Inside the Artist’s Studio with Jerry Alonzo: Learning New Stuff

Feeling energized, having just returned from two weeks in Colorado at Anderson Ranch Arts Center.  I drove out from Geneseo, NY and caught up with friends along the way.

James and Gail

James and Gail

I went there to spend time with a sculptor whose work I greatly admire, James Surls.

The course was “Critical Dialog in Sculpture”  which is exactly what the six of us did most of the time.  I’ll remember James’ intro on day one.  It was intended to quickly dispatch the let’s learn from the master mentality and did.  It went something like this “It makes no difference how we as artists got into this sculpture studio; front door, back door or bathroom window.  We are all here, all artists, so let’s get to work.”  We talked about our work, his work and each others’.  What we do, why and how we do it, and what’s next.

With Melissa and Richard

With Melissa and Richard

In the off hours my classmates (all of whom worked in metal) moved various projects forward.

Gail and Joyce


Being a wood guy in a metals studio, it took me a few days to figure out how to benefit from all the metal working expertise  around me.  The studio coordinator taught me the basics of cutting steel with a plasma torch and how to press it into a bowl form.

Plasma torch


While I’m used to coaxing and persuading wood to do certain things,  I found that torch cutting with lots of sparks flying and pressing (way too gentle a word) steel into submission was a lot of fun.  I completed a quick piece I called “Offering and Receiving”.

Offering and Receiving

Offering and Receiving

I brought home to my studio a larger 12″ bowl with only a vague plan for it.  A few days after returning to Geneseo I was thinking about a friend who is ill and how a jolly piece might serve as a spirit lifter.  I decided to make this bowl into a table into which words of greeting, good wishes and encouragement could be collected and shared.  I  plan to donate it to an auction supporting medical research in my friends honor.


Stop by Main Street Arts to see Jerry Alonzo’s sculptures in our current exhibition House and Home (runs through August 19). View his work online at

Take a look at our previous Inside the Artist’s Studio blog post by painter Susan Stuart.

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