March 3, 2013

Smithsonian to exhibit Portland metalsmith's artwork

Jeffrey Clancy's reputation in the craft-art world just gained a substantial amount of weight, thanks to his inclusion in the prestigious exhibition.

By Bob Keyes
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 2)

click image to enlarge

Jeffrey Clancy leads a discussion of a student’s work of art with his MECA class, including Daniel Marcucio.

John Ewing/Staff Photographer

click image to enlarge

Jeffrey Clancy makes pieces that riff on functional tabletop objects, like these spoons. “The way he renders them is the opposite of practical,” says Daniel Fuller, director of the Institute of Contemporary Art at MECA.

Courtesy of the artist

Additional Photos Below




Clancy's foray in the arts began in high school. He took some art classes in school growing up in Pennsylvania, then enrolled in a tiny state college, Kutztown University in Kutztown, Pa. He wasn't a great student, and found himself drawn to subjects he liked and felt comfortable studying.

Among them was metalsmithing and jewelry making. He liked the teacher and enjoyed working with his hands. The act of hammering and raising metal from a sheet to a functional object entranced him.

"I was good at it, but I had to work. I do not think I had natural ability, but I'm good with my hands and I have a good work ethic," he said.

Because of the teachers who mentored and continue to mentor him, Clancy reveres the art and practice of teaching, and strives to inspire students to achieve more than they might think possible. He likes to tell his students, "Learning is ugly. Deal with it."

Nothing comes gift-wrapped in education. What you get out of it is what you put in, he tells them.

"I don't need talented students. I don't need intellectually rigorous students. I need hard-working students," he said.

That work ethic is what set Clancy apart when Bell began sifting through a mountain of applications, resumes and images as he selected what he considered to be the 40 best and most interesting young craft artists working today.

"The most critical factor was that the work had to be strong; it had to grab me," Bell has said. "When you sit down to review hundreds of candidates, you pull out those whose work stops you from moving to the next page -- whom you recall above the rest, whom you want to know more about."

Staff Writer Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or:

Twitter: pphbkeyes


Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

Send question/comment to the editors

Additional Photos

click image to enlarge

Jeffrey Clancy works in traditional forms such as bowls, cups and vases, but with a contemporary, often whimsical, twist.

Courtesy of the artist

click image to enlarge

Jeffrey Clancy, right, with Maine College of Art student Zach Nelson.

John Ewing/Staff Photographer


Further Discussion

Here at we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)



The Golden Dish - Monday
Little Bigs--better than the best

More PPH Blogs