News & Views
Photo of Sandwich Village by Joe Janis
What is your name and the name of your business?
My name is Kathryn Field and my business is Field Fine Art.
How did you get to Sandwich, NH?
Sandwich became my home full time in 1999 when my late husband Philip Simmons and I moved here from Chicago. His family had a home here since 1961 and I first visited Sandwich in 1984. We were both teaching at Lake Forest College in Illinois and Rich Benton, Phil’s childhood friend, built our home on land next door to Phil’s parent’s home on Taylor Road in 1992. We called ourselves contemporary nomads and moved back and forth from Chicago as our academic calendar allowed, until 1999 when we moved here permanently with our two children, Aaron and Amelia.
I taught as an adjunct faculty member at Plymouth State University for a number of years and spent 11 years teaching art at Holderness School. Leo Dwyer, my creative partner, husband and best friend moved from Sunapee a few years after we started dating. We married after a long courtship and many of you know him as one of our selectmen for 5 years. We are both active members of our community and think living in Sandwich is the best place in the world to call home.
What got you started in this profession?
I have been immersed in artmaking since childhood and started teaching at the University level after graduate school at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I have always been interested in teaching all levels of art. In graduate school I got my start teaching children’s art classes. Throughout my career as a professor I continued to produce my own sculpture works and eventually moved into painting.
Tell us about your business. What do you make, do, or offer as a service?
I started my business Field Fine Art in 2015. It is a professional teaching studio and practicing art space. The business functions on three levels. First, as a teaching studio. I want to provide a space for people to explore their creativity and learn new skills. Second, as a showroom/gallery space where I meet with clients to show them the range of my sculpture or painting works—models of completed commissions and works in process.
And third, it is where I do my work. When not teaching or meeting with clients, I am a full-time practicing artist, painting and creating sculpture. My work is represented by Patricia Ladd Carega Gallery in Sandwich.
What is the most fun/satisfying aspect of your work?
Teaching people and guiding them to see the possibility of integrating creativity with their lives is the most thrilling and satisfying aspect of the job. Having students return year after year and sharing in their enjoyment of working in the studio space and sharing ideas with others is most gratifying. Students range in age from 4 to 93 and every age brings a new and different perspective to the art process.
Working on commissions is equally fulfilling. Commissions are a collaboration of minds. A client brings a vision or idea of what they want. Seeing the joy they get when I can visually bring life to their concepts, feelings and thoughts making a tangible piece of art for them to enjoy. I work on sculpture commissions for both private homes and public spaces. I have over a dozen public sculptures located in the Midwest and East Coast at universities, churches, public buildings, and parks.
This loon sculpture was designed for a private client for their summer home on Lake Winnipesaukee. The client wanted a sculpture of a loon. We talked for several hours in my studio where I showed him other sculptures of birds that I had created, we discussed material options, scale and cost estimates. During the meeting I drew some ideas out and discussed the idea of using the wind to make the sculpture turn. The next step was to make a life size scale model of the loon. I took the model to the client's lakeside property and made a video with my phone which I sent to the client who lives in Washington state.
The final drawings were done with paper and pencil, then photographed and worked on in Adobe illustrator, turning the drawings into a vector format which then go to the fabricator. Once the pieces are laser cut I work in the shop with the fabricator on shaping and bending the pieces until it is finished. This part of the process is also a collaboration of several people, that's what makes it so gratifying.
My paintings, and small bronze and stainless sculptures, are in over a hundred private collections in the USA, Australia, and China. My most recent commission will be installed in Betsy’s Park in Holderness, NH. Another bonus of working on commissions is that I get to collaborate and work with my husband Leo Dwyer who is a trained architect and is an invaluable part of my creative process.
The three paintings below were created for an exhibition titled Sandwiched in Seasons, exhibited last summer at Patricia Ladd Carega Gallery in Sandwich. The inspiration for each of these paintings were from daily walks I take in our town and an exploration of the seasons. I always have my camera on my walks and there is an endless source of imagery in our own backyards.The scale of my paintings range from small intimate landscapes to large 3ft. x 6ft. canvases.
I work in watercolors and primarily oils. I also paint with oils and gold leaf on my laser cut stainless steel works. I really enjoy combining materials and seeing how the different textures play off each other to evoke a unique surface. During the quiet of Covid I had time to experiment and began working on a series of large weathervanes combining landscapes and animal images. These new sculptural creations serve both form and function, a whole new twist for my business to explore.
What is the hardest aspect of your work?
As an artist the hardest aspect of running a small business is marketing and selling the work. That is a necessary and important aspect of the job but one I do not relish. Making art takes one set of skills and I am passionate about that aspect of the business, but marketing takes a skill that challenges me. That is why I am most grateful to the SBG and Janina Lamb for creating this opportunity for members like me to introduce ourselves to a larger community.
What has happened to your business in this last Covid year?
All classes in the studio were cancelled during Covid. I did some online teaching using zoom but primarily taught private classes to one student at a time wearing masks in a large open classroom space. I had been teaching art to the inmates at the Belknap County Department of Corrections and that had to be put on hold during Covid. The sculpture production was impacted by the cost of materials increasing and not always being available. But happily, my group classes will resume this July in the studio and at the Sandwich Home Industries where I also teach.
What are your goals and hopes for the future?
Now that Covid is behind us, I look forward to holding classes in the studio year-round. I am offering three new classes this summer—Material Madness, Making Cards, and Open Studio Practice—in addition to the range of painting and drawing classes that I have offered in the past. My flower and vegetable gardens will be in full bloom providing great inspiration for painting and drawing outside.
I welcome commissions large and small, for gardens, homes, and parks. I am really excited to see the newest sculpture commission placed in Betsy’s Park in Holderness. Betsy’s Park will be a great gathering place for people to enjoy the beauty of our area, throughout the seasons.
What else can you tell us about yourself and your business/organization?
I enjoy working with others to enrich our community especially in the area of the visual arts and education. I serve on the board of the Yeomans’ Fund for the Arts and The Sandwich Home Industries. Both organizations strive to bring creative educational opportunities to our community. I am a hiker, avid gardener, and enjoy being outdoors as much as possible.
Visit my professional website at www.kathrynfield.com and my teaching website at www.fieldfineart.weebly.com.
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