Here’s the thing…I hate resume’s. The conventional list that I’ve always had to provide is boring and doesn’t really tell much of a story. So, since this is my website, I don’t have to do one. Instead, here’s a short version of my life story till now. Because, really, it’s all about the work.
I was born in 1957, in Phoenix, Arizona. Ken Wingfield was a very talented commercial artist and art director and Mira Wingfield is an extremely creative mom with tons of style. My sister and I always made stuff and our parents always thought we were brilliant. Thanks Mom & Dad.
Then I was 19 and decided to be a potter. After a couple semesters of ceramics at the local community college, I started making and selling little sculptures. For 8 years I set a booth at local craft fairs and at one of these, I met Stephen Clements and Michael Joplin who were glass blowers in Tucson. Steve asked me to marry him that weekend and I agreed. However, before that really happened, I took a glass blowing class from them, got the glass bug then went to Pilchuck School as a student of Dan Dailey and came home and sold all of my ceramic stuff.
After hounding Alice Rooney for months in 1985, she hired me to be on staff at Pilchuck for 3 summers as one of the maintenance men (code name Mike). Additionally, I was the reader at the annual auction for 6 years (I had a knack for pronouncing the European artists names ) and was a Teaching Assistant and Advanced Student for another 3 summers. I obtained a very unique education by having access to so many faculty from around the world. A lot of famous artists know me and their influence has been extremely important to me. My education has been primarily at the School of Hit and Miss and through apprenticing. I always fought with art teachers in grade school and high school, so didn’t take classes after freshman year.
Michael Joplin brought me to Tucson in 1986 to be his glassblowing assistant and I eventually became his head gaffer and worked with him for 6 years. I love blowing glass, but my ideas led me to casting as I could not realize them using blowing. Time also led me back to Steve (remember that marriage proposal?) and we created studios and a life in Tucson. We were involved in our individual work and between the two of us possessed a wide variety of glass working skills. My casting skills and sculpture started to mature during this time, the ’90’s, and I developed strong relationships with great galleries that I still work with today.
In 2001, we left Tucson and moved to Jacksonville, Oregon for cooler temperatures, woods, rivers, lakes and lots less people. It took us 2 years to complete the building of a new house and studio, a project we approached like sculpture. When we started working again, we began to collaborate more and have found it to be very rewarding and feel we produce our best work together. It allows us to mix materials and styles and opens the sculptures up to broader expression.
Travel is an inspiration and a dream for me. I love it and have had the opportunity to see a bunch of places, want to see more, and wish the airlines would get their act together. One of my very favorite places to be is rowing in my beautiful racing shell on a glassy lake. And smooches from our Dalmation pooches provide me with 50% more laughter each day.
I’ve made lots and lots of sculptures, had lots and lots of shows around the globe, work with amazing galleries, will make lots and lots more sculptures and shows and intend to work until I die. I someday hope to make a masterpiece.
And that, is Leah Camille Wingfield for you.