“I’ve wanted to put on this show ever since I started volunteering with Creative Growth, when I first moved to Oakland,” said Lauren Wolf, jeweler and owner of ESQUELETO.
Located in downtown Oakland, Creative Growth has been offering studio space, instruction, and gallery representation to artists with physical and mental disabilities since the 1970s. This Spring, a group of Creative Growth artists created an installation of large and small multimedia wall hangings, all riffing on the theme of “the necklace” for the ESQUELETO boutique in Oakland’s Temescal neighborhood.
Lauren first opened ESQUELETO in 2011 after relocating to Oakland from New York, where she established her namesake line, Lauren Wolf Jewelry. ESQUELETO, tucked in the Temescal Alley, features a thoughtfully curated selection of fine jewelry, artwork, and both handcrafted and natural objects. In 2015 ESQUELETO opened its second location in Echo Park, Los Angeles.
The show, Common Treasures features the unique visions, talents, and material preferences of each artist in an installation that weaves together ceramic, fiber, and painted elements. Lauren and her team lead several workshops over the past two months in the Creative Growth studio.
The largest piece in the show hangs at approximately 4.5′ long by 2.5′ wide, and features hand-sculpted and painted ceramic beads and links, fired in the kilns at Creative Growth. Smaller necklaces feature wood dowels, ceramic beads and links, found buttons, braided nylon rope, yarn-wrapped wire frames, and other elements. Artist Aurie Ramirez’s glam-rock inspired ink and watercolor compositions face the necklaces, along with Maureen Clay’s painted vibrant, far-out acrylic painted papier-mâché rocks. Other artist bios can be found here.
Creative Growth is the oldest and largest arts organization for people with developmental disabilities, with a satellite gallery in Paris and artists represented at galleries, art shows, and museums worldwide. The exhibit at ESQUELETO, bright and intriguing with each piece hanging in wabi-sabi perfection, is another collaborative push to bring the conversation about inclusion in the arts to the table— and to the wall.
Find the Common Treasures pieces on display at ESQUELETO until May 31st. Items are sold in the store and some pieces are available online with 100% of proceeds going to Creative Growth.