Tuesday, October 25, 2011

New Show! Bruce Katsiff and Thomas Shillea - Masters of the Platinum Print

Bruce Katsiff and Thomas Shillea: Masters of the Platinum Print at Monsoon Gallery

In the early days of photography, the platinum print was everywhere. Photographers in the 19th century created platinotypes, as did early 20th century masters such as Alfred Stieglitz, who prized the printing method for its velvety tones and unrivaled beauty. However platinum printing eventually gave way to less expensive, but sadly less beautiful methods.

A handful of devotees, however, remain committed to keeping the platinotype alive in the 21st century. Two of these practitioners, Bruce Katsiff and Thomas Shillea, are master photographers living and working in Eastern Pennsylvania, where they will be showing their work together in a one-of-a-kind exhibition.

Thomas Shillea has had a long and distinguished career as a photographer, working in fields as diverse as advertising, fine art, and portraiture. (He’s photographed everyone from Presidents to movie stars.) He’s also a highly regarded educator, currently serving as Director of Art Programs at Northampton Community College. In his varied and storied career as a photographer, however, nothing has captured his passion as much as the platinum print.

Shillea became familiar with the technique while studying at the Rochester Institute of Technology and interning at the George Eastman House in the late 1970s. He has spent the past three decades working to revive the platinum print and master its intricacies going as far as publishing a platinum printing manual and history of the platinum print. It is the perfect medium for his the breathtaking and sensual photographs of the human form. His images are in the permanent collections of many major museums including the Smithsonian, the George Eastman House and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Bruce Katsiff is perhaps best known as Director/CEO of the James A. Michener Art Museum, which he has led to meteoric growth over the past two decades. But Katsiff is the rare museum director who never stopped creating art of his own. Photography has been his life’s work. He first exhibited as a seventeen year-old student at Philadelphia’s Central High; his pictures have since been displayed in the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and museums around the world.

Katsiff has experimented in a variety of subjects and styles through a career that has seen a great deal of technological change. But, like Thomas Shillea, he has spent a great deal of time going against the grain and mastering the rarified art of platinum printing. His platinotypes are beautiful and evocative, displaying hidden beauty in complex constructions.

Together, Katsiff and Shillea represent the exquisite range of possibilities which can be achieved with platinum printing. Monsoon Gallery in Bethlehem, PA is proud to host these two virtuoso photographers and to give art-lovers the rare chance to see a platinum print up-close.

What: Bruce Katsiff and Thomas Shillea: Masters of the Platinum Print at Monsoon Gallery. An acting participant of Lehigh Valley Photography Month, part of the InVision Photo Festival™ presented by ArtsQuest™.

When: Exhibit runs November 4 through November 30. Special opening and reception with both artists: November 4, 7-9pm as part of Bethlehem's First Friday.

Where: Monsoon Gallery, 11 E 3rd St Bethlehem, PA 18015

For More Information: ellen.williams@artfullyelegant.com,
(610) 866-6603

Thursday, September 17, 2009

New Kathy Bransfield Jewelry

Since we started carrying her work in March, Kathy Bransfield has become one of our most popular artists. Her hand-stamped necklaces with inspirational, funny, or poignant messages are extremely versatile. With over 20 options to choose from on Monsoon and Artfully Elegant, you're bound to find the one that speaks to you. I am the proud owner of the Compass necklace. (Are you sensing a theme? I have a ton of our jewelry!)

Each of Kathy's necklaces features 2 parts: a covering in a unique design that then lies on top of the hand-stamped sterling silver piece. The coverings are either sterling silver with a patina or gold-plated solid bronze. Whichever look you decide on, it's sure to draw many compliments. Check out 2 more examples below. The one on the left is the Gandhi Ivy necklace, a new addition to our collection. On the right is the Love Tree, one of our most popular necklaces.


One of the great things about Artfully Elegant is that it allows us to expand into accessories. If you're shopping for jewelry, then you're also going to want to see some cute handbags. Pictured below are 2 options from Tivi. We first started carrying Tivi as a jewelry designer. Their wood veneer jewelry with silkscreening is super lightweight and wearable. I have these earrings and wear them often.

Their clutches are what first attracted us to them and we're happy to be carrying them now. Made of wood veneer, the clutches have an elegant shape that makes them perfect for a night out. They're able to be dressed up or dressed down, so they're very versatile. Each bag has super-soft hand-sewn leather in a complimentary color. Whether you're choosing a silk-screened version or a plain version, you're bound to get a ton of compliments on these funky clutches!!

Walnut Ivory Sari Clutch

Ebony Clutch with Black Leather

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

New Todd Reed Jewelry!

We have a huge selection of Todd Reed jewelry available currently on Artfully Elegant. With more options than we even have in the gallery, we're bound to have the piece you're searching for. We have a great relationship with everyone over at Todd Reed, so if there's a ring or necklace we don't carry, we'd be happy to get it for you. If you're interested in commissioning a special piece, we can do that too! Check out the last photo below to see a recently commissioned engagement ring. It's gorgeous!

Ring 703 has always been a personal favorite of mine. My favorite rings and jewelry from Todd Reed are the ones that combine the different types of diamonds that Todd uses: raw cubes, rose cuts, colored, etc. Ring 703 features a gorgeous yellow center stone surrounded by white brilliant cuts. The band features Todd's signature raw cubes. When I get my Todd Reed ring someday, it will definitely need to have raw cubes in it. Even though Todd has branched out beyond the raw cube, he never forgets it - it still pops up in the majority of his designs.

Looking for a great pair of earrings from Todd Reed? Try Earrings 631. These delicate hoops hang from 18k yellow gold french wire and have a combination of raw and rosecut diamonds. The hoop itself is sterling silver that has been darkened with patina. If wires aren't your thing, these can also be made with a post. That's one of the best things about Todd's work - changes can be made to your specification. Want the earrings with a post? Done. Want the ring in palladium? Done. Want a different stone? Done. Where else can you find jewelry so versatile?

Here's a great example of custom work created by Todd and his team. Our client came to us with a request - he wanted a non-traditional engagement ring for his girlfriend, soon to be his fiance. Starting with the design for ring 660, he arrived at the ring pictured below. His only specifications were to remove the outer ring of stones and have it entirely in palladium. I think the final product is amazing and the most unique engagement ring I've seen in quite awhile! That's a 10+ carat raw diamond set in palladium. He proposed on a glacier in Montana, so it's the perfect natural ring for such a natural setting.

Monday, August 31, 2009

We're Back!

After a brief hiatus, the Monsoon blog is back and better than ever! We've had a busy summer here at the gallery - we've launched a new website, lined up shows through December, and added a member to our gallery team, but more on that later.

We have a full lineup of shows planned for the fall, starting with Marty Desilets and his show "A Mirror With Memory" opening on September 4th. His digitally manipulated photographs transform everyday environments into surreal scenes. The skies in his photographs can be ethereal wisps of clouds or brooding storms on the horizon. Regardless of the subject, Marty’s work invites you in to his unique world.

October brings us local metal artist Dan Minnich. As an apprentice to world renowned artist Steve Tobin, Dan is learning from the best. He has his own unique style of painting landscapes - he paints with hot welded metal. Dan tries to utilize his steel skills in every creation by making every tree, and every part of the scene, out of steel, bronze, and stainless steel. Visit the gallery to see Dan’s view of nature in metal. His show opens October 2nd.

For November and December, we are once again partnering with the Pennsylvania Society of Goldsmiths for a special 2 month jewelry show. With jewelry artists from Pennsylvania and beyond, PSG’s artisans are some of the most talented in their field. With an array of jewelry in various mediums and price ranges, All That Glitters arrives just in time for the holidays. Artist receptions are on November 6th and December 4th, so be sure to stop by and meet the many talented jewelry artists who make the show possible.

Most of our summer here at the gallery has been devoted to launching our new website, Artfully Elegant. Artfully Elegant is a new, easier way to shop for jewelry and gifts for the home. It's more user-friendly than our Monsoon site - you can sort by price, artist, material, create a wish list to keep track of your favorite items, and lots more. Take a look over there and explore! All of us here at Monsoon have spent countless hours perfecting the site and we are all very proud of it. We hope you feel the same!

Last, but certainly not least, we are pleased to introduce the newest member of the Monsoon team, Wilco. Wilco is Rori's dog - he's part cattle dog, border collie, and husky. He's the friendliest dog you'll ever meet, so if you stop by the gallery sometime from Monday to Friday, you should be able to meet him! Check him out below!!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Khalil Allaik, Lara Bly, & Ranjeet Pawar on YouTube

Check out this YouTube video featuring owner Ranjeet Pawar and husband and wife artists Khalil Allaik and Lara Bly. The clip, shot by the al Alam channel in Dec. 2007, features Khalil's work at the Banana Factory and showcases Lara's show here at Monsoon. Quick note, Khalil's parts of the clip are in Arabic, but Ranjeet and Lara's interviews are in English. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

New Artist - Alex Sepkus

Monsoon is very pleased to announce the addition of Alex Sepkus jewelry to our fine, handmade jewelry collection. A native of Vilnius, Lithuania, Alex received his graduate degree in industrial design from the Lithuanian Academy of Arts. His studies included interiors, glass making sculpture, etchings and graphics, but his graduate study was in jewelry design. While Alex's jewelry is beautiful to the naked eye, it becomes even more intricate when viewed under a magnifying glass. Each section of his jewelry has its own texture and pattern. With a strong respect for precision and balance, Alex developed a great passion for the intricacies of his craft, creating jewelry unlike any other.

Alex's organic shapes feature diamonds along with many semi-precious stones. We have a great selection of rings coming, along with a pair of earrings and 2 gorgeous pendants. Check out a sneak peek below of 2 great rings soon to be a part of Monsoon's collection. Look for the Sepkus line to debut in mid June!