By Terry Rogers
Arden Bardol, recipient of a Delaware Division of the Arts and NEA grant for 2017 said choosing Marcia Reed’s Gallery 37, located at 8 South Walnut Street, for the showing required under her grant was an easy decision. She has been showing and selling her hand-crafted jewelry in Gallery 37 for about five years.
“It was an easy choice,” Ms. Bardol said. “I live in Dover and, under the grant, I had to make a public presentation that demonstrated how the grant money was used. They offer you the Mezzanine Gallery in Wilmington, but I really wanted my show to be in Southern Delaware. A lot of people know and enjoy my work in this area and I really wanted to support the southern part of the state.”
Ms. Bardol has a strong connection to Milford. Her husband, Jerry, is Director of Design and Construction for Bayhealth’s new Sussex Campus. Ms. Bardol, who like her husband is an architect, worked in that field for 35 years. She graduated from Carnegie-Mellon University with a degree in architecture, a field she said she entered on the advice of a guidance counselor.
“When I was a kid, I was fascinated with nuts and bolts,” Ms. Bardol said. “I was always in my father’s shed fooling with things. I actually thought I would be a graphic artist since I enjoyed art. Then, I met with a guidance counselor who told me that with my skills and enjoyment of physics and math, I would be a good architect. I said ‘what is an architect?’ I had no idea what that was. When he explained it, I said that I didn’t think it was for me, so he suggested I take an aptitude test. I scored highly in the field so I went on to get my degree. My husband, who is a medical architect, and I practiced in Pittsburgh for 17 years before we decided to move to Dover”
About 13 years ago, Ms. Bardol said she needed a change. Since the work of an architect only deals with the design phase, she wanted to do something with her hands. She did not start out to make jewelry, but to make small objects of art. She taught herself to work with polymers and, as she created her art, she realized that it could work for jewelry.
“The human body is a platform for the presentation of jewelry,” Ms. Bardol said. “The biggest challenge is to create objects that work on different body styles, sizes, coloring. I create things that adapt to all body types. A few years ago, I decided to add metal to my jewelry and I took a welding course at Polytech. This allowed me to change my art somewhat. I was still making jewelry but on a larger scale.”
A friend of Ms. Bardol told her about Gallery 37 and encouraged her to reach out to Ms. Reed about showing in her gallery, calling it “an amazing little shop in Milford.”
“Arden called me out of the blue and asked if I would be interested in seeing her work for the possibility to sell here,” Ms. Reed said. “I felt it was a perfect fit for this gallery. It was completely out-of-the-box. I have a degree in art and the two of us spent a lot of time talking about art and art history. We have so much in common, it was a natural fit for her to begin showing her jewelry here. I normally don’t like cold calls as not all types of art fit in my gallery and it is difficult when I have to tell an artist that their work won’t fit here. With Arden, it was easy.”
The show is called Constructed Objects 300/10,000. Bardol named the show because polymer is workable at room temperature and has a curing temperature of 300 degrees. Steel is not workable until it reached 10,000 degrees. Since the substances are workable at such different temps, the challenge is putting them together so they work. For this, she draws on her skills as an architect, treating the substances much like an expansion joint in building.
Gallery 37 held a reception for the gallery opening on November 4 in order to introduce Ms. Bardol to the area. All of the jewelry displayed is for sale, some must remain at the gallery until the show ends December 16. Once the showing is over, any purchased items may be taken by anyone who purchased them. Other items are available for sale and can be taken immediately. Gallery 37 was voted the 2017 Readers Choice Best Gallery in Downstate Delaware by Delaware Today. The gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 AM until 6 PM. For more information, call 302-265-2318 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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