Solia Hermes

Solia Hermes, 2002 Amy Award winner

Solia Hermes works with her hands, and now she’s received one that will help her continue her work. The island sculptor, noted for her welded furniture featuring upturned palms, is the recipient of the second annual Amy Award of $3,000.

“I am just thrilled to receive this award,” Hermes said. “It is incredible of the Andersons to extend their heart this way. Here I am just preparing for my first one-person show, and now I will have $3,000 to put toward materials.”

Hermes called the award a morale-booster at a time when she is grappling with difficult career choices. Like other young artists, she must figure out how to stay creative and still make work for the marketplace.

Hermes grew up on Bainbridge Island with her parents, sculptor Michele Van Slyke and graphic designer Kent Van Slyke. “I saw my parents struggle to earn a living as artists and I thought no way am I going to become an artist,” recalled Hermes. She now shares an Island studio space with them!

Aware of the financial challenges facing an artist, Hermes gravitated toward making furniture. Her work is somewhere between functional and fine art, Hermes feels pulled in both directions.

“It’s always: Do you become functional – do you go into production – or do you go into the gallery scene?” Hermes said.

While researching markets for her work has taken a back seat to producing pieces, Hermes has her eye on foreign outlets – a natural move for an artist with a French mother and a German husband. For now, she hopes to strike a balance between experimentation and salability.

“I’ve done some public works, like the puzzle-tables for Bainbridge Library and in Poulsbo,” Hermes said. “Right now I’m having the best of both worlds, creating private work and large-scale public pieces.”

Hermes is now preparing for her exhibition in September at Bainbridge Arts and Crafts. The furniture, rugs, and sculpture by the 2002 Amy Award winner, Solia Hermes will transform BAC’s gallery into “a whole living environment” certain to be both sophisticated and whimsical. The title of the show, “Looking Inside Out,” explores the relationship between “inside our minds” and “our outside environment.” A striking contrast of materials, movement, shapes, repetitive forms, and tactility will all collide at Bainbridge Arts and Crafts in September to create a very unique Solia Hermes’ room.

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