I’m drawn to working with stone because of its natural beauty, which is both elemental to our world and limitlessly rich in texture, pattern, color and depth. I use stone of many different types, as a painter might use a color palette. Recently, I’ve begun incorporating glass “smalti”, a human-produced, renaissance, mosaic medium, into some of my work. Some smalti have fine layers of gold or copper, which I find adds a quality of elegance and drama when juxtaposed with the stone.
My abstract works speak to a universal human relationship with the earth, each piece evoking a sense of place or an archetypal memory, through the qualities of particular stones and their combinations. In my representational work, I use the stone’s natural qualities to capture the spirit of flora or fauna of a place, the energy of the subject coming alive through the stone. My latest work, of a Buddhist nature, includes and transcends these themes.
Fran Segal was born in NYC, and attended city public schools as well as Pratt Institute of Art. She later studied sculpture, painting and fresco making with accomplished artists of the Hudson Valley, in upstate NY, while attending Vassar College. This training included the tradition of copying great masters as well as creating original works of art.
Fran later moved to the San Francisco Bay Area for a Ph.D. program in psychology and to take advantage of the rich cultural life that was available there. After a stint as a luthier, building the guitar that she still plays and sings with, she began what has become a long career working with stone as her primary visual art medium.
Living in California rooted Fran’s source of inspiration in the natural world, through ongoing journeys to the Sierra and other mountain ranges to hike, climb, cross-country ski, and simply be with Nature. Her Ph.D. dissertation focused on “eco-psychology” and she was part of founding this emerging field of study and practice. She taught and led workshops on ecopsychology and art, creativity and design for over two decades.
With her company, Through the Garden Wall, Fran continued developing the use of stone mosaics, relief and sculpture as an art form for architecture, landscape and public art. She has made several large public art pieces for the city of Berkeley, California, including two for the downtown arts district. Her fine art work has shown in galleries throughout the Bay Area as well as on Canyon Road in Santa Fe.
Fran continues to live and work in the Bay Area, CA, and with her partner, in the town of Cochiti, outside of Santa Fe, NM.