Blog post by new Avery Research Center Graduate Assistant Kelly Doyle
My name is Kelly Doyle and I am one of three Graduate Assistants that will be working with the Avery Research Center this year. I have had a wonderful first few weeks and I look forward to my time here!
When I started working at the Avery Research Center, I was almost immediately struck by the Philip Simmons collection, which was donated to the Center by the Philip Simmons Foundation, Inc. Simmons was an African-American artisan and blacksmith who specialized in the craft of ironwork in Charleston, South Carolina. As a fellow craft artisan in the Lowcountry, I felt a strong connection with this collection of Simmons’ personal sketches and artwork.
A deeper look at the newly digitized Philip Simmons collection in the Lowcountry Digital Library reveals Simmons’ impact on artisan and folk art in the Lowcountry region and beyond. The artwork Simmons created throughout his expansive career is displayed worldwide, and now a large collection of his sketches and conceptual drawings are also available to his many fans internationally through the Avery Research Center Collection in the Lowcountry Digital Library. These personal sketches offer insight into Simmons’ unique ability to create pieces of art that are both visually stunning and practical objects for daily use.
This collection is especially interesting within the Charleston landscape because so many of Simmons’ pieces are on display in accessible locations throughout the city. Simmons’ work has greatly impacted Charleston, and viewing these preliminary sketches in conjunction with his finished pieces brings greater perspective to his artistic vision.
The Philip Simmons Collection in the Lowcountry Digital Library http://lcdl.library.cofc.edu/content/philip-simmons-collection
Funding from the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelly Foundation supported the collection processing, encoding, and
digitization of this collection.
Online exhibition: Keeper of the Gate: Philip Simmons Ironwork in Charleston, South Carolina, Philip Simmons Foundation, Inc., Lowcountry Digital History Initiative
Visit the Philip Simmons House Museum at 30 ½ Blake Street, Charleston, South Carolina
If you are interested in viewing Simmons’ work in Charleston, see the link below for an interactive map connected to an online exhibition about his work in the downtown area.