The Magic Of Clay
Shea Stanfield~ 12/26/2013
Art, for Sylvia Fugmann Brongo, is not to be taken for granted. The artist considers herself fortunate to have had a strong art program and an outstanding art teacher, Judith Burkhardt, during her 4 years of high school. There she gained a firm foundation in painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture and clay—and she loved them all.Stepping into her college years, Sylvia did not focus on one medium, although she knew her major was going to be art.A freshman year ceramics class introduced her to a future in expression. She loved the fluidity of clay and the organic feel in her hands. She like the way it smelled of the earth.The experience pushed Sylvia in the exploration limits of clay in technique and challenging design. She found that working by hand from slabs or coils provided the maximum amount of freedom for her inspiration. As a result, her creations could be freeform, organic and possess a surprisingly fun quality.Combine this with innovative textural combinations and eclectic color application, and the result is a unique ceramic piece in the form of a vase, wall plaque, a garden ornament or bowl.Completing her bachelor’s degree in art education from Nazareth College of Rochester, N.Y. in 1981, Sylvia went on to add teaching to her creative career.She established a working clay studio in 1983 and began traveling extensively—nationally and internationally—gathering inspiration for her work.Along the way, she participated in a number of juried solo and group exhibitions that included “Women with Wow,” Rini Rohrer Gallery in Canandaigua, N.Y.; “From Humble Origins,” a group show at Artspace in Lima, Ohio; a museum shop feature at Everson Museum in Syracuse, N.Y.; and Artists Liaison Competition/Exhibition in Los Angeles, Calif., just to name a few.Locally, Sylvia’s work has been seen in the Anthem Art Gallery at the Caepe School, at Vision Gallery’s summer group show in Chandler and the annual Sonoran Arts League Hidden in the Hills Studio Tour were Sylvia was at studio No. 8 this year. Wild Holly, a gallery in Carefree, also represents Sylvia’s work locally.In addition to her success as a professional artist, Sylvia still finds the time to pass on her wisdom and experience in clay to children in the larger community. She is a juried member and a grant recipient of the Arizona Commission on the Arts. As a recognized artist of the commission, she worked as an artist in resident at Paradise Valley Community College in ceramics. Sylvia was chosen to create a ceramic mosaic mural from August 2012 to December 2012 at PVCC’s North Phoenix campus. During the summer of 2012, she conducted workshops at Desert Foothills Library. Sylvia is also a participating artist in the annual Empty Bowls project with the Sonoran Arts League, donating more than 450 bowls since 2005 to raise funds for the international hunger project.In addition to her local work, Sylvia participates globally. Sylvia has been a coordinating team member of the fine art auction committee to raise funds for the Huachinera Cultural Arts Center in Mexico where her group created and donated their work for auction.Anyone interested in her ceramics, a commission piece or workshops may find Sylvia online at firstname.lastname@example.org or sylvia-art.com. Or give Sylvia a call at her studio: 480-488-4749.