The articles below narrate some of Betty’s adventures such as a woodcarving competition in Dongyang, China, the Collectors of Wood Art’s 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award, and a profile article by David Fry in American Woodturner journal. This article also tells about Scarpino’s photojournalism residency for the 2016 Windgate ITE International Residency sponsored by the Center for Art in Wood.
“Trained in Industrial Arts in college and in design classes at Arrowmont, Betty had been taught the importance of detailed drawing and clay modeling before executing the real work. Those classes proved to be the only occasions when she actually went through the preliminaries. Since then, she’s worked primarily through intuition. As she says, “I’ll have an idea of a form that I want to make. Then I’ll go and get the biggest and best piece of wood that I can find that will allow me to be excited about what I want to make. Using premium wood is both a motivation and a risk. But if I want to go to a lot of trouble, I may as well shoot for a really worthy outcome.”
“In China, becoming a Master Carver confers status and wealth. We witnessed that firsthand while attending a lavish dinner at Master Lu’s “workshop.” Master Lu Guangzheng is China Arts and Crafts Master and Asia Pacific Region Arts and Crafts Master. Master Lu employs hundreds of workers who carve and sand his picturesque panels. Prices are high and sales obviously brisk. Carving in China is big business, and Dongyang, the city we visited, is seen as China’s woodcarving capital.”
“Creating a sculpture on commission involves a dialogue of trust. I first met Kay Kitagawa and Andy Johnson-Laird in Canada at the Emma Lake Collaborative, a five-day event held in a beautiful, remote area in northern Saskatchewan. Kay and Andy were there to experience makers creating and to record video interviews of several artists, myself included. We shared meals and lively conversations.
“After the event, Kay and Andy asked if I would be interested in creating a sculpture for them. I was delighted, and after discussing options, I began working on ideas. More than a year later, I delivered ‘Night Wind’.”
“Betty J. Scarpino has received the 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award from the
Collectors of Wood Art (CWA). She was chosen as the 15th winner of the award by CWA’s board of directors in recognition of her more than thirty years of contributions to the wood art field as an artist, teacher, editor, writer, and strong advocate/role model for women in the field.
“Scarpino has always had an influential presence among wood artists. Her emphasis on sculptural lines and form over material in the 1990s was often cause for debate. Her work is now represented in the permanent collections of more than twenty museums.”