Commonwealth Award Medal
Reed and Barton
Each Commonwealth Award winner receives a medal designed and created by Taunton, Massachusetts-based Reed & Barton.
2011 Commonwealth Award Art Object
The 2011 Commonwealth Award art object was made by Sue Aygarn Kowalski
of Carver, MA. She said, "These hand-made turned and fabricated
hammer awards are a tribute to knowing our local and global communities
in a way that is hands on, direct, self reliant, and tactile. They
are made out of respect for both the ideas and activities that honor
2009 Commonwealth Award Art Object
The 2009 art object was made by Caleb Neelon,
winner of a 2007 Artist Fellowship in Sculpture/Installation. He created unique, hand-painted cherry wood bowls, employing a leaf
Born in 1976 in Boston and based in Cambridge, Caleb is an artist,
writer, and educator. Caleb's paintings and installation artwork
have appeared in solo and group shows in venues in America and Europe,
as murals on walls in Kathmandu, Reykjavik, Bermuda, Calcutta, Sao
Paulo, across Europe, and in dozens of books, magazines, and newspapers
around the world. Caleb Neelon’s Book of Awesome, his first
artist monograph, is a new release from Gingko Press.
2007 Commonwealth Award Art Object
The 2007 art object is a delicate ceramic bowl mounted on
clay pedestals, created by Judith Motzkin of Cambridge. Motzkin's
pedestal bowls are wheel-thrown and utilize a unique firing
process inspired by Mexican and American Indian techniques.
Instead of employing a traditional glaze, Motzkin uses natural
elements such as grass and sawdust to create delicate designs
and patterns in her pottery. The deep earthy colors in her
pieces come from the burning of these combustibles in the
Motzkin received her B.A. from Cornell University and later attended the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Her work has been exhibited in numerous museums and galleries across the country and most recently in South Korea. She was a founding member and director of the Cambridgeport Artists Open Studios and served on the Cambridge Arts Council Advisory Board. As a visiting artist, she has taught at Radcliffe-Harvard, MIT, Massachusetts College of Art, and various craft programs and workshops. She lives and works in a studio fashioned from an old stable adjacent to her 150-year-old Cambridge home.
2005 Commonwealth Award Art Object
Deb Todd Wheeler
The 2005 art object, created by Deb Todd Wheeler, is made
from three different computer-generated patterns of an unfolded
acorn. These patterns were then etched in copper, which was
then manipulated through the use of basic metalsmithing techniques
of forming, soldering, and applying a patina. Each of the
six art objects is unique, and refers to the vast potential
a small idea or act has for becoming a large, complex endeavor.
Deb Todd Wheeler’s work expresses her need to envision
process— the stages of growth and production—and
how those logical increments lead to objects that are both
simple and extremely complex, like an acorn, a bud, or a maple
Ms. Wheeler received her BA in 1987 from the University of
and her MFA in 1994 from Massachusetts College of Art. Her
been exhibited in numerous museums and galleries, including
Photographic Resource Center gallery in Boston, the national
Museum of Beijing and the San Francisco Museum of Craft and
Art. She has won grants and awards that include a Massachusetts
Cultural Council Artist Grant in Sculpture/Installation, an
Resource Trust grant, and a Davis Foundation Faculty Initiative/
Colleges of the Fenway Grant. She is currently a visiting
lecturer at the
Massachusetts College of Art.
2001 Commonwealth Award Art Object
Josh Simpson of Shelburne Falls began his Megaplanet concept
in 1979 as a way to entertain a visiting class of eighth graders
during a glassblowing demonstration – it has grown into internationally
recognized works of art that combine art and science to depict
the world and the universe around us.
Simpson, a Hamilton College graduate, has exhibited across
the world, and at the Space Center Houston. His wife, Cady
Coleman, is an astronaut who has twice flown Space Shuttle
1999 Commonwealth Award Art Object
of the 1999 Commonwealth Awards were presented with a unique
sandblasted glass platter crafted by Belmont artist Peter
Houk. The pieces are 18-20 inches in diameter and approximately
3 inches high and can be displayed either upright on an acrylic
stand or horizontally.
A graduate of Oberlin College and the School of the Museum
of Fine Arts, Boston, Houk has studied at the Pilchuck Glass
School in Stanwood, WA, where he was nominated for the Corning
Prize in 1990, 1996 and 1998 and the Saxe Award in 1995. He
received the Doug and Dale Anderson Scholarship in 1998. Houk
also studied at the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in
Deer Isle, Maine.
His work has been exhibited at the Boston Museum of Fine
Arts, the Smithsonian Craft Show, the Philabaum Glass Gallery
in Tucson, AZ, among other galleries. He is also a full-time
instructor of graphic arts at the Buckingham, Browne and Nichols
School in Cambridge.
1997 Commonwealth Award Art Object
Deborah Lisa Putnoi
1997 Commonwealth Awards objects were one-of-a-kind "totem
paintings" created by Cambridge artist Deborah Lisa Putnoi.
Each award is collaged with images that reflect the work and
vision of the specific recipient. Putnoi is a graduate of
Tufts University, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts and
Harvard Graduate School of Education. She received a New Forms
grant in 1995 from the New England Foundation for the Arts,
which was funded in part by the Mass Cultural Council.
Her work has been exhibited in numerous solo and group shows.
1995 Commonwealth Award Art Object
the presentation of the 1995 Commonwealth Awards, recipients
received limited-edition, hand-printed artists' books created
by Massachusetts artist Laura Davidson. Based in Boston, Davidson
is a recipient of a New England Fellowship in the Visual Arts;
her work is in the collections of the Getty Museum, Houghton
Library at Harvard, Library of Congress and the Museum of
Fine Arts Library.
1993 Commonwealth Award Art Object
honor of "1993: The Year of American Craft," Massachusetts
ceramics artist Gabrielle Schaffner created the award object
for the 1993 Commonwealth Awards. Schaffner produced her distinctive
coffee sets comprised of cups, pot and tray, each with a design
modified to suit the individual Commonwealth Award recipient.
Her work is wheel-thrown and hand-built white earthenware
clay and glazed using a modified majolica technique.
Schaffner received a B.A. in fine arts with a concentration
in ceramics from Wesleyan University in 1986. Her studies
included a year at Studio Arts Centers International in Florence,
Italy. Recent exhibitions of Schaffner's work include the
Holidays at Home show at the Society of Arts and Crafts in
Boston; the About Face show at the Fast Forward Gallery in
New York City; and the Celebration of American Craft IV in
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