There is just one week to go until the return of WHAM! In celebration of a whole glorious decade of Houston's favorite annual art market, I have been talking to some of the artists who have exhibited at WHAM not once, not twice, but EVERY SINGLE YEAR since its inception. This week I caught up with local artist, potter, and jeweler guru Nicki Berndt for the final part of my Ten Years of WHAM series:
Ok, can we start with you telling me a little about yourself and your work.
I received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Illinois in Champaign. I taught art for a few years before going into corp. sales. I retired early from Account Manager, and then decided to really go full time into my art. Pottery and throwing on the wheel is my biggest interest. I like to make utilitarian pieces that people can enjoy daily. I also do decorative and Raku items that are enjoyed aesthetically.
A few years ago, I took up metalwork at Lone Star College at the North Harris campus. We had a wonderful jeweler as our teacher. I have been taking many courses in metalwork, and enjoy working in sterling silver, precious metal clay, and copper and bronze.
Will we be seeing some of that at WHAM this year?
I will be selling stoneware pottery; bowls, mugs, flower holders, vases, and candleholders and gratitude covered boxes.
I’ll also be selling one of a kind earrings and necklaces in sterling, and other metals.
Nice! How did you first get involved in WHAM?
I had exhibited at the Glassell School of Art, which was the 1st week in December. It was a wonderful show, but when they decided not to have it anymore, Winter Street took over having a holiday sale, and I chose to take a chance and exhibit in that, and I loved it.
That seems to be how a lot of people first got involved. What was WHAM like that first year?
The first year it was good. A lot of the people that attended the Glassell Sale came. It has grown and it's reputation for very good art work has also grown.
What brings you back year after year? Is the draw financial or is it something else?
Of course the income from the sales is very nice and helps me to continue creating pieces, but the best part of the sale is getting the feedback from the customers. I have clientele that have been coming for many years and come look for my booth and compliment me on my work, and buy their Christmas gifts from me. They like the 'one of a kind' creations that I produce.
I can see why! Where can we see you exhibit next?
I will be having a home show and open house on Nov. 11, and I will be selling at the Holiday Sale at Insperity in Kingwood on Nov. 13. I have also contributed 2 items to Art on the Avenue, which is a charitable organization that builds homes for low incomes in Houston. I look forward to contributing to their silent auction each year. That will be held on Nov. 12-14. The first week of Dec. will be a Student Art Sale at Lone Star College at the North Harris Campus and in the Spring I will be selling at the Market Street Art Fair in the Woodands. That should keep me very busy!
Thanks for your time Nicki, I’ll see you at WHAM!
British-born arts blogger living in Houston, Tx. A mixture of Street Art, Fine Art, Installation, and anything weird and wonderful. Follow me if that sounds like your cup of tea.