Lillstreet Teaching Artist Spotlight: Darlys Ewoldt

Darlys Ewoldt grew up on a farm in Iowa, where “The isolation,” she says, “is very good for developing one’s imagination.” From a young age, she was encouraged by her parents to explore her artistic side.  “I lived in a time and place where, if you didn’t have it, you had to make it with your hands.” As a freshman in college, she walked into a metalsmithing classroom and never looked back. If you take a moment to lose yourself in the imagination and skill behind her sculptures, you might say Iowa did a great job.

In addition to managing her own artistic practice, Darlys also teaches at Columbia College and Lillstreet Art Center. Her collection of awards runs deep – including three Illinois Art Council Fellowship Grants, one finalist award, Ford Foundation Fellowship and Project Grants, Project Grants from the George Sugarman Foundation and the Ruth Chenven Foundation and a travel grant from the Embassy of the United States.

When asked what contributes to success, Darlys’ advice is timeless:

Work hard, set aside time every day to improving your skills and practicing.

And once you’ve mastered something, challenge yourself. Start all over with your material and learn something new.


Your work is truly captivating. How would you describe it?

My sculptures are hammered and constructed from sheet copper, brass, and bronze.  The pieces are colored through chemical patination processes.

Where does your inspiration come from?

I draw from objects found in nature and my environment.  I always liked to draw and make things from an early age.  My parents were proud of this and never tried to convince me to choose a more “practical” path in life.  I have many happy memories of making things with my mother. I learned the importance of hard work in achieving your goals in life from my parents.

I have also studied and been influenced by such artists as Martin Puryear, Joseph Cornell, David Smith, and the Constructivist and Bauhaus movements.

What is the best advice you ever received from an instructor or mentor?

Alma Eikerman, an amazing woman who was a pioneer in teaching metalsmithing techniques in the U.S., was my mentor at I.U.  She instilled the importance of studying art history and practicing good design and craftsmanship.  Alma taught me to look beyond the obvious in the world around me and to look at common objects in different ways.

What are your favorite classes to teach at Lillstreet?

I love teaching the forming classes.  It’s a pleasure to see the excitement of the students when they successfully transform a piece of metal by hammering.  I also like to teach beginning metals classes.  Students feel a great sense of accomplishment from lighting a torch for the first time to making something they are proud to wear.

What do you appreciate about the Lillstreet community?

Lillstreet is a positive, supportive community.  I have seen and experienced both creative and personal connections develop with many people.  It’s wonderful to walk through the spaces at Lillstreet feel the creative energy.

At Lillstreet, I find the students are centered on growing their work into a business. And they do! I’ve seen many of my students start out at the beginning and become successful in their work. I think a strong contributor to that is the range of teachers Lillstreet offers. Learning from a variety of practicing artists is a unique opportunity to learn.

What kind of projects are you working on right now?

Last year, I started casting glass elements to include with the formed and fabricated metal forms.  I am interested in working with light and shadow by combining the two materials.  I enjoy the challenge of exploring a new, unfamiliar combination of mediums.


Find Darlys Ewoldt’s work here, and experience it in person at SOFA Chicago 2017. She will also be showing at the Smithsonian Craft Show in Washington, DC in April 2017.  She is represented by K. Allen Gallery in Sister Bay, WI and Graver’s Lane Gallery in Philadelphia, PA. 

Fall Visiting Artist Workshops

Visiting Artist Workshop Header Metals

Lillstreet’s Visiting Artist Workshop program seeks out regionally and nationally recognized artists who demonstrate unique techniques and processes in a variety of mediums. Join us this Fall for three very special workshops with visiting artists Eric Burris, Carol Webb and Kensuke Yamada.


Mokume-Gane: Wood Grain Pattern in Metal

with visiting artist Eric Burris

SEPTEMBER 2 – 4: A practice developed in 17th-century Japan, mokume-gane was once used to decorate swords. For over 15 years, artist Eric Burris has been exploring this wood-grain technique in jewelry. Join us for this incredible 3-day workshop. From start to finish, you’ll learn each step to creating your own patterns in metal!



Etching: 3D Imagery in Metal

with visiting artist Carol Webb

SEPTEMBER 9 – 11: Carol Webb is known for the use of patterned imagery, accomplished through the process of etching through copper-based alloys to achieve a layered and transparent quality. In this workshop you’ll learn to etch and achieve a 3-dimensional layered look and take your skills to a whole new level.



Figurative Forms in Clay

with visiting artist Kensuke Yamada

SEPTEMBER 24 & 25: Born in Kamakura, Kanagawa, Japan, Kensuke Yamada is well known for his exaggerated, playful figurative work. In this hands-on, 2-day workshop, Kensuke will lead us through creating a head using basic hand building methods and exploring techniques used in making figurative forms in clay.


Due to their nature, our Visiting Artist Workshops are limited to small group sizes and fill quickly.  Click here for more details and registration. 




KL basket 2

KL basket 4“The Saddest Aisle”

Keith will discuss the trajectory of his career and his focus on loss, memory and longing. He will begin with his figurative work from the early 90’s, which focused on the AIDS pandemic and then move through bodies of work that address sex, sexuality and belonging. In his first body of non-representational work, he attempts to channel and honor the melancholy and sense of abandonment of woven baskets found in thrift stores. To honor these forlorn and unwanted objects, Lewis draws from representations of the apotheosis of saints and the embellishment of relics by lifting them towards the light.

Keith Lewis holds an MFA in Jewelry & Metals from Kent State and a BS in Chemistry from Dickenson College. He is currently the Jewelry, Metals & Design Professor at Central Washington University, Ellensburg, WA. His work is held in many public and private collections both nationally and internationally. He has been in published numerous articles and publications and has participated in over 100 exhibitions.

Saturday October 25, 1pm
Lillstreet Loft 4437 N. Ravenswood Ave, Chicago
Free and open to the public

STONE SALE: Change of Date


The stone sale scheduled for Tuesday, October 14 has been changed to Tuesday, October 28 at 4pm.
Please make a note of it.
Thanks for understanding.

Beyond the Bezel

Later this summer, we are hosting a wonderful Metalsmith, Michael David Sturlin, for a workshop called Beyond the Bezel. This workshop has been full for months, but we just got word that we could add one additional spot. This won’t last too long, so head on over to the registration page and sign up for your chance to learn from a true master.


Here’s a little bio on Mr. Sturlin: Michael David Sturlin’s 40 year career as a studio jewelry artist, educator, writer, consultant, and award winning goldsmith includes recognition from the World Gold Council, the American Jewelry Design Council, and Jewelers of America New Designers Gallery. Michael has been published in 85 magazine articles and numerous books. He is a faculty member of the Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts and a popular visiting guest artist, lecturer, and conference presenter.