrell, and Meredith Hartsfield. These featured female artists are well known for their craft and originate from across the South.
Corrina Sephora, utilizing blacksmithing as an art form, has metalwork on permanent display in Atlanta at the Martin Luther King National Historic Site, Atlanta Botanical Gardens, King and Spaulding’s Contemporary Art Collection, Temple Sinai, and in private collections internationally.
The glass work of Susan Gott can be found in Tampa General Hospital, the Kessler Collection, Disney Corporate Collection, the Alexander Brest Museum, Cafesjian Museum of Art in Armenia, the St. Pete Museum, and Polk Museum of Art.
The pottery of Osa Atoe, a first-generation American whose parents came from Nigeria, has been featured in Southern Living.
Rene Culler has worked with glass for over 30 years and currently teaches at the University of South Alabama in Mobile.
Photo Credits: Cameron Patterson and fire artist Marina C Quirk, Tom Meyer, Alex Martinez, Rachel Wright