Oral history interview with Mary Lee Hu

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.hu09
Creators:
Hu, Mary Lee, 1943-
Riedel, Mija, 1958-
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America
Dates:
2009 March 18-19
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
8 Items
Sound recording: 8 wav files (5 hr., 42 min.)
digital
163 Pages
Transcript
Repository:

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
An interview of Mary Lee Hu conducted 2009 March 18-19, by Mija Riedel, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, at Hu's home and studio, in Seattle, Washington.
Scope and Contents
Hu speaks of growing up outside Cleveland, Ohio; her early interest in making objects; attending the Lawrence Art Center camp in Kansas at the age of 16 where she first experimented with metals; her like of working with tools in order to create something; taking metal smith classes at the Cleveland Institute of Art during high school; attending Miami University in Ohio for two years followed by two years an Cranbrook Academy of Art; working as a TA with L. Brent Kington at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale; her collaborative work in both textiles and metals while at Carbondale which lead to her first experimentation in weaving silver wire; creating a body of work for her Master's thesis in which all the pieces were woven wire; various works, their origins, when, where and why they were created, including her Neckpiece, Choker, Bracelet, Brooch and Ring series; her aesthetic interest in patterns, line and positive/negative space; a limited interest in and use of color in her work; the transition from silver to gold wire; a progressively larger interest in the history of jewelry and body adornment which eventually became a lecture at the University of Washington, where she taught for 26 years; numerous trips around the world to countries such as China, Tibet, Nepal, Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey, Australia, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia; a strong interest in ethnic and native jewelry/body adornment practices; the various purposes which jewelry can serve in society; her involvement with the Society of North American Goldsmiths and the American Craft Council; her technique based teaching practices; the role that modern technology plays in teaching, learning, and making jewelry; the lack of support and funds for metals programs in universities around the country; her library, which includes aver 2,000 books about the history of jewelry and body adornment; her collection of jewelry from around the world; her want to create beautiful and functional jewelry; the public and private aspects to jewelry and it's role in museums; current projects and the importance to maintain interest of metals in younger generations. Hu also recalls Gary Turner, Hans Christensen, Otto Dingeldein, Heikki Seppä, Hero Kielman, Phil Fike, Patti Warashina, Gary Noffke, Elliott Pujol, Chonghi Choo, Daphne Farafo, Vicki Halper, Ron Ho, Miye Matsukata, Alma Eikermann, Mark Baldridge, Kurt Matzdorf, Eleanor Moty, Fred Fenster, John Marshall, James McMurray, and others.

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Mary Lee Hu (1943- ) is a metalsmith in Seattle, Washington. Smith was educated at Cranbrook Academy of Art and Southern Illinois University. She teaches at the University of Washington.

Administration
Immediate Source of Acquisition
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators.

General
General
Originally recorded on 4 sound discs. Reformatted in 2010 as 8 digital wav files. Duration is 5 hr., 43 min.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Body adornment Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Jewelry Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Jewelry making -- Equipment and supplies Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Jewelry making -- Study and teaching Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Jewelry making -- Technique Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Metal-workers -- Washington (State) -- Interviews Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Women artists -- Washington (State) -- Seattle -- Interviews Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Afghanistan -- Description and Travel Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Australia -- Description and Travel Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
China -- Description and Travel Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Indonesia -- Description and Travel Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Iran -- Description and Travel Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Nepal -- Description and Travel Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Ohio -- Description and Travel Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Papua New Guinea -- Description and Travel Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Tibet (China) -- Description and Travel Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Turkey -- description and travel Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sound recordings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Interviews Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Baldridge, Mark S., 1946- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Choo, Chunghi Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Christensen, Hans, 1924-1983 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Dingeldein, Otto Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Eikerman, Alma Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Farafol, Daphne Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Fenster, Fred, 1934- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Fike, Phillip G., 1927-1997 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Halper, Vicki Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Ho, Ron Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Kidman, Hero Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Kington, L. Brent (Louis Brent), 1934-2013 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Marshall, John, 1936- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Matsukata, Miye, 1922-1981 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Matzdorf, Kurt Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
McMurray, James Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Moty, Eleanor Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Noffke, Gary Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Pujol, Eleanor Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Seppä, Heikki Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Turner, Gary Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Warashina, Patti, 1940- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
American Craft Council Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Cleveland Institute of Art -- Students Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Cranbrook Academy of Art -- Students Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Lawrence Arts Center Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Miami University (Oxford, Ohio) -- Students Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Society of North American Goldsmiths Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Southern Illinois University at Carbondale -- Students Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
University of Washington -- Faculty Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives of American Art
750 9th Street, NW
Victor Building, Suite 2200
Washington, D.C. 20001
https://www.aaa.si.edu/services/questions
https://www.aaa.si.edu/