Over the past 41 years, Marjorie Schick has been right at home in the Department of Art at Pittsburg State University, creating and teaching art forms that have captivated her throughout her career.
Luckily for her audiences, they don't have to compete for a spot in her class to see some of her best work.
Schick, whose art focuses on jewelry for the body, has been recognized both in the U.S. and internationally for her work. A retrospective of her art, hosted by International Arts and Artists of Washington D.C., has been traveling to locations in the United States and Europe for the past year and half. Her latest show opened Nov. 15 in Hamar, Norway.
The showings of her retrospective - its last stop will be at the Muskegon Museum of Art in Muskegon, Mich., before returning to her in 2009 - have capped off an eventful couple of years for Schick. Attending as many openings of her retrospective as possible, she also worked intensely to put out a book of her art titled "Sculpture to Wear: The Jewelry of Marjorie Schick" last year. The book features more than 475 pieces of her work - jewelry made from non-precious materials that can be worn around the body.
“I’d like to think I’ve made contributions to the field; that I’ve helped open peoples’ eyes to sculpture to wear,” said Marjorie, who has been named a Fellow of the American Crafts Council (an appointment that has led her to lecture in Europe, Australia, Japan and Korea) and whose work has been included in the Smithsonian Institute archives and is available online at www.aaa.si.edu/collections/oralhistories/transcripts/schick04.htm.
Although her work, celebrated for its uniqueness, has sent her on many adventures, what has been a mainstay in her life is her relationship with PSU History Professor Dr. James Schick, her husband of 45 years. The two met in college at the University of Wisconsin, moving to Pittsburg together in 1967 to begin their careers with the university. Their dual professorships as a married couple are two of the longest in PSU history.
"Even early on in her career when she would show her work to museums and galleries, they were amazed when she said she was from Kansas," said her husband, who in addition to teaching, serves as editor of "Midwest Quarterly."
"She's been able to show that someone from Pittsburg can achieve at the very highest levels. For students, personal attention from a professor like her isn't always possible at larger universities until they begin working on an advanced degree."
The couple will take their fourth sabbatical together this spring, visiting Europe and spots along the east coast for their research and projects.
"Personally, she's been inspiring to me because she has always worked so hard," he said. "Her students realize how dedicated she is to them and to her work. That's got to be good for them to see their professors actually doing the work they talk about."
Currently, Schick has been creating a pair of chopines, an ancient style of shoes originating from Venice, worn to keep women out of mud puddles. The shoes will be ready for an art show in Massachusetts this winter.
"Pittsburg has been a wonderful place to live and work," she said. "It has been very rewarding."