Lis-el Crowley Vision Award

Celie Fago, 2023 Lis-el Crowley Vision Award Honoree

Within the metal clay community, Celie Fago is known for her generosity as a teacher, innovator, and author. A self-taught jewelry artist, Celie grew up in an artistic family and was encouraged to make a living in the arts.

Her extensive travels as a young woman and work in print making, oil painting, and sculpture heavily influence her jewelry in polymer and metal clays. She often combines these and other materials and also uses traditional metal smithing techniques in combination with metal clay. Her work is characterized by originally created textures in her tear-away technique, tiny elegant hinges, and rough edges in metal clay.

After a decade of painting in oils, Celie discovered polymer clay and was fascinated by being able to create not only in full color but also in three dimensions.

In 1998, she was introduced to metal clay and was soon recruited by Tim McCreight to be Mitsubishi’s liaison to the polymer clay community for the PMC brand. She is known for her experiments and help with developing open-air fired sterling (.950) as well as testing of early bronze clays.

Her tear-away texture sheet technique, tiny metal clay hinges, and expertise in the use of Keum-Boo on metal clay are well known by students and connoisseurs. Here, these tribally inspired bracelets feature richly colored and organically patterned polymer clay bangles decorated with textured, carved and sculpted rings.

Celie taught for more than twenty years in her rural Vermont studio which became a Mecca for metal clay students. She has exhibited and taught internationally and nationally for professional organizations, guilds and schools including Arrowmont, Haystack, The North Country Studio Conference, and the Mid Cornwall School of Jewelry in England.

Her work is featured in many publications and she is the author of Keum-Boo on Silver Techniques for Applying 24k Gold to Silver. She has work in numerous collections, including Mitsubishi Material Corporation of Japan and the Mingei Museum in San Diego.

Celie Fago
Celie Fago LCVA Winner 2023 Mixed Media Book
Celie Fago LCVA Winner 2023 Bracelets mokume
Celie Fago LCVA Winner 2023 Necklace twig
Celie Fago LCVA Winner 2023 carved rings
Terry Kovalcik, 2022 Lis-el Crowley Vision Award Honoree - read more...

Our honoree, Terry Kovalcik, brings more than 4 decades of experience as an artist and maker to his work in metal clay, which he was introduced to in 1999. His years as an illustrator and designer inform his approach to working in the medium and have led him to develop techniques for which he is well known within the metal clay community.

Terry developed the viscosity painting technique using his fine brush skills to apply metal clay paste to create beautiful bas-relief designs and sculptural forms. His carving techniques rely on his steady hand to create unique three-dimensional forms. Both surface techniques can be seen inside and outside of his exquisitely made lockets, which require an eye for precision and complexity.

As an internationally sought-after metal clay instructor, Terry is a master at breaking down the construction of these complex pieces and inspiring his students to create their own versions one small step at a time. Many in the metal clay community consider him to be a mentor and a builder of communities.

Notably, Terry helped to launch and is the lead administrator for the well-known Facebook group, Metal Clay Now, and the companion website and learning hub at The group has grown to more than 17 thousand members around the globe and is recognized as a premier resource for artists seeking inspiration and support as they travel their own journeys with metal clay.

Throughout his metal clay career, Terry has been recognized internationally as an instructor, speaker, designer, and artist. His lengthy list of awards and recognitions features his role as a Rio Rewards Certification Senior Instructor, Saul Bell finalist, and creator of a one-man gallery show.

Be sure to watch the video interview below where Terry and Julia Rai discuss a wide range of topics, including his background as an illustrator, and his propensity for creating complex designs in metal clay.

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Terry Kovalcik Blossom Silver Cuff 2014
Terry Kovalcik Meadows Edge 2020
Terry Kovalcik Little Ditty Pod 2019
Terry Kovalcik Hollow Forms 2020
Tim McCreight, 2021 Lis-el Crowley Vision Award Honoree - read more...

Our honoree, Tim McCreight is a designer, teacher, author and metalsmith. He received a B.A. from The College of Wooster and a Master of Fine Arts degree from Bowling Green State University. He taught full-time for 25 years, first in Massachusetts and then at the Maine College of Art, which took him to Maine in 1988.

Tim has taught hundreds of workshops throughout the US and in Canada, Japan, Mexico and the UK. He has written two dozen books, produced half a dozen videos, and created Apps for mobile devices.

In the early 1990’s, Tim played a pivotal role in introducing metal clay to artists in North America. He was the founder and first director of the PMC Guild. In that role, he shepherded a series of exhibitions, publications, and five conferences, always with an eye toward supporting artists and growing the community of metal clay devotees.

Working with a team of esteemed metal clay artists, Tim launched the Masters Registry, a program designed to raise the standards of creativity, innovation, and technical excellence in the medium. Over its 15-year run, the Masters Registry helped to establish metal clay as an accepted art material at the professional level.

Be sure to watch the Lis-el Crowley Vision Award Ceremony video below to see Julia Rai interview Tim, and learn more about this forefather of metal clay.

Lisel Crowley