Curriculum Vitae
EDUCATION:
1979 - 1981Cranbrook Academy of Art, MI. USA:  Master of Fine Arts in Metalsmithing
1975 - 1979University of Toronto:  Bachelor of Music
WORK EXPERIENCE:
1986 - dateSelf-employed, Canada:  Freelance jewellery artist and metalsmith
1981 - 1985Lunt Silversmiths, MA. USA:  Commercial silver designer
1990 & 1991Newfoundland and Labrador Craft Council: Coordinator of the 1st and 2nd annual Christmas Craft Fairs in Corner Brook, NL.
TEACHING EXPERIENCE:
Sept. 2013New Brunswick College of Craft and Design, Fredericton: Lecturer
Sept. 2007Nova Scotia Metal Arts Guild, Halifax: Juror, Lecturer, Workshop Leader
Aug. 1993Craft Council of Newfoundland and Labrador, St. John’s, NL., Mainstream Design: Paddling Against the Current: Conference Speaker
July 1988Haliburton School of Fine Arts, Ontario:  Metalsmithing instructor
June 1981American Craft Museum, New York City, USA:  Silversmithing and jewellery techniques demonstrator
1980 & 1981National Music Camp, Interlochen, MI. USA:  Metalsmithing instructor
EXHIBITIONS:
Oct. 2015Craft Council of Newfoundland and Labrador Gallery, St. John's, NL: Stellar, group show featuring work of 8 established Newfoundland artists, curated by Gloria Hickey
July 2015Craft Council of Newfoundland and Labrador Gallery, St. John's, NL: All Member's Exhibit, awarded excellence in craft for Innovation and Design
May 2015Beaux-arts des Ameriques Gallery, Montreal, Quebec: RCA New Inductees Exhibition 2015
Summer 2013Toronto Pearson International Airport, ON: Canadian Mosaic of Metal, invitational show, curated by Aggie Beynon
May 2013Zilberschmuck Gallery, Toronto, ON: Three Elements, invitational show
Jan. 2012Metal Arts Guild of Canada: Larger than Life, Exhibition in Print, one of 21 entrants accepted for publication
Summer 2011Grenfell Campus Art Gallery, Corner Brook, NL: Rare ReflectionsWesley Harris and Hilary Rice, two-person show, metals and textiles
Spring 2011Craft Council of Newfoundland and Labrador Gallery, St. John’s, NL: Rare Reflections – the Art of Wesley Harris, solo show
July 2005
Design Exchange, Toronto, ON: Northern Lights, Metal Arts Guild of Canada member show — featured on catalogue cover
Oct. 2002Craft Council of Newfoundland and Labrador Gallery, St. John’s, NL: Metal: 5 Views, five-person show, curated by Gloria Hickey
Aug. 1993Craft Council of Newfoundland and Labrador Gallery, St. John’s, NL: Paddling Against the Current, juried group show
Sept. 1991Barber Gallery, Guelph, ON: Rosemarie & Wesley Harris, two-person show, watercolours and metals and nature photography
Summer 1981American Craft Museum, New York City, USA: Craft in Motion
May 1981Nelson Gallery / Atkins Museum, Kansas City, USA: Statements in Sterling/81, sponsored by the Sterling Silversmiths Guild of America
Jan. 1978Hart House, University of Toronto: Hart House Craft Exhibition, First prize, advanced category
June 1974Hamilton Place, Ontario: Image 74, juried group show
AWARD HIGHLIGHTS:
May 2015Officially inducted into the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts (RCA)
2003Research grant of $15,000., Canada Council for the Arts
May 1981First prize winner, Silver Design Competition, a national student competition sponsored by the Sterling Silversmiths Guild of America
COMMISSION HIGHLIGHTS:
Princess Anne — brooch depicting coat of arms of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment
Newfoundland Premier Brian Tobin — pair of labradorite cufflinks
Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists — brooches with monogram
Craft Council of Newfoundland and Labrador — 30th anniversary pin/pendant 
Work in numerous private collections across Canada and United States
Work in private collections in Australia, Norway and England
PUBLICATIONS / CATALOGUES / WRITINGS:
Summer 2011Catalogue: Rare Reflections, Wesley Harris and Hilary Rice, essay by Charlotte Jones
Dec. 2007Jewellery Business: Labradorite: All that shimmersby Niki Kavakonis pp. 40 – 43
May/June 2006Craft Council of NL Newsletter: How Necessity, Inherent Logic, Technique and Tool Influence Design, by Wesley Harris, pp 4 – 5 
Fall 2005MAGazine (Metal Arts Guild of Canada): Hour Glass, by Wesley Harris, p. 4
Summer 2005Catalogue and cover photo: Northern Lights, edited by Niki Kavakonis
Jan./Feb. 2005Craft Council of NL Newsletter: The Layered Art of Mokume Gane, by Wesley Harris, pp. 4 – 5, cover photo
Winter 2005MAGazine (Metal Arts Guild of Canada): The Common Ground, by Wesley Harris, p. 11
Fall 2004MAGazine (Metal Arts Guild of Canada): The Pearl, by Wesley Harris, p. 10, cover photo
Jan./Feb. 2004Craft Council of NL Newsletter: An Approach to Design, by Wesley Harris, pp. 4 – 5, cover photo
Oct. 2002Catalogue: Metal: 5 Views, essay by Gloria Hickey
Winter 1989MAGazine (Metal Arts Guild of Canada): An Approach to Design, by Wesley Harris, p. 4
MEMBERSHIPS:
Society of North American Goldsmiths (SNAG) www.snagmetalsmith.org Maker Profile
Royal Canadian Academy of Arts (RCA) http://rca-arc.ca/
Craft Council of Newfoundland and Labrador www.craftcouncil.nl.ca Member Profile

 

Artist Statement
Clean Lines and Classic Designs

I enjoy the challenge of working in metal. It is a resistant material, yet, wonderfully malleable. When smithing pieces, it excites me to gradually “flow” metal as a plastic solid. Metal is also a precise material. Jewellery making satisfies me immensely due to the accuracy that can be achieved in soldered construction and stone setting. 

I often cut and polish my own stones to match the precision of the metal work.

I also enjoy the challenge of functional design. The purpose of a piece, its human overtones, its operational requirements are all starting points for a host of creative solutions. I strive for a fusion of form and function. As in nature, beauty of form is often synonymous with ability to function. I try to create designs that read clearly by reducing and simplifying and using smooth flowing lines that the eye can follow with ease.

Nature is my main inspiration. Its endless diversity within order parallels my own choice to create one-of-a-kind yet familiar objects. The play of light in nature pleases me, as do the reflective and optical qualities of metals and stones. I am drawn to universal forms — circles, spheres, spirals — and I strive to rework their centered, wholesome feeling. Nature offers countless examples of forms that function perfectly and forms that reflect the inherent logic of their growth pattern or internal structure. I try to translate this logic into designs that simply feel right. The process of redefining nature in my art is a challenge. It is also gratifying because the results can be very beautiful.

Biography

I was born in 1955 in Guelph, Ontario. For the first six years of my life I lived next door to my grandmother in the small town of Rockwood. During those formative years my grandmother shared with me her love of nature. I clearly remember her stopping to listen to the birds and how she would imitate their song and whistle in response to “Robin red-breast” or “Jenny wren.” At that early age I realized that we can be on the same wave-length as other living things. It made an impression on me that has lasted a life-time. As an adult, one of my favorite hobbies is nature and wildlife photography.

At age six my family moved to 30 acres of land in the country near Erin, Ontario. All of a sudden my back yard became a natural paradise. I spent countless hours bird-watching, fossil collecting, and rafting the creek by the edge of the woods. With this move, my parents began what was to become a 45 year project restoring the old farm house that is still Dad’s home. I remember watching father patiently chisel and shim the beams, slowly, methodically achieving a goal.  Somehow the process itself was as much a source of satisfaction as the finished result. Probably without realizing it, my father (like my grandmother) was teaching me important lessons by example.

Ever since before I can remember, music has been a part of my life. My mother played the piano beautifully. I used to fall asleep each night as she practiced Bach, Beethoven and Chopin. My own choice of instrument was the violin and to this day I still enjoy playing it. I love lyricism in music when there is a long spinning out of melody. This attraction absolutely parallels my instinct as a metalsmith to create smooth flowing lines and contours.

During high school, I studied art with Mr. Arthur Brecken. This remarkable man included a wide range of subjects in his classes from drawing and painting to fashion design and architectural design, to soapstone sculpture, copper enamels and silver jewellery. I loved it! I was particularly drawn to the jewellery making. Arthur let me use his home studio on weekends and during the summers. His method of teaching was remarkably like that of my parents and grandmother. I learned by example, by trial and error, and from many hours of casual conversation where we often discussed our thoughts on design and creativity.

In University I studied both music and fine art. After working as a commercial silver designer in the United States during the early 1980’s, I met my wife, Margaret, and moved back to Canada. We have two daughters, Laurel and Francine. After our youngest was born, I became the stay-at-home parent. Over the following 20 years, my jewellery and metalsmithing necessarily became part-time work and during this time I averaged 20 hours per week at my art. Half of that time went toward completing specific orders, and half toward building up speculative stock for sale at craft fairs.

Today, at age 60, a new chapter is unfolding for me. Our children have fledged and I am again working full-time. In May 2015, I was officially inducted into to the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts (RCA). I feel deeply honoured to be recognized by my peers in this way, and I would like to acknowledge my colleague and friend, Don Stuart, who nominated me for the RCA.  Presently, I am creating new work toward a Teacher-Student exhibition that will include selected silver pieces made by my high school art teacher,  Mr. Arthur Brecken.  This exhibit will illustrate how my style was inspired by and grew out of Arthur's style.