22 Questions With Kerry Furlani
1. Name Kerry O. Furlani
2. Age Not answered
3. Hometown Growing up in a military family, we moved often so the word ‘hometown’ is a slippery one for me! My father was a marine corp pilot and was stationed, and then retired, in Oceanside, California. I learned to surf as a teenager and it seeded my awe of the ocean and my love for sport and physical expression. When I went surfing, I was often the only female out in the water competing with males for waves. It often made me feel uncomfortable and awakened me to gender politics — a theme which continues to resonate in my work today.
4. How would you describe yourself in three words? How about five? Curious. Sensitive. Disciplined. Obsessive. Compassionate.
5. What’s something not a lot of people know about you? After college, I was obsessive about living in Italy before starting any career. I moved to Rome, and later Florence, and worked for families as an “alla pari.” This intimate cultural experience awakened me to my long held fascination with cultural nuance and differences. Living in these ancient cities also seeded my love affair with ancient sculpture and carving.
6. How do you start your day? Not answered
7. What’s the most adventurous thing you’ve done in your life? I was working as an aspiring journalist for the Christian Science Monitor newspaper. I was on a career track to work abroad as a freelance writer. A close cousin of mine was living in Dublin, Ireland, at the time. One day, I received a letter from her inviting me to come join her. Though I did not feel ready to work as a freelancer, I said “yes” to this adventure to live and work abroad. What I recall most about this decisive career juncture was a repeated mantra that was resounding inside me: “What you don’t know is better than what you know.” After months living in Dublin, chasing the AP wire for stories, I recognized that my plan to pursue journalism was gradually being eclipsed by something that was alive in my heart: a yearning to explore the materials of sculpture. I found a sculpture supply shop in the city and picked up some materials. And for the next two years, in Dublin, alone in my apartment, I worked with these materials and explored the human form. Eventually, in this solitude, I hit a wall, recognizing my need for dialogue — with teachers, mentors and fellow students. In time, I discovered and then enrolled at the Frink School of Figurative Sculpture, in Longton, England.
8. What’s your favorite food? Not answered
9. Do you have a day job? Along with producing a body of studio work, I teach slate carving workshops to community members and students from nearby middle schools, high schools, and colleges. In 2010, with the help of a grant from the Vermont Arts Council, I headed to Wales to train with John Neilson, a master letter carver. This experience gave me the skills and confidence to teach and take on lettering work. Today, I teach techniques of lettercarving and also work with clients designing and carving custom memorials in slate and marble.
10. What medium do you work in? I have an affinity for working with natural materials: Stone, wood, and plaster. Since moving to Vermont, I have focused on the exploration of this region’s slate. In recent years, I have returned to three dimensional work in plaster and wood. I am currently working on a body of standing female forms in wood. (I am on my fourth). My central aim, with this work, is to explore the nature of female energy in sculptural form.
11. Why this medium? As long as I can remember I’ve been pulled to natural materials and the natural world. I was a sensitive and anxious child. I have an early childhood memory of finding solace and awakening to my first real sense of “me” in nature. One day, I was walking alone in my neighborhood and came upon a familiar patch of woods. For whatever reason, that day, I went deeper into these woods and rearranged fallen objects within this space to create a ‘room of my own’. I returned to this space again and again. It was private and personal and fed something in me that seemed bigger than myself — and my family — that was true about who I was and what I loved. It was a “room” where I felt most at home. Upon each visit, I relished observing the changing details of the natural world. My solitude in this world seemed to be about an utter goodness and innocence and filled me with light and hope and peace. And fed my sense of wonder. All of this is what I feel today when I am alone in my studio, lost in my process of making sculpture with natural materials.
12. What inspired you / how did it start? Not answered/included above
13. Do you have a process for creating? Not answered
14. When are you the most inspired / what’s your favorite time of day to work? Not answered
15. Which artists inspire you? I continue to fuel and enlarge my sculptural vocabulary looking at abstract figurative works from a wide swath of sources: ancient civilizations, Africa and Oceania, and sculpture from my heroes of the early 20th century who broke from representational work but remained with the figure: Brancusi, Arp, Henri Laurens, Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore, Noguchi.
16. What do you listen to when you work? Not answered
17. What are your thoughts on being an artist in Rutland? I have loved this region for its good people and beautiful landscape.
18. What’s your earliest memory of making art in Rutland? I gifted a lettering stone to the Chaffee for its outside garden. It reads, “And All Shall Be Well.”
19. Why do you think artists are attracted to Rutland? Not answered
20. Which arts organizations in town are you involved with and how has it impacted you? Not answered
21. What’s your favorite art exhibit/project you’ve seen in Rutland? Not answered
22. What would you like to see for the future of the arts in Rutland? I’d like to see the continuation of public works integrated into the landscape and downtowns of our region. Public art is vital to our quality of life! It inspires engagement and a sense of belonging.
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